Duck with Cherries and Prunes

Take 2 fat duck breasts and sprinkle the fatty side with a little cinnamon and sea salt.  Dry fry hot for about 4 – 5 minutes until the fat starts to melt and they are browning nicely, then turn over.  Be really careful at this bit.  I take no responsibility for singed ceilings here.

Pour A LITTLE alcohol into the pan.  And beware.  Wine is normally fine, but I nearly set a gite on fire by using cognac 2 years ago.  All you want is a little alcoholic frazzle, not any actual liquid in the pan, about 3 tablespoons of alcohol should do.

Now put the duck breasts (skin up) in the oven and cook at about 180 degrees for 15 – 30 minutes, depending on their size, and whether you like them pink or not.

Meanwhile, chop about 8 juicy prunes into a small pan with a glass of red wine and simmer for about 10 minutes.  Now, pour in a tablespoon of crème de cassis and a tablespoon of cherry jam and warm through.

Serve with the duck breasts and diced, roast potatoes.

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Autumnal Starter to accompany the above:  Sauted Ceps with Toast

Wipe 200g of ceps or chestnut mushrooms and sprinkle over a finely chopped garlic clove.

Set aside, then cut 6 – 8 thick slices of baguette or ciabatta.  Put onto a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil.  Turn over, drizzle again and pop in the oven at 160 degrees for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, fry the ceps and garlic on high in a big knob of butter.  When they start to brown, shake the pan and add a quarter of a glass of white wine and a teaspoon of Dijon mustard.  Frazzle for a few seconds before adding some double cream (about 2 tablesoons).  Let it frazzle for a second or two before piling onto your warm toasts and sprinkling over some black pepper and parsley.

I haven’t yet managed to take any appetising photos of pale food.  Delicious though it looked and tasted, the photos weren’t great.

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