Waitrose Duck with Orange Sauce

I do quite like duck and the obvious choice with duck is an orange sauce. Though I more often than not prefer to make my own sauces, sometimes you don’t have the time, sometimes you don’t have the expertise. Shop sauces can often be too sweet or usually too salty, so I don’t like to buy them. The duck with orange sauce from Waitrose though falls into the just right category, neither too sweet nor too salty.

I use to get a similar pack from Sainsbury, however they no longer stock it at my local branch (and don’t recall seeing it elsewhere either).

Having taken out the two duck breasts from the fridge, using a fork, prick the skin side of the duck breast.Duck can be quite fatty and as a result if you simply roast the duck breast it will be too fatty and greasy. So heat a frying pan, but don’t add any oil. Place the duck breasts in the pan skin side down.

Frying the duck breast in this way renders the fat out from the duck and as a result you get nice crispy skin and little fat or greasiness.

The breasts will also shrink slightly as they cook. There is technique that you can use to stop the meat curling up, but I can’t remember what it is! Something about cutting away something. If you know post a comment and let me know.

Once the skin is nice and brown, place the duck breasts skin side up in a roasting pan. Roast in the oven for about ten to twenty minutes (depending on how you like your duck).

Serve with the orange sauce.

Christmas Dinner

Well we had a really nice Christmas Dinner. We had roast chicken, roast saddle of venison and a boned and stuffed roast duck.

The chicken was a free range corn fed bird which I stuffed with a homemade herb and sausage meat stuffing.  I also added butter under the skin to keep the breast meat moist. The venison I wrapped in pancetta and simply roasted on a bed of chopped veg. The duck was purchased from Sainsburys and was boned and stuffed with an apricot stuffing.

All were delicious.

I served the meats with roast potatoes, roast parsnips (which were coated in an olive oil and honey), steamed vegetables, a variety of additional stuffings, chipolatas and yorkshire puddings.

No Christmas Four Bird Roast

Well my plan for a Christmas Four Bird Roast was scuppered this year. I had intended to order one from Marks and Spencers which consisted of Turkey, Goose, Duck, Chicken.

Marks and Spencers Four Bird Roast

However when I went to order it was apparent that many others had had the same idea and it had sold out! I am guessing that a) a lot of people were like me and liked the concept b) the Marks and Spencers version was good value for money at £100. There was no way you could even do it yourself for £100. Waitrose’s version was £120 and only consisted of a three bird roast.

So instead…

We’re going to have (separately) chicken, duck and venison.

Roasted Duck Breast

Roasted Duck Breast

I do enjoy duck and a simple roasted duck breast is a relatively quick and easy dish to make.

Having taken out the two duck breasts from the fridge, using a fork, prick the skin side of the duck breast.

Duck can be quite fatty and as a result if you simply roast the duck breast it will be too fatty and greasy. So heat a frying pan, but don’t add any oil. Place the duck breasts in the pan skin side down.

Frying the duck breast in this way renders the fat out from the duck and as a result you get nice crispy skin and little fat or greasiness.

The breasts will also shrink slightly as they cook. There is technique that you can use to stop the meat curling up, but I can’t remember what it is! Something about cutting away something. If you know post a comment and let me know.

Once the skin is nice and brown, place the duck breasts skin side up in a roasting pan. Roast in the oven for about ten to twenty minutes (depending on how you like your duck).

Serve with your favourite accompaniments.

Breakfast at Bloomsbury

I was recently up in London and stayed at the Ambassadors Hotel in Bloomsbury. I generally dislike having breakfast in hotels, as more often than not they are overpriced and though have extensive choice are not really value for money. For example a month or two back I stayed at the Thistle Barbican Hotel and breakfast (though included in my room rate) would have cost you £15.95. For that you would have to queue up unless you got up really early. Having sat down in the Thistle, if you were lucky, the waiting staff would bring you some coffee and toast. Then it was self-service for the cooked breakfast, which was not very inspiring.

So I was well pleased with breakfast at the Ambassadors Hotel in Bloomsbury. It was about the same price as the Thistle, but unlike that place, at the Ambassadors they served you your cooked breakfast at the table, and what an excellent cooked breakfast it was.

breakfast

Beautifully served, it consisted of an excellent meaty sausage, some very nice grilled bacon, a small bowl of baked beans, grilled (and skinned) tomato, mushroom, bubble and squeak, black pudding and egg. You had a choice of eggs (chicken or duck) and cooked to your liking, I had a poached duck’s egg. It was also garnished with lettuce, not sure about the lettuce.

There was quite a choice of other cooked items as well, such as boiled eggs and kippers.

Along with the cooked breakfast, there was also a (self-service) selection of toast, bread products such as croissant and panettone, fruit, yoghurt, juice, cold meats, cheese and smoked fish.

Overall I was well impressed and would recommend the breakfast, though still not sure about the lettuce.

Christmas Four Bird Roast

I was (as I suspect others were) with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s incredible ten bird roast he did for Christmas for this River Cottage series.

This year I am considering having a four bird roast for Christmas.

Marks and Spencers Four Bird Roast

Now the key question for me is do I do it myself, or because of time constraints do I buy one in. I am considering getting one from Marks and Spencers but wondering if I can get a better one elsewhere.

Alba Ristorante Part One

I was recently lucky enough to go to dinner at the Alba Ristorante in London with some friends., not just once, but enjoyed it enough the first time to go for a second meal.

I will review our meals over a few blog posts over the next few days (or well at least over the next week or so).

Unlike a lot of Italian restaurants I have been too, the menu here was not full of pasta and pizza, on the contrary it was very different and as a result much more interesting and refreshing.

For my first visit, I had the Smoked Duck Salad followed by the Calves’ Liver.

smoked duck breast with lambs lettuce & Italian orange slices

Well to give the dish, its proper name, petto d’amamtra all’arancia or in English, smoked duck breast with lambs lettuce & Italian orange slices.

The duck was very thinly sliced and had a delicate flavour which was slightly overpowered by the orange and the dressing.

However it was still delicious and I enjoyed it very much.