Juices of one sort or another have been enjoyed for millennia, and shakes have been indulged in for decades, but the growing fascination with juicing and blending is something else again. Maybe this smoothies and juices obsession is triggered by our growing interest in health and nutrition and the desire to improve our consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables, or because we’ve realized there’s more to liquid refreshment than a carton of orange juice. Whatever the reasons, the fact remains that homemade smoothies, juices and blends are one of the most exciting things happening in today’s kitchens.
Roast Duck Breasts with Parsnip Purée is a classic dish. The duck breasts used for this recipe are called magrets. This is a duck breast that has been completely removed from the bone and has no wing attached. This breast can then have the skin removed or left on. Leaving the skin on gives a crispy finish. The magret refers to the breast of a Moulard duck that has been reared for foie gras. A Moulard duck is a cross between a Muscovy drake and a Pekin hen, and is a sizable bird with a well-developed breast. It also is the preferred duck used to produce foie gras, because of its large size and hearty constitution. Magret duck breasts usually come vacuum-packed from France and are ready to cook. If you can’t get magrets, simply roast duck breasts still on the carcass, then remove them from the bone once cooked and rested.
Cranberry cupcake is an easy and quick recipe and can be made all year around as you can use frozen fruit. Cranberries are the deep-red, tart fruit of a low, scrubby, woody bog plant. They are a winter berry that has become synonymous with the Christmas table for many. The bulk of the world’s cranberries are now cultivated, mainly in certain parts of Canada and North America, but cranberries can still occasionally be found growing wild. One of the remarkable properties of fresh cranberries is their ability to keep for months on end in a cool place. This is because they contain large amounts of benzoic acid, which is a natural preservative.
Linguine with rocket can be a very nice, fashionable lunch, that is so quick and easy to make at home. Rocket has an excellent peppery flavour that combines beautifully with the Parmesan cheese. Linguine is an egg pasta and looks rather like flattened strands of spaghetti. Spaghetti, fettucine or pappardelle could be used instead. Dried pasta cooks in 10-12 minutes, but an even faster result can be obtained by using fresh pasta. Simply add it to a large pan of boiling, lightly salted water, making sure that all the strands are fully submerged, and cook for 2-3 minutes. The pasta is ready when it rises to the top of the pan and is tender to the taste, with a slight firmness in the centre. Fresh Parmesan keeps well in the refrigerator for up to a month, if wrapped in greaseproof paper.
This vanilla layer cake is one of our bakery staples that we are frequently asked for and if you make it in a food processor it takes no time at all. As with most vanilla cake recipes, the list of ingredients is fairly standard, but factor in good-quality ingredients, careful measuring and weighing and setting the correct oven temperatures, and the result is fantastic. We use this as the basis of many a birthday cake, not least because it can be iced and decorated to any effect. Vanilla layer cake is a fairly simple dessert to make, and it is certainly cake that will be popular in your family. What makes this vanilla layer cake our favourite is the fact you can use different fillings, different tastes and adjust the recipe to any season to use fresh products.