By Danielle French

The Best First Lunch Ever

How exciting! I’m excited. We have a new chef and I think we are in for a wonderful season, especially if today is an indication. Chef Kevin McKenna whipped up a spontaneous lunch of homemade tacos with a cranberry and blood orange pico de gallo (salsa) and smoked duck. Smoked duck is a bit decadent and not something everyone has on hand (I accidentally had it in the fridge…) but really anything could be used instead if you wanted a meat option: sliced chicken or shredded pork, thin strips of beef. Blood oranges this time of year are in the stores and are a colourful and flavourful addition to a salad or garnish for a vegetable side dish. Chef McKenna used what was in our pantry and refrigerator which was not too much at the moment, and served Christine and me the most delicious lunch. Omitting the duck it was fully a lovely #CFF (Christine Friendly Food) gluten free and vegan.

It was fresh, full of flavour so simple and seasonal. The fresh cranberries were a great touch, with the lime and onion they did not have the bitter and puckering effect one might think. The taco toppings could have been made with anything, the tacos themselves had a real corn flavour and tasted a bit like the fire they were cooked on.

I’ve been wanting to make tacos for one of our events, outside either in the pizza oven or on a cast iron pan on a burner nearby. I am imagining a taco party or even appetizers of one bite tacos with a delicious pile of brisket or fresh vegetable salsa. I’m not going to lie, the dough has been hard to master, that correct portion of water to corn flour making the dough pliable enough so it won’t stick. We may not have the mastering down yet but the result is worth another try.

South Pond Farms (SPF) Smoked Duck Taco
Cranberry Blood Orange Pico De Gallo

1 Smoked duck breast- thinly sliced
½ C Fresh cranberries- chopped in half
½ C Flat leaf parsley – washed & picked
¼ Red onion thinly sliced and chopped
½ Jalapeño- split and seeded
1 Lime
2tsp South Pond Chocolate Chilli Salt
1 Blood orange – peeled and sliced
2-3Tbsp Oil – sunflower or personal preference

1 Package of Instant Corn Masa Tortilla Mix
(make as per instructions-about 16)

Sour Cream / Goat Yogurt – optional
(nice accompaniment is Chef’s pickled wild leeks – a very delicious treat)


Chef made the tortillas in a hot cast iron pan over our wood fired cook stove with no oil turning turning after about 1 minute on each side. A regular pan over a regular stove works perfectly.

While making tortilla’s in large pan, add jalapeño and red onion to dry sauce pan to char. In a bowl, add cranberries, parsley, blood orange, juice of the lime, SPF Salt, and oil to mix. Chop charred jalapeño and red onion to mix. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Assemble and enjoy
Chef’s pickled wild leeks. Yum.

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Danielle French - Ash Naylor Photography

About Danielle

Looking for a simpler way of life for her four daughters and herself, Danielle moved from Toronto to this farm in the Bethany Hills of Southern Ontario, and over time together with her family and her partner Shawn, restored the barn, the iconic heritage silo and the land.

Danielle loves to create unique settings and menus for the many events she offers at South Pond Farms, such as authentic farm-to-table gatherings, bread-making workshops, culinary classes, and weddings. Danielle’s vision is to inspire others to share her vision of a traditional life and way of cooking and to feel the sense of history on this beautiful land.  

Danielle was also the host of a television series called Taste of the Country

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