Ok…. just so you know, I wrote this on 12/02/2013 but then my director decided to take me out to get sloshed last night so I’m posting a day late! Boom.
Yesterday it was Shrove Tuesday, typically known as the day when EVERYONE makes pancakes and everywhere that sells pancakes makes a killing and has ridiculous queues. My Old Dutch and the pancake stall on Berwick Street were high on my AVOID list.
Instead of “celebrating” Shrove Tuesday I decided to celebrate Valentines Day two days early – known to me as Valentines Day Eve, Eve. Why? Because the OH is off to Paris today for work. Oh yes. Paris. The city of romantics. He won’t be in Paris for Valentine’s Day though. He will be in Tunisia by tomorrow. When I heard this I asked him “don’t your company consider events when planning your work trips?” His reply “yes, except that they don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day in a Muslim country”. Touché.
Birthdays to me generally mean food, and theres nothing I like more than cooking (duh).
I anticipated a very special birthday meal last month by planning ahead with a very special menu:
Starter: Scallops with apple and pistachio dressing
Main: breast of duck with raspberry sauce
The bulk of time was spent prepping the ingredients. To start I had a whole duck to dissect. It’s amazing what you can get out of a whole duck! I portioned it courtesy of YouTube’s assistance:
The breast I set aside for the birthday main, I also took off the legs, seasoned everything apart from the breasts and put it in the oven to roast – that was one week day dinner along with pancakes, cucumber and hoisin sauce, not to mention the duck fat I have waiting to grace Sunday roast potatoes.
To prep the sauce for the scallops I had to soften the apples with cinnamon, cloves and star anise, add pistachios, then blend everything and put through a sieve. That was one part of the sauce. The other part of the sauce required pistachios, extra virgin olive oil, again blended. Sauces done. I then had to warm a mixture of red wine vinegar, a few saffron strands and some honey, fry the scallops for 2 mins on each side, then dip one side of each scallop in the honey before serving with each of my dressings.
The duck was a pretty straight forward feat. Fried for 4 mins on each side (then added a little extra time for preference) I left them to rest, then added balsamic vinegar to the pan, the juice of one orange and the raspberries.
Note: at this point I was running over a bit time-wise so I decided not to pass my raspberry sauce through a sieve – school boy error, do you know how many little seeds are in raspberries? If one must cut time, it would have been better to have not passed the apple mixture through a sieve as the consistency wasn’t marginally different.
Nevertheless, I’d say both dishes came out as expected. I served the main with my famous heavenly light mashed potato, and greens (of course!) The flavour was perfect, we were both so full after eating – no space for dessert. Now here is the finished result and recipes should you want to try them.
Actual recipe taken from this issue
of Stylist Magazine
by Gino D’Acampo
(I skipped the roast veg part)