Friday, September 21, 2012

Asian Sweet and Savoury Quail

Asian Sweet and Savoury Quail
Quail is the smallest poultry we can find in the supermarket. Normally stuffed as it is really not much to eat if we are not careful with the side dish. I didn't stuff my quails but chose to serve with potato puree and some mushrooms. Trying to consume less meat, more vegetables.

This is my first ever quail dish and I am very pleased with it. Even MIL licked her fingers :P very happy to see that..hahah.. you see, French are very carefull with their table manner even at home. MIL is from such a generations where table etiquette is everything.. here's a few example:   never place your elbow/elbows on the table, napkins are always.. i repeat always place on your lap, not on the table, do not leave the table until everyone finished their meal... oh! the list goes on that it deserve another post :)

So here's my quail, light and succulent with a very nice sweet and savoury sauce.

Asian sweet and savoury quail


6                         Quails
3 tsp                    Five spice powder
20- 25 pcs           Dried apricots (whole)
1 cup                   Fresh green grapes (skinned and seeded)
4                          Shallots (peeled and cut in half)
1 medium             Onion (minced)
3 large gloves       Garlic (whole and bruised)
1 cup                   White wine ( semi dry)

Here's the method:

  1. First rub your quails all over with some cooking oil then season with salt and pepper and marinate with the five spice powder at least 30min so that the quail have time to absorb all the flavour of the spice. Set a side.
  2. In a baking dish, pour a table spoon of oil in it then put in your shallots, garlics, onions, apricots and grapes. Give it a shake to coat the oil and season. Add in two table spoon of water, then arrange the quails nicely on top.
  3. Bake them in a 200C pre-heated oven for 15mins.
  4. Pull out the dish and pour in the white wine. Give it a good scrap to make sure it doesn't burn at the bottom of the baking dish as well as to scrap up all the brown bits.
  5. Turn the birds to coat them with the juice. Bake for another 15-20 mins.
Serve with some sauté mushroom with garlics and potato purée.

Sharing this with Weekend potluck #35, This week's craving Munibbah Malaysian Monday hasted by 3 Hungry tummies 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Mussels in garlic and herb bread crumbs

Do you like mussels?? We adore mussels.. summer is such a time to enjoy mussels. Especially Moule de Bouchots from Normandy. Moule de Bouchot is mussels grow on wooden poles. This type of mussel has yellow-orange fish inside. It is not as big as green mussels but very tasty. When in season, we get it at supermarkets like Super U at only Euro2 per kilo.

So when there is a good promotion of mussels, we have mussels for dinner. The easiest is to cook the mussels in a very hot pot,cover and shake it from times to times. Once all the mussels are opened, dish out and enjoy with vinaigrette and bread. Throw away any mussels that is not open.

To make a variation, I cooked this bread crumb mussels. A good 400gm per serving (as a main course)would be right. First cook the mussels as above (in a dry hot pot, cover and cook until opened). Remove the top shell of each mussels and discard.

Next, in a pan with medium heat melt some butter, add in garlic to brown, then add in bread crumbs. Once the bread crumbs are getting brown add in the mussels to coat. Add in chopped parsley and lemon zest just before serving.

This dish can be prepare in the oven too. Just mix butter, chopped garlic and bread crumbs together. Put a layer of half mussel shells on a baking tray. Sprinkle butter-garlic-breadcrumbs over each one then flash under a very hot grill until just golden.

Serve this is as appetizer or main with crusty bread.

Sharing this with THIS  This week's cravings, Temp my tummy tuesday

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Flower and Bugs

Every now and then I like to walk over to the botanic park near our appartment. Angers, France is such a place where gardens and parks are everywhere. Last Sunday after our dessert we went over to the park to walk off some of the calories and this was what I saw..

Do you see two or three insects?

Sharing with Live, Love, TravelTuesday around the worldWordless Wednesday

Pain Cocotte

I have come a long way in bread baking :) It was not a smooth journey (with many bricks came out of the oven instead of nice open crumb bread) but it was an experience which filled with fun, excitement and of course heavenly taste bread for the whole family.

For those who have just started this hobby, no machine is not a problem, no big oven? not a problem too, no proper peel? no problem.. all you need is flour, water, salt and yeast. This last one you can even grow your own which we call a starter. The most important thing you need is read blogs like The Fresh Loaf, Wild Yeast,  BYOB and see how Nyonya show off her loaves too ;P

I do have a big oven but prefer to use our counter top oven (to cut down electricity), I don't have a kitchen aid but a lot of enthusiasm. Who needs machine?? back then during the old days bakers baked without any help of machine anyway..I don't have any peel but a chopping board would do.

The fun of bread baking is really to see the magic of turning flour, salt, water and yeast into bread. So lately, I have just discover another great kitchen tool to produce beautiful loaves... The Cocotte!! Yes the good old thick base pot with a cover. To hold the dough in shape and to create steam while baking.. Sitting in front of the computer, reading food blogs does pay off.

There is nothing special about the formula/ recipe (click on my other post for recipes) but the result comes with much open crumbs plus beautiful crust. 

Hopping over to Yeast SpottingBYOB 

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Boeuf Bourguignon / Beef Bourguignon

Boeuf Bourguignon / Beef Bourguignon

Boeuf Bourguignon is a classic French Beef Stew, originated from the Burgundy region of France. It is as famous as some classic french dies such as Canard a l'orange, Coq au Vin, Foie Gras, Blanquette de Veau.. and etc. Ahhhh.. the list goes on. The French and their world famous food.

Normally we have this dish during those cold winter days to keep us warm but I am so missing some Plat Mijotte (stew). I cooked this for lunch and everybody was happy for a change :)

What's good about this dish is you don't need to have the best cut of meat. I used Boeuf Joeus /Beef cheeks,  cut in bite size, let it swim in a good Bordeaux, add in some vegetables for some sweetness. Stir every now and then to mix in the caramelizes goodness into the sauce for a good 2 hours..Et Voila!! a good hearty dish no chi chi, just honest good food waiting for you  to wipe up every single drop of the sauce with a good country bread :)

This is why I like home food, stews, dishes doesn't involve too much of presentation and doesn't burn a hole in your pocket..just plain honest food!!

Ok..enough blah blah blah.. here we go....

What you need for 4 serving:

500g                 Beef chunk (cut into 2-inch cubes)
100g                 Lardon (salted pork/bacon cut into 1/2-inch chunk)
3                       Shallots (minced)
3                       Garlic cloves (minced)
2 large               Carrots (peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks)
10g                    Dried Cepes/Porcini mushrooms (Sliced and pre-soak in hot water and keep the soaking water)(optional: I used it to add flavour)
4 large               Fresh very ripe tomatoes (cut into cubes) or cans tomatoes
1/2 bottle           Red Wine (wine that you will drink with this dish) or just enough to cover the beef
1/2 cup              Fresh Parsley chopped
2                       Bay leaves
1 tsp                 Dried Thyme
3                       Cloves
500g                 Button mushrooms (cut those big ones into 4 and leaves the smaller ones whole)
some                 Pearl onions
1Tbsp               Flour

This is how:

  1. In a large pot/cocotte, heat a little oil to fry those bacon chucks until brown and crispy. Remove it into a plate.
  2. Now add your beef chucks by batches. You don't want to over crowd the beef chucks as you want to brown them all sides but not to cook them in their juice. Once all beef are browned put them with the bacons/lardon.
  3. Now in the same pot add the shallots, half of the carrots, Cepes and garlic. Stir and scrape up all the brown bits.
  4. Add in Beef chunks, bacon and pour in the wine and the mushroom water. It should just barely cover the beef. Also, bay leaves, thymes and cloves. Let it simmer for 30mins. Then add in the tomatoes and continue to simmer. Don't forget to adjust seasoning times to times. 
  5. In another pan, heat some oil to fry the mushrooms. It will gives out some liquid, just pour this liquid into the pot and continue to fry until dry then add in the pearl onions. Set a side.
  6. Once the beef are tender, add in the mushrooms, pearl onions and the other half portion of the carrots. Then sprinkle a table spoon of flour into the sauce and stir well, you can add in a table spoon of cream/butter but I didn't (try to eat healthy).
  7. Continue to simmer until you get a thick sauce, tender beef and carrots then add in chopped parsley and check seasoning. 

Serve this with some boil potatoes, mash potatoes or some pasta and some good country bread. Fantastic one pot meal. This dish taste even better the next day so don't hesitate to cook a day in advance or cook more to enjoy the following day/days. 

Hope you like it!

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