"Ummm, I'm sorry. It's just that I want different things now, and you can't deliver them. Things like a happy, healthy upbringing and fresh air and independence are important to me. It's not you, it's me. There's just others in my life right now."
"Others, plural? You're three-timing me?"
"Hmmm, you could say that."
And so I skulked back into the house to a dinner of pheasant & pear sausages with roasted butternut squash and buttery curly kale. And the Tesco delivery man got back into his van and drove away.
So let me tell you about my two new lovers ...
The first I've waxed lyrical about before. Farm Direct - a new business in Islington which links the farmers (the same farmers who sell their produce at the Islington Farmers' Market) outside of London to Islington residents. You can order your produce online and either pick it up or have it delivered on the weekend.
My second new love, is a great new business I've discovered in the last few weeks. Hubbub deliveries is a local service for Islington residents (& a little further afield) that delivers great produce from local boutique food stores to your door.
Whilst Farm Direct's aim is to link North Londoners with 20 local farms (obviously outside of London), Hubbub is about connecting people to their local, independent shops and so supporting the places that locals love to visit but don't always get a chance to visit. The Islington stores currently part of Hubbub are Frank Godfrey butchers, Saponara Italian deli, La Fromagerie, Bumblebee Natural Foods, Ottolenghi and, the most recent addition, Paul A Young Fine Chocolates. On Fridays, fresh seafood is available from Christchurch Fish Co-operative.
I first discovered Hubbub because I needed duck for supper club. When I tested the recipe, a friend picked me up a duck from Borough Market and I deboned it myself, before stuffing and rolling it. I enjoyed doing the butchery myself, however it took me about 40 minutes to do one duck, and as I needed 4 ducks for supper club, it was just going to take me too long. I came across Hubbub on the internet, and emailed them to see if Frank Godfrey butchers could supply deboned ducks, and I got an email straight back the next morning. The service provided by Hubbub is brilliant and I particularly like their website which is very user friendly.
I've been using produce from both Farm Direct and Hubbub Deliveries for supper clubs and will definitely continue to source food from both businesses as much as possible.
I guess Mr Tesco man and I will catch up, maybe once a month, when I run out of tablets for the dishwasher or need more soap. Oh well, it's no skin off my nose.
Roasted duck with amaretti stuffing
Here's the duck recipe by the way - it comes from Tobie Puttock's book, Daily Italian. I have no photos of the cooked duck because I was too busy trying to plate up for 18 people, but here's what one of our lovely guests thought & photographed.
Either debone the duck yourself, or ask your butcher to debone and butterfly your duck. You'll need a duck weighing approximately 2kg to feed 4-5 people. I used about half the required amount of stuffing, because I don't like to have too much stuffing relative to duck meat. The recipe below is for the full amount.
I also didn't use the red wine in the stuffing but added an extra egg instead. I also made a sauce with the duck juices, Madeira and stock, oh and of course butter.
2kg duck, boned and butterflied; 100g pork mince; 100g chicken livers, finely chopped; handful of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped; 5 amaretti biscuits, crushed (mine came from the Italian deli, via Hubbub); 1/2 quantity breadcrumbs (see recipe below); 1 egg lightly beaten; 2T freshly grated Parmesan cheese; 2T rosemary, finely chopped; 2T extra virgin olive oil; sea salt; freshly ground black pepper; fine grained salt; 250ml red wine
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C/400 degrees F.
Mix the pork, livers, parsley, biscuits, breadcrumbs, egg, parmesan, rosemary and extra virgin olive oil - mix well (I use my hands) and season with S&P.
Lay the duck spread eagled, skin side down, and place the stuffing down the middle of the duck. You then basically just wrap the duck around the stuffing and tie it together with cooking string, to make a log shape.
Place the duck in a roasting pan, rub the skin with fine grained salt. Cook in the oven for about 1.5 hours, basting with the juices every now and then.
I stuffed my ducks several hours before hand, but only salted the skin at the last minute. My oven is particularly hot, so it took me about 1 hour 20/25 minutes to cook 4 ducks.
I served my ducks with buttery sauteed cavolo nero (from Farm Direct), sliced potatoes oven roasted in olive oil and very finely chopped rosemary and garlic, and a salad of gorgeous blood oranges & peppery rocket (both from Bumblebee via Hubbub).
Breadcrumbs - this makes about 250g. For the duck recipe you need half of this if following the quantities set out above.
1 loaf ciabatta bread, torn into small pieces; 1T rosemary, finely chopped; 1t dried chilli; 3T olive oil; sea salt; freshly ground black pepper
Spread the bread pieces in baking trays. Cover with rosemary and dried chilli then drizzle with olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Bake in oven (220 degrees C/430 degreed F) until golden and then blitz in a wizz (or you could grind in a mortar & pestle).
I keep the leftover breadcrumbs in an airtight containder in the fridge.