Du.u.u u ck…

duck_orange_0009Duck breasts in marinade

I have a habit of forgetting a particular word. I can’t tell you what that particular word is as I’ve forgotten it but it serves to define the emotions we feel when fondly remembering earlier moments in our lives…I haven’t really nailed that down, so I’m hoping that I’ll remember the word sooner than later. What I was remembering, fondly, was the era of Duck à l’Orange; an era when Duck in Orange Sauce would not have communicated the intended sophistication of the dish to a public who were newly accustomed to going “abroad” for their hols whilst still being firmly entrenched in a previous mindset when Canard à l’Orange might be that bit too foreign and best avoided…if only they had duck on the menu.

( I still can’t remember the fucking word, and I’ve been to the doctor’s since I started writing this which means that I’ve had plenty of time in the waiting room to reflect and it’s still a blank).

I have a very good book, by Simon Hopkinson, which covers the recipes of this era and is aptly called “The Prawn Cocktail Years” but it was not from that treasure trove that I uncovered this uncomplicated little jewel. On second thoughts, I never uncovered it at all; it was uncovered for me, from under the upholstered cover of a well thumbed copy of Stephane Reynaud’s “Ripailles”, by the good friends with whom we had lunch last Sunday. Got it…nostalgia….I was quite close at the doctor’s surgery when I saw a notice about neuralgia and on second thoughts nostalgia does not have to include fondness or thanks for the memory. Now I can clearly state that I never get nostalgic about Duck à l’Orange as all my memories of it, prior to the discovery of the recipe that I have just touched on, are of a repellent, sticky dish of marmalade and poultry.


In time to come I may well feel nostalgic for the moment that I happened upon this short, simple and successful recipe. Before you launch into this recipe I should mention that I made a couple of changes that worked …for me. I only used two duck breasts ( which, as you can see, were a good size and which fed 4 people) and two large oranges: the zest from one and the juice from one and a half. The remaining half was to be used for segments but I ate it so omitted the segments. You’ll see that M. Reynaud stipulates 200ml of soy which amount I more than halved (50ml). I whisked a great deal more butter into the sauce…quite a lot more. The result was very good. On reflection, mine’s a completely different recipe…..:)

Duck a l'orange

The duck was accompanied by peas and potatoes roasted in duck fat.


About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
This entry was posted in 2015, Cookery Writers, Cooking, Cuisine bourgeoise, Digital photography, Duck, duck a l'orange, food, Food and Photography, Food photographer, France, Fruit, Humour, Memory, oranges, Photographic Prints, Photography, photography course, Poultry, Recipes, Simon Hopkinson, Stephane Reynaud, Uncategorized, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Du.u.u u ck…

  1. Those roast potatoes look divine.. I cannot resist well roasted potatoes. I have a problem like that but with names. in fact I have been know to rename (label) people because I routinely forget their names. Nostalgia? c

    On Mon, Mar 16, 2015 at 10:43 AM, Food, Photography & France wrote:

    > Food,Photography & France posted: ” I have a habit of forgetting a > particular word. I can’t tell you what that particular word is as I’ve > forgotten it but it serves to define the emotions we feel when fondly > remembering earlier moments in our lives…I haven’t really nailed that > down, s”

  2. bizzyella says:

    Potatoes in duck fat. Oh, so tempting…

    Rosebud? Proust’s madeleine? Those are both specific things that recall an idealized past but maybe that’s what you’re going for.

  3. I like Your recipe. I like your food.

  4. Duck and things roasted in duck fat…………gosh, I’m hungry. Did you ever remember the word?

  5. Mad Dog says:

    I’ve forgotten what I was going to say… 🙂
    Nice duck B.T.W.

  6. You’ve inspired me. Though I love to eat duck, I’ve never made it. I’m definitely going to try this.

    • I’m glad …you won’t regret it. On another duck not, one of my food memories of London is eating duck and greens in any of the small Chinese cafes( I can’t think of a better word as they’re not restaurants in the way that I think of restaurants)…:)

  7. suej says:

    And remember Duck Fat does not make a good spoonerism…..

  8. Ooh yes….you make me feel nostalgic for the 80s type dining just before nouvelle cuisine really kicked in!

  9. Nostalgia or no nostalgia that just looks effing delicious.
    Ripailles is one of my all time faves. Any thing thats based on a recipe from that book is bound to be decent 😁

  10. platedujour says:

    It’s one of my favorites! Last year in Alsace I bought it in a jar- it was heaven! These pictures make me wanna go back there!

  11. Francesca says:

    Nostalgia mixed with a touch of melancholy,throw in a cup of retro flashbacks, some simple Chinese sauce and a good bit of duck! I am pleased to see the inclusion of that wonderful Anglo Saxon word again- it has been absent in your recent posts.

  12. Eha says:

    Oh I still remember serving prawn cocktails and duck in orange sauce smugly thinking ‘I was clever, oh so clever’ 🙂 ! About ‘nostalgia’ – do not acknowledge the word: memory banks too full of the incoming . . .

  13. Sally says:

    The steam rising from those duck breasts in the pan is wafting it’s way into my nostrils… I’m sure of it. That has to be why my mouth is watering. I just hit the stumble button in my browser by accident and it took me to a page on buzzfeed called 32 Of The Most Beautiful Words In The English Language. Nostalgia has to be one of them doesn’t it?

  14. Gorgeous, Roger. Perfectly crisp fat on those ducklings. I am nostalgic for days when people were not afraid to uses a little (or a lot) of duck fat..!

  15. ardysez says:

    Looks delicious, reads incredibly close to home…forgetting words, starting with one recipe, finishing with another. Great read, thanks.

  16. Michelle says:

    Steve says he’ll never be able to tell for sure when my mind really goes, because since a very young age I’ve often struggled at the most surprising times for the most simple words for things. (Which sometimes turns cooking dinner into a game of charades.) I do know for sure that those potatoes and duck breasts look divine.

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