Thursday, 26 November 2009

Butterfly Quail w/ Quail Egg Caeser Salad


  • 4 Quail
  • 3 Garlic cloves, crushed or thinly sliced and chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • knob of butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • sprig of fresh thyme, roughly chopped
  • a few leaves of Tarragon, roughly chopped
  • 1.2 lemon, thickly sliced, optional
  • 3 or 4 leaves of Cos Lettuce, rolled and chopped into 1 inch strips
  • dozen quail eggs, hardboiled and shelled
  • 1/2 -3/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 4 slices sourdough or baguette, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 6 rashers rindless bacon, cut into thin strips
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 3 -4 anchovies, sliced thin
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tspn dijon mustard
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • Butterfly the quail along the backbone. Remove the backbone and spread the quail flat. If you have time, a nice touch is to remove the bones of the rib cage also. It will make eating the quail easier.
  • Mix the herbs, garlic, lemon (if used), salt and pepper and olive oil and place in a shallow dish with the quail. Marinate for at least an hour at room temperature, or overnight in the fridge. Reserve juices for cooking.
  • For the salad, place the bread cubes in a baking tray and spray lightly with the cooking oil, and season with the salt and pepper. Toss to evenly coat, add more oil if needed. Place the tray in the oven at 200 degrees C for 8 - 10 mins until golden. Set aside to cool completely.
  • Cook the bacon in a frying pan until crisp and drain on paper towel.
  • Put all the dressing ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and leave in fridge until ready to serve.
  • Heat a non-stick frying pan to high heat. Add olive oil and the knob of butter. Arrange the quail in the pan and coat with marinade juices. The pan should be very hot and the quail shouldn't take much more than 5 mins to cook.
  • In a salad bowl, mix the lettuce leaves and parmesan, toss in the bacon and croutons. Cut the quail eggs in half and add to salad.
  • Dress the salad, and serve.

I made this dish using some quail that my ex- gave me. Her father's latest hobby is breeding quail, chickens, ducks and geese for eggs and meat, and so some eventually found its way to my kitchen. This is a very summery dish, full of great outdoor food flavours that's great to enjoy with a white wine on the patio.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Chinese Roast Pork


  • 1kg of Pork Fillets
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon red food colour
  • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
  • 1 sliced up spring onion (for garnish - optional)

Mix all ingredients except port in a bowl and microwave or heat till honey and sugar is melted into the mix.

Place the Pork into mix, and coat, then cover in glad wrap, and place in fridge. Allow it to marinate for at least an hour.

Remove pork and let it drain, then place it on a wire rack above a baking tray.

Place in oven heated to about 150 C and baste regularly with mixture, keeping it moist. Rotate the pork as it cooks.

Once cooked, remove, slice thin, and either add to rice, eat as it is, or compliment a stir fry.


Monday, 29 June 2009

Mulled Wine - My style

  • 2 bottles Red Wine (any type)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • handful of cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • half an orange

  • Pour the wine into a large pot and heat over medium heat. Do not bring to the boil, but keep the wine hot.
  • Mix in the cloves, sugar and cinnamon sticks. Slice the orange into the thin slices and put into the wine also.
  • Stir gently, and cover. Heat for about 10 to 15 mins and the wine is aromatic. Be sure to stir occaisonally, and monitor the wine so that it doesn't boil.
  • Strain the wine through a mesh collander into another pot or bowl, then pour into empty wine bottles or carafe.
Serve hot, with a teaspoon of sugar to taste.


Great winter drink, and as its so easy to make there's no reason why you can't have mulled wine on hand whenever you feel the urge to have a few spiced wines! I've been making lots of this lately as my wine rack is in dire need of purging. A lot of my reds are due to be drunk, and the table wines I have make excellent specimens for mulled wine creation. You can even re-use the cinnamon sticks, or leave them in the bottles to slowly infuse more spice into the wine. Serve with a thin sliver of orange in the cups for added flair.

You can also substitute the orange for lemon for a slightly zingier taste.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Savoury Muffins...Mmmm

  • 3 Cups self raising flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • water or milk for consistency
  • 1/2 cup diced bacon
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 cup grated tasty cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 180 deg C
  2. In a large mixing bowl put the flour in and make a well. Lightly beat eggs and mix into the flour with salt and pepper, adding the milk or water as needed to form a thick batter.
  3. Mix in remaining ingredients, saving a little of the cheese. Spoon mixture into muffin trays or individual ramekins, and top with remaining cheese.
  4. Place in oven and bake for 20 mins, or until golden brown. Check if they are done inside by inserting a wooden skewer into one muffin and pulling it out. If the skewer is clean then they're ready.

Easy one to make thats always a winner. I handed these out at a social gathering recently and i used puff pastry bases to make them a cross between muffins and quiches. My mate PJ wanted the recipe (probably so his girlfriend could bake them for him) so here it is.

Variations are boundless, you can put anything you want into the mix besides the bacon, onion and cheese. Leftover roasts, veges, different cheeses, different meats, you name it. If its savoury, you can muffin it. Put chocolate or berries and/or jam into the mix with sugar and you got sweet muffins.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Ginger and Garlic Short Soup

  • 2 ltrs chicken stock
  • 2 tspn mince ginger (or fresh ginger grated)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped shallots
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 cup bean sprouts
  • 1/4 cup water chestnuts
  • 1/4 cup bamboo shoots
  • 1/4 cup baby corn
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 bag frozen chinese wontons (or about a dozen )
  • Bring chicken stock to the boil and add the ginger, garlic and carrot.
  • Simmer for 5 mins and add remaining vegetables, then wontons.
  • Cook for a further 5 mins (or more depending on instructions for wontons if using frozen).
  • Drizzle egg into soup while stirring gently and remove from heat. Serve immediately.

Easy one today, makes for a light but flavoursome dish that I put together for our Chinese student boarder living with us at the moment. He devoured it with his usual voraciousness and went for a second helping. I'm not sure if it reminded him of home or he was just really hungry!

Anyway, easily modified to go with chicken instread of wontons, but their fairly easy to find if you know a local asian grocer. For more fun you can even make your own wontons, I know you can purchase the little skins to put minced seafood in.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

5 Minute Chocolate Mug Cake

  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
  • A small splash of vanilla extract
  • 1 large coffee mug
Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly.
Pour in the milk and oil and mix well. Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again.

Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts.
The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed!
Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.

Thanks to Katy for this one, she sent this little gem to me in an email and really makes dessert a charm if you're feeling lazy. This email was accompanied by a little quote:

And why is this the most dangerous cake recipe in the world?
Because now we are all only 5 minutes away from chocolate cake at any time of the day or night!

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Spaghetti with Pine Nuts, Sundried Tomatoes and Pesto

  • 1 packet of Spaghetti, cooked
  • 80g of Pine Nuts
  • 3 Rashers of streaky bacon
  • 8 - 10 good sized sun dried Tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tblspn chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flatleaf (continental or Italian) Parsley
  • 2 or 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • While the pasta cooks, take about a quarter of the pine nuts and add them to a mortar and pestle with the garlic. Pound into a rough paste and add a lug of olive oil. Add the chopped herbs and pound into a rough pesto and put to one side. Strain the pasta, add pepper and olive oil to taste, put to one side.
  • In a frying pan, heat another lug of olive oil. Put the remaining pine nuts in the pan and stir until they begin to brown, then add the balsamic vinegar. Roughly chop bacon into strips, and the sun dried tomatoes into thin strips. Once the liquid has coated the nuts and began to thicken, add the bacon.
  • Once the majority of the liquid has thickened, add the tomato and fry until the bacon is cooked to taste, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the pine nut and bacon mix to pasta, add the pesto and stir through. Serve immediately.
Great for lunch when you have friends over, as it's simple to make and doesn't take long at all. Optionally you can add almond slivers to the pine nuts and bacon, and you can add baby spinach or basil leaves to the pasta when you stir it all through. Experiment with your own herb combinations to make different pestos, or add Ricotta cheese or mascarpone to make a creamy pesto. Cumin seeds, crushed with Coriander, parsley and fennel seeds or tumeric make a nice pesto, especially when you substitute the sun dried tomatoes for roasted capsicum or peppers. I've also used a good dukkah mix instead of pesto before. Possibilities are limited only by your imagination and your pantry.


-James, the Not So Skinny Cook