Confit Duck and…Necessary Tracksuit Moments

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.

Confit Duck with Potato Gratin

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.

Confit Duck with Braised Red Cabbage

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.

Potato Gratin

Serves:  4

Degree of Difficulty:  1/5

Cost:  Minimal

  • 4 medium sized potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled, finely chopped
  • 150ml pouring cream
  • pinch sea salt
  • pepper
  • 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

Serves:  4

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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  1. Words fail me.. 😉

  2. There are definitely times for track suits, and it sounds like you have had some!

    This braised cabbage looks wonderful – I’ve only recently discovered cabbage (as something I like, anyway) and so I really like the look of this.

  3. Amanda robson says:

    Fabulous menu.  I think if I ate this too often I’d have more than Tracksuit moments.  Not sure I’d be able to fit into anything else!!  But a bit of spoiling is good for us all especially after having ‘stuff’ done!

  4. Great for a track suit moment, both comforting food and an elasticated waist!  GG

  5. I can’t eat duck.  It’s cannabilism. 🙂 

  6. Denisetyrrell1 says:

    No track suit moments like you thank goodness. But the cabbage sounds perfect and not as bitter. 

  7. Justasmidgen says:

    You always seem to bring this huge grin to my face when I come visit here.. that’s why I love your blog so much!! Hilarious!! Yes.. there are those embarrassing, but necessary moments as a woman that we have to endure.. and some that we opt to endure although I have no idea why we do this to ourselves;) Love it!! I’m catching up on blog reading.. so I’ve got to go back and see what brought up the duck recipe in the first place:) xoxo Smidge

  8. I’m not quite sure what to write, except I love your blog, and I love the way you tell a story 🙂 And, if you’re going to head out in a tracksuit, it may as well be from Country Road!

  9. Thanks for the lovely recipe and pictures, as well as the ‘ouch’ story.  Well, after my last hospital event, I rather thought I should be treated to my husband going under the knife.  No, he did not wear a comfy velour track suit afterwards, but he did look rather pathetic later.  Take care … can’t wait to visit again.

  10. I love augratin potatoes, a favorite in our house. It’s also one of the recipes people request from me most often as I will often take these potatoes to a potluck.

  11. Niasunset says:

    Dear Charlie, I have never tasted ducks… Probably I can’t taste too… I don’t know but I am not vegetarian… 🙂 Silly I know, even I eat chicken… Anyway, your potatoes are amazing and seems so delicious too… I will try it soon… Thank you so much, with my love, nia 

  12. Sweet Posy Dreams says:

    Any woman who goes out to a cooking lesson after giving birth is a real foodie — or desperately wants to get away from the house.

    Gratin potatoes are such a comfort food.  These look like wonderful choices to go with the duck.  Love the color the cabbage adds.

  13. What two perfect sides for the confit. I was hoping you would share what you served your birthday man for dinner. I adore red cabbage, because of its acidity and texture. Perhaps I’ll put it on the menu this weekend for when my Mom’s husband comes to visit us.
    Your procedure sounds a touch uncomfortable but good for you for going out. That track suite must have looked stylish, as the other clothes from this group look great! Here in North America we have which are a brand of yoga wear. I don’t often go out in mine, but I do from time to time. I love they way they feel (they really tighten up your butt!). It is not uncommon to see at least half the women in Bloor West Village in the lulu’s!

  14. Tracksuit moments are important in life.  You make me smile at your childbirth stories–every mother has them.  I had a Caesarian with 3 Mexican doctors singing “Besa Me Mucho” in the operating theater as they stitched me up.  Memorable indeed.

    Love the easy recipes for the sides–and I agree about grilled radicchio.

  15. Choc Chip Uru says:

    These sides look perfect indeed to go with your beautiful dinner dish 🙂
    Potato gratin? My secret obsession which my jeans hate 😉

    Choc Chip Uru

  16. Waw, What a fabulous dinner! drool drool, drool! 🙂

  17. I also love red cabbage with duck and potatoes are simply obligatory! In any form. The gratin sounds lovely. 

  18. Hi,
    I think everyone has a tracksuit moment, you have to admit they are comfy. 🙂
    I love the potato recipe, very easy, will definitely give that one a go.

  19. Barbara says:

    I love potato gratin. I like my top crispy too.

  20. I don’t have a potato gratin recipe so this is perfect!! How great that you went to the class anyway, there’s always something to learn!!

  21. Kristy says:

    I’m with you on the radicchio – it is SO bitter. These potatoes sound fantastic!!! And I’d say you earned your right to wear a tracksuit. 🙂

  22. Mary Jelly says:

    Wow – well done on going out (and enjoying yourself) after just getting out of hospital! I totally understand wearing a tracksuit. 

  23. Juliet Batten says:

    What amazing associations come up with the most innocent-looking food.  Tracksuits are certainly gentle on the body.

  24. Rachel - Executive Beader says:

    I too like crispy potatoes. How you make me laugh!

  25. In my humble opinion (and that of my hungry son) there are few dishes that are not enhanced by potato gratin. He’s not called Patrick for nothing ….

  26. There was a recipe in this wasn’t there? I don’t recall, because I was laughing too hard to land on it. This was just too funny, Charlie, and please forgive me for laughing at what had to be a most unpleasant procedure! 

    With your new format, do you see that we are part of your WordPress following? 🙂 I don’t want you to think we’ve abandoned you…Debra 

  27. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says:

    LOL you can’t keep a good woman down can you? 😛 

  28. Okay probably I’m not supposed to laugh about your childbirth stories but you wrote them so well that I just had to smile…

    I love potato gratin and tried many version.  Yours will be next soon!

  29. Potato gratin is a family favourite and duck is yet another meat it goes well with….mmm!!!!

  30. InTolerant Chef says:

    Love the side dishes, especially the cabbage. I hope you didn’t have to stuff any ducks that evening- I’m sure you would have winced at the thought 🙂

  31. That look yumm and delicious =) thank you for visiting me 🙂

  32. Happy Wednesday!

  33. After giving birth to such a large baby without even a single anesthetic, uh yeah. You deserved like…a twenty course meal wearing whatever you want! 

    I just can’t get behind radicchio either.  the braised red cabbage sounds super delicious, though!

  34. Oh how I would love to have been a fly on the wall had to opted to tell everybody why you were in a tracksuit…
    🙂 Mandy

  35. Ohhh that confit looks so mouth watering.  

  36. Hey, a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do 🙂

  37. Looks lovely Charlie like something from a restaurant 🙂 i particularly like the red cabbage!

  38. Love the title! Didn’t know there were necessary tracksuit moments.

  39. Mouth-watering photos, although a little glam for trackies. A delicious low fat version of the gratin comes, of all people, from Two Fat Ladies – replace cream with stock.

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Who would have thought Two Fat Ladies would have a low-fat version of anything! I’ll try this gratin with stock instead of cream xx

  40. I’ve never had braised red cabbage, it just hit me right now, because back in Greece we do braise the grenn cabbage and it becomes so sweet and delicious. I have to try the cabbage this fall.
    Your potato gratin is perfect, so simple and yummy!

  41. Hi Charlie
    I too did this ‘Cooking Duck’ class at Food Stuff in Mona Vale. Sadly I have no idea where the printed recipe booklet we were given is now hiding. I was wondering if you still had yours, as I am looking for the recipe of Mark’s Asian pan fried duck breast salad with peanuts. I would be eternally grateful if you could put it on your site or email it to me – a big ask I know.
    With thanks

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Hi Stephanie, I know I have that folder somewhere. I’ll definitely try to find it and get back to you with the recipe. May not be until Wednesday though if that’s okay.

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