Foodies Blog

Scottish festive cooking with a touch of oriental spice

The season of indulgence is well and truly upon us. With Edinburgh’s Christmas lights up in all their splendour – and villages, towns and cities across the country rolling out their festive menus it’s time to turn your attention to seasonal home cooking that’s bound to impress.

Chef Barry is the energetic and culinary genius behind Edinburgh based event caterers; Cater Edinburgh.

Catering to all of your private home dining needs for the winter season and beyond, you can catch Barry cooking live in the Hoover Chefs Theatre on Sunday 24th November at 3pm.

If you’re in Edinburgh over the weekend this is one not to be missed. Don’t forget you can enjoy 50% off tickets with code XMAS50 and that includes VIP tickets. For now, here’s a VIP ready recipe from Barry that will have your guests carolling your praises.

Orange and chilli glazed duck with roast sprouts and candied walnuts

Orange and  chilli glazed duck with roasted brussel sprouts, fennel, thyme, carrot and candied walnuts –  This is a moreish dish with loads of festive flavours – tangy orange, sweet nuts, savoury sprouts, aromatic fennel and tender juicy duck meat all combine to create a Christmas dish with loads of character and even better it’s one you can create pretty quickly in under an hour, add big bowls of crispy roast potatoes to serve on the side and you have a hearty festive feast!


Serves 4

2 x Gressingham duck breasts

 3 x large fresh oranges zested and juiced

 2 x finely diced red chillies

 400g of peeled and halved Brussels sprouts

 50g castor sugar and another 75g of castor sugar

 1 clove of crushed garlic

1 medium sized bulb of fresh fennel

 Two sprigs of fresh thyme

 75ml of pineapple juice

Heaped teaspoon of corn flour

20g of cubed cold butter

 100g of whole walnuts

3 medium peeled and chopped carrots

2 finely diced banana shallots

1 vegetable or chicken stock cube

 Vegetable oil

 Rock salt and pepper

½ a fresh lemon

Olive oil



First of all begin by preparing the sweet crispy nuts that will give this dish a great texture contrast to the tender duck meat, in a sauce pan add 125ml of cold water and 75g of the castor sugar and bring up to a  gentle simmer, over the next ten minutes dip your walnuts in and out of the bubbling liquor 30 seconds at a time, the caramel process with begin and after ten minutes your walnuts will be sticky and very hot! Lift them out carefully and  let them cool for a few minutes and then in a frying pan heat 15ml of vegetable oil and add the sticky nuts and fry off for a few minutes, lift them out the pan carefully, discard any oil and let them sit on a tray to crisp up and cool, these are now done.

Finely slice as thin as you can your bulb of fennel, trimming out the fibrous stalk, place the thin ribbons of raw fennel into some cold water with a squeeze of lemon

Make you carrot puree by placing your carrots and diced shallot in a pan, soften gently for a few minutes in a little oil and then just cover with a light vegetable or chicken stock, simmer for 25 minutes with some greaseproof paper pressed down on top to as a lid, remove from heat and puree this in a food processor, for extra silk puree pass this mix again through a sieve, heat gently in a pan shortly before serving

Next get your duck breasts out of the fridge and place skin side down on a clean chopping board, rub your chopped garlic and a little rock salt over the meat side and a splash of olive oil and massage in, turn your duck over and score a few neat lines into the skin side, not so deep you touch the meat, your are simply scoring the thick skin,  now cut each duck breast in half width ways, this creates four portions now (a duck breast is large and rich, half a breast is plenty for one person) leave the duck now to one side to come up to room temperature

Prepare the sprouts, run a knife around the tapered part of the sprout to trim it and allow the first couple of outer leaves to fall off, then simply cut the sprouts in half neatly, in a frying pan heat some olive oil and fry the flat side of the sprout for a couple of minutes to make a nice pan charred effect and lift them onto an oven tray and put to one side

Next you want to make the sauce/glaze for the duck breast begin by adding the zest and the juice from the oranges into a pan and adding the pineapple juice and diced fresh chilli, bring up to a simmer and add the remaining castor sugar you weighed out earlier, simmer until it has reduced by one third and then add your heaped teaspoon of corn flour to  10ml of cold water and make a paste with your finger, whisk this into the bubbling orange sauce and it will thicken and look glossy, let it cook for a couple of minutes more then drop the cubed butter over the top and leave to one side

Now cook the duck breast, in a cold non-stick frying pan ( this way helps render the fat correctly) place your duck breasts skin side down and start to heat the pan, as the pan heats up your scored duck breasts will render and the fat will melt away but let them cook off without moving or turning them in a pan for at least five minutes, this process will be end when you peak under and see the skin all crispy rendered down and golden, next turn the duck breast over and let cook in the hot oil (duck breasts release much oil as they cook) and cook for another 2-3 minutes and now place them on a tray with the sprouts and place in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees for another 2-3 minutes, take the duck breast out and cover with clean tea towel and let them rest.

Finally heat the sauce gently whisking in the butter as it heats back up and a splash of cold water if it’s too thick, drain the water off the fennel, keep cooking the sprouts for another few minutes whilst the duck rests. You are now ready for plating, cut each duck half breast in half again and you’ll see a lovely pink centre and crispy outer, layer the fennel over the plate, add your roast sprouts and drizzle some of the glaze over this, next add your duck pieces and candied nuts and garnish with a few thyme flowers and then drizzle over the remaining sweet and sticky sauce, season as you wish and serve immediately.

Grab your tickets to see Simon cook live in the Hoover Chefs Theatre at Foodies Festival Christmas in Edinburgh this winter.

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