Sometimes I wonder how chef's come up with flavour combinations. Do they have the Issac Newton moment when an apple falls out of a tree smacking them plainly in the face?, or do they purposefully set out to challenge our traditional take on flavour unions? I'm not exactly sure how Jacques Reymond thought of putting mango and turnip together, but let me tell you it was a stroke of genius! I really didn't think that my favourite part of this dish would be the combination of the sweet juicy mango with the soft but tender turnip. And to be brutally honest, that is the only aspect of this entire dish that I will probably be making again. Before yesterday I had no idea that there was more than one use for a turnip, the first being a implement to throw at your partner when they eat the last piece of chocolate in the pantry.
I totally failed with the pickeled wombok (aka a Chinese cabbage that sounds strangely like a small furry animal). I don't know if I read the recipe wrong, or I totally missed the point, but I followed every step and at the end of it I was left with slightly damp crisp cabbage. I stared at it for a little while, kinda hoping it would magically turn into the right thing, but 20 minutes later and nothing. So I got frustrated and just wilted the whole lot in a hot pan, I may have committed a culinary sin, but in the end I wasn't exactly overcome with a taste sensation, so I'm not too upset that I got it wrong.
The other thing that I really liked about this dish was the orange and lemon sauce. I really enjoyed the fragrant star anise and szechuan pepper in the sauce, and I thought that the whole thing came together really well, who would have thought that orange and duck were a match made in heaven!!! The French may be onto something here. Once again though, the big spoiler was the limp, drab tasting cabbage. I strongly recommend making the rest of the dish and leave out the accompanying pickled cabbage. Maybe just steam some crunchy string beans, or better yet just save your stomach for a huge serving of dessert. Speaking of dessert, onto my last challenge in the Jacques Reymond 3 course dinner. Stay tuned for the sugar high!