Ahh The July French Issue Gourmet Traveller Challenge landed on my doorstep halfway through June. Don’t you love it when a new one arrives and I used it well.
At the beginning of July I held a 6 course dinner party at a friend’s house. The story goes like this….
My friend, Louise “Would you like to come over for a dinner party on 7th July?”, Me “sounds fabulous”
Louise “lets meet to plan the menu”, Me “sure, what did you have in mind to make?”
Louise “well I thought you’d have some ideas, it’s all about you and what you’d like to cook for us” Oh I get it now, sneaky girl. Louise bought all the ingredients and all I had to do was to come and cook! Such a great deal. Sneaky girl, she knew I’d love it.
We ended up doing the main course together and made duck with puy lentils and prunes from a past Gourmet Traveller issue, the recipe is on the website here. It may have been the fact she bought the duck from Terry Wright Butchers, but it turned out so well, falling off the bone. I will be making this one again.
I didn’t take pictures on the night, I needed to make something else so you knew I completed this months challenge. Seeing the month was flying, as usual, and life was so busy I thought I would do something simple.
I made this fish soup recipe by Colman Andrews, well he describes it as a recipe a friend used to cook for him in his tiny Marais flat. It was awful. Sorry, it was. I’m not even going to put up the picture of it. It was that bad. BUT voilà….
I got there in the end, cooking a braised duck, beans and bacon recipe. I guess it’s a take on cassuolet minus the Toulouse sausage. It’s a simple recipe, found here on the website.
Tips and Tricks
I added a few more ingredients to the recipe. When softening the onions I also added a diced stick of celery and a diced small carrot. It’s a rich dish and I think it benefits from the milder flavour.
There is alot of liquid in this dish, I think I would only add enough water to just cover the duck. I threw in a dash of Noilly Pratt to deglaze the pan after searing the duck. If it wasn’t frozen in the depths of my freezer I would have added a Toulouse sausage as well. And yes I do have them in my freezer, I love them.
Oh yeah, I also added finely chopped parsley to the breadcrumbs, purely to add some colour. Just be careful when you sprinkle them on the top before baking that you concentrate them on top of the duck. If you put them over the liquid and beans they soften into it making bread soup, unless you like that sort of thing of course.