"My great-grandmother Flora collected her recipes in an exercise book which she passed on to her daughter Margarette. The cookbook was saved from Margarette’s home after she died in a concentration camp in 1945. My mother Hedy, Margarette’s daughter, escaped to Australia and has treasured the family cookbook ever since. She has taught my daughter Alice and I how to make these typical Czech recipes."
- Anne Zahalka
Extract from The Artist's Lunch. More

Average: 4.7 (3 votes)


1/2 pack (250 g) lard
sea salt
caraway seeds
1 drake (large male duck)

Potato Dumplings
2 large red potatoes, cooked
2 cups plain flour
½ teaspoon of salt
2 eggs (1 whole and 1 egg yolk)
large pot of salted water to boil

Zeliĉka (sweet red cabbage)

2 tablespoons olive oil or lard
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 small red cabbage, finely chopped
2 tablespoons raw sugar
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
sea salt

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Take half the lard and place in a baking dish. Sprinkle salt and caraway seeds over the duck and place on top of the lard. Place the rest of the lard on and around the duck.

Bake for 20 minutes, then once the fat starts to sizzle, turn the oven down to 180ºC. Add 3 cups of water to the dish to a depth of 1 cm. Cook for another 30 minutes, checking regularly that water does not evaporate. Turn the duck over and bake until it is golden brown. Cut the duck into pieces and serve with potato dumplings and zelicka. Pour the juices from the baked duck over the dumplings and serve.

Potato Dumplings
Cool the cooked potatoes and mash. Place onto a floured board. Pour the flour over the
potatoes and add the salt. Make a well in the centre and drop the egg and yolk into it. Add a tablespoon of water. Dust your hands with flour and turn the potato and mix together until it forms a dough, making sure there are no lumps.

Separate into 2 pieces. With wet hands shape into approximately 8 x 20 cm long rolls. Drop the rolls gently into boiling water one by one making sure they don’t join. Boil for 20 minutes.
When the rolls have risen to the surface allow to cook for another 3 minutes.

Carefully lift out with 2 spatulas underneath each and place on a board to cool for a minute.
Cut into 1.5 cm thick slices and place around the duck.

Zeliĉka (sweet red cabbage)
In a large, heavy metal pot pour in the oil or lard and fry the onion gently until golden. Throw in the cabbage, sugar, vinegar, salt and 1 cup of water and mix until coated. Cover with the lid and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally for 1 hour. Add more water if the mixture appears too dry.

Remove the lid and stir in the caraway seeds and cook for another 30 minutes. The cabbage should taste more sweet than sour. Spoon generous amounts to the side of the duck and dumplings.

If you are in a hurry you can cook it for 30 minutes only but it is best if you allow it
to cook very slowly for 2 hours.