Duck breasts with plum sauce

It has been a long time since I posted anything here… so for anyone following me, my apologies! Of course, that does not mean I have been starving myself, or stopped being interested in food and recipes either! But, and food is a great distraction from grief, and I find it healing. Hence, I am back, at least for today, and as it is almost Christmas, and I prefer duck to turkey, here is one of my favourite recipes.


4 duck breasts, with skin on
1/2 tsp five-spice powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp speculaas

Ingredients for sauce:

1 tbsp virgin olive oil
1 tsp grated ginger
8-10 plums, halved and stoned
2 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp palm sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
2 tbsp lime juice
zest of 1 lime


For the sauce, heat oil and fry ginger for a minute, add plums and remaining ingredients. Cook for 5 minutes or until plums have softened (but not until they are mushy and have lost their shape), stirring occasionally. Remove the skins of plums (if you prefer them that way) and keep warm. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar just before serving.

Score the skins of the duck breasts and season with the spices. Fry, skin side down over high heat for about 1 minute, then cook on low for 8-10 minutes depending on the size of the breasts. Our and cook another 5 minutes, then rest for 5 minutes. Slice, serve with the plum sauce and a rocket and baby spinach salad.

Ps. The sauce is also lovely with pork.

Posted in Asian style, Christmas, Entrees, Mains, Sauces | Tagged , ,

Baked Salmon

Last night, I made a delicious baked salmon meal, no recipe, no idea if it would work, simply using ingredients I had in the fridge, apart from the fish which we bought especially for the meal! I’ll see if I can remember what I did… it was basic, quick and easy to prepare and really delicious!

Ingredients (for 4):

4 -6 skinned, boned salmon steaks
1 onion, finely diced
1 red chilli, seeded and finely diced
3 garlic, finely diced
olive oil
4-6 large tomatoes, diced, or 1 tin of peeled diced tomatoes
6-8 large spinach leaves, chopped
Sea salt and cracked pepper to taste
Sweet potatoes cut into pieces and tossed in extra oil and flavoured with salt and pepper, to roast


Preheat the oven to high. Prepare the sweet potatoes and place on a tray. Add the seafood steaks to a baking dish, sprinkle with sea salt and pepper, and cover with a lid or foil. Add both to the oven when it is hot enough. Cook the onion, garlic and chilli in a large frypan with the oil, add the tomatoes and cook well. Add the spinach and cook through. Add seasoning to taste. Serve this with the seafood and roast potatoes, with some hot crusty bread or steamed rice.

Posted in Gluten Free, Mains, Seafood, Sugar free | Tagged , ,

Carrot & Banana cake (Sugar and Gluten free)


2 very ripe bananas, mashed
12 fresh seeded dates, diced
1/2 cup coconut oil
3 large organic eggs
1 cup GF flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 sp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom or mixed spice
4 carrots, grated
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup roughly chopped roasted hazelnuts or walnuts
1/2 cup raisins


Pre heat over to 180C and prepare 10-20cm round cake tin. Mix bananas, dates and oil together, rising well, add eggs one at a time mixing well. Add flour, spices and baking powder and fold through without over beating. Add carrots, raising and coconut. Pour into cake tin and bake until knife comes out clean, approximately 40-50 minutes. Cool in tin.

If you want a topping on it, beat cream cheese with a little honey and lime juice and speed over the top then cover with more chopped nuts (use the same ones you used in the cake).

Posted in Cakes, Gluten Free, Healthy, Sugar free, Uncategorized | Tagged , , ,

Apple charlotte


(this fills an 18 cm charlotte mould, 8 servings)

250 g ladyfinger biscuits (I use bought ones, and they work perfectly well)
1 kg golden delicious or grannysmith apples
70 g butter
150 ml full cream milk
50 ml brandy or cognac
50 g sugar
zest of 1 lemon
150 g apricot jam
1 level tsp ground cinnamon
1 pinch vanilla powder

For brushing:
1 tbsp of apricot jam


Peel the apples then cut into quarters, remove the core then cut into slices, approx. 2-3 mm thick. Place 50 g of the butter in a large pan, melt gently, then add the apples. Add the brandy (or your favourite liqueur, such as cognac, cointreau, or any liqueur you like), the ground cinnamon, sugar and the vanilla powder (or essence if you don’t have powder). Then add the grated lemon zest. Cook on a low flame until the apples are mushy.

While the apples are cooking, take your charlotte mould, grease with butter, then line the sides and bottom with parchment paper. Now trim the ladyfingers so they fit into the mould about 3-4 cm below the rim. Quickly dip in milk and arrange them against the sides of the mould, with the rounded end down and the sugared side facing out. Reserve the trimmed scraps and cake crumbs for the bottom layer. Be careful not to soak the ladyfingers to the point of being soggy.

When the apples have softened, add the apricot jam, stir well, then pour the mixture into the mould that is completely lined with ladyfingers. Take the remaining ladyfingers and crumble on top. Finally, pour the remaining 20 g of melted butter all over the top… and bake in a preheated oven at 180°C (350°F ) for about 35-40 minutes.

Allow it to cool slightly in the mould then turn it out onto a serving plate; remove the mould, peel off the parchment paper and brush with the strained apricot jam, for a glossy finish. Serve warm with fresh cream, custard or Ice cream, or ALL THREE!! Dust with icing sugar mixed with cinnamon.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , ,

Caramelised Pears


4-6 large pears
3 tbs unsalted butter
80 gm brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 pinch of mixed spice
2-3 tbs Grand Marnier (depends on how thin you want the juice)


Peel pears and slice into thick wedges. Heat butter in a frying pan and add pears, sugar and spices. Rain cheat stirring until sugar dissolves, then cook for 5-7 minutes (you may need to stir often), until caramelised. Remove from heat and add Grand Marnier. Serve warm with pan juices and thick cream.

Posted in Desserts | Tagged ,

Ginger loaf


2 cups plain flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 ½ tbsp powdered pinger
½ tsp mixed spice
½ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
½ cup of finely diced glace ginger
1 1/3 cup golden syrup
225 gm butter (roughly chopped)
2 organic eggs (lightly mixed)
250 ml full cream milk


Pre heat your oven to 150 degrees, and prepare two standard loaf tins with baking paper. In a large bowl, sift the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, ginger, mixed spice, nutmeg and cinnamon. Add the finely chopped place ginger.

In a small saucepan add the golden syrup and butter. Melt over low heat. Add the golden syrup and butter mix, followed by the lightly beaten eggs and milk, to the sifted ingredients. Whisk to combine, then pour into your prepared loaf tins.

Cook the gingerbread for 60-70 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. If you’re making one large loaf, you will need to cook the loaf for a bit longer. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tins for 30 minutes before turning out.

Serve warm with lashings of butter (as long as you don’t have heart disease, or don’t do it too often!!). It is delicious with honeyed yoghurt as well, for something healthier.

To serve as dessert add a warm ginger and caramel sauce and thickened cream or ice cream – if you make it for a dessert, cook in a round spring form tin.

Posted in Cakes | Tagged ,

Golden syrup self saucing pudding

1 1/4 cups self-raising flour
1/3 cup firmly-packed brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 large organic egg
80g butter, melted, cooled
2 tablespoons golden syrup
2/3 cup currants or finely chopped dates,
Thickened cream, to serve

1/2 cup firmly-packed brown sugar
3 teaspoons cornflour
1/4 cup golden syrup
1 1/4 cups boiling water

Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 5-cup capacity, 6cm-deep, 20cm (base) round ovenproof dish. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Sift flour into a large bowl. Stir in sugar. Whisk milk, egg, butter and golden syrup together in a jug. Pour into flour mixture. Add chopped fruit and gently stir until combined. Spoon into prepared dish. Smooth surface.

To make sauce: Combine sugar and cornflour in a bowl. Sprinkle over pudding. Combine syrup and boiling water in a heatproof jug. Pour over back of a large metal spoon, over pudding.

Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a skewer inserted halfway into pudding comes out clean. Serve immediately with fresh thickened cream.

Posted in Desserts | Tagged , ,