Crispy Benenden Duck

(serves 2 people for a feast or 4 people for a taste)

Duck à l’orange is a real favourite, but it takes quite a long time to prepare the sauce properly. Why not try this easy alternative that will impress your friends just as much.

Most of the duck available in the shops today is domestic rather than wild.

Domestic duck has been bred to be meatier than its wild cousin. However both have big frames and a high fat content. If you have never cooked duck before don’t be misled into thinking that it will serve a lot of people. The duck will diminish in size, as the fat melts during cooking. When you carve the duck you will be surprised to find how little meat and how much bone there is. Had my mother been given this advice she would not have served one duck for a dinner party of 8 guests, a meal that neither she nor her guests will forget!

Duck may be low on quantity of meat but it sure makes up for it in flavour.

You will need :

  • 1 plump duck
  • 4 tblsp Benenden Sauce
  • Salt & pepper

Crispy Benenden Duck

It is really important to get rid of all the fat and get a crispy skin. You can only do that if you prepare properly. Wash the duck and then pat dry with some kitchen roll. Prick the skin of the duck all over using a skewer. This means pricking the underside as well. Sprinkle the duck with salt and pepper and rub into skin. Place in a deep baking tray and pop into a hot oven 220°C/425°F/gas mark 7 for 20 mins.

Do not add any cooking fat, as the duck will produce it. The baking tray should be deep because so much fat can be produced, that you risk spilling it all over you and the floor when you take it out of the oven. After 20 mins reduce oven temperature to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 for a further 2 hours. From time to time drain some of the fat away. (Duck fat is excellent for roasting potatoes and parsnips: store it in the fridge until needed).

At the end of cooking time place duck on wooden board and quarter, (if serving 4), or halve (if serving 2). I find it easier to use a sharp pair of kitchen scissors rather than a knife. Pour Benenden Sauce over the duck and let it rest for 5 mins.

Serve with mashed potato and green beans.


Corn on the Cob (serves 4 people)

  • 4 corn on the cob
  • 2 oz melted butter
  • Benenden Sauce
  • Salt and pepper

Corn on the cob
Corn on the Cob (serves 4 people)

Remove the outer leaves and silky threads from the cobs. Plunge in boiling salted water for about 10 minutes. You can test if the cobs are ready by piercing the kernels with a fork or skewer. Drain, pop on serving plates, and put skewers or forks into each end of the cobs. Cover with the melted butter. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Then liberally pour over Benenden Sauce. You will find that the melted butter and Benenden Sauce dribbles down over your chin, and that little bits of yellow kernels get stuck between your teeth, but it is well worth the experience. Do it with friends


Warm Stir-fried Chicken Salad

For a fast and tasty summer meal you can substitute any of the ingredients depending on what’s in your store cupboard and what you feel like. This is a great dish to cook in front of your guests as the sounds and smells of stir-fried foods are quite irresistible. The important thing is that you prepare all the ingredients in advance, put them in little bowls, and then toss them into the wok in order of cooking times.

Chicken Salad

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 spring onions diagonally sliced
  • 2 large carrots cut into julienne strips
  • 8oz/225g lamb’s lettuce
  • 2tblsp Benenden Sauce (or to taste)
  • 1 tblsp sunflower oil
  • 4oz/110g bean sprouts
  • Handful of unsalted cashew nuts
  • Salt & pepper


First of all prepare your ingredients, and as you do so put them in six separate bowls. Cut the chicken into thin strips, removing any fat or gristle.

Wash, drain and slice the spring onions and the carrots. Measure the oil, bean sprouts and cashew nuts. Now put the bowls in order of use i.e. sunflower oil, chicken, spring onion, bean sprouts, carrot and finally cashew nuts.

Ten minutes before you want to eat, wash and dry the lamb’s lettuce and put on a serving plate. Heat the oil in a wok over a high flame. When hot add the chicken and stir-fry the chicken for 3-4 minutes. Throw in the spring onions, give a stir around and then add the bean sprouts and the carrots.

Stir-fry for another minute and then tip in the cashew nuts. Season to taste and then remove from the heat. Pour over 2 tblsp Benenden Sauce, give the stir-fry a final toss and then pour onto lamb’s lettuce. Serve immediately.


Tricolor Pasta Twists with Bacon

(serves 2 people)

Tricolour Pasta

There are many wonderful pastas on the market these days. Apart from the huge variety of shapes, there are multicoloured pastas that make a welcome change to the plain variety. Tomatoes are used to colour the pasta red, and spinach to colour it green. Don’t be put off if you don’t like the taste of either tomato or spinach, even the fussiest of children who hate both will eat this pasta with gusto!

  • 8oz (225g) tricolour pasta twists
  • 2 tblsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Benenden Sauce
  • 4 rashers lean bacon
  • 2 tblsp olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper

Bring a pan of salted water to the boil. Add the pasta and cook for 8- 10 minutes. Add 1 tblsp of olive oil to the pasta whilst it’s cooking as this helps to stop it sticking together.

Meanwhile cut the rind off the bacon and then chop it into bite size pieces. Heat 1 tblsp of olive oil in a frying pan and fry the bacon until golden brown and slightly crispy. Grate the Parmesan cheese using the fine side of your cheese grater. When the pasta is ready, drain and then tip the pasta into a warm serving dish. Drizzle liberally with Benenden Sauce; add the crispy bacon, season with salt and freshly grated black pepper and toss. Finally, sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the top and serve immediately.

Serve with a side salad, warm French crusty bread straight from the oven, and a chilled bottle of Chablis.