Friends reunited…

April 2, 2010

One of my regular commenters is my old friend Gabby, an ex-Brightonian who now lives with her husband in Hokkaido, in northern Japan. (Okay, officially she’s my little sister’s old friend, but I’ve managed to elbow in on her too.)

She’s most definitely a fellow lover of good food, and my posts often torment her with reminders of dishes from back home. So, when she told me she was coming over to England for a couple of weeks, I had to get her round for dinner.

In the end, I actually decided to cook not a British meal, but a dish I discovered in Claudia Roden’s A New Book Of Middle Eastern Food, which has become a real favourite of mine – duck with pomegranate and walnut sauce.

I’d bought a bottle of pomegranate molasses in Istanbul last year, and found this recipe when I was trawling through all my cookbooks to find out how to use it. I’ve made it a number of time with chicken, but this is the first time with duck.

The meat is cooked long and slow, and the resulting sauce is rich, gamey and sweet. It deserves to be well savoured, so on the side I made a couple of simple dishes – a delicate saffron rice, and slow-cooked courgettes with garlic and parsley, which is from a recipe by Skye Gyngell of Petersham Nurseries.

Although it wasn’t British, the flavours of the meal were still a long way from what Gabby generally eats in Japan, which is what she likes when she comes over here. Judging by the empty plates, I think she enjoyed her short trip to the Middle East via south London!