Following on from my confit duck legs I thought I had better share with you the side dishes I served. I didn’t go with Jamie Oliver’s recommendation of Roasted Radicchio because I’ve made this before and it hasn’t been at all popular. Perhaps I didn’t roast the radicchio for long enough or perhaps our palettes aren’t wired correctly but we found biting into a huge mound of radicchio to be ridiculously bitter and I’ve always thought radicchio should be diluted with other ingredients.
So I turned to other recipe sources.
A few years ago I had a gynae procedure that I’m sure you’d love me to go on and on about and spare no details but alas, is that the time?
So I’ll just say that previously, after one of my children (I won’t name the child) inconveniently and inappropriately and unnecessarily was delivered following a very short labour, (where the doctor failed to arrive and the midwife refused to administer any pain relief), with a head the size of a basketball and a weigh-in of 4.563kgs or just under 10lbs 1oz, I felt rather violated. A few years later I thought I’d earned my right to a wonderful moment in a private hospital, naked with no make-up and my legs up in stirrups. Fortunately, an anaethetist administered some very necessary meds and I have no memory of what a vision I must have been.
And all this relates to side-dishes for confit duck because when I came out of hospital I remembered my friend had booked us into an evening course with Mark Holland from Food Stuff called ‘Cooking Duck’. And by now the drugs had worn off (shame) so I was a little sore but decided that rather than lie in bed feeling sorry for myself and miss the course I’d been looking forward to, I would don a comfy velour tracksuit and go along looking pathetic.
It was a very smart tracksuit, it was at least, Country Road, but still it was a tracksuit and had I been bold enough I would have announced to all the other participants that I was only out and about in a tracksuit because I’d recently been knifed between my legs but I thought better of it and kept those details to myself.
Despite a lack of drugs I actually really enjoyed the night and saw duck being cooked in many different ways with a range of cuisines. Mark cooked confit duck and with it he served potato gratin and braised red cabbage. I’m sure you all have a recipe for potato gratin but I’ll give you Mark Holland’s recipe anyway because it’s a good one. The braised red cabbage is sensational with the duck because the acidity cuts through the richness of the duck.
Degree of Difficulty: 1/5
- 4 medium sized potatoes, peeled and sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled, finely chopped
- 150ml pouring cream
- pinch sea salt
- 50g Cheddar cheese, grated
Place potatoes into a baking dish. Sprinkle the garlic over the potatoes. Pour cream over the garlic and potatoes, season and sprinkle with cheese. Cover with foil and bake at 160C for approx 25 minutes. (You can see from the photos I didn’t cover my gratin with foil because I wanted a crispier finish).
Braised Red Cabbage
Degree of Difficulty: 2/5
Cost: I’ve never known cabbage to be expensive.
- 1/4 red cabbage, finely shredded, core removed
- 2 tbsp walnut oil (I didn’t have walnut oil so used EVOO. I’m sure walnut oil would be preferable but it’s expensive and I didn’t know when I’d next need walnut oil and oils don’t keep – they go rancid)
- 50g sultanas
- 50g walnuts, chopped
- 1 apple, cored, finely sliced
- sea salt
- black pepper
- 2 tbsp sherry vinegar (I couldn’t find any so used red wine vinegar instead)
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp cornflour diluted in a little water to make a smooth paste
Heat the oil in a pan, add red cabbage, sultanas, walnuts, apple and season. Start to cook stirring to ensure that all the cabbage is coated in the oil. Cook for about 5 mins to soften the cabbage.
Add sherry vinegar and water, cook for a further 15-20 mins over a low heat with the lid on, stirring occasionally, taking care that it doesn’t burn.
Once cooked, add the brown sugar and stir until dissolved, finally add the cornflour stir well to combine then check the seasoning, set aside.
Have you had any necessary tracksuit moments?
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