Of course, what I am presenting here is a modern recipe, but it still owes a little to its antecedent from almost 2000 years ago.
Roast Breast of Duck with Spiced PlumsServes: 4
Ingredients:450g (1 lb) baby new potatoes
4 duck breasts (with skin)
25g (1 oz) unsalted butter
225g (8 oz) Victoria plums
50g (2 oz) unrefined brown sugar
4 tbsp red wine
1/2 tsp freshly-grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 tbsp double cream
1 tbsp English mustard (the hot kind)
1 tbsp chives, chopped
salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
Method:Peel and quarter the potatoes. Bring a pan of salted water to a boil. Add the potato pieces and cook for about 10 minutes, or until just tender.
Score the skin side of the duck in a criss-cross pattern. Season well with salt and black pepper. Heat a frying pan and add the duck breasts, skin side down. Dry fry for about 4 minutes, or until the breasts have begun to brown. Turn over and fry until coloured on the other side.
Remove the duck breasts from the pan at this point and arrange on a baking tray. Transfer to an oven pre-heated to 200ºC (400ºF, Gas Mark 6) and roast for 12 minutes (rare) or 15 minutes (medium rare).
In the meantime, melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan. Stone and quarter the plums and add to the pan. Cook for about 3 minutes then scatter over the sugar, red wine, nutmeg and cinnamon. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer the mixture until the liquid has started to thicken.
Drain the potatoes and place back in the pan. Add the cream and stir in the mustard. Scatter over the chives and toss to coat the potatoes. Season well and allow to bubble for 2 minutes to heat through.
When cooked, allow the duck breasts to rest for 5 minutes. Slice the breasts then arrange on warmed serving plates with the potatoes and plums. Serve immediately.