JUNE is promising to be a pretty hectic month for a whole host of reasons in the Pern household, so much so, in fact, that it would be almost possible to pass over the 20th anniversary of my arrival at The Star Inn at Harome.

However, never one to miss the opportunity for a party, I am rising to the challenge with a group of "old friends" of The Star with a celebration lunch, which will probably go on well into the evening.

At busy times like these, it pays to have either plenty of staff, as fortunately I do, or some great recipes that can be prepared in advance, but still have plenty of "wow" factor.

My recipes this month both fit the bill and are perfect for a summertime lunch. Here’s to the next 20 years.

Home-cured Loose Birds Duck Ham with Roast Peaches, Candied Fennel, Old Yorke and Garden Herbs, Yorkshire Relish (serves four)


For the duck ham (a ready-smoked duck breast could be substituted as an alternative):

1 duck breast (180g approx)

900g seasalt

2g ground coriander seeds

2g ground fennel seeds

2g freshly ground black pepper

225ml white wine vinegar

For the roast peaches:

1 slightly under-ripe peach

15g caster sugar

For the candied fennel:

1 bulb of fennel, cut into 1cm slices

150ml lemon juice

150ml rapeseed oil

150ml white wine

A pinch of saffron

A pinch of sea salt

For the Yorkshire relish:

1 apple

½ onion

Zest and juice of 1 orange

1 tomato

50g brown sugar

35ml white wine vinegar

½ tsp mixed ground spice

To serve:

200g ‘Olde York’ Cheese, cut into 2.5cm cubes

Garden herbs, salad leaves, freshly picked dandelion leaves


To prepare the duck ham, rinse and dry the duck breast. In an earthenware or plastic container large enough to take the breast, pour in the salt to make a bed around 2.5cm deep. Place the breast on the salt and cover with another 2.5cm layer of salt. Cover the dish with clingfilm and refrigerate for 24-36 hours depending on thickness.

Combine the coriander, fennel and pepper together. Unwrap the duck breast and use the vinegar to rinse the salt from the breast, then rinse under cold running water. Pat the breast completely dry and coat all over with the spice mixture. Wrap the coated breast in cheesecloth and knot the cloth at both ends.

Hang the breast in the refrigerator (or other cool aerated space) to cure until it feels firm but not dry. This will take about two weeks, but varies especially if the breast is thinner or smaller. You should check regularly after the first week. When ready to serve, cut the breast into about 16 1cm thick slices longways.

To make the relish, first peel the orange and cut the peel into julienne strips removing all the white. Roughly chop the peeled onion, apple and tomato, then place in a pan with the vinegar, sugar and spice. Juice the left-over orange and add to the pan as well. Cook on a low heat for about an hour, until syrupy, cool, then blitz in a food processor until smooth. Warm before serving.

To prepare the fennel, pour the lemon, oil and wine into a pan and bring to the boil. Drop in the fennel slices, cover and reduce to a simmer for about five minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Store in an airtight continue until required for use.

To roast the peach, wash and dry the fruit, but do not peel. Cut into quarters (or sixths depending upon size) and remove the stone. Sprinkle sugar over one side of the flesh, then using a blow torch, caramelise the sugar coating on the peach. Allow the peach to cool.

To assemble, arrange four slices of the duck ham onto each plate with slices of peach. Spoon over the Yorkshire relish, then place slices of the fennel on the top. Scatter over the cheese and garden herbs and serve immediately.


This is a lovely, simple summer pudding, great for a long, lazy lunch as it can all be done up beforehand. The creamy, white custard, speckled with fresh vanilla seeds and the sharp, jammy compote of warmed blackcurrants spooned on the top is delicious, when eaten, as you receive a bit of each which is a lovely contrast of almost sweet and sour – and great colours into the bargain.

Fresh Vanilla ‘Pot’ with Compôte of Local Blackcurrants (serves four)


Vanilla Pot

1 litre cream

110g caster sugar

12 egg yolks

2 vanilla pods

5ml vanilla essence


Split the vanilla pod lengthways, scrape all the seeds out and place in a pan with the cream and vanilla essence. Heat gently on the stove top. Mix the sugar and the egg yolks. When the cream has warmed, pour a little into the egg, then pour all the egg back into the cream. Mix thoroughly, strain the mixture and then pour into little pots enough to serve one, and bake in a Bain Marie at 110°C/Gas Mark 1/2 for 50 minutes until just set or slightly wobbly in the centre. Use as required.

Compote of Blackcurrants


200g blackcurrants

80g sugar

25ml Cassis


Place all ingredients in a pan, and heat until the sugar has melted. The fruit should be whole and not broken down.