Birthday necessitated dinner party as part of week long ‘festival of birthday’.

Don’t know where this idea came from. I guess if you read enough recipes, things start to click together. Ultimately it was the answer to a question that was how do you make one entree for seven people with one duck.
Where to start? The basics of it is that it’s [from bottom] filo pastry; pork rillettes; filo pastry; chopped pine nuts; filo pastry; duck rillettes; filo pastry; chopped pistachios and duck rillettes; filo pastry.
This is all baked in an oven for thirty minutes and then covered with melted butter and truffle flavoured honey. The pork fillet and pork belly and the duck were all cooked together in duck fat as a confit i.e. very slowly cooked submerged in duck fat. Pork and duck aren’t usually confited together but I like the pork and duck meat combo at Chinese BBQ places, so why not?

The pork belly was cubed and the pork fillet cut into one inch pieces. Delimb the duck with a cleaver and remove the breasts with the skin attached with a knife to cut through to the bone between then breasts. You can then work the breast out carefully.
To get the duck fat for the confit place any bits of excess skin and fat in a frying pan to render out the fat (you will be amazed). You can also render the bones (but be less amazed) and then use the carcass to make a duck stock (that gets used for the sauce).
In the bottom of a Le Creuset place a slice of orange, two sprigs of thyme, a star anise, and a sprig of rosemary. Tightly pack the duck peices in the bottom and top with the pork. Add the melted duck fat (or goose fat) and then top up with some vegetable oil to cover. It’s then covered with a sheet of greaseproof paper and cooked very slowly and lowly in the oven – it shouldn’t come to a boil. Once it cooled it’s just a matter of shredding the meat.
Line a small loaf tin with foil and then follow the procedure for baklava, three or four buttered sheets cut to size, topping, and so on up to the top. Cook at 180C for thirty minutes or when the top is nicely browned.
Melt a knob of butter and a couple of tablespoons of truffle honey (a jar from the Manjimup truffle farm that I managed to snaffle) and pour over.
Remove the baklava by lifting up the foil carefully and then slice.

For the sauce, reduce the duck stock down add a third as much port and then reduce down until nice and thick. Serve with grapfruit segments as something fresh and sharp to counter the fat and the richness.

Overall, it worked very well. Crisp, hot, crunchy, ducky, porky, and nutty – presentation could be tidied up a bit as the nuts are a bit unruly. Actually a lot of work for something that’s eaten in a few minutes but hey.

osso bucco ragout

Osso Bucco and Venison Shanks with home-made Saffron Fettucine
Osso Bucco is slices of beef shin and there’s one recipe for it and it seems to be osso bucco. Plenty of recipes out there but basically it’s a combination of diced onion, carrots, celery and garlic; followed by peeled and deseeded tomatoes, orange peel, thyme rosemary and bay leaves; then wine and beef stock. Make sure the meat is lightly dusted with flour (work quickly after you dusted it to keep the flour dry) and seared. Then it’s a couple of hours of tightly lidded cooking.

What results is a nice thick sauce and melted meat that you can shred for the sauce. Lots of shredding for this dinner. Just to loosen up the sauce a bit I cooked some field mushrooms in red wine and stock and the cream and added it to the meat and sauce.

The saffron fettcine is because saffron rissotto often goes with osso bucco milanese. It was only after four minutes of kneading that I wondered why my hands were red and then remebered I was allergic to handling saffron. The vegetable are strips of carrot ,zucchini , and leek; blanched and reheated in butter and then mixed through wth the pasta. It’s nicked form my Michel Roux Jr book as it’s customary to nick at least one thing for it for a dinner party.

It’s really well worth learning how to make your own pasta, if you learn properly then it’s quite straightforward and a good trick when guests arrive. My other trick involves slicing bits of my fingers off.

Apple Flan with Calvados Cream
As you’d imagine, thinly sliced (transverse to stem) apples on sweet shortcrust pastry. Served with cream with a bit of calvados whipped through it.

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  1. Matthew’s avatar

    Very nice! I’m particularly impressed by the ‘ducklava’ — not merely the results, but the idea and the balls to give a go in the first place, too.

  2. Anthony’s avatar

    To be honest, I didn’t tell the guests what we were having so I could pretend we were having pork, duck and filo mash for entree if it all went pearshaped.

  3. Gracianne’s avatar

    Anthony, I am impressed. In another life you must have been from the south-west of France. In between a duck confit parmentier and the Moroccan pastilla. I’ll wait for a cold winter to try this one though.
    I must remember to take out my pasta machine just before the guests arrive.

  4. Anthony’s avatar

    I hope I managed to buy a nice house in my former life that I left for my present life. It’s very rich so yes for winter.
    You could just have a pasta maker with some fresh pasta stuck in it that you could pull out and sprinkle with flour every time you hear the doorbell.

  5. Stephen’s avatar

    Duck fat makes the world a better place. Your Osso Bucco looks amazing too.

  6. Barbara’s avatar

    I’m impressed with the ducklava. Recently I overhead two women discussing the balaklava they’d eaten for breakfast. I hope you had some left over filo so you can make some Om Ali. It is my food discovery of the year.

  7. Anthony’s avatar

    It’s just the best Stephen. Every fridge should have a jar.

    Barbara. Baklava, not just for breakfast! The restof the filo mainly ended up as a crumpled mess in the bin but om ali just looks amazing.

  8. FDB’s avatar

    Allergic to saffron?!?!?! NOOOOOOO!!!!!!

    Any reaction on the inside? Don’t think I could go on living without it.

    Farking amazing dish, with my two favourite fatty meats. Might have to bookmark this ‘un for me and the little lady’s anniversary in a bit.

    No mention in your recipe of the venison? Do you get these as a whole shank, or sawn up like the osso bucco?

  9. Anthony’s avatar

    Yeah I know, what a bastard but not too much of a problem. Only reaction is a rash and it’s only through contact – pair of gloves or a helpful assistant will fix it.

    I’d be chuffed if you did and congrats in advance on the anniversary.

    It’s a whole shank, a wee bit smaller than a lamb shank. They do also do venison osso buco, which I imagine would be the hind legs. It’s tasty too.

  10. Jeanne’s avatar

    Oh dear Lord that ducklava sounds unbelievably good!! As always, your ingenuity amazes me.

    Saffor allergy – how inconvenient. I guess no smearing yourself with paella for festival days then?

  11. Anthony’s avatar

    It was! But it’s just that I’m a tight bastard and try and think of different ways to get away with just buying one duck.

    Yeah I know but I just smear myself with Penelope Cruz instead.

  12. Jeanne’s avatar

    My… I didn’t know Penny was so… flexible :o)

  13. Anthony’s avatar

    I’ll say!!

  14. Hillary’s avatar

    I can’t even believe how delicious this looks! And I’ve never even had duck before. Cut name and the plating is spectacular too!

  15. Avatar’s avatar

    //Crisp, hot, crunchy, ducky, porky, and nutty//

    Not a combination I would’ve guessed works, but it looks delicious!

    Side note: I wonder if criadillas could be described as tasting “nutty” too…?

  16. Anthony’s avatar

    I was a bit surprised too.

    : ) yes but make sure you remove them first – they can get a bit ‘testy’ about it.

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