Monthly Archives: April 2012

Quails slow cooked a fresh Raspberry, Strawberry and Port sauce, served with Spinach and Potato mash, Snow Peas, Carrots, Asparagus and a fresh salad of Pear and Strawberry.

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I love Quails. Ok, they are not the easiest things to eat, but they are super yummy. They work with a variety of different flavors, and now that the weather is getting warmer it was the perfect occasion to couple them with fresh red berries!

When buying quails, a sign of good quality is when the head is still attached… horrible I know, it is not easy seeing the wee fellah’s head lying on the chopping board, but at least you know you are dealing with a great product.

Spring Berry Quail

Spring Berry Quail

 Ingredients (4 as a main, or 2 if you are super hungry)

  • 4 quails
  • 2 good sized hand fulls of fresh raspberries
  • 10 strawberries (including 5 for serving)
  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 1 onion
  • 1/4 cup of sweet white wine i.e. riesling
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped bacon
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1/3 glass of port
  • A knob of butter
  • 1/2 cup of kriek (cherry beer)
  • 6 asparagus spears cut into 3
  • 2 handfuls of snow peas
  • 8 baby carrots
  • 1 shallot
  • 6 potatoes
  • A bunch of baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons of cream
  • 1 tablespoon of parmesan
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 pear sliced
Fresh Quails

Fresh Quails

Method

  1. Wrap the bacon around the quails and place a bay leaf between the bacon and quail
  2. Heat a large pot until hot, add butter and brown quails
  3. Remove quails from pot
  4. Add onion, chopped bacon and white wine to the pot
  5. Simmer until soft, a few minutes
  6. Add the port, raspberries and strawberries
  7. Add the quails and kriek, cover and turn down to a slow simmer
  8. Now, bring a pot of salted water the boil
  9. Plunge the snow peas, asparagus and carrots into the boiling water for 3-4 minutes
  10. Remove and place in a bowl of icy water (this will ensure the veges keep their fresh colour) drain and place on the side
  11. Bring another pot of salted water the boil
  12. Peel and cut potatoes into quarters
  13. Boil potatoes for around 15-20 minutes until soft
  14. Just before the potatoes are cook, add the spinach leaves to the boiling potatoes, leave for 1-2 minutes then drain everything
  15. Bring a pan to hot heat, add olive oil and shallot, then toss in pre-cooked veges, toss in pan for around 4 minutes – do not over cook, they should still be a little crisp
  16. Slice strawberries and pear and place on plate
  17. Mash potatoes and spinach, adding the cream, salt and pepper, parmesan and egg yolk
  18. Remove your quails and taste the sauce, add what you think you need if anything is missing i.e. some raspberry jam if not sweet enough, salt and pepper etc.
  19. Cover the pear and Strawberry salad with sauce from the quails and dish up! This should be enjoyed with a great Bourgogne Pinot Noir

Tiger Prawn and Asparagus Curry Velouté with Infused Toasts

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It is Asparagus season. Finally! The price of asparagus plummeted, so when I was presented with a gigantic bunch, I thought why not make an entree and main based on this delicious wee vege! Here is a new take on a velouté style “soup” with a curry twist. A velouté is usually made using eggs, milk and flour, however I have swapped this more traditional style with coconut cream, which also gives that creamy texture and also thickens the velouté.

Tiger Prawn and Asparagus Curry Velouté

Tiger Prawn and Asparagus Curry Velouté

 Ingredients (serves as an entree for 2)

  • A good sized bunch of asparagus
  • 12 fresh tiger prawns (definitely not cooked first!) – leave 6 with shells on for serving, the other 6 remove the shell but keep heads
  • 1 large shallot
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 small knob of ginger
  • 1 cup of fish stock
  • 1 teaspoon of grilled sesame oil
  • I large tablespoon of Malabar Curry Powder
  • 1/3 cup of coconut cream
  • 1/3 of a baguette
  • A knob of butter
  • Salt and Pepper, of course

Method

  • Bring a pot to a high heat, add sesame oil
  • Once fragrant add the shallots, garlic and ginger and sauté until slightly soft
  • Add asparagus and sauté for another couple of minutes
  • Add the stock and simmer covered for 20 minutes, until everything is nice and tender
  • In the mean time heat a pan until hot and add the butter, add the prawn heads and whole prawns with shells
  • Slice the baguette into thin pieces and add into the pan, leave them there until the are crunchy
  • Next, purée the velouté until smooth and add the prawns with shells removed
  • Add the coconut cream and simmer with the lid of until the velouté thickens slightly
  • By this time your toasts should be crunchy and the tiger prawns nice and red!
  • Discard the prawns heads and serve with a nice glass of pinot gris!
Tiger Prawn and Asparagus Curry Velouté

Tiger Prawn and Asparagus Curry Velouté

Lettuce wrapped turkey farcie with mushrooms and bacon, accompanied by roasted carrots and fennel, radishes and a creamy leek pasta

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I am loving that in Europe turkey is considered a common meat. This dish combines a rich mix of flavors and is a perfect bridge between heavy Winter meals and fresh Summer ones! The turkey is slow cooked at base temperature to ensure the meat is served deliciously tender…

Turkey Farcie

Turkey Farcie

Ingredients (serves 2 main)

For the turkey

  • Two large drumstick slices of turkey, called in the super mark “osso bucco of turkey” (carefully remove the bone in the centre and keep it for the stock)
  • 4 large lettuce leaves
  • 1 tablespoon of dried sage
  • A knob of butter

For the Farce

  • 1 shallot
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 5 mushrooms (parisian)
  • 3 tablespoons of lardons (chopped bacon)
  • 15 cm chunk of baguette with crust removed, chopped
  • A knob of butter
  • Sprinkle of dried sage

For the Roasted fennel bulb and carrots

  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 1/2 onion
  • Sprinkle of Italian herbs
  • Dash of olive oil
  • Salt + Pepper

For the Stock

  • The light green and green part of the leek
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • The turkey bones
  • Bouquet Garni (thyme, bay leaf and parsley)
  • 500 ml Boiling water
  • 100 ml of dry white wine
  • Salt + Pepper
Other stuff
  • 4 white and purple radish (peeled and stopped out)
  • 100 ml of cream
  • A tablespoon of Parmesan
  • 10 balls of spinach fettucini

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 150°C
  2. Start with the turkey  – take the slices of turkey, now missing the bone, therefore there is an empty round section, this will be stuffed with the farce
  3. Season the meat with salt, pepper and sage, set aside
  4. Prepare the farce – sauté the shallot, garlic, and bacon for a couple of minutes, until soft
  5. Add the mushrooms and chopped baguette
  6. Sauté until the bread is browned and the mushrooms and soft
  7. Using a potato masher, mash up a little (you can use a food processor, but I prefer to have the mushrooms and bacon still a little in tact)
  8. Bring a hot of salty water to the boil and prepare a large bowl of icy water
  9. When water is boiling, place lettuce leaves in the water for a couple of minutes, until the soften, then add directly into the icy water, place of a paper towel and set aside
  10. Now, bring a pan to hot heat and add a knob of butter, brown turkey very quickly
  11. Stuff the farce into the holes, then wrap in lettuce
  12. Place in a casserole dish with a lid, place turkey in it and then in the oven
  13. Now for the fennel and carrots; slice the fennel into slices and turn the carrots (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MiLL0i5DtFw)
  14. Chop the onion and place in a bowl with carrots and fennel, add olive oil, italian herbs and salt and pepper, mix all together to make sure the veges are evenly covered
  15. Take two 30cm pieces of baking paper, place on one side, then fold over paper and turn around edges to seal, as pictured below, place in the oven
Fennel and Carrots in a Papillote

Fennel and Carrots in a Papillote

Fennel and Carrots in a Papillote

Fennel and Carrots in a Papillote

  1. Now to prepare the stock, in a hot heavy based pot, add the butter, followed by the turkey bones, leek, carrots, onion
  2. Add water and wine, plus the bouquet garni and salt and pepper, bring to the boil cover, then turn down to a simmer
  3. Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and add fettucini
  4. Don’t forget to check your meat to make sure everything is going as it should
  5. Now, add your radishes into the stock and cook in there for around 10 minutes of until soft, this will give them a great flavor
  6. By this time your stock should be starting to taste good, check if extra salt is required and when vegetables are soft, remove radishes and bones and purée the stock until smooth
  7. Now it’s time to prepare the sauce for the meat, remove the casserole from the oven, and place the turkey (gently) on a plate and cover with tin foil
  8. Taste the sauce, it should taste delicious and it won’t have much grease, as turkey is generally quite lean
  9. Add the cream and salt and pepper if need, and place back in the oven, this time with out the cover
  10. By now everything should be cooked, remove fennel and carrots from the oven
  11. Now, drain the fettucini, and place in a bowl, mix through the puréed stock and add parmesan
  12. Serve!! Enjoy with a nice glass of pinot noir!

Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons

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I have seen macaroons in many different artisan markets over here and I remember my Grandma making them when I was young, so I thought why not give them a go. They are actually very simple to make. With a chocolate twist, they make for a delicious treat!

Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons with Surprise Centre

Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons with Surprise Centre

Ingredients (makes around 20)

  • 2 large eggs (fresh is best, and not those battery hen eggs!!! at room temp)
  • 1/2 cup of white sugar
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups of desiccated coconut
  • 100gm of milk chocolate (chop 1/4 of it into small chunks)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C
  2. Line a large baking tray with baking paper
  3. In a large bowl: whisk the eggs until well beaten (yes this is the whole egg, including the yolk – many recipes call for just the whites, but using the yolks gives them a good texture)
  4. Whisk in sugar, salt and vanilla extract, then stir in coconut
  5. Mix until coconut is thoroughly moistened
  6. Using a tablespoon or ice cream scoop to shape the mix into balls
  7. Place in the middle of each ball a chunk of the chopped up chocolate, then roll into a nice ball
  8. Bake for 14-18 minutes until golden brown
  9. Remove from oven, wait a couple of minutes, then place on a wire rack
  10. While cooling, prepare a bain marie, and melt chocolate
  11. By this time the macaroons should be cool, so you can dip the bottoms in chocolate
  12. Then place in fridge to set… if they make it that far!! (if there is a male in the house, they may not even make it to the fridge!)
Pre-oven macaroons

Pre-oven macaroons

Macaroons out of the oven

Macaroons out of the oven

They will keep for several days in a sealed container. They start out with a crunchy exterior and a chewy centre, however after a day or so they become softer on the outside – they are yummy both ways!

Filet Américain

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I have to admit, the first time I heard of this I said – no way!! But after trying my first mouthful, I was converted. Belgians call it Filet Americain, French call it Steak Tartare. It can be “preparé” or “non-preparé” but either way, it is such a yummy Summer Dish.

Ok… I will tell you now, it is raw beef, but it is delicious… big admition, coming from someone who was pretty much vegetarian for many years!

filet américain

Filet American

filet american

Filet American

Ingredients (for 2 entree)

  • 200 gm of really good quality beef (this is imperative)
  • 4 mini gherkins
  • 1 table spoons of capers
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard
  • 1 teaspoon of good egg mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons of worcester sauce
  • 1 shallot diced
  • 1 egg yolk
  • A dash of Tabasco sauce
  • salad for serving

Method

  1. Using a mincer, or else a really sharp knife and some patience, grind the beef to a mince
  2. Place in bowl and mix with other ingredients
  3. Serve with fresh salad

Easy as pie!! This recipe is for “already prepared” however, if you wish, you can serve with a platter of these ingredients, and the egg yolk on top! For entrees, a quail egg yolk works a treat!