making something good

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duck tenders in apricot and white wine sauce

making something good

Well after that last marathon of a post I’ve taken a few days breather and now for the catch up…

I’ve been on a bit of a high this week. My work was well received at writer’s group and I’m still buzzing, just a little. Having been encouraged about the beginning of my book I’ve made lots of progress in continuing to edit. It’s very exciting to discover, after working on something for a long time, that it’s actually good.

I also started another short story yesterday. It’s a novel idea but I’m going to try the opening as a short story. The advantage of short stories and poems is that they get finished faster! Or as I read earlier today, in a quote put up on twitter:

“I decided to write short stories because they got rejected quicker.” ~ Caroline B. Cooney

In other news, Louis (2) is sleeping in a bed, as opposed to a cot.

A wee man in a big bed.

Potty training has taken a little pause in progress, but he has cut two canine teeth and sleeps in his bed without a problem, so ups and downs. He’ll hardly eat a thing and we’re getting more tantrums than calories but this is the terrible twos, I suppose.

Elena (8 months today!) is so close to crawling and not a little frustrated. She’s sitting. She’s eating. She’s bouncing, giggling… lovely.  No teeth yet, just threats. Brilliant timing on the sleeps – she’ll be out to it most of the time Louis is awake and then she wakes up just when he goes to sleep. So no naps for me. But they both sleep right through the night, so I can’t really complain.

I am a bit tired though. Last night we had pizza delivered for dinner and did the grocery shop online. Brilliant and lazy and hurrah for that. And for the leftover slice for lunch today.

I’m hosting a coffee group/play group this morning so we’ve done tidying and laundry and baking… My variation on the Edmonds basic biscuits recipe:

Edmonds basic biscuit recipe with smarties and chunks of chocolate

Here’s the Edmonds recipe:

125g butter, 3/4 cup sugar, 1 tsp vanilla essence, 1 egg, 2 cups flour, 1 tsp baking powder…

And here’s my bit:

… and as much chocolate/candy as you fancy (to the point where there isn’t enough dough to hold it together)

Cream your butter & sugar then add vanilla and egg. Beat some more then add flour and baking powder. Mix till doughy and then add chocolate, etc.

Ball up, squash and bake at 190°C for 15 minutes or so (shorter if you make smaller biscuits, I suppose)

Voila!

Actually I made up/adapted another recipe recently. Luuk occasionally gets adventurous in the meat department when he does the groceries and a couple of times now he’s bought home ‘aiguillettes de canard’ or duck tenders, if you’re thinking close chicken equivalents…

Anyway, I googled recipes for them and found that they’re often cooked with fruit. I had a jar of apricot conserves that has been using up space in the peanut butter shelf so I wanted to use that.

duck tenders in apricot and white wine sauce

And this is what I came up with:

Sautee lots of fine-chopped garlic and shallots in butter, then add sliced capsicum, seasonings and apricot compote (probably about a cup-full!)

Leave that to simmer and thicken and make the rice up with stock, or ‘bouillon rice’ as it’s known, apparently.

I sliced the courgettes and shook them up in a bag with oil, salt and pepper, and ‘persilade’ which is garlic salt and parsley, I think… so very haute cuisine, I know. They went under the grill and when I turned them over I added some cherry tomatoes and put it all back in.

I added a cup of white wine, or so, to the apricot sauce and did a little dish juggle (rice into a bowl, apricot sauce into the saucepan the rice had been in, and that freed up the fry pan for the duck… all to save dishes).

The duck only needs a gentle fry up or grill, not too much, but cooked through. Once it was near-done I poured the now-reduced apricot sauce over and plated up the rice and vegetables. The apricotty, garlicky, winey aiguillettes de canard went on last and were trés délécieux! If I do say so myself…

So there it is. If you can’t get duck at a reasonable price I’m sure chicken would be fine. I’ll definitely be making that one again!

I was meant to do french homework this morning but as the email never arrived (the one telling us what to do for homework) I’m hoping I get away with it. It’s time for another coffee and guests to arrive.