Why the slice of orange?

I was staying in York and was thinking about where to eat. I had seen La Terrazzina when out walking on previous evenings and I had been intrigued by the menu.

They describe themselves as

Welcome to La Terrazzina, the best Italian, Mediterranean & Asian restaurant in York! Our restaurant offers a unique and exciting dining experience that combines the flavors and aromas of Italian, Mediterranean, and Asian cuisine.

This was intriguing.

So I walked from my hotel down to the restaurant and I went to read the menu outside, at which point one of the waiting staff came outside and invited me in. This is something that I had seen in Portugal, Spain, and other places where I had been on holiday, not something I have seen very often in the UK. As I was pretty much made up in my mind that I was going to eat there, I went in and sat down.

One of the reasons I liked the idea of eating here was they had rack of lamb on the menu, so I was pretty much happy to order that.

I was given some bread and butter, which I had to return as the butter had mould on it. Well it looked like mould. It was replaced with some fresh bread and butter.

My lamb arrived.

This wasn’t though a rack of lamb, these were grilled lamb cutlets.  The lamb came with vegetables and potatoes, gravy, and a slice of orange. Not sure what the orange was about. I’ve had orange with duck, but never with lamb! The vegetables were al dente, and it was a good sized portion.

The lamb was cooked, slightly overdone for me. I think I would have preferred a “proper” rack of lamb that had been browned in a pan and then finished off by being roasted in the oven. Then carved into cutlets. The other option would have been to describe the dish as lamb cutlets.

Overall it was a nice dish.

Service was attentive and polite. The place doesn’t have an alcohol licence, but there is a Sainsburys Local next door, so you can pop there for wine or beer.

Still not sure about the orange slice.

Ô Craquelin Pâtisserie

As I walk around London there are quite a few posh looking pâtisserie shops selling exquisite cakes and pâtisserie. I might look in the window, but I rarely spend my pennies (well pounds) in there.

I was having a look around the TooGoodToGo app and saw that Ô Craquelin Pâtisserie had a magic bag. £18 of cakes for £6. I checked their website and quite liked the look of their offerings. I saw this magic bag as an opportunity to try out the cakes without spending a large amount of money.

Ô Craquelin Pâtisserie is a specialist pâtisserie close to Covent Garden. It describes itself as a micro-pâtisserie offering modern, hand-crafted desserts.

I had to wait around a bit to pick it up after work, but it was a nice sunny day.

I was given a warm welcome and went inside and told them I had a TooGoodToGo deal. After tapping and swiping, they popped into the fridge for a box, for a second I thought that was all I was going to get, then they picked up another box. I got a bag and placed them both in there.

Overall I got four cakes. Two chilled fresh cakes and two ambient cakes.

Now I actually have no idea what I actually got, as there were no labels. Now checking their website I can check what I had.

This was the Matcha Orange canapé.

Orange Madeleine enclosed within matcha mousse with white chocolate sable. It was quite nice, and you could taste the orange.

This was the 100% Pistachio canapé.

Pistachio Financier, pistachio cream and pistachio sable. This one I did guess as pistachio and was similar to the Matcha Orange canapé. I didn’t feel it had that intensity of pistachio flavour I would expect from pistachio pâtisserie.

I also got these two pâtisserie, which I have no idea what they were.

This was very nutty.

This had nuts and ganache.

Both were very nice.

I did enjoy the pâtisserie, but I am not sure I would go out of my way to get them again. They were good, but maybe I had high expectations, I was expecting excellence, what I got was delicious, great looking pâtisserie. What I didn’t get was an amazing pâtisserie experience. Maybe it might have been different if I went to the cafe there and had the pâtisserie with coffee, soaking in the atmosphere and the ambiance.

I quite like TooGoodToGo as a mechanism to try places out, see what they sell and how good it is. So in this instance, yes I felt I got a good deal, nice cakes, but would I go back, probably not.


I have been enjoying cans of Aranciata Sanpellegrino; that’s fizzy orange to you and me. I much prefer it over Orangina and certainly it is much nicer than Tango!

I first had Sanpellegrino in Italy, since then I have had it in many Italian restaurants. This is the first time I have seen it in my local supermarket.

Very nice, and not too sweet or strongly flavoured.

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.

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.

The Future’s Orange

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has some great orange recipes.

Oranges, clementines and satsumas really come into their own at this time of year, so it would be foolish not to put them to good use.

Check them out on the Guardian website.