Hello my darlings, Mr.Lee did a sterling job on Sunday and every last scrap was devoured. A lovely light and super flavoursome menu. The main course was a favourite recipe from good old Delia and as it was quite time consuming the puddings were not. A breeze in fact and a must if time is of the essence.
6 Gressingham duck breast fillets approx 200g
salt and freshly milled black pepper
for the sauce
- 75g dried sour cherries
- 200ml red wine
- 250g morello cherry conserve
- fresh watercress, to garnish
You will need two large frying-pans, and a grill pan with a rack. The preparation will take about 45 minutes and can be done way ahead.
To make the sauce, start off by soaking the dried cherries in the red wine for 15 minutes, then combine the conserve with the soaked cherries and red wine in a saucepan, and simmer gently without a lid for 20 minutes. Yes, it really is that simple.
To prepare the duck, put both frying-pans on a medium to low heat, then, using a fork, prick the skin of each breast and with a small sharp knife score the skin diagonally both ways to form a diamond pattern. Season with salt and black pepper. Now pop three fillets into each pan, skin-side down, and cook very gently for 20 minutes until most of the fat has rendered and the skin is a light golden-brown. The fat will bubble gently around the edge of the duck, but don’t let it get too hot or the skin will colour too quickly.
After that, carefully drain off the duck fat (you can keep it for roasting potatoes), then turn each breast over and (without increasing the heat) cook them for five minutes if you like them pink, 10 for medium or 15 for well-done. Now transfer them to a plate – keeping the skin-side up – and leave them on one side in a cool place until you are ready to re-heat them
Twenty minutes before you want to serve the duck, pre-heat the grill to its highest setting, making sure the grill pan will be about 11cm from the heat source. When the grill has been heating for at least 15 minutes, place the duck breasts skin side down on the rack of the grill pan and place them under the grill for two to three minutes until they are hot. Then turn them over and grill them for a further two minutes – keeping an eye on them as the skin will sizzle and crisp as it turns a deeper golden-brown.
Remove them to a carving board to rest for a few minutes before cutting them into thick chunky slices and placing on warm plates. Drizzle some sauce over and garnish with watercress
We had the duck served with roast potatoes done in the duck fat, green beans and carrots.
|50g soft butter|
|250g good dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids), chopped into small pieces|
|60ml hot water from a recently boiled kettle|
|1 x 284ml tub double cream|
|1 teaspoon vanilla extract|
|Put the marshmallows, butter, chocolate and water in a heavy-based saucepan.|
|Put the saucepan on the hob, over heat, though keep it fairly gentle, to melt the contents, stirring every now and again. Remove from the heat.|
|Meanwhile, whip the cream with the vanilla extract until thick, and then fold into the cooling chocolate mixture until you have a smooth, cohesive mixture.|
|Pour or scrape into 4 glasses or ramekins, about 175ml each in capacity, or 6 smaller (125ml) ones, and chill until you want to eat. The sooner the better!|
Utterly simple to make, garnish with a lemon twist.
|110g digestive biscuits|
|25g brown sugar|
|350g cream cheese (full fat, I use Philadelphia)|
|75g castor sugar|
|Zest of 1 lemon|
|Juice of 3 lemons (you need about 6 tablespoons)|
150ml double cream
|Crush the biscuits thoroughly to fine crumbs.|
|Melt the butter in a saucepan and mix in the crushed biscuits and brown sugar.|
|Press into an 8 inch loose bottomed cake tin (I have found it much easier to turn out using one of these).|
|Chill in the fridge while you make the topping.|
|Beat together the cream cheese, castor sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice until smooth and creamy.|
|Whip the double cream until you have soft peaks.|
|Mix together the cream cheese mixture and the cream.