Homemade smoked salmon. Served with sliced onions, capers, black pepper and a generous squeeze of lemon, it wants nothing more; it disappeared like the dew on a morning rose. It went down very well with a Clare Valley white wine: Pike’s riesling.
Next appetiser was home-cured duck prosciutto; this was made with Barbary duck and came out even better than my previous attempt. The cheese is pecorino, which I cannot pretend to have made also.
To complete the full calorific broadside the main meal was home-made duck confit served with garlicky-rosemary roast potatoes. At the risk of boasting to the point of enthusiasm, this was simply the best confit de canard I have ever eaten: restaurant ones are always smaller, usually over-salty and never as juicy. This time I made two, one for each diner, but next time I will make a batch to lay down. There is also the possibility of making one of my favourite winter-foods of all time, cassoulet – so we shall see.
The main dish was helped down with a green salad, dressed with what I would consider the Holy Mother of all salad dressings: the duck jelly that settles at the bottom of the confit pot, which solidifies in the cold and can be scraped away with a spoon. It is pure concentrated duck essence, heavy in collagen and umami and not unlike the Japanese fish dish called nikogori, although that is made with bones and skin of skate or ray.