Monday, 15 May 2006


I am getting better at sharpening my knife, it is getting quite sharp now and it is very pleasing to realise that this is down to my doing. In the past I have attempted many times to sharpen knives, it was one of the things I was expected to be able to do when I was a chef but I could never master it and thought I never would. It comes then as something of a surprise to find myself actually managing it.

I must buy some more plasters on the way home tonight.

Ginger and Honey Duck with Rhubarb

For two duck breasts

For the Marinade

About an espresso cup’s worth of balsamic vinegar
Two table spoons of thick set honey
A few sprigs of fresh rosemary
5g ginger grated or chopped very thinly

For the Rhubarb

100g of rhubarb peeled and chopped
10g ginger, grated or chopped very thinly
1tsp honey
1tbsp water

Score the skin on the breasts by running a sharp knife across it, try to make a nice criss cross pattern.

Put the vinegar, honey and ginger in a pan and slowly heat, scrunch the rosemary in your hand to bruise it and add this to the pan. Keep on a low heat and allow it to gently steam for a minute or two. Try not to let it simmer or boil but don’t worry, the world won’t come to an end if you do. Once the flavours have had a chance to merge pour over the duck breast and allow to marinate for 24 hours. If you keep the breasts meat side down the meat will be lying in the marinade rather than the skin.

Put the rhubarb, ginger, honey and water in a pan and cook until the rhubarb is soft, allow to cool.

Fry the duck breast to taste spooning over the marinade as you go; the balsamic will caramelise / burn and produce a lot of smoke so it is best to do this outside in a non stick pan, if you are doing it inside turn the smoke alarm off and open the windows. Allow the meat to rest for five minutes and serve with the rhubarb, spinach lightly sauted in butter, olive oil and nutmeg and new potatoes.

To accompany might I suggest builder’s tea with little bits of twig floating in the top.

Duck is not the easiest thing to eat with a spoon and a sheath knife.


steph said...

what do you mean we stand at the wrong end of the punt here in Cambridge? I can't imagine any other way.

Vicola said...

What's builders tea? We had some joiners in and their tea usually had wee bits of woodchip and muck floating in it but I'm guessing that isn't what you meant?

Hugh Sawyer said...


I assume Cambridge punting looks OK in Cambridge because of the geographical peculiarities of the area. In Oxford the sublime pleasure of drifting along the river is enhanced by standing close to its surface, from here one can truly enjoy the passing butterflies, bees, ducks and other joys of God's creation. In Cambridge it must seem logical to stand at the other end of the punt which so raises the punter from the surface of the swamp and all its associated terrors.

Hugh Sawyer said...

Builders tea is strong, usually PG or Tetley, none of that Lapsang wotist. Traditionally you can stand your spoon up in it, I don't have sugar, Mike does but he hasn't got any. It is worth donating honey to his tea though if only to watch the delight with which he pours it in.

Lexa said...

Yorkshire tea is even better for making builder's tea. You just touch the water with the bag for 5 seconds, and voila, a piping hot cup is ready.