We hosted a family lunch recently at our home to celebrate Jac’s mum Pattycakes’ birthday. Jac loves to cook for company and had a great time planning and preparing the meal. I helped her with recipe research and the boring stuff like setting the table on the day. :)
Our starter dish was prawns sauteed in olive oil and a little butter, sprinkled with chopped fresh parsley and served on a bed of homegrown lettuce from our garden.
Jac served a couple of sauces to go with the prawns – Beerenberg Taka Tala dressing that we bought at the Good Food and Wine Show Perth and homemade seafood sauce – as part of my role as cook’s assistant and research officer, I found the recipe for Jac at the Taste.com.au website. That Taka Tala dressing has become one of our favourites – it’s like a creamy sweet curry sauce – it’s really tasty. We also enjoyed fresh crusty bread and butter with the prawns.
I started with a blob of each sauce and four prawns. That was just my first round. I ate many more prawns than that, with lashings of more Taka Tala dressing.
For the main course, Jac roasted a couple of ducks. This was her first time cooking whole ducks and her first time cooking duck a l’orange. I mentioned in my honey mustard quail post that Game Farm sent us some sample products – these ducks came from them as well, and the recipe was from their website. Like the quail, the Game Farm ducks are grown locally in New South Wales with no added hormones, are grain-fed and free to fly around.
I think I need to buy Jac a proper meat carving set. We have what used to be a good carving fork but one of its prongs is now bent, which doesn’t help. I could see it was hard work for her carving up the ducks, but she did it. She poured on the fragrant orange sauce, made with orange juice, segments and peel. It smelled amazing as I took the photos. This was my first time eating duck a l’orange.
It was delicious. I was proud of Jac’s first roasted whole ducks and her first duck a l’orange. Don’t ask how I resisted dipping my finger into the sauce!
Jac’s mum loves her roast meats with lots of cooked veggies, and so to go with the duck, Jac and Kelsie cooked a number of vegetable side dishes. Jac cooked up a batch of honey mustard pumpkin (recipe also from Taste.com.au). This dish includes oven-baked pumpkin and carrots, flavoured with wholegrain mustard and honey and sprinkled with parsley and toasted pinenuts.
Jac also roasted whole onions in the oven. They were lovely and sweet and a joy to eat layer by layer.
She also cooked parsnips, seasoned with salt and pepper and mashed with butter.
Kelsie cooked a green vegetable dish of beans, peas and suar snap peas.
She also brought along a dish of her fantastic potato bake.
Everyone grabbed a plate and served themselves buffet-style from the kitchen counter.
Here’s my plate. I made sure to load on plenty of orange sauce on my duck.
Every time we have a group of people over and I’m setting the table, I’m reminded that we really need to get a new cutlery set. We’re using well worn cutlery from about five different sets collected over the years from our lives before we met. The fork you see in the photo above doesn’t even have a matching knife! We often look at cutlery sets when we go to department stores and kitchenware shops but we can never seem to find a set that we both like enough to buy. There’s always something “wrong” with every set – some element in the design that either one or both of us balks at, too heavy or too light, forks with prongs that are ridiculously long, or sets that cost way more than we’d like to spend – we’re not aiming for the cheapest by any means, but we’re not looking to get top of the range either. We want something we like that will last a reasonably long time. We’ll keep looking!
Yes – that’s a strand of my hair on the fork in the picture. Don’t worry – there was no hair in the food.
I enjoyed my lunch and went back for more duck and potato bake. After we’d all finished eating, cleared the table and had a little “rest” – it was time for dessert. Apple and rhubarb crumble hot from the oven and topped with chopped nuts, made by Pattycakes’ boyfriend C.
The pudding was divine, crunchy crumble with soft, sweet stewed fruit. We had custard and cream to go with it. I couldn’t choose between them, so I had both! I love hot desserts with cold accompaniments. Hot apple crumble with custard and cream, hot chocolate mud cake with ice cream, hot apple pie with ice cream or cream… What about you? Do you like to mix hot and cold foods?
I’ve mentioned before that our little cat Pixel would happily eat the same food as us all the time if we let her. We don’t – she eats a sensible cat’s diet consisting mostly of cat biccies and tuna – but we occasionally give her little treats. While big cat Billy Lee snoozed in bed, completely uninterested, Pixel hovered around the kitchen, hoping for a taste of Jac’s cooking. In the end, she got it – duck sans l’orange, which she munched on with great delight, then promptly meowed for more.
Thank you to Game Farm for the ducks. Jac’s enjoyed the opportunity to cook birds she hasn’t cooked before. I’ve enjoyed eating, photographing and writing about them. And we’ve both loved being able to share them with our family and friends.
- See my previous post featuring Game Farm honey mustard quail
- For more information, including where to buy Game Farm products, see www.gamefarm.com.au
- Watch recipe and how-to videos at Game Farm’s channel on YouTube