- 2 duck breasts
- 1 thyme sprig
This popular herb grows in Europe, especially the Mediterranean, and is a member of the mint…
- 1 star anise
Star anise is one of the central spices in Chinese cooking. It has a strong anise flavour, with…
- 25g butter
Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…
For the plum sauce
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
Related to the onion (as opposed to being a younger version of it), shallots grow in clusters at…
- 1 tbsp olive oil
Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…
- 250g dark red plums, halved, stoned and cut into small wedges
The juiciest fruit in the stone fruit family, plums come in many different varieties, some sweet…
- 50g demerara sugar
- 50ml red wine
- 300ml beef stock
For the sauce, fry the shallot in the oil for 5 mins or until softened but not coloured. Add the plums and sugar, stirring for a few mins until the sugar has dissolved. Add the red wine and stock, then simmer for about 15 mins, stirring occasionally, until softened and slightly thickened. Keep warm or leave at room temperature for up to a day before reheating to serve.
Meanwhile, heat the oven to 180C/ 160C fan/gas 4. Score the skin of the duck breasts with a sharp knife and season well with salt and pepper. Heat a non-stick frying pan and place the duck breasts in, skin-side down. Fry for 6-7 mins, then turn and add the thyme, star anise and butter. Allow this to melt, basting the duck with the juices, then transfer everything to a small roasting tin and finish in the oven for 5-6 mins for pink or 10-12 mins for well done.
When the duck is ready, baste again with the juices, then rest for 5 mins while you finish everything else.
To serve, thinly slice each duck breast on a chopping board. Arrange on each plate along with a spoon of the Creamed potatoes, some of the plum sauce and the Buttered spinach.
Creamed potatoesQuarter 450g Maris Piper potatoes and boil in salted water for 20-25 mins until cooked. Drain well, return to pan and mash, gradually adding 50g butter, 50ml double cream and 50ml milk as you do. Season.
Buttered spinachWash 250g spinach leaves in a colander. Throw into a big pan with a knob of butter and some seasoning, then wilt for 1 min, stirring.