I love to eat good roast duck and served this way, with apples and flaming Somerset cider brandy, it will make a stunning and showy centrepiece to any festive meal. Somerset cider brandy is available from ciderbrandy.co.uk.
2 good-quality oven-ready ducks weighing about 1.5kg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2-3 apples, core removed and cut into 6 wedges each
100ml Somerset cider brandy
Preheat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7. Heat a roasting tray in the oven for about 10 minutes or so.
Season the ducks and place in the tray with the breasts down and roast for about 30 minutes, draining off any fat as they are cooking (you can keep this for your potatoes).
Turn the oven down to 200C/gas mark 6 and continue cooking the duck for another 30 minutes, adding the apples after 45 minutes and basting the duck and apples as they are cooking.
Insert a skewer or the point of a knife into the leg joint and if the juices run clear then the duck is cooked – if not, return it to the oven for another 15 minutes or so. To serve, transfer the duck and apples to an ovenproof table dish, draining off any excess fat. Return to the oven for 10 minutes, or heat on the stove top. Heat the cider brandy in a small saucepan, take it to the table with the duck, set light to the cider brandy with a match and pour over the duck. Leave the flames to settle then joint and carve the duck.