I decided this week to reclaim Elizabeth David from my in laws. She had only been there a week and I was already missing her, the problem was I needed to cook a celebratory meal for my Pa's birthday and I didn't know where else to turn.
The menu was inspired by what was available locally, the butchers had a good looking duck and the mussels in Williams looked too good to miss. Therefore we started with brochette mussels. Pre cooked mussels threaded onto a kebab stick with bacon, rolled in flour, then egg, then rye breadcrumbs and pan fried in oil. These were served with a bearnaise sauce with spinach in. To follow I roasted the duck with stock added to stop him drying out, this was served a la Elizabeth with braised celery and parsnip purée. I wasn't convinced the pudding was going to be a winner and would let the meal down. When I spotted apricots in Bramley's I knew I had a couple of recipes left, there was a choice of apricots with a kind of eggy bread or apricots on croutons. I chose the latter and buttered some finally sliced shepherds loaf and placed them in a roasting tray. On these I put the halved apricots and filled their cavity with sugar and roasted the lot in the oven. The result was surprisingly tasty not too dry and great with a big dollop of yoghurt. The dollop of yoghurt made a nice change to "a knob of butter" which seems to be dominating our lives at the moment.