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Alternative to the Christmas Turkey and pudding with Derry Clarke

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Derry is cooking up a lovely duck recipe and a pear recipe


Derry Clarke, has been Chef/Patron of l'Ecrivain for over 20 years. He started his career in The Man Friday in Kinsale under Peter Barry in 1972 and moved to Dublin in 1977. He then spent four years in le Coq Hardi and a further eight years in the Bon Appetit before opening his own restaurant in July 1989 with his wife Sallyanne.

Derry and l'Ecrivain have been awarded many accolades over the past twenty years, including a Michelin Star which was awarded in 2003.

Derry completed his time as Commissioner General at EuroToques, but remains actively involved with Eurotoque, and is also a member of the Restaurants Association of Ireland since 1989.

Derry promotes the use of Organic Food & Non Genetically Modified Foods.

Derry's food ethos is simple. He uses the finest of fresh local produce; he believes that a good dish can only be produced when each & every ingredient used for the dish is of the highest of quality. This is why he spends so much time sourcing his ingredients. He likes using smaller organic and artisan producers, and is very keen on the promotion of indigenous products. Derry believes in keeping food simple. He will not use more than four flavours on the one dish.

Derry and Sallyanne are constantly up-grading and changing everything at l'Ecrivain Restaurant to ensure they are offering the very best of Food, Wines and Service at all times.

Roast crispy duck with orange and star anise

Serving a whole duck at the table looks very impressive. Carve at the table by first removing the legs, then carving the breast. Orange and star anise really works with duck.

. 4 oranges
. 1 bunch thyme
. 1 duck ( 1.5- 2 kg)
. 2 tablespoons sea salt
. 65g brown sugar
. 100ml red wine vinegar
. 1 tablespoon star anise
. 2 cups gravy ( stock cube or granules will do fine)

1. Zest and squeeze the oranges, retaining the husks
2. Put the husks of orange and the thyme into the cavity of the duck
3. Rub the sea salt into the skin
4. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Place duck on a wire rack in a deep roasting tray and roast in the oven for about 1 ½ hours.
5. Leave the rest for 10 min before carving.

For the sauce
Heat the sugar in a sauce pan until it forms a brown caramel
2. Add the vinegar and simmer over a low heat
3. When the mixture starts to caramelise, add the orange juice, star anise and gravy
4. Simmer until the sauce reaches the desired thickness, then strain, season and add the orange zest.

Pears poached in port wine

The pears in this dish take on a lovely rich burgundy colour. The cinnamon makes it quite a wintery dessert. Serve warm or cold, either is delicious.

. 6 firm, green, slightly under -ripe pears with stalks
. 120g caster suger
. 280ml red wine
. 140ml port
. 8 star anise
. 2 cinnamon sticks
. 2 vanilla beans
. Zest of 1 lemon or 1 orange

1. Peel the pears and take a thin slice off the bottom of each so that you can stand it upright
2. Place the pears Into a high-sided saucepan that will hold them tightly, it should not be deep enough for them to float.
3. Put all the other ingredients into the saucepan and top up with water to reach just below the pear stalks.
4. Bring to the boil, cover with a lid and reduce the heat to a simmer.
5. Poach for 30-45 minutes, or until the pears are tender. How long this takes will depend on their variety and ripeness
6. Leave to cool slighty, then carefully remove the pears to a shallow dish.
7. Bring the syrup to the boil again and reduce until it is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon.
8. Allow the syrup to cool and pour it over the pears.
9. Chill. Spooning the syrup over the pears from time to time