Alex Rushmer’s Duck Breast with crackling, pickled cucumber & spiced tobacco caramel

This was one of the recipes we cooked at the Masterchef Cookalong at the recent BBC Good Food Show.

We made this recipe within the 30 minutes, except for the crackling as we didn’t have enough time for that. It is much simpler than I expected and the caramel is a deliciously fragrant invention, well done Alex.

Ingredients – Serves 2

2 Duck breasts, skin removed and reserved

150ml white wine vinegar

25g cater sugar

1 cinammon stick

1 star anise

3 cloves

pinch of smoky tobacco, such as Drum

watercress and squeeze of lemon to serve

1. Heat over to 180C/fan 160/gas 4. Sprinkle the duck skins with salt. Sandwich between two baking sheets and cook for 20 mins until crisp and brown. Pour off the fat and reserve.

2. Pour the white wine vinegar into a bowl. Add 25g caster sugar and stir until dossolved. Add the cucumber and leave to stand for 25 mins. Drain, rinse in water and pat dry with kitchen paper. Reserve.

3. Heat 150ml water in a  pan with the golden caster sugar until dissolved. Add the cinammon, star anise, cloves and tobacco. Bring gently to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 mins then strain through a sieve into a clean saucepan.  Boil the mixture hard to a caramel, coating consitency.

4. Season the duck breasts with salt. Heat the reserved duck fat in a frying pan. Add the duck breasts and cook for 4 mins, turn and cook for a further 3 mins. Remove from the heat and rest for 5 mins before slicing.

5. Arrange the sliced duck on warmed serving plates. Spoon over a little of the caramel sauce. Finish with the crackling, a few slices of the pickled cucumber and a few watercress leaves dressed with lemon juice.

Read about my exploits at the Masterchef Challenge here.

Alex Rushmer's Duck breast with cracklingAlex Rushmer's Duck breast with crackling

Alex Rushmer's Duck breast with crackling

Lunch with Prosecco Riccardo at the Old Hat Supper Club

Red Pepper Bottarga Canapes

Prosecco Riccardo sponsored a lovely lunch at the brand new supper club, The Old Hat Club. A bunch of food and wine bloggers were invited along to lunch be introduced to the new range of Prosecco from a small producer from the Prosecco region in Northern Italy.

Eschewing the traditional model of selling wine, Ritchie Tomadin has decided to use some savvy Social Media Marketing strategies and leveraging the power of twitter and blogs.  As a result, he is introducing his wines to the UK by inviting  food and wine bloggers to Riccardo Prosecco sponsored meals at supper clubs in London.

The Azienda Riccardo is a 100 year old vineyard in the Veneto region of Italy. They are the first company to guarantee their products with the food chain product traceability certification. You can trace the history and the grapes used of each bottle by the tags on each bottle. Here is a Ritchie introducing the wine.


The great thing about supper clubs is the informality of the setting and also the brings out the voyeur in people. The Old Hat Supper Club is in a newly converted house in Islington and is run 4 friends, Amy, Emma, Harry and Tim. They have created a lovely space to host these events and on this warm summer day, the lunch started out in the garden. Harry had built himself a wood fire oven in the garden and much of our lunch was cooked in there. We started with some canapes and a very strong cocktail of vodka, strawberries, black pepper and of course prosecco.

Wood fire oven

So we learnt that scowlers are the Cornish name for sardines, which we had grilled and stuffed with herbs and served on a tomato bruschetta for the starter. This was paired with the first of the wines, the bubble free Prosecco Vino Tranquillo.
Cornish Scrowlers on Tomato Bruschetta

Prosecco Vino Tranquillo

The main course was Roast Pork which had been poached in milk then roasted in the wood fire oven with butternut squash puree and very crispy goose fat roast potatoes. The vegetables had been slow cooked in the wood fire oven and had taken on the smokey flavours, adding a rather surprisingly enhancing flavour to the dish. The crackling was so successful that is started a bit of crackling thievery across the table, fuelled by lots of Prosecco Riccardo of course.

Roast pork, butternut squash and roast potatoes

The second wine was the first of the bubbly ones, the Prosecco Treviso Brut which should retail at about £12 in the UK.

Prosecco Treviso Brut

For pudding, we had a Moroccan Citrus Tart with frozen yoghurt which arrived after a bit of delay. Seeing as this is only their second event, there are probably a few kinks to iron out. The highlight of this course was the Extra Dry Prosecco Cartizze which was the star of the day. It was fruity and sweet and was my favourite of the 3 wines. This is made from grapes grown in an area called Cartizze which is the some really expensive land at €1m per hectare. You can try this for yourself as I believe they stock Prosecco Riccardo at Gastronomica and not a bad price of about £25 but soon to be available cheaper, so watch this space. They are also in the process of building an ecommerce shop where you can buy it at a cheaper retail price. Try this one and it might convince you to ditch Champagne for Prosecco.

Prosecco Cartizze

Moroccan Citrus Tart

Of course, that was not the end of the lunch. We adjourned to Luiz and Gerald’s garden for more chat, to help plan where to build their wood fire oven, more drinks and the world cup finals. What great way is there to spend a Sunday.

The London Foodie

@VintageMacaron @FoodGuardian @EatLikeaGirl @WineScrambler @GourmetChick @WineSleuth

Further Details: – Monthly Sunday lunches, £30 and no corkage