There it was - a whole duck for quite a reasonable price. And seeing as I'm a impulsive shopper and had never cooked a duck before, I couldn't pass op the opportunity to load Senor Quack into my shopping cart.
And I must admit I felt quite smug in the few days after the purchase and leading up to the actual roasting of the duck. Because I would be cooking a d.u.c.k. Not everyone cooks ducks you know. Obviously I've reached some sort of culinary enlightenment if I could roast a duck. Right? WRONG. Oh so wrong. Well, perhaps if I didn't screw it up it would have been a bit more of a cooking trophy. As it is, it was more of a catas-trophe.
Okay to be fair, it wasn't all bad. The flavour was pretty good - I followed the instructions on the duck's wrapping which suggested citrusy, gingery flavourings, so I mixed some orange juice with honey and ginger and basted the duck with it. And poured the rest of the marinade around the duck.
Problemo numero uno was my supersmall, and I mean tiny, oven. It really wasn't meant for a whole duck. Duck pieces, perhaps. But a whole duck? That was a bit of a stretch. But nevertheless I didn't let that put me off. It barely fit into the oven together with its pan and covering (another pan - yes I probably should've read the instructions that required some sort of cover, but I didn't and that was the only thing I had at hand).
What the instructions however didn't mention was that I had to shove my hand up the ducks arse and remove its innards. Oy vey. Having never roasted a whole chicken, never mind a duck, I wasn't quite au fait with the whole idea and so assumed that since no mention of it was made on the packaging, it was probably already removed.
And so into the oven my duck went. Baked for 2 hours, covered and then for 30 minutes uncovered. By which time Senor Quack had given off an obscene amount of fat. Seriously, do you know how much fat a duck contains? Which then has the effect of the poor duck ending up swimming in a pool of fat - not an enticing sight. So I decided that the best course of action would be to put the offending duck, together with its gallons of fat, into the fridge and let it stay overnight. And the next day I could then just scoop off the hardened fat. Easy, right?
Easy indeed. But please don't make the mistake of then returning the duck to the oven at full-tilt to heat it up (because you're in a hurry to get to your dance-class). Because Senor Quack will not be able to handle the heat and will end up with a nasty burn. And we do know how ageing those tend to be...
With the burn however, I could deal. With the innards peeking out from beneath their plastic covering (thank heavens for plastic coverings!) as I sliced open the duck I most certainly could not deal.
At that stage you can just do one thing - look at your partner in crime (in my case - TheHusband) and laugh.
PS: We did end up eating the duck (sans innards), which didn't end up tasting bad at all, but boy oh boy was it a mission carving that thing up! For these reasons, I doubt whether I'll be buying a whole duck again. I'll buy duck portions. Like a sane person.