the way i make it is twimii Thu, 10 Jan 2019 00:53:02 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 the way i make it is 32 32 82094265 Roast Stuffed Duck Crown Tue, 08 Jan 2019 10:05:14 +0000
Roast Stuffed Duck Crown

Crown of duck, stuffed with a mix of bratwurst sausage meat, chestnuts, apple, prunes, port, onion and herbs. Roasted and served with apple sauce and gravy.

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Roast Stuffed Duck Crown

I hadn’t bought any Christmas food for the holidays really, beyond the makings of a Black Forest Gateau. I was going home for the day so there was no need really.

But I did miss having a fridge full of goodies. So I had what I thought was a genius plan; Buy stuff after the day and get it all for next to nothing. Sure why not? So I was imagining getting some smoked trout, sour cream, cheese boards, etc, etc. Only to find that there didn’t seem to be any of it left by December 27th. What is going on with the supermarkets???

But I did find this crown of duck and I wondered what it would be like cooked according to recipe I have for stuffed goose. It’s the same recipe book I got the melon soup recipe from. That recipe uses a stuffing of diced cooking apples, prunes soaked in port, chopped pecan nuts, sausage meat, goose liver, egg, orange zest and some seasoning. I really like it.

Roast goose wih caramelized apples recipe.

What’s different about this recipe?

Quite a bit really. I was worried that since duck is such a fatty bird that the stuffing would end up drowned in fat and ruined. That didn’t happen thankfully and I believe it’s because of the way the duck is cooked, and because the bratwurst sausage meat is much drier and less fat filled than the sausages I would normally use in the stuffing. And bratwurst is gluten-free. Who knew? Not me until I just checked the ingredients out of curiousity.

The bratwurst really is very dry so you need to mix it up in the food processor to turn it into a sort of mince.

The way I cooked the duck was similar to the way it’s cooked in the Gordon Ramsay duck breast recipe. I seared the top and sides of the crown and then roasted in the oven on a grate. Perhaps I should have seared it a bit more. I was worried I’d dry out the meat or give it a burnt taste. So I didn’t make sure it was dark brown and crispy all over. It was still very good but the bits that were dark brown and crispy after being seared stayed that way throughout the cooking process despite being basted a couple of times.

I did add orange zest to the stuffing but I’m leaving it out of the recipe here because with the small amount of stuffing in this recipe it overpowers it. And it’s not necessary. There is plenty of flavour from the rest of the ingredients.

I also use chestnuts rather than pecan nuts – and I think I’ll keep that substitution. Or maybe add in some pecan nuts with the chestnuts. I love pecan nuts – I just didn’t have any in the cupboard when I made this. But the sweet mushiness of the chestnuts is very nice in the stuffing.

And instead of making caramelized apples I just made some applesauce. Simple and so nice. The caramelized apples are good too – just didn’t have any redcurrant jelly. That said, because the stewed apple was so nice and so simple to make, that’s probably what I’m going to do in future.

One important note

This 900g duck serves two people. Really. It’s little more than two duck breasts. If you’re very good at carving you might be able to stretch it better. But really this makes a wonderful feast for two. No more.

Ingredients for the stuffed duck.

Stuffed Duck Crown

Serves 2


  • 900g duck crown
  • fine salt
  • selection of sweet root vegetables, parsips, carrots or swede, thickly cut for roasting under the duck
  • For the stuffing
  • 90g Bratwurst sausage meat (1 Bratwurst sausage with casing removed and discarded)
  • 50g chestnuts, cooked and peeled
  • 1 shallot, peeled, topped and tailed
  • 8 - 10 pitted prunes, soaked in port for 24 hours
  • 1/2 cooking apple, peel, cored and diced
  • 2 tablespoons of the soaking port
  • 1 small egg, beaten
  • leaves from 2 sprigs of sage
  • leaves from 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 sprigs parsley
  • For the applesauce
  • 1.5 cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • light brown sugar
  • For the gravy
  • leftover soaking port
  • strained juice from 1 orange
  • 2 large onions, topped, tailed, peeled, halved and roasted
  • 100 ml hot chicken stock (_or boiling hot water that has been infused with garlic, herbs, nutmeg, salt and pepper_)
  • 1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
  • some fresh thyme leaves
  • salt


  1. The day before place 8 - 10 pitted prunes in a small bowl and cover completely with ruby port.
  2. Remove the duck from the packing and leave on the counter. Prick the skin on all over being careful not to prick the flesh. Sprinkle with a little fine salt and rub into the skin.
  3. Turn on the oven to 200C.
  4. To make the stuffing
  5. Add the shallot to a food mixer and blend till it's diced. Remove the bratwurst from its casing. Slice the meat and add to the mixer along with the sage, thyme and parsley. Mix until it's all minced. It will have a sort of speckled green breadcrumb look to it.
  6. In a bowl mash up the chestnuts with a fork. Add the minced sausage mix to this. Combine well with the beaten egg.
  7. Quarter the prunes and mix these in also, along with the diced cooking apple. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the soaking port.
  8. Stuffing and cooking the duck
  9. Rub a little fine salt inside the duck's cavity. Fill with the stuffing being sure to leave a little room for air to circulate. You may have some stuffing leftover. You can cook this outside the duck in a different dish. Skewer the skin around the cavity closed.
  10. Heat a dry frying pan to a high heat. Sear the top and sides of the duck in the pan. Let the skin reach a deep rich brown colour on the tops and sides. If you do this the skin will stay crispy throughout the cooking process.
  11. Spray a little sunflower or vegetable oil on the roasting tin and place the thickly cut root vegetable on this. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Cover with a grate or rack. Carefully place the duck on the grate. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes.
  12. Take out. Turn the oven down to 180 C. Remove the grate and duck from the pan. Add the onions. Baste the duck. Place the rack and bird back in the pan. Place the pan back in the oven and cook for 45 minutes.
  13. Take out of the oven. Tranfer the duck to a serving dish and baste once more. Leave to rest for 30 minutes.
  14. Leaving the grate in the tin, lift up the pan and pour out most of the fat into a strainer over a bowl or glass. Let the fat solidfy and refridgerate for later use.
  15. Take the grate out of the tin. Press down on the onions so that the layers separate. Check how well done the root vegetables are. You might want to chop them smaller if they are not nearly done - or if they are quite well done already take them out of the pan. At this point I also added 150g of cooked chestnuts to the pan. Bake for a further 30 minutes or until everything is nicely roasted. When done remove the root vegetables (_and chestnuts if you've added them_) to a serving dish.
  16. To make the applesauce
  17. Add the sliced cooking apple to a small saucepan with a little water - about 50 - 75ml. Cover and cook on a moderate heat until the apple is soft enough to be easily mashed with a fork into a golden brown mush. Add enough sugar that it is just sweet but still tart. About 2 - 3 teaspoons. Pour into a small serving bowl.
  18. To make the gravy
  19. Remove any obviously burnt bits from the roasting tin. Pour in the hot chicken stock (or infused water) and scrape off the onion and bits from the pan. Pour this into a blender or food mixer. Add in the strained orange juice, the leftover port, the wholegrain mustard, thyme leaves and salt. Blend till as smooth as possible. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. When I made this I added too much liquid to the roasting tin and I had to add some gf instant gravy powder to thicken it. I wish I hadn't because I prefer the taste without it. Also you could just try reducing the gravy in a saucepan if this happens to you.
  20. Serve with creamy mash potatoes and peas. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!
Stuff the duck, making sure to leave a little space in the cavity for air to move around. Use small skewers – or tooth picks – to skewer the skin together around the cavity.
After roasting for 30 minutes add two large onions, halved under the grate. And baste the bird.
When the duck is cooked, remove from the pan and place on a dish to rest. Pour the excess fat from the pan through a sieve into a cup or bowl and reserve for later use.
Take out the really burnt bits (if any) that you find in the pan before starting to make the gravy. The onions should be completely soft at this stage.
Roast duck with roasted parnips, carrots and chestnuts, with stuffing, applesauce and gravy.

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]]> 0 3898 Some Old Movies for the New Year Tue, 01 Jan 2019 10:05:19 +0000
Some Old Movies for the New Year

Happy New Year Everyone! What about some nice old cozy whodunnits for a lazy sofa day?

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Some Old Movies for the New Year

Are you the up-and-at-’em type? Up at 6am to get the most out of the day? Really? What are you doing reading an old movie list then? Hmm?

January 1st. Time to get serious. Make some lists. Set schedules. And all that stuff.

And the easiest way to do this is by lying on the sofa and watching some cozy old whodunnits. No?

Well that’s my plan for the day.

Penguin Pool Murder (1932)

If you like the Miss Marple series, particularly the ones with Margaret Rutherford, you’ll probably enjoy this. It stars Edna May Oliver as the snoopy teacher who can tell everyone how to do things right, and James Gleason as the police inspector who has the surprising sense to accept her help.

Two former lovers meet at the aquarium. The woman’s husband is there too. He ends up floating face down in the penguin pool.

Trust me this is a cute and cozy mystery. Perfect for a dull grey winter’s day.

The Kennel Murder Case (1933)

William Powell stars as Philo Vance, the rich amateur detective whose help on cases the police happily accept. What was with the police in those days?

It’s the only one on the list that is played more for suspense than laughs. But still it’s a very enjoyable locked room murder mystery.

There’s Always A Woman (1938)

This one is played strictly for laughs. And it actually is quite funny.

It stars Joan Blondell and Melvyn Douglas. He’s a detective tired of trying to make it in the private sector. She plays the wife who doesn’t want him to close shop. So while he goes back to being a dectective for the DA’s office, she takes the next client who walks through the door. And then someone gets murdered…

And Then There Were None (1945)

The plot of this is quite gruesome. A bunch of strangers are invited to a house on a remote and uninhabited island. And one by one they are murdered. For crimes the killer is sure they committed.

But this adaptation doesn’t attempt any dark exploration of the human psyche. It’s a fun whodunnit in which the players occasionally play straight to the camera as if knowingly inviting the audience to play along and guess who amongst them is the true villian of the piece.

It’s a fun, light, bright and breezy murder mystery. Perfect non-taxing viewing for a bank holiday.

My Favorite Brunette (1947)

This isn’t so much a whodunnit as a whuzgoinon. Although really it’s a great send-up of the ever-strong-ever-smooth detective types from movies of the time.

Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour star in this. He’s a photographer who gets mistaken for a private eye by a desperate and paranoid Dorothy Lamour who’s husband has gone missing.

Bob Hope is perfect as the in-over-his-head bumbler caught up in some dangerous intrigue. The film starts with him on death row recounting the incidents that brought him there.

And personally I suspect if I ever do stumble upon some dangerous criminal ongoings somehow I will be the one who ends up in jail.

New Year’s Resolution

Must learn to channel my inner Margaret Rutherford. Or Edna May Oliver.

We all do have an inner calm, collected, no-nonsense, good humoured, amateur sleuth, don’t we? I hope so…

And so I have my New Year’s Resolution. Must learn to channel my inner fictional amateur sleuth.

It’s easily as good as my usual resolutions.

Hope you found something good here too.

Happy New Year Everybody!

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]]> 0 3856
Walking the Walk Fri, 07 Dec 2018 00:02:06 +0000
Walking the Walk

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Walking the Walk

I guess Thursday is toon’s day? Was unable to post this yesterday. Anyway here is the text version of this.

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Black Forest Gateau Fri, 30 Nov 2018 21:03:52 +0000
Black Forest Gateau

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Black Forest Gateau

A recipe for a rich and indulgent flourless (so naturally gluten-free) Black Forest Gateau.

I have been adding a post every day this month. This is the last one. And it’s a favourite. I love Black Forest Gateau. I really don’t understand how anyone could not. Well, anyone who loves chocolate and cherries that is.

The month has been marked for me by just a bunch of bad luck. Everything breaking. Losing things. Not being able to find the ingredients I want. Which was actually particularly annoying. I couldn’t even find any fresh cherries in the supermarkets. Don’t they usually have cherries in the shops this time of year? Or is that usually closer to the holidays?

Although I have to admit there have been some positives to everything going wrong. I was without a car so although I have been really stuffing my face this month I’ve lost a little weight. Like a pound. Maybe.  – OK, maybe eating loads is not that big a change for me.

But cycling everywhere isn’t something I’ve done since 2012 or 13 I think. And I should because it really makes you feel better to cycle more. Even though conditions have not improved for cyclists out there – there are no proper cycle lanes in this city really. And cycling everywhere is exhausting. I didn’t think I was that unfit. – Maybe it’s good to have learned that also.

By the way if you are from Dublin reading this thinking – yeah, there are cycle lanes. Well, would you call a footpath that ends abruptly, and that cars and buses can just drive on to when ever they feel the need to a footpath? Didn’t think so.

Don’t even get me started on this topic actually…

The other good side of things was not being able to find exactly what I wanted. Sometimes I made do with stuff I had in the cupboard – which led to the ever-so-yummy Baked Coconut Rice Pudding. Sometimes I just bought a bunch of stuff because I had no clue what to do when I couldn’t find what I wanted – which led to the divine Fruit Salad Cake. And sometimes it was a bit of both – which is what happened with Vegetarian Split Pea Soup with Apple and Smoked Cheese.

I sound so self-congratulatory – and I am about this in fairness. Most of the recipes I added this month were dishes I’ve made before and really like. But the experiments turned out well. And in particular I love love love the three above.

Blogging everyday is not something I’m going to continue. I did it to pull myself out of a little funk. I’m not sure how well it’s worked on that – but I am really glad I did it.

And one thing it’s definitely taught me – or maybe just reminded me:

Fail to prepare? Prepare to fail. Better power on through!

I love this Black Forest Gateau recipe. That’s all I’m going to say about it. Hope you do too!

Double cream, cherries in kirsch syrup, Morello cherry jam, cocoa, caster sugar, plain chocolate and eggs. And there should be fresh cherries to put on top – but I couldn’t find any so I put chocolate covered cherries on top instead.

Black Forest Gateau

Makes a 9" cake


  • 6 large eggs
  • 155 g caster sugar
  • 60 g cocoa powder, sieved
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 340 g (1 pot) best quality Morello cherry jam
  • 300 g (1 jar) cherries in kirsch
  • 458 ml (2 cartons) double cream
  • 1 generous tablespoon of caster sugar
  • Some milk chocolate (or a flake bar)
  • fresh black cherries for decoration - I couldn't find any so I use chocolate covered cherries here instead


  1. Turn the oven on to 180 C. Grease two 9 inch/ 23 cm cake tin and line the bottom with baking paper. Grease the baking paper also.
  2. Separate the eggs into two large bowls. Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Beat 175g of caster sugar into the egg yolks until they turn pale. Fold in a couple of tablespoons of the egg white into the yolks. Then fold in the sieved cocoa powder. Mix in the vanilla extract. Fold in the rest of the egg white until you have a perfectly combined mix.
  3. Pour half of the mix into each cake tin and bake for 15 minutes or until just set. Take out of the oven and allow to cool in their tins. When they have cooled but are still a little warm turn out onto plates.
  4. With a strainer over a bowl, pour the jar of cherries in kirsch into the strainer. Put the drained cherries in the strainer into another bowl. Mix the jam into these cherries. Spoon some of the kirsch into the jam and mix around.
  5. Poke the bottom layer of the cake with a fork and spoon over some of the kirsch. Spread about half the jam mix over this layer.
  6. Pour the cream into a large bowl. Add a generous tablespoon of caster sugar and beat until it forms very soft peaks and is spreadable. Spread half the cream over the jam-covered base layer.
  7. Place the second layer on top. Poke it with a fork and spoon some of the kirsch on top. Spoon over the rest of the jam - save for a couple of spoonfuls. Spread the rest of the cream over this. Grate some milk chocolate over the cream - or crumble a flake over it. Add dots of the cherry jam around the cake and at its centre. Top these dots with fresh cherries - or glacé cherries - or chocolate covered cherries - whichever you prefer.
  8. Leave in the fridge until ready to serve. Enjoy!
After baking for 15 minutes take out and let cool in the pans.
Separate the cherries from the kirsch. Mix in the pot of jam with the cherries as well as a few spoons of the kirsch syrup.
Spoon about half the cherry jam on to the base layer of cake, then spread over a thick layer of the sweetened double cream.
So I decided to add a good bit of the syrup over the top layer. Just be sure to leave a bit of the jam for the very top.
Black Forest Gateau. Assemble and put in the fridge until ready to serve.
And one with fresh cherries.

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]]> 3825 Getting Motivated Thu, 29 Nov 2018 23:27:04 +0000
Getting Motivated

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Getting Motivated

Looks these things are what they are. If you would like a text version of this toon here it is.

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