It’s never too chocolate for love
The Dunbrody House’s star chef, Kevin Dundon, shares his favourite recipes
THIS week is all about Valentine’s Day and two simple dishes which won’t take you all day to prepare, yet are very tasty and perfect for a romantic dinner. The first recipe is a delicious, seared duck breast. This is all about control of the heat when cooking the duck. Too hot and the skin will overcook and burn. Too low and the skin will take too long to crisp up and the meat will be overcooked. Here’s how to perfect it every time you cook it. Firstly, make sure the duck breast is at room temperature. Secondly, criss-cross the skin to allow excess fat to run and the skin to crisp up without curling. Thirdly, start on a cold pan, with a medium/low heat and remove excess fat. My second recipe is a chocolate dessert to share. It is important to use good quality dark chocolate to get strong flavours. If you are not a fan of oranges, use raspberries or chocolate sauce instead. Have a great Valentine’s Day! Happy cooking, Kevin
ORANGE CHOCOLATE AND ALMOND CAKE
Ingredients (serves 4):
■ 125g dark chocolate
■ 125g butter, cut into cubes
■ 4 eggs, separated
■ 125g caster sugar
■ 125g ground almond
■ 2 tbsp confit orange peel
■ Zest of ½ orange
■ 2 tbsp pistachio, chopped, optional
■ Confit orange slices to decorate
1. Preheat the oven to 160C.
2. Grease and line a 20cm or 8in loose bottom round cake tin with baking parchment.
3. Place the chocolate and the butter in a glass bowl set on a saucepan of simmering water over low heat, stirring until smooth. When melted, remove the bowl from the saucepan.
4. In a second bowl, combine the egg yolk with half of the caster sugar until light and pale in texture.
5. Fold in the ground almond, orange peel, orange zest and pistachios, then the warm chocolate. In the meantime, in a third bowl, whisk the egg whites to a soft peak, slowly adding the rest of the caster sugar until a light meringue has formed.
6. Now fold the egg white meringue very gently in the chocolate mixture.
7. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin, smooth over the top and place in the oven. Bake for 40 minutes or until the top appears dry and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.
8. Remove from the oven and let cool completely in the tin.
9. Decorate with some confit orange slices. Serve with lightly whipped cream
SEARED DUCK BREAST WITH WILDWOOD BALSAMIC SAUCE
Ingredients (serves 4):
■ 2 tbsp sea salt
■ 4 duck breasts, skin scored
■ 4 shallots, chopped
■ 2 garlic cloves, chopped
■ 1 sprig rosemary
■ 50ml Wildwood wild elderberry
and star anise balsamic vinegar
■ 50ml apple juice or vegetable stock
■ 40g butter, diced
■ 200g balsamic glazed carrot
■ 200g creamy mashed potatoes
■ Salt and pepper to season
1. Prepare the duck by trimming each duck breast and scoring the fat. Rub some sea salt into the scored skin.
2. Place the duck breasts in a small sauté pan, skin side down, without any added fat. Cook for 8-12 minutes on a medium/low heat.
3. Drain the excess fat into a small container as you cook to allow the skin to crisp up.
4. Once the duck breasts are cooked to your liking, transfer onto a plate and cover with tin foil to keep warm until needed.
5. For the sauce, remove any excess fat from the pan then add the shallots and garlic. Cook for 30 seconds or so, then add the apple juice and balsamic vinegar.
6. Simmer for 2 minutes or so to allow the sauce to concentrate in flavour. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Check the seasoning at this stage of the cooking.
7. Put the duck breasts back onto the pan and baste them with the sauce. Now remove the breasts and place them onto a board. Carve ahead of serving if desired.
8. Serve the duck with some glazed carrots and creamy mashed potatoes.
9. Drizzle the sauce over and enjoy while hot.
TOP TIP: A SWEET TREAT FOR YOUR LOVED ONE (OR YOURSELF) THIS VALENTINE’S DAY
Luxury chocolate brand Bean and Goose is the ideal gift for Valentine’s Day — I mean, who doesn’t love a sweet treat?
Sisters and founders, Karen and Natalie Keane, based in Co Wexford, use only the finest, single origin beans from around the world and the results are simply divine.
Their Crazy in Love Collection Gift Box (€22) is the perfect way for chocoholics to treat themselves or their loved one tomorrow. Check out beanandgoose.ie.
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