Introduction: Cheesy Duck - Sliced and Diced
My name is Corinna. I am 18 years old, and I live in Germany.
When I first saw the yellow Lego man of the contemporary artist Nathan Sawaya I thought it looked like cheese.
Nathan Sawaya is the first artist who took Lego bricks into the art world.
His website is http://www.nathansawaya.com/ .
At the time, his exhibition " The Art of the Brick" travels around the world.
Since many of my friends are vegetarian and I decided we would have duck on Christmas anyways, I came up with a vegetarian version of having duck for dinner, inspired from the Lego Artwork of Nathan Sawaya.
Of course my version was for a buffet alongside with other food (more like a snack or an appetiser).
I am writing this instructable for everyone who wants to build a cheese duck including myself in a few weeks, when I do it again for christmas.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
- 1.5 kg cheese (I took Buttercheese, but any other kind will work too) (Also, the cheese in the picture is 3 kg, though I only needed half of it!) Harder cheese might be better, since it bends less, but I have yet to try that!
- grapes ( I bought red and green ones for decoration)
- cream cheese as glue
- a cheese knife (or a big kitchen knife)
- a small pointy kitchen knife
- a cutting board
- two bowls
- a cutting machine or a very precise hand
Step 2: Cutting the Cheese
I especially decided to buy the butter cheese since it was already squared. If you have a cheese with a different shape, cut it into square first.
Now, you can take out the cutting machine and slice the cheese into 9mm thick slices (depending on your aspect ratio, you can adjust the thickness). The first and the last slice may not be very flat because of the natural shape of the cheese. If that is the case, it might be better not to make bricks out of them - you will get to use them later for support on in the duck sculpture.
After slicing, it is time to put the cutting machine away and get more detailed with the cheese knife.
I cut the slice into about 1cm wide stripes.
Then, cut the stripes into about 2cm long bricks.
To save time, it goes without saying that you can cut all the stripes of a slice into bricks at the same time and not separately.
When you are done with the first slice, it is very helpful to pick the best brick and use it as a model for the dimensions of the next bricks.
Now, the reason why you need two bowls: one bowl is for the very nicely cut bricks and the other bowl for the bricks on the edges that are not so well shaped (picture 6).
The bricks out of the second bowl will be used later at the more hidden places of the sculpture.
Step 3: Building a Lego Sculpture
As an exercise I build a sculpture with Lego bricks to get a bit of a feeling how to lay bricks.
You do not have to do that! It is just a suggestion of mine to get used to sculpting with bricks.
Making this Lego sculpture, I already figured out that it is better to place the bricks shifted from row to row, so the sculpture stays stable. But there actually are differences to laying bricks with cheese.
Unfortunately, I do not have a picture of my Lego sculpture since my siblings disassembled it to quickly.
Step 4: Building the Cheese Duck
For the first layer, it is important to remember the scale that the sculpture should have. So, you have to make sure that it is not getting too big. I build the duck on a cutting board in order to be able to move it to the buffet later on. (In retrospect, it might have been better to build it on a nice platter to carry to the buffet right away.)
First, lay the contour of the ducks body, then reinforce it with a second, inner layer. It is important to use enough cream cheese as glue between and under the bricks, since that gives a lot of stability. The pointy knife is very helpful to gut all the gaps closed with cream cheese.
Laying the bricks is similar to Lego bricks and should also better be done shifted from layer to layer so the wall is stable. In contrast to Lego bricks, you can cut the cheese bricks to the right size when there is an unusual gap, which is a large advantage. Additionally, you can lay the bricks in arcs and are not restricted to two directions.
With the third layer you start leaving a gap in the middle of the front. This is for the "stuffing" later on.
Thus, you might notice that the fourth layer seems a bit unstable. To give some extra support, you can build up a third row to this point in the inside of the duck. This stabilises the outer rows from here on up.
The gap in the middle at the front should get bigger every layer. By the eighth level it should have reached it's widest opening.
This is also where you start with the wings of the duck. For this, you can use the leftover unformed slices from cutting the cheese bricks. Cut them in a similar shape as can bee seen in picture 8.
You then can apply some cream cheese onto the surface and build up some bricks on it (picture 9). I also supported the wings while I was still building on the duck so I could press on the bricks harder without damaging the wings.
You can see the second and third layer on the wings in pictures 10 and 11.
Now, it is time to gradually close the hole in the middle again. So, the next layers of the duck body will need to have a shifted brick in the middle that ends in the air. After two or three layers this gets unstable so it is time to take the other left over slice from the bricks cutting and build some kind of a lid (picture 12).
Here, it is important to cut out spaces for the bricks on the wings at the right places. It is helpful to lay the slice lightly onto the ducks body and make some marks with the knife at the places where the bricks are. This helps to know where to cut.
You might also need to cut the back so that the lid doesn't stand out.
Now, you can concentrate on the hole at the front and refine the edge by gluing some bricks in front of the lid with cream cheese and building up a triangle on top the lid (picture 15). By now, I supported the top with a tube of soap because it had just the right size. With this stabilisation, you can press on the bricks harder without worrying about its stability. In the end I removed it of cause.
You can lay down bricks now in smaller and smaller circles. This creates the neck of the duck.
Then, you can build bigger again to start the head. It might be easier to make the back of the head flat. Sometimes, it is practical to use the bricks vertically so they can stick out more.
When you have an acceptable width you start to reduce the radius of the layers again (picture 17). In the end, you can glue a brick to every side of the head to make it seem rounder (picture 18).
Most important for a duck is its spout. Make sure you are using enough cream cheese to hold it in place for a longer time. You might have to support it by placing another brick under it. If all other options fail, using a toothpick might be an option to secure it.
Step 5: Final Touches
In the end, you can take some more cheese cubes and put them in front of the duck sculpture to make it look like they are coming out of it.
Also, you can place some grapes around the sculpture to add to the taste.
Lastly, do not forget to take two slices of grapes and place them as the eyes of the duck. I also secured them in place with cream cheese.
Step 6: Cheesy Duck Outcome
Tadaaa! Here is your vegetarian "roast duck" buffet sculpture.
I hope, you had as much fun with the instructable as I did.
Please feel free to ask questions in the comments, I will get back to you as soon as I can.
And, as I said in my other instructable aswell, I want to apologise for my english. Since I learned english at school, I am not a native speaker. Nonetheless, I hope you can understood everything! Otherwise, there always is a comments section below!