Birthday Adventures to Berry NSW

14 Oct

So Miss Wallflower turned 30 a little while ago. How does a Legal Tart celebrate the birthday of a friend. By taking a road trip to Berry and seeing a palm reader.

A friend of mine had raved about the uncanny insights of Ric, a palm reader who operated on weekends out of a shop in Berry. I have to admit that I tend to regard such things as hocus pocus. Don’t get me wrong, I am not one to claim no belief in the psychic world, I have no doubt that some people do possess a gift, but I am really hard to convince.

I had come home and retold the story about Ric to Miss Wallflower and she decided we should definitely go, so I said I would take her for her birthday. A road trip was born to one of my favourite places with a progressive dining plan to be followed by a palm reading for Miss Wallflower and I.

We started off nice and early and made our first stop after arrival at the Berry Sourdough Cafe. I have to confess that I have no photos here as the service was a bit slow, so by the time my macadamia tart arrived I was salivating and simply inhaled it. It was good…very good. I hadn’t realised before arriving that the café now did lunch which looked lovely and involved a wine list…very important :) After we finally got our coffee and tea we departed buying a lovely sourdough loaf on our way out.

Next stop after a brief walk about was the Savannah Cafe and Bar. The café is licensed and serves South African inspired food. I had booked a table fearing that I would be unable to get a table during the busy lunch period, but we were the only diner besides one other couple. The restaurant is located down one of the arcades and I can only guess that this is the reason the restaurant is not very busy, because the food was certainly good and the service friendly.

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I had the bobotie with rice and a salad. The bobotie was arranged nicely with the sides on a plate and came out with a bubbling top just calling for a spoon to break through to the curried meat beneath. The sauce as well seasoned with a perfect mix of sweet and spice. The salad was lightly dressed and a nice fresh accompaniment. Wine was served by way of a piccolo bottle.

SAMSUNG

Miss Wallflower had the gnocchi with boar sausage. This was generously proportioned and the gnocchi was clearly hand made and was light as a feather. It was topped with a persian style fetta.

SAMSUNG

Before our palm reading we had some time to walk around and see the sights. First stop was Miss Pompadours. A fabulous little chocolate shop, where I bought some dark chocolate bark and a dried raspberry and milk chocolate bark. I have been very good with it and there is still some left…not much though :(

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Then a little visit to the Berry Tea shop. A lovely little place with great gift ideas and quirky teapots.

Our final visit for the day was to Ric who was doing readings at Global Contact.

Ric is a lovely man in his seventies, who learnt the art of palm reading as a child from his grandmother who also had the gift. I don’t want to give all of my future away, because lets be honest I am not sure I can live up to the promise of my palms, but I will say this..boys… only those with potential waterfront property in their future need apply. Ric tells me my lunar crescent means I simply have to live near water ;)

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Have you ever seen a psychic

Classics with a twist: Chocolate Hazelnut cake

25 Aug

I have always been a person who has experimented with personal style. Not always very successfully but I have tried. I remember when much younger I went through a phase of refusing to wear matching socks. We are not talking laziness about finding two matching socks, because heaven knows my socks were always paired rolled and in the appropriate drawer…thanks Mutti. No I carefully matched, mismatching socks to my outfit. I assume this came from some American TV show and I adopted it in an attempt to be different and cool. I clearly failed to understand that cool in child world means fitting in.

As I went through my early teen years I adopted a more refined grunge look. Accessories formed a large part of this particular look. Long layered skirts and dresses with asymmetric hats and doc martens. Of course puberty put an end too this experimentation. It is truly disappointing to realise that floating hippie dresses don’t mix well with boobs and bums :( However in all of this experimenting I continue to claim I had a tendency towards trying to add a classic component to any current fashion trend. I now understand that no matter how much I marvel at some girl’s ability to look positively gorgeous in rolled up boyfriend jeans with high heels and a imitation Chanel jacket. I will simply look like a deranged escapee from the Salvation Army store. So I stick with classics with a twist of colour or pattern.

Chocolate hazelnut cake

This cake to me is the perfect mix of a classic rejigged. ‘How passe!’ you exclaim flourless chocolate cake..it has all been done before. Yes indeed it has…. and this version may not be entirely cutting edge, but it is a classic flourless cake with the twist of hazelnut meal. In the same way that mismatched socks represented my attempt at being fashion forward in my youth, I will happily have my current tastes defined by this cake. Classic, decadent and a little boozy and so is the cake ;)

Chocolate and Hazelnut cake

Serves 8

adapted from Donna Hay recipe for Chocolate and Pecan cake featured in Issue 69 Donna Hay Magazine

  • 350 gms dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa)
  • 150 gms unsalted butter cubed
  • 6 eggs seperated
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 1 2/3 cups of hazelnut meal
  • 1 tsp of vanilla paste
  • 1 cup if brown sugar
  • cocoa for dusting

1. Preheat an oven to 160 degrees. Line and grease a 22 cm spring formed tin

2. Break the chocolate into a bowl with the butter and place into a microwave on 80% power at 40 second intervals until melted.

3. Beat egg yolks vanilla and 1/2 cup of sugar for 1 minute and then add brandy, chocolate/butter mix and the hazelnut meal mixing until it is all combined. Put this chocolate hazelnut mixture aside

4. Beat the egg whites in a seperate bowl adding the remaining sugar one tablespoon at a time.

5. Add 1 half of the beaten egg whites to the chocolate hazelnut mix beating in with a wooden spoon to loosen the chocolate mixture and then fold in  the second half of the beaten egg whites.

6. Pour the stiff mixture into the tin and then bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes 10 1 hour and 25 minutes or until the top is crisp the sides have come away for the edge. there will still be a slight wobbly in the middle  when you shake the pan.

7. Allow the cake to cool in the time before removing. (i did not do this and ended up with a crack in my cake. What can i say i am impatient)

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8. Serve with berries and cream

Life in a bubble: Ultimate Macaroons

10 Jul

I have a tendency to live in a bubble. I call it my little world. It is a lovely place, happy, like munchkin land in the Wizard of Oz. Bright colours, jaunty tunes and maybe even a lolly pop guild. However sometimes, something intrudes into my otherwise happy world and ruins it. Usually poisonous people, not easily identified by being green and wearing a pointy hat. It is always a little soul destroying to find that some people insist on acting selfishly and manipulatively even when they know how much it hurts you. It is at times like this that a girl could lose all hope and trust in humanity. But it also at this time that people can show you their inner Glinda and make you realise that some people aren’t looking for a weak spot to exploit, but rather fiercely protect and support you. Now unfortunately my real life Glinda’s didn’t give me some shiny red shoes when they waved their protective wand over me, but they did do an exceptional job at reminding me not to lose hope.

Such kindness requires a kindness in return and so these little macaroons were made as a gesture of gratitude, for lending a helpful ear, shoulder and in one case a couple of strong cocktails. Please note these are actually macaroons not macarons. Yes I know I sound like a foodie wanker when I point out that people keep calling the French sweet delicacy by the wrong name, but I wouldn’t want to lead you astray with baking miscommunications ;)

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These are dense and coconutty yet still light enough to feel that you could easily have 2 and it wouldn’t stop you floating around in a bubble. They also keep very well in a container for a few days. They are sourced from my baking bible which I simply can never praise highly enough. Thank you Ms Lawson you are always welcome in my special world.

What do like to give as gifts of gratitude?

Ultimate coconut macaroons

Makes 12

Only very slight adapted from Coconut Macaroons by Nigella Lawson in How to be a Domestic Goddess

  • 2 large egg whites
  • ¼ teaspoon of cream of tartar
  • 100 gms of caster sugar
  • 30 gms of ground almonds
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of vanilla paste
  • 225 gms of shredded coconut

1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees.

2. Beat the egg whites until frothy with an electric beater.

3. Add the cream of tartar and keep beating until soft peaks start to form.

4. Then add the sugar 1 teaspoon at a time until the egg whites are stiff when the beater is stopped and removed it holds to the beater

5. Add the almond meal, salt and vanilla and fold into the egg whites a couple of times before adding the coconut and folding in until completely combined

6. Using a soup spoon measure out the macaroon mixture and form into balls and place on a lined baking sheet

7. Place into the oven and cook for 20 mins or until coconut is turning golden

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Home Comforts: Easy White Sour Cream Bread

4 Jul

When I went to New York I took a trip out to Ellis Island. I have always had an interest in the migration experiences of people given that I am the child of two migrants to this country. I like to think of myself as an exotic cocktail ;)

The display as you walked around the processing centres complete with photos of those seeking to migrate to the US was really touching and gave you an excellent perspective on how the people lived while they were waiting to see if they would be accepted and allowed to stay. One of the really interesting things was the food served. I can’t imagine the challenge of trying to feed all of those people with all those different backgrounds and ages. They had menus of the typical day on the walls, not an inspiring read. I bought the Ellis Island cookbook while there and then proceeded to read half of it while standing in line waiting for tickets to a Broadway show. One of the reoccurring themes was that many of the new arrivals to Ellis Island were both perplexed and besotted by some of the food they were served, including white bread and cereal or ‘morning soup’ as one arrival called it

Fresh Bread ready for buttering

Fresh Bread ready for buttering

Mutti often talks about the first time she ate white toast, something that was not served in her house, and how much she loved it. I of course was given white bread and toast as a child, but given that I more often than not have multi grain bread, white bread still affords a degree of comfort and pleasure, particularly slathered in too much butter, but we all know how much I love butter :)

I made this loaf on the weekend. It caught my eye while reading The Guardian online and it was easy to do and delivered an excellent soft result, particularly good when toasted. I made no real change to the recipe except to only add water as I thought I needed it and I added slightly less sugar. Served as a side to some baked eggs it was like a warming hug on a cold and miserable winters night.

Do you like white bread? What is your favourite comfort food?

Easy White Sour Cream

recipe by Dan Lepard at Sour Cream White Bread

  • 125g cold sour cream
  • 100 ml of hot water and 150 mls of cold water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 1  7gm sachet dried yeast
  • 550g  white flour, plus extra for sprinkling
  • Oil, for kneading

1. Mix the sour cream with the boiling water, 100 mls of the cold water and the yeast, using a whisk or fork to combine.

2. Add the salt, sugar and flour to the cream/water mixture and use your hands to combine until a ball forms. Add the remaining 50 mls of water to ensure the dough comes together using only as much of the water as you need.

3. Leave the bread in a warm spot and cover with glad wrap and a tea towel for 10 mins

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4. Lightly oil surface with a neutral vegetable or rice bran oil and lightly knead the dough for 10 seconds. Leave aside again under glad wrap and a tea towel for a further 2x 10 min intervals with light kneading in between.

5. Then leave the bread aside for 50 -60 mins until the dough has at least doubled in size.

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6. Stretch out the dough with your fingers until 2 cm thick and then roll up tightly and place in an oiled and lined loaf tin and leave for another 60 – 90 mins under a tea towel until the dough has again doubled in size.

Dust the top with flour and place into a hot oven and bake for 40 – 45 mins. The bread should be hollow on the tops and sides when knocked.

Eggs and Toast

Eggs and Toast

The Perils of Sharing: Dried Blueberry, banana and coconut loaf

25 Jun

I am a sharer…. Ok I am often an over sharer :) I think this compulsion comes from a desire to make people feel comfortable in my company and I really hate awkwardness. My sharing usually comes in the form of verbal diarrhoea, if I could force group hugs on people I would, instead I talk. I make self-deprecating jokes and even on occasions do a little comedy sketch, however my tendency to share doesn’t always connect. This disconnection occurred quite recently when meeting someone new at work. I was asked how I felt having my office so close to the Director, did I have to be really careful to be quiet and look efficient? I pointed out to my colleague that given I had no ‘inside’ voice being quiet was never going to happen. I went on to explain how the director is so focused on his work that I can tap dance right past his room and he would never even know. I then proceeded to do a little tap number complete with jazz hands…….. I was met with a completely blank face and I realised that my attempt at humour and warmth was clearly not translating well. My response, keep on talking at the person in a friendly upbeat tone until they capitulate. I am still waiting… :(

Sharing morning tea

Sharing morning tea

Surprisingly sharing translates even worse with people I have just met in random public places. Recently I was standing next to a middle aged man at the bus stop when it was pouring with rain. He did not have an umbrella and I saw the rain literally stream down his face and down the back of his suit. In what I thought was an act of kindness and maybe even chivalry, I simply without saying anything moved my umbrella over a little so that he could get some protection from the rain. He looked at me peculiarly and I just smiled back at him and said you looked like you were getting a little wet. He didn’t respond but just shuffled a bit. We stood for a while longer cramped amongst other people waiting for the bus, not saying anything (serious self control for a person who abhors a silence) when a bus finally arrived and people started moving slowly towards the entrance of the bus. The stranger and I started to move with the crowd, I did my best in the jostling to try and continue to share the protection of my umbrella. He looked at the umbrella and at me as if I was clearly deranged and wielding the umbrella with a sinister purpose, maybe to steal his wallet or a lock of his thinning hair, finally he turned around and said’ I don’t want your umbrella’ and got himself lost in throngs of people before boarding the bus and continuously looking over his shoulder as if I might spring out and molest him with my spotted umbrella and charitable attitude.

This cake will encourage all to enjoy your generous spirit and even forgive you the occasional impromptu tap dance. I made a few modifications because of what I had in the cupboard and fridge. The cake was deliciously moist and had a host of complimentary flavours that made it a great mid morning snack with a cup of tea.

Are you a sharer? Would you have offered your to share your umbrella?

Dried Blueberry, banana and coconut loaf

8- 10 slices

adapted from Coconut and Cherry Banana Bread from Kitchen by Nigella Lawson

  • 110 gms unsalted butter
  • 15 gms of crème fraiche
  • 4 small ripe bananas
  • 150 gms caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 175 gms plain flour
  • 2 tsp of baking powder
  • ½ bi carb soda
  • 80 gms of dried blueberries
  • 80 gms of shredded coconut

1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees. Butter and line a loaf tin

2. Process or mash the bananas and crème fraiche together.

Banana and creme fraiche

Banana and creme fraiche

3. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Allow the butter to cool a while and then add the sugar.

4. Once the sugar is combined and dissolved in the butter, it should be a thick  mixture, add the mashed bananas and eggs.

5. Fold in the flour, baking powder, bicarb and coconut.

6. Finally lightly fold in the dried blueberries.

7. Spoon into the loaf tin. It will be a very thick.

8. Bake in the oven for 40-50 mins until skewer comes out clean and the cake has come away from the sides of the tin.

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Return to Blogging: Cheesy truffle pasta bake

17 Jun

Yes it is true I have been away for a long time dear readers.

End of last year saw me slaving away over the last of my masters degree, followed by some wrist surgery that took me out of the cooking game for a while, a lengthy trial followed and some further surgery a couple of weeks ago,  this time to remove my wisdom teeth.

While the limitations on my abilities to cook created by my wrist surgery tested my patience, the removal of wisdom teeth accompanied by the inability to eat anything not in liquid form for almost 2 weeks, was almost a killer. I could cook but I couldn’t eat it. Dante never described this level of hell.

The liquid diet has since stopped, but I am still on the softer foods until the gums are all healed. The only good to come from such severe food limitations is that you have an increased appreciation for even the simplest of things.

Macaroni and cheese is one of those classic comfort dishes and as the weather gets colder, comfort food comes calling. This isn’t the kind of mac and cheese you get out of the box, although there is always a place for that too, this is a pasta and cheese bake for a person who has glimpsed gastronomical redemption.

There are so many variations on this classic and the use of  truffle cream brie in this recipe is really just  decadent excess for the sake of it. I know I am usually so restrained ;) The truffle  just adds a little extra depth of flavour and makes the whole dish feel more grown up and elegant, you could use truffle oil, or actual truffles if you could get your hands on them, but there are times I have just used a good creamy brie instead.

Cheesy Truffle Pasta Bake

An original recipe by The Legal Tart

Serves 2

  • 300 gms Penne
  • 80 gms truffle brief
  • 80 gms of cheddar
  • 100 gms of Mozzarella
  • 1 Tablespoon of butter
  • Plain flour
  • 100 mls cream
  • 150 mls milk (reduced fat is fine)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Breadcrumbs for topping

1. Boil the penne until just tender and then drain and put aside. Keep in mind that the penne will be baked in the oven, so you don’t want the penne too soft.

2. Put the butter in a small sauce pan and melt,  then add approximately 2 tablespoons of plain flour. Start with one tablespoon and work it in to butter and then add some more until it comes together. Cook for 1-2 mins until the flour is cooked.

Flour and butter

Flour and butter

3.Add 100 mls of milk to break up the flour mixture and use a whisk until the milk and flour is combined and then add the cream. Continue to whisk until the cream thickens and there are no lumps.

4. Add the mozzarella and whisk into the cream mixture until melted and then add the other two cheese one at a time allowing each one to melt before the other one is added.

5. Use as much of the milk as need until the cheese sauce is thinned so that it has a loose dollop consistency that will easily coat the pasta. Season with salt and pepper.

Can be eaten greedily from the pan now.

Can be eaten greedily from the pan now.

6. Toss in the penne until all the pasta is coated.

7. Put the pasta into individual ramekins of a deep baking dish and top with breadcrumbs.

8. Bake for 20-30 mins or until bubbling at the sides and browned on top.

Crunchy and cheesy

Crunchy and cheesy

Choc Chip Oat Cookies and finding purpose

19 Nov

Hello lovelies.

Yes I know you must be wondering where I have been. Well as it turns out I have been trudging through the last of my assessments for my masters degree (fingers crossed). Does this mean I haven’t cooked for the last month. Certainly not, it just means that I have been cooking to eat quickly and haven’t had time to think, plan and photograph my meals and baked goodies. In fact most of my recent food has revolved around large helpings of chocolate eaten at a computer while trying to construct sensible, analytical and compelling arguments about topics that seemed at the time of choosing them incredibly interesting, but now feel tedious.

So at last I have no new classes to attend, no more essays to write and I can cook, read and engage in other purely recreational activities without guilt…at least in the beginning. Already I can feel the apprehension building about looking down the barrel of a new year with no firm goals in mind. The Christmas festivities will guide me through the early months post purpose but then what? Yes mindfulness and living in the present are absolutely skills that elude me, except when baking.

The following recipe came off a magnet given to me by Mutti after one of her and dad’s road trips. The cookies are delicious, chewy, crispy and most importantly big and chunky. I made these the day I handed in my last essay, they are easy to make and remind you how good the simple things can be.

What are your goals? Are you good at living in the present?

Chocolate Chip and Oat Cookies
Courtesy of Long Track Pantry Jugiong

Makes 15

  • 150 gms of butter
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups of rolled oats
    1 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 cup of plain flour
  • 1 cup of chocolate chips
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp of baking powder

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees

2. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy

3. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined

4. Put all the remaining dry ingredients in to the butter mixture and fold to combine.

5. Using a spoon and your hands form the mixture into balls and place on a lined oven tray. Flatten slightly. They will spread.

6. Cook for 10 mins or until just golden.

 

Carrot and Pineapple Muffins

4 Oct

Wasn’t last weekend just delightful! When recounting the activities I had engaged in over the long weekend someone pointed out to me that most of them seemed to revolve around food. I can assure you that isn’t true. My activities don’t revolve around food it is just that food accompanies all of my activities. Saturday saw the grand final which meant that layered nacho dip was the order of the day with champagne, the drink of choice in victory or defeat. Go swans!

Sunday saw a visit to the Opera house followed by a wagyu beef burger and cocktails. So you see it is not that I only do food related activities, rather that all activities are simply better when accompanied by food.

Healthy and tasty bite sized morsels

I went to bed on Monday night after the cheese and olive platter I had indulged in for dinner, feeling like my gluttonous weekend had finally caught up with me. After such an indulgent weekend one feels that they should subsist on carrot sticks and fruit to make up for the excesses. I turned those very things in to a muffin, so I don’t feel like I am denying myself at all. Instead it is like a mini moist carrot cake with none of the guilt and all of the flavour.

Carrot and Pineapple Wholemeal Muffins

Makes 12 mini muffins

Adapted from Best Recipes

 

  • ¾ cup of plain wholemeal flour
  • ¼ cup of plain white flour
  • ½ tsp of bicarbonate soda
  • 1 tsp of baking pwder
  • 2/3 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 large carrot grated
  • ¾ cup of crushed pineapple drained
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp of rice bran/ other neutral tasting oil
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of mixed spice

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees

2. Put flours and sugar in a bowl and mix to combine

3. Add the carrots pineapple and spice to bowl and mix to combine

4. Make a well in the centre and put oil and both eggs in the well and then mix until just combined

5. Spoon into patty cases and bake in the oven for 180 degrees for 10 mins.

Cake Castle: Strawberry and Lemon Yoghurt Cake

25 Sep

King Kong: ‘Wow did you make this?’

Me: ‘Yes of course’

A Castle of cake

King Kong peers into the cake box again ‘Wow how did you make it into that shape, that’s amazing’

Me…stifled laughter ‘Its called a cake tin’ :)

I love how baking a cake in a bundt pan, in fact baking in general can make you appear like an alchemist of flour and butter, even if it is not the most difficult of recipes.

Strawberries are in abundant supply at the moment and this seemed like a great way to showcase them. This cake is a lovely moist cake and I received more than the usual number of compliments even days after, so I am guessing this cake is not merely for cake lovers.

What is your favourite way to showcase strawberries?

Strawberry and Lemon Yoghurt Cake

adapted from Strawberry Yoghurt Cake

Serves 12

  • 225 gms of unsalted butter
  • 2 cups of caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 2 1/2 cups of plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda and
  • 1/2 tsp of bicarb soda
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 200 gms of natural greek yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 250 gms of strawberries

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees
2. Grease and flour a bundt tin thoroughly.
3. Beat together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
4. Add the lemon juice and zest and then add the eggs one at a time waiting between eggs until combined
5. Alternate adding the flour and yoghurt in 3 parts, then add in the milk at the end and mix to combine
6. Bake the cake in the oven for approximately 1 hour or until the cake is springy to the touch and the skewer comes out clean
7. Allow the cake to cool in the tine for 10-15 mins and then remove carefully on to a rack to cook

Birthday Feast: Cheats Duck Cassoulet

12 Sep

Last week was the 1st Birthday of the Legal Tart! How time has flown!

I first started this blog a year ago to give me an outlet from my legal work. Don’t get me wrong I do for the most part enjoy what I do, but there are times where I need to do something completely different, and while I still play with the idea of moving to Positano and selling tomatoes for a living, cooking and blogging seems a little less extreme :)

They say mindfulness is the key to happiness. Some people achieve this through yoga and meditation, others through going for a run, but my mindfulness comes through cooking and as a side bonus I get to eat the fruits of my labour and feed others.

I can’t pretend that blogging has been a completely joyful experience. There are times, largely when I am having technical issues like today, that blogging can feel like another thing on my to-do list. But when I see comments from all you lovely readers I am always glad I took the time to put down some thoughts and share a recipe.

Almost a one pot wonder!

This meal is a celebration meal. I keep promising myself that I am going to make a proper cassoulet, but time so far as worked against me. When I saw this short-cutted version I couldn’t believe my luck and marked it immediately for later cooking. You will be rewarded for your efforts with meltingly tender pieces of duck that simply fall from the bone and a rich sauce.

Cheats Cassoulet

Adapted slightly from Gourmet Traveller

Serves 6-8

  • 2 tbsp of duck fat
  • 1 duck (ask your butcher to carve it up for you or in the alternative buy breast and leg pieces)
  • 2 onions finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 300 gms of speck chopped into 2 cm pieces
  • 400 gm can of chopped tomatoes
  • 400 gems of dried cannellini beans soaked overnight
  • 6 sage leaves
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp of all spice
  • 2 litres of water
  • Fresh bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

1. Soak beans in water overnight in a large bowl, the water height should be about 5 cm above the beans

2. Heat duck fat in a very large casserole pot and out on high heat

3. Season duck with salt and pepper on the skin side and then place skin side down into the hot duck oil.

4. Once the duck fat as rendered slightly and the skin looks golden flip the duck piece over and cook on the other side You may need to do this in batches.

5. Place cooked duck on a plate and set aside

6. Lower the heat to medium and add the onion garlic and speck and fry off until the onion has softened.

7. Return the duck to the casserole pot with the tomatoes, drained beans, sage leaves, bay leaves, allspice and 2 litres of water.

8. Place in the oven and allow to cook for 3- 3 ½ hours or until the beans are tender.

9. Once the beans are tender remove the duck pieces into a large shallow baking dish and then top with the bean and sauce mixture.

10. Scatter a coating of breadcrumbs on the top and drizzle with olive oil before returning to the oven. Turn the heat up to 200 degrees, allow the breadcrumbs to brown

11. Serve straight from the casserole dish with a green salad and some baguette.

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