Recently I found myself at the London location of the first Spanish restaurant that won awards back in the 1970's and early 1980's.
'Dulcinea' was run by Luis Benavides Barajas and if you lived or worked in London in the days of the maxi dress and flared jeans, this was the restaurant to go to if you wanted a taste of Spain.
Luis had many regular customers, including the stars of stage, screen and the recording studio. One such regular back then was Tom Jones. The ever popular singer would come to Dulcinea after he had completed a stage show where young women threw their underwear on stage.
Luis tells me: "Tom Jones wanted the same meal, at the same table, on every visit. Duck with Orange sauce. Today that might not be considered a classic Spanish meal. It fell out of favour a few years ago and people often think it is more a French meal.
"But I can tell you that back in the 1970's, duck with orange sauce was in demand. Especially in England at a time when restaurants serving food from abroad were much fewer in number than they are today."
Tom Jones will be pleased to know that, today in Spain, it's not unusual to see his favourite meal on a menu.
Here is a recipe for the classic Pato a la Naranja.
- 1 duck, weighing about 2 kilos
- 250 ml of freshly squeezed orange juice
- 125 ml of white wine
- 1 teaspoon of honey
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- Two and a half tablespoons of brandy
- Salt and pepper
- Orange slices to garnish
Wash and dry the duck. Rub with salt and pepper. Prick the breast and legs several times.
Place on the rack of the roasting pan and cook in a preheated oven at 200 Celsius or gas mark 6 for around one hour.
Halfway through the cooking time, turn the duck over, and the coat with olive oil every 10 minutes.
Take the roasted duck out of the oven and keep warm on a serving plate.
Pour the meat juices through a sieve, discard the fat, and bring to a boil with the orange juice and white wine.
Stir in the honey and brandy, and allow the sauce to thicken.
Season with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the duck and serve.