The big change

My dear spoonglish readers (all ten of you), please get excited about the big change. Like my friend Yera would say, "you aren't so excited about it because you don't know how it's going to be".  I don't either, to be honest, but I am SO excited. Yesterday, I purchased a Canon Rebel T2i and it is going to arrive here today

I am a total beginner, level negative one, on SLR photography. My dad gave me his 1980 film SLR Canon last year and after shooting a couple rolls of film with pretty bad results, I put it in a drawer and forgot about it. I have been, however, a big photography fan for a long time. Besides using common point and shoot cameras and then a little Photoshop to make the pictures look better, I also take pictures with plastic toy cameras. Now you are thinking that I am another hipster that bought a Lomo at Urban Outfitters and think I am very cool because of that. You can think whatever you want. Anyway, at digital SLR photography I am a complete beginner, but I am determined to learn fast. It can't be that hard, right? Nowadays those expensive gadgets do everything for you (I hope). So from now on, expect the pictures on this site to be so much better and hopefully Photoshop free.

However, today I have a recipe that I made last Tuesday, with pictures taken with Scott's camera and then photoshopped by myself (this is when I decided I needed an SLR).I made duck breast. Why? Because on Monday, when we landed in DC, we went straight to the grocery store and I saw these duck breasts looking at me and saying "Buy me, buy me!". So I bought them. That's how I roll. Then I had to cook them and I had no recipe. And who is there always to give me yummy recipes? Bon Appétit. I know, always Bon Appétit. I am sorry . I promise that this is going to change. So I found a recipe, I bought the ingredients, I cooked it, I took some terrible pictures of it, we ate it, I edited the pictures and told myself that I needed a better camera, I bought a new camera, and now I am writing about it.

I changed the recipe a little bit. I made more quantity of sauce, because it just looked so delicious to me that I wanted more. Also, the original recipe called for orange blossom honey. I am not the kind of person who has one honey from each type of flower. However, I am the kind of person who has orange blossom water. So I mixed honey with a little bit of orange blossom water and I had my own version of orange blossom honey. As you probably don't have orange blossom water, just use regular honey and I am sure it will be OK.

I am also the kind of person who doesn't like not having a side dish with an entrée. So I had to think of something that goes good with duck. Potatoes! Great, I had some new red and yellow potatoes. So I cut them in half and tossed them in a bowl with olive oil, salt, pepper and some mint flakes, and then roasted them in the oven for 20 minutes. Great side dish!  But wait, two sides are better than one. So I also made a plain salad with just some baby mixed greens, sherry vinegar and olive oil.

Duck Breast with Cherries and Port Sauce
Serves 2. Adapted from Bon Appétit.

2 duck breasts
2 tbsp of chilled butter,divided
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 cup/140 ml chicken stock
20 halved pitted cherries (fresh or thawed)
4 tbsp tawny Port
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp orange blossom water (Optional. If used, mix with the honey)

Pound the duck breasts until they are 1/2-3/4 inch (about 1.5 cm) thick. On the skin side, score skin on a diamond pattern without cutting the meat. Season with salt and pepper. 

On a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of butter and sear breasts, skin side down, for about 5 minutes, until golden brown. Turn them over, reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 more minutes or to desired doneness. Take them to a plate and cover with foil. 

Remove all  but 1 tbsp of drippings from the pan. Add shallot and stir over medium heat for one minute, until softened. Add port, cherries, chicken stock and honey. Increase the heat and keep stirring until the sauce is reduced, about 5 to 7 minutes. Whisk in 1 tablespoon of butter to thicken the sauce.Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Finally, thinly slice the breasts. Arrange each one on a plate and pour the sauce over them. Serve with potatoes, salad or any other side you like.


  1. nice choice mixing orangle blossom water and honey, though the taste isn't even close to the orange blossom honey. But... that's creativity, and cooking has lots of creativity anecdotes. congratulations!