By Claire McPherson

Our Chef Russell has recently been treating us all to what we like to call ‘development’. Basically, this involves our hard working Chef doing a serious amount of brainstorming and experimenting, with a touch of beer guzzling thrown in for good measure. Then comes the hard part – the poor souls at HQ must sample these wares and feedback to Chef. Generally it sounds a lot like a stampede, followed by a Herbal Essences advert and one resounding negative – Why isn’t there more?!

Recently we have been working on the concept of Afternoon Tea, and on Sunday 7th December we hosted the inaugural I&G Tea with sweet and savoury beer-riddled treats a plenty. The resounding favourite was definitely the confit duck & cranberry sausage roll, with a side of beer brown sauce. This also seemed to entice out our guests’ inner bakers as almost everyone asked us for the recipe – and who are we to deny you? And second to the sausage roll was our Irish Fruit Loaf, a dense and sticky fruit loaf laced with our Irish Whisky Finish stout.

Happy Baking.

Confit Duck & Cranberry Sausage Roll
serves 6

3 duck legs                                  500g duck fat (or enough to fully cover the legs)
75g dried cranberries                    2 eggs
1 roll of puff pastry


Sprinkle duck legs with a layer of coarse salt, turn and cover other side. Set aside for a minimum of six hours in the fridge - 12 is optimum.This step cures the meat, drawing out the water and massively improving the flavour & texture of your confit.
Submerge duck legs in duck fat in a deep pan or casserole dish, cover with foil and cook in oven at 120 degrees for 3-4 hours. Check regularly after 3 and remove from oven when the meat pulls easily away from the bone.
Allow to rest until at a manageable temperature then remove the legs from the duck fat and pick meat from the bones. Add chopped cranberries if desired.
Lay four layers of cling film on a clean surface.  Roughly shape the duck meat into a sausage shape on the cling film.
Tightly roll the duck sausage in the clingfilm ideally about 6-7cm in diameter.  Twist the ends to exclude the air and form the shape. Chill in the fridge for 30mins.
On a floured surface, roll out 1/3 of the pastry to 3-4mm.
Unwrap the duck and place on the pastry.  Make sure you have a few cm of pastry around the sides. Brush the pastry with egg yolk.
Roll the remaining 2/3 of pastry to the same thickness.  Place over the duck, excluding any air as you go. Crimp with a fork around the edge.
Brush the whole sausage roll with egg yolk.  Chill (uncovered) for 15 minutes.  Brush with another layer of egg yolk and sprinkle with sea salt.
Lightly score with the back of a knife.  Bake in the oven for around 30 minutes – the pastry should be golden and well risen. Rest for 5-10 minutes before carving. 
Top Tip: Chop some rosemary and the zest of an orange through the salt for your cure for a festive flavour injection.


Innis & Gunn Brown Sauce...

1 white onion, diced                      80g dried apricots
80g prunes                                      60g dates
100g brown sugar                          220g malt vinegar
35g Worcester sauce                     330ml bottle I&G Original
1 tbsp black treacle                       200g chopped tomatoes
1 apple, peeled and grated. 


Sweat the onion in a little oil for 5 minutes until softened.  
Add all of the other ingredients, bring to the boil, simmer gently for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. 
If the mix gets too dry and starts to catch, add a little water.  
Tip everything into a blender and blend for 2-3 minutes, or until smooth and glossy.  
Serve hot or cold. Keep refrigerated in an airtight container. The flavour will continue to improve with age, and is at it’s best after around 10 days.

Irish Fruit Loaf
serves 8

The rich chocolatey character of our Irish Whiskey Finish make it ideal for baking, adding a depth of flavour to cakes, which beautifully complements the huge quantity of fruit we are using here. Russell’s take on a traditional loaf takes us all back to Sunday lunch at Granny’s house – a thick slice toasted and buttered is an easy indulgence to keep you cosy this winter.

200g chopped dried apricots          200g chopped dates
100g soft brown sugar                  25g mixed spice
2 eggs                                         300ml Irish Whiskey Finish
100g self raising white flour           100g wholemeal flour
1tbsp Baking powder


Heat the fruit and beer together on the hob until hot – do not allow to boil. Set aside and allow to cool.
Preheat the oven to 165°C and grease a medium sized loaf tin with butter.
Add the fruit mixture to the remaining ingredients and mix well.
Pour mixture in to loaf , bake at 165°C for around 70 minutes. Loaf should be firm to touch.
Once removed from oven, warm 200g of golden syrup and pour over loaf while still in the cake tin. The loaf will suck this up and it will give a sweet chewy crust – delicious.



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