Saturday, November 25, 2006

A foray into vegetarianism

One which was raidly followed by a juicy rare duck breast with tatties roasted in duck fat. In fact, I was impressed by how much flavour the veggies were. They weren’t really veggies for one, the main component being reconstituted porcini mushrooms and a good handful of crushed walnuts. I mixed in some bread that had been soaking in milk and some shallots, leek and garlic that had been browned in butter and then boiled up with a glass of white wine until a soft, silky mess, and bound it all with an egg.

I then plastered one layer on the base of a buttered dish, topped it with handfuls of grated Gruy√®re, another layer of mix and finally a packet’s worth of supermarket mushrooms sliced thickly and tiled to cover as mush as possible of the surface. The holes I plugged with half walnuts, each dotted with a daub of Exmoor blue that I still had lying at the back of the fridge, and the whole lot coated with well seasoned double cream.

You might say it would be hard to fuck up a dish with that sort of volume of goodies and fat, but I didn’t really have too much of a clue as to what was going to come out of the oven after 30 minutes. Fortunately it was better than I had hoped, the mushroom mixture having taken on the texture of fine mince and the walnuts shining through. It was delicious.

But the duck, encrusted with half a cm of crispy skin spiked with sage, bay and some Chinese five-spice and served with a sauce made from a couple of scoops of my pigsfoot stock, a tablespoon of damson jam and a dash of dark Soy, stole the show. The texture of tender meat, I will never surrender.

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