Sunday, May 11, 2008

French-style dinner party in 15 minutes

Today's dinner party idea comes from an article in delicious magazine by Valli Little.

Valli suggests starting your dinner party with a delicious terrine from your nearest gourmet deli. Serve with warm toast and French butter.

For main, the suggestion is to serve a Duck Confit with Sour Cherry Sauce along with apple, fennel and walnut salad. (I've copied the recipe below.

After dinner, serve a pre-bought creme caramel with some quality pure cream drizzle on top.

- Duck Confit with Sour Cherry Sauce along with apple, fennel and walnut salad by Valli Little (serves 4):

- 600g jar morello cherries, drained (these are available from supermarkets)
- 1.5 cups red wine
- 1 cup port
- 1 cinnamon quill
- 3 star anise
- 6 cloves
- quarter packed cup of brown sugar
- 2 small green apples
- 1 small fennel bulb
- half cup walnut pieces, toasted and roughly chopped
- 3 spring onions finely chopped
- 1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
- 2 tsp cornflour mixed with 1 tbs cold water
- 4 duck confit marylands (available from gourmet shops)
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1 tbs lemon juice

Bring cherries, wine, port, spices and sugar to the boil in a saucepan over high heat, then simmer for 10 minutes over medium-high heat until sauce is reduced by half.

Meanwhile, cut apple and fennel into thin matchsticks and toss in a bowl with nuts, spring onion and parsley.

Mix a little sauce with cornflour mixtures in a small bowl, then stir into the pan and allow sauce to thicken for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover to keep warm while you cook the duck.

Scrape excess fat from the duck (it can be kept in the fridge and used to fry potatoes). Heat a large non stick fry pan over medium heat. Cook duck for two minutes on each side or until crisp and heated through.

Whisk oil with lemon juice, season, then toss with salad. Serve duck with a drizzle of sauce and salad on the side.

Here is a link to Valli's website:

Stay tuned for more dinner party ideas soon.

In the meantime, you mat also want to check Valli's book:

The Hostess with the Mostess

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