Sunday, 2 December 2018

Duck Breast with rhubarb port reduction and chilli chocolate sauce





 This recipe was inspired by one of the best meals I had in Valencia Spain at Refugio. Not only was it a fantastic meal; but, everyone else was having fish and I had a whole bottle of Pinot Noir to myself!


Ingredients:

2 Duck breasts
Vegetables (your choice)
carrots
zucchini
potatoes
spinach
seasoning:
olive oil
Thyme leaves flakes
Rosemary leaves flakes

 Chocolate Sauce:

1 bar dark chocolate (orange flavoured or plain) broken into small chunks
Two red chilli - sliced length wise and de-seeded (you can use chilli flakes instead)
1 Tsp to 1 Tbsp olive oil (or use chilli oil to do both these in one step)
Dash of salt

Rhubarb Sauce:

3 sticks rhubarb coarsely chopped
2/3 cup (150ml) red port
2/3 cup (150ml) chicken stock
1/8 cup fine sugar (icing sugar, caster sugar) depending on tartness of the rhubarb


Directions:

Rhubarb sauce:


In a medium pot put the rhubarb and sugar and heat for about 5 minutes on low-medium heat;

Add the port and bring to a boil for 2 minutes;

Add the chicken stock and continue to cook to reduce for about 10-15 minutes until the mixture resembles a sauce.





Duck:

Preheat the oven to 350;

Score the fat side of the duck breast in a nice diamond pattern making certain not to cut all the way through into the meat



Put the duck breasts skin side down in a frying pan on medium-high heat for about 1 1/2-2 1/2 minutes or until the skin has turned a light golden brown. Place in oven for 8-12 minutes. Make sure the skin does not become too dark. It is easy to over cook duck because we are use to cooking other meats and the colour is very dark, so set a timer. I have found the timing is close to the 8-9 minute mark for the breasts I buy.



Remove the duck and place on the cutting board tented with tin foil for 4-5 minutes. Do IT! it makes a huge difference to how juicy the duck will become.

Chocolate sauce:

You will need a pot that you can put water into and a metal bowl (it could be glass) to float on the water. It is important that the bowl sides do not touch the pot as this will heat the metal too much.



Heat the water. Place the chocolate, chillies and oil into the bowl and place on the hot water. Allow the chocolate to melt and stir gently to get all the chocolate to melt. The oil help keep the mixture in a liquid state and to prevent it from hardening, avoid heating and cooking the sauce for too long a time. This will take 5-8 minutes so start it around the time the duck is in the oven.

Vegetables:

You can choose many different veggies to accompany this dish. I often like saut├ęd spinach in butter but here I picked carrots, zucchini and potatoes.
Heat BBQ to medium-high heat. Oil grill just before putting veggies on grill with grape seed oil or your favourite high heat oil.
Boil potatoes: Place potatoes in a pot and cover over by an inch with cold water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer for 10 minutes. Check with a thin knife--it should go in without resistance. If not ready then keep checking every minute.


Drain and then coat with olive oil and seasoning.


Slice zucchini into 1/4 inch slices length wise.


 Place zucchini slices and carrots in a bowl and coat with olive oil and seasoning--thyme and rosemary is nice.
Grill zucchini and carrots on BBQ about 2 minutes a side until there are grill marks. The zucchini overcooks super fast so be watchful.



Roll zucchini up and place on edge for a beautiful look.



Pour the wine and arrange the duck and veggies on a warmed plate. Enjoy the silence as everyone starts to eat!







Saturday, 28 July 2018

Watermelon, tomato and basil soup-salad


I've been thinking about making this dish for years now. While in Spain four of us lunched in Bilbao along the canal close to the Guggenheim Museum. Always wanting to try something different and interesting sounding I ordered a watermelon-tomato-basil salad. Much to my surprise there where squares of tomato and watermelon in a green liquid. I didn't know what the heck was going on. It took a moment  to realize it was what I ordered. Just not what was my preconceived idea of what I ordered! This is a soup-salad! Stretch the bounds of your imagination, lol.

My version is different slightly from the original that I had in Spain, well, because it was years ago and I didn't take notes. Plus the lunchtime wine makes it a little foggy in the memory banks.

Ingredients:


Watermelon
2-3 Tomatoes
2 cups fresh Basil
1/2 peeled English long Cucumber
Goat or feta cheese
Balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup (approx.) Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 lemon juiced
Mint leaves


Directions:


1. Blend basil, cucumber and lemon juice in olive oil with a dash salt. Chill in refrigerator.















2. Cut tomatoes so you don't have any skin and watermelon into cubes (smallish). Alternatively, you can blanch and peel the tomatoes and make larger pieces. Wait to put tomato and watermelon onto plate until you pour in the basil because it will look cleaner.


3. Place in shallow bowl and pour a small amount of basil in bottom of bowl



4. Crumble cheese around and on cubes

5. Sprinkle mint leaves





6. Drizzle balsamic over top


7. Serve immediately while basil "soup" is cold


This is a great summertime dish that is fun and refreshing. Serve it with some Prosecco Frissante - Villa Teresa Organic to make a fancy dinner party or with soda water made from a Sodastream for lunches and for the kids.



Alternative options:

Instead of cheese, mint and balsamic use curly lettuce, a few bean sprouts and small slices of kalamata olives on top of the watermelon and tomato pieces.