If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands. Douglas Adams

Mister Adams may not be entirely right. I searched for two weeks for duck breasts. I had jar of Verlaque Burnt Seville Orange Preserve and I was determined to recreate a meal I’d once eaten at Catharina’s Restaurant at Steenberg Wine Estate in Cape Town. Duck a la orange was going to be on the menu for Tandy’s long-awaited visit to my home, come hell or high water. I phoned every butcher I knew. No duck breasts. I searched all the good supermarkets and delis. No duck breasts. I did discover a lone whole bird in the frozen section at a shop and eyed it with serious misgivings; a previous attempt at roasting a whole duck hadn’t ended well.  Still determined, I brought it home.


(Sous sent me these ‘glass markers’, very handy to identify whose glass is whose, for my birthday in January.) 

I pottered about in the kitchen happily chatting to my Capetonian friend, we opened some wine and toasted Sous Chef, laughingly remembering our February visit together in Cape Town. Side View joined us and I served the starters; I’d made smoked salmon parcels stuffed with Pesto Princess flavoured cream cheese. The girls thought my ‘whales’ hilarious; They definitely don’t look like fish, Tandy and Sidey said, you should ask your readers what they think these things look like. Hmphf! See my little whale moulds, what do you think?


My duck emerged from the oven very pretty and smelling good enough to eat. What a disappointment to find the meat wild and stringy and really tasting nothing like duck. We concluded that it must have been in that freezer for quite a few years.

Still, my guests were polite and we simply agreed to not mention ducks, ever again. My Black Forest Trifles saved the day, thank heavens and we proceeded to enjoy another bottle of wine and chat around the kitchen table until we couldn’t keep our eyes open.


It was a very special evening, with two very special friends and my weekend is ending with, yet again, great gratitude for my good fortune.

In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out.  It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being.  We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.  Albert Schweitzer



  1. A pity about the duck, but the trifle looks divine. After that, your guest probably didn’t even think about their main meal again.

    Love the wine glass jewelery!

  2. Your meal looks divine – pity the duck didn’t quite live up the expectation. I definitely need a “burst into flame” experience! Don’t know what it is with me lately… At times I feel a little like your salmon whale stranded on the lettuce beach of life 😦

  3. Where to start?

    Your ducks do look like whales but that’s okay, I’ve got nothing against whales. Or ducks, for that matter.

    Love the glass markers.

    I once had duck a l’orange which tasted more like orange a l’aduck to my teenage tongue. Yuk.

    We’ve had duck for Christmas dinner and found it fatty and tasteless.

    The food looks fabulous, as always.

  4. This looks delish! Well, i finally decided to start blogging again…here! But eish, i need some time to figure the wordpress puppy out *eek*

    have a lovely day Cindy

  5. There is a saying that says there is no such thing as luck – we make our own. You are ‘lucky’ to have wonderful friends, because you are a good friend – that’s not luck – that is your reward for being the wonderful person you are.
    Very hungry now!!!

  6. Your dessert looks delightful. Friendship is deeper than duck breast. Ha! You’ll all forget that disappointing duck, but friendship remains to be enjoyed again and again. Blessings to you, Cindy…

  7. Yes, that does look like whale… 🙂 this is so funny 🙂
    I don’t know why it looks so appetizing looking like whale though 🙂

  8. That dessert looks divine amica mia. Giving me some inspiration to make something sweet. Have a super day (whats left of it)
    Much love

  9. God your readers are all so polite, that it not a whale, it’s phallic! Himself agreed 🙂
    Glad you are using the wine glass shoes, thanks for raising a toast to me.

  10. A quacking good post!
    Duck is one of my favourite dishes – properly done. The occasions on which it has been properly done are, alas, very few. Usually that crisp, delicious outside and firm but munchable inside siply oozing flavour – don’t happen.

  11. You’ll look back and laugh everytime about the duck! Dessert looks great! Friday I made a cheese cake for a friends get together…handed the plate to her, all abound with strawberries and cream,looking divine! Turned and with a scream it landed on the ground, she was in tears…I turn and said laugh!Better on the floor and not our hips! A memorable moment! x

  12. Hi Cindy — the food looks wonderful — at first I wasn’t sure what the pink thing was — thought it might be pickled ginger rolled up — then read on and, yes, they certainly look whale-like — the dessert looked to die for, and well, with wine, you just can’t go wrong. Regardless of how the duck turned out it appears you and your two very lucky guests had a great time. I miss keeping up with you daily — hopefully, I’ll be able to visit more often, soon. I love to see what you prepare and present — always challenges me to put a bit more effort into what I do in the kitchen. Cheers!

  13. Whales do spring to mind. Bad luck about the duck. Madness that you can’t get any in JHB. You might have to do a ‘Rick Stein’ food heroes trip into the midlands, Cin. There used to be a butcher in Hyde Park that sold game, wild birds and fresh duck (but that was many moons ago). He would go on holiday without notice – just shut up shop with a handwritten sign the door! Yummy dessert. Having a dinner party Saturday, so those might be a good option if it’s warm, or chocolate souffles if it’s not 🙂

  14. I’ve never been successful with duck, but the choc trifle looks divine and would have made up for it I’m sure. … I think more like a dolphin? Anyway, sounds like a great evening!

  15. That sounds delicious!!! Sorry about the duck! Next time ask the chinese restaurant where they get theirs? (Or is that a no-go?)
    Dessert looks awesome- think you should post that recipe?

    • Very easy:
      Crumbled chocolate cake, layered with sour cherry preserves. Pour a generous glug of pink port over. Top with whipped cream and garnished with a Griottine (or other cherry pickled in booze).

  16. Okay, I think it does look like a whale, but not sure it would if I you hadn’t already said so.

    Re: Duck story. Put me in mind of Julia Child. She once said that if a dish didn’t turn out right to change the name. Hence we have had blacked kibby (a Lebanese meatloaf not usually served blackend), twice-stringed chicken, chili-billy Turkey, and cherry double-crisp. Would thrice-stringed duck do? Or is that doo. Shucks! 🙂

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