Anyway, as we had just seen off Christmas and its excesses, there was no going out for fancy meals or even to the pub for a pint, due to the severe lack of anything other than coppers in our wallets. So I roped in my long-suffering work colleagues to help me plan a celebration on a budget.
Fabulously, Blythe's cupboard seems to contain the most brilliant selection of stuff, and I ended up with not only the most lurid card with hearts on I've ever seen, but also a big posh tin of two confit duck legs for dinner. Donations of champagne and wine, a branded poncho, a packet of Percy Pigs and a (possibly) broken hanging basket holder from the rest of my superb office and I had very full, if a little eclectic, bag of pressies to take home.
So, with massive amounts of thanks to my brilliant colleagues and a root around in my kitchen cupboards, here's our special anniversary dinner on a budget.
Confit duck with bean and black pudding cassolet
|George started quacking at this point.|
Saute a chopped leek (or onion) with 4 cloves of garlic and a couple of chopped up slices of black pudding in a saucepan for 5 minutes. Add cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper and some thyme before adding 4 chopped tomatoes. Continue cooking until the tomatoes have warmed through (this helps them break down) before throwing in the contents of a tin of butter beans and a tin of flagolet beans, including the water. Season thoroughly (lots of black pepper to cut through the black pudding) and cook for 20-25 minutes until some of the liquid has evaporated and the black pudding has crumbled through the dish.
In the meantime, take two sauteed duck legs (if you want to saute them yourself, it's basically a matter of cooking them very very slowly for 4-6 hours covered in duck fat with some herbs, salt and bay leaves) and pan fry fatty side down for 15 minutes on a low heat. Cover them with foil to ensure the meat on the other side warms through for the last 5 minutes.
Light candles, serve and enjoy with champagne!