Oysters with champagne sauce
125ml (1/2 cup) champagne or sparkling white wine
1 French shallot (eschalot), finely chopped
125ml (1/2 cup) thickened cream
Freshly ground white pepper
Rock salt, to serve
12 (1 dozen) natural oysters (such as Sydney rock oysters), in the half shell
Chopped fresh chives, to serve
Place the champagne and shallot in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 3-5 minutes or until reduced by half. Add the cream and season with white pepper. Simmer for 3-4 minutes or until reduced by half and the sauce is thick and creamy.
Preheat grill on high. Scatter rock salt over the base of 2 small heatproof serving dishes. Arrange the oysters on the rock salt. Pour the cream mixture evenly among the oysters. Cook under grill for 1-2 minutes or until golden. Set aside for 2 minutes to cool slightly. Sprinkle with chives to serve.
Duck legs braised in pinot noir
1/2 onion, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 cup (250ml) pinot noir
Zest and juice of 2 oranges
2 bay leaves
4 duck marylands (see note)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup (80ml) demiglaze (see note)
8 eschalots, peeled
20g unsalted butter
1 tablespoon caster sugar
Steamed peas and creamy mashed potato, to serve
Place onion, carrot, celery and garlic in a heavy-based saucepan with pinot, port, orange zest and juice, and bay leaves. Bring to the boil, then remove from heat and set aside to cool. Pour over duck legs in a bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat the oven to 150°C.
Drain the duck legs, reserving the marinade and vegetables separately. Pat duck dry with paper towel. Heat oil in a large ovenproof frypan over medium heat. Fry the duck legs for 2-3 minutes each side until golden all over. Remove duck from pan and set aside, then drain all but 1 tablespoon of fat.
Place the reserved vegetables in the frypan and cook for 3-4 minutes until golden. Add reserved marinade, demiglaze and 1 cup (250ml) water and bring to the boil. Add the duck legs and cover with a round piece of baking paper to keep in the moisture, then cover with a lid or foil. Place in the oven and cook for 2 hours or until the duck is tender. Remove the pan from the oven and strain the cooking liquid through a fine sieve into a saucepan. Place the liquid over medium heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes until mixture has reduced to a thick sauce.
Meanwhile, cook the eschalots in a small saucepan of lightly salted water over medium-low heat for 3-5 minutes until tender. Drain well and pat dry with paper towel. Heat butter in a small-heavy based frypan over medium-low heat. Add the eschalots and swirl pan to coat in butter. Sprinkle with the sugar and cook, swirling the pan occasionally, for 3-5 minutes until golden.
Serve the duck with the peas, mashed potato and caramelised eschalots.
Strawberries in cointreau
250g (1 punnet) strawberries, washed, hulled, halved
2 tablespoons Cointreau liqueur
60g good-quality dark chocolate
3 tablespoons double thick cream
Place the strawberries and Cointreau in a medium bowl and stir until well combined. Cover and place in the fridge for 1-2 hours to macerate.
Run a vegetable peeler to peel along the long edge of the block of chocolate to make chocolate curls. Set aside until serving.
To serve, spoon the strawberry mixture into serving bowls. Top with cream and chocolate curls.