March 14, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — ros @ 4:40 pm

Early last term, I had come home from school late. Goon was away visiting his family in Leeds and so, due to the fact that I live in a slightly rough area, I was cautious entering the house and double locked the door behind me before taking off my bag and shoes.

Suddenly, from the direction of the living room came a flash of movement and before I knew what was happening, I saw an intruder coming towards me. The shock sent me running backwards. I fell over my rucksack, smacked my head against the letterbox and, in my attempt to steady myself, ripped the electric doorbell off the door. My assailant stopped two feet away from me, considered me with her head tilted at an angle for a second and then sat down and started licking her right paw.

“Wh-what the hell…? ” I whispered. The intruder looked at me, then affectionately rubbed her head up against my arm. “How the hell did you get in here? We’re on the third floor! There’s nothing outside that window but a 20 foot drop!” I got up, rubbed the new bump on the back of my head and tried to salvage the squashed shopping inside my rucksack. The trespassing cat wandered around the living room then started nibbling our rosemary plant. “Stop it, stupid cat! That’s mine!” I said indignantly. I tried to shoo it away from my herbs but the cat just looked at me, then licked my shin. I could sense this would be a difficult guest to get rid of.

I was right. The problem is this cat is unbearably cute. It’s pretty, friendly and charmingly gormless. No wonder Goon loves it. they’re a match made in heaven. The first time I introduced them it was a matter of seconds before our feline friend had charmed Goon into lying on the stairs while tickling its tummy.

This cat fills a place in Goon’s life no woman could ever hope to. Never before has anyone sat patiently for hours, listening to Goon’s descriptions of his latest tactics in the on line role playing game of the moment or the relative benefits of various brands of computer hardware. never before has Goon had a head resting on his knee with which to share his favourite episodes of Stargate Atlantis.

Despite the fact the cat has an irritating tendency to get under my feet and walk on my keyboard when I’m trying to work, I like it being around. It makes Goon happy and that keeps him quiet. The only thing that bothered me about the cat was the fact it appeared to be a vegetarian. How is that natural!? A vegetarian cat?! It, in its first two months of its visits the cat refused anything I gave to it. It only seemed interested in the rosemary bush. Then, a few weeks ago, we found its weakness.

Due to Goon spending all his time finishing his degree and not doing any work as he used to, we’re a little short on cash. However I occasionally treat us and, with it being half term, I’d decided to go to Borough where I picked up a wild mallard amongst other things. I was intending that, during the short break from school, I would learn at least one new cooking technique, so the mallard would be roasted and served on a potato rosti with a beetroot, thyme and orange sauce and some wilted chard.

All was well and good. That was until I’d just served up and, having taken pictures of the meal for the blog, I came into the living toom to find Goon and that bloody cat on the sofa with Goon feeding it chunks of, not entirely cheap, mallard 

The cat ended up outside.  Goon ended up wearing half a pan of beetroot and orange  jus.  

Roasted Wild Mallard on Potato Rosti with Wilted Chard and a Beetroot and Orange Jus



Serves two (no cats allowed)

  • 1 large wild mallard
  • butter ( about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 medium beetroot, peeled and cut into  very small cubes
  • 1 small glass fruity red wine
  • the zest and juice of half an orange
  • four or five thyme sprigs
  • four or five rosemary sprigs
  • 10 shallots, peeled and halved
  • two handfuls of rainbow chard 
  • the ingredients for potato rosti as descried in the link below
  1. Potato rosti can be made as described here.
  2. Wash and pat dry the mallard. rub softened butter over its skin and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put half a small onion inside its cavity and some rosemary sprigs.
  3. Roast the mallard on gas mark 7 for 35 minutes. Rest for at least fifteen minutes before serving.
  4. In the mean time, use a food processor to puree the beetroot. Strain the juice into a saucepan
  5. Add the thyme  and a few chunks of orange zest and simmer gently for 10 minutes.
  6. Remove the thyme sprigs and zest and add the shallots. Turn up the heat to a gentle bubble, add the wine and cook until the shallots are tender and the sauce has thickened to a yrupy consistency. Add a squeeze of orange juice. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  7. Wash the chard thoroughly then wilt it in hot water for a couple of minutes. Drain and toss in butter.
  8. Serve slices of mallard breast on top of the rosti. Arrange the now very purple shallots around the duck and drizzle over the sauce. Garnish thyme and serve the wilted chard on the side.


  1. Ha! We have similar troubles with food/feeding animals in our house

    Love that duck


    Comment by Joanna — March 14, 2008 @ 5:52 pm

  2. Oh my! You must have had the fright of your life! I hope the bump goes away quickly.

    Comment by Toffeeapple — March 15, 2008 @ 8:00 pm

  3. Oh Ros I can’t imagine the fright you must have had! Funnily enough my cat Tinkerbell was adopted in much the same way (minus the breaking and entering haha). She used to come running up the road to our house when we got home and one time we let her in because she seemed to be even more starved of attention than usual. From that point on we’d let her in and feed her once in a while, and eventually she started coming over more and more often. This process soon became part of our routine and before we knew it we’d essentially taken her on as a full-time pet. We knew her owners and so out of politeness we had a word with them. They were more than happy to let her live with us on the basis that she was clearly happier there. Tinks has been with us for many many years now and I couldn’t imagine life without her (although she’s now getting to that age when sadly you have to start thinking about eventualities).

    I’m well into the idea of beetroot and orange with duck, as soon as I saw this post I just thought that’s got you written all over it. I hope Hackney is life treating you well.

    Comment by Trig — March 17, 2008 @ 11:07 pm

  4. I want to be a cat in your house!

    Comment by Charlotte — March 19, 2008 @ 7:02 pm

  5. That cat looks like a big softy - as well as being a cat who knows what it likes… Mallard, indeed!

    Comment by aforkfulofspaghetti — March 20, 2008 @ 3:29 pm

  6. I’ve been reading your blog for about three months
    I love your down to earth approach to honest good cooking.
    That Goon sounds wacky :)
    Is he single?

    Comment by Tina Currie — March 21, 2008 @ 8:00 pm

  7. Is it me, or does anyone smell a rat lurking in that last comment?

    It’s confirmed, a subsequent two posts under different names from the same address have appeared. These year 9s aren’t too good at disguising their false posts, are they?

    Comment by ros — March 23, 2008 @ 5:15 pm

  8. Bah!

    For such a short period of time it seemed that someone other than Pudding Tins (the cat) appreciated me.

    My feelings were smashed by the revelation that the admirer was infact one of Ros’ students :(

    Comment by Andy Millar — March 23, 2008 @ 5:20 pm

  9. Firstly, the cat is NOT CALLED PUDDING TINS! I would not allow an animal with such a stupid name into my flat!

    And, yes, fourteen year old spotty boys fancy you. Well done.

    Comment by ros — March 23, 2008 @ 5:23 pm

  10. LOL!! But poor you for that cataclysmic introduction to the kitty!! I would have jumped right out of my skin… It is a lovely kitty though. and what is it wiht cats and men?? We sadly don’t have a cat but our neighbour has 5, three of which visit us so much it feels as though we do have a cat (or three). When I get home, Nick grunts hello and goes back to watching TV from his position on the couch. But when the cat comes in he LEAPS up, fetches some kitty treats, runs up and down the stairs playing with it - unbelievable!!! No chance of our moggies getting their furry chops on duck though - it’s Felix chicken chews or nothing!!

    Comment by Jeanne — April 21, 2008 @ 3:47 pm

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