Christmas Lunch : Honey and Spice Quail with a Fresh Grapes and Nuts Salad

DSC_0823It’s that time of the year again, the festive season is nearly here! Time to start planning what you’re going to eat for Christmas lunch or even Christmas eve. It is an exciting time of the year with all the cooking, baking and tasting of all those delicious Christmas dishes.

The honey and spice quail is good way to start your Christmas lunch, as you can have it as part of a sharing platter or as an entrée on its own. This recipe is a spin on the more traditional ( Caille aux Raisin) Quail with a grape sauce. I chose to marinate it in honey, verjuice, 5 spice, tangerine peel and sage to give the meat a unique flavour. I made a fresh grapes, rocket and nuts salad to match my quails, the salad adds freshness to the dish and complement it perfectly.

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Ingredients:

  • 4 boned quails, Halved
  • 8 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tea spoon 5 spice
  • 375ml verjuice
  • 100ml water
  • 1 bunch sage, chopped
  • 1 garlic head, quartered
  • 10 peppercorn
  • 2 tangerine peel

Method:

  1. Mix the honey, verjuice, water, five spice and sage together.
  2. Place the quail in a container deep enough to contain the marinade.
  3. Pour the marinate over the quails and leave to rest in the fridge for a couple of hours.
  4. Take the quail out of the marinade and pat dry. Heat up a large frying pan with a little bit of olive oil.
  5. Cook the quail skin side down first for about 4 minutes on medium heat.
  6. Turn the quail around and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Remove the quails from the pan and pour the marinade in, reduce until it starts to thicken and then put the quails back in and toss them around to coat them with the sauce.

quail6_lefermier_241115For the salad;

Ingredients:

  • 50g almond, roughly chopped
  • 30g pinenuts
  • 50g hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 150g fresh grapes, halved
  • 150g baby rocket
  • 150g baby leaves

Method:

  1. Mix the almonds, pinenuts, hazelnuts  together in a salad bowl.
  2. Mix with the fresh grapes and baby leaves.
  3. Whisk 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard, 3 tablespoon of white wine vinegar, pinch of salt, 1 clove crush garlic and olive oil to taste together and drizzle over the salad.

 

DSC_0805Wine Suggestion: Domaine de Baron’Arques Le Chardonnay Limoux from www.airoldifinewines.com.au


Pork fillet fricassé in a Chablis sauce

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Growing up with parents who were both passionate about food, it’s no wonder that my brother’s and I are involved in the hospitality industry in some way. My eldest brother studied viticulture, I have been a chef for over 15 years and my older brother is the proud founder of Airoldi Fine Wines, through which he imports some the finest specialty and premium French wines into Australia.

As part of his ongoing passion to educate Australian wine lovers about some of the best wines our motherland has to offer, he regularly holds intimate dinners, often hosted by the winemakers themselves. This month I was lucky enough to attend one such dinner, hosted by Benjamin Laroche of La Manufacture Wines, Chablis, France.

The Chablis region, located within Burgundy is classed as an appellation, meaning that only wines from that geographic area may be called Chablis. The prominent wine variety is a chardonnay, which makes it perfect for pairing with leaner meat like pork.

Inspired by La Manufacture’s exquisite Chablis wines, I’ve created this pork dish which heroes the fruity and crisp flavours that they are known for.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pork fillet, about 500g and diced
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • 2 brown onions, sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ½ bunch parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoon crème fraîche
  • 400ml beef stock
  • 250ml Chablis wine
  • 10 button mushroom, quartered and sautéed
  • 100g smoked bacon, diced

 

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Method:

  1. Heat up a casserole pan with some olive oil and a nob of butter.
  2. Seal the pork on all sides until it start to carmelised. You may need to do it in 2-3 batches to avoid boiling the meat, then keep aside.
  3. Add the onions and garlic to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes on medium heat then add the thyme. Now you can add the bacon to the mix.
  4. Deglaze the pan with the wine, making sure to scrap the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to unstick all the delicious bits. Then add the mushroom.
  5. Put the pork and juices back in the pan and pour in the stock. Bring the sauce to the boil and then add the mustard. Cook on medium heat for 25-30 minutes.
  6. Add the crème fraîche and simmer for a further 15 minutes.
  7. Adjust the seasoning if necessary and finish the sauce with some chopped parsley.

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A delicious side of glazed baby Dutch carrot slowly cooked in butter and sautéed Tuscan Kale with a touch of garlic is, I think the perfect match!

As a matching wine I suggest “La Manufacture” Chablis from Benjamin Laroche available from www.airoldifinewines.com.au

Watch the how to video here or visit my Youtube channel here for more videos.

Poule au Pot

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In the fifteenth century the Gascon-born French King, Louis IV, famously said in his coronation speech something along the lines of, “I want every peasant to have a chicken in their pot on Sundays”. Well, far be it from me to deny the wishes of an ex-sovereign, so today, I bring you this simple recipe that’s perfect for feeding the family, Sunday or otherwise.

Just like the pot-au-feu recipe I’ve shared previously, you can use the broth from the pot that remains at the end of cooking as an entrée and then serve the meat and veggies for the main.

What really brings this dish to life though is the sauce gribiche. The capers and cornichons give it a tang that complements the chicken so well!

 

Poule au Pot serve 6

Ingredients:

  • 3 litres chicken stock
  • 3 slices smoke bacon (2cm thick)
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 3 celery stick, cut into short lengths
  • 2 turnips, peeled and quartered
  • 4 small leeks, trimmed, cleaned and cut into short lengths
  • 1 small head of garlic, cut in half horizontally
  • 5 bayleaves
  • 6 slices thick sourdough (2.5cm)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 free range chicken ( 2-2.5kg)

Method:

  1. Put the chicken stock, slices of bacon, vegetables, garlic, peppercorns and bay leaves into a large pot, bring to the boil and leave to simmer while you prepare the stuffing for the chicken.

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For the stuffing:

  • 50g chicken liver, chopped
  • 125g white breadcrumbs
  • 120g rindless thick slice smoked bacon, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 30 shallots, finely chopped
  • 20g chopped parsley
  • 3 medium eggs, beaten
  • ½ teaspoon salt

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For the vegetables:

  • 12 medium carotts
  • 12 small turnips, trimmed and sliced
  • 12 small potatoes, similar size and peeled
  • 12 small shallots, peeled
  • 6 small leeks, trimmed, cleaned and cut in 3-4 pieces

Method:

  1. Mix the chicken liver, breadcrumbs, bacon, garlic, shallots, parsley, eggs and salt together in a bowl.
  2. Season the inside of the chicken and spoon the mixture inside.
  3. Truss the chicken securely with cooking string.
  4. Add the chicken to the pot, making sure that it is submerged. Add I teaspoon of salt, bring back to the boil and cook for 30 minutes.
  5. Turn the chicken over top up with boiling water if necessary, but don’t dilute it too much and cook for a further 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile preheat the oven at 150 degrees Celsius. Place the slices of bread onto a tray and leave them for 20 minutes to dry out in the oven, but not brown.
  7. Lift the chicken out of the pot, remove the first lot of vegetables and discard.
  8. Return the chicken to the pot, add all the vegetables and bring back to the boil, and simmer for 10 minutes and then the vegetables and chicken should be cooked.

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Sauce Gribiche:

  • 1 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 8 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon capers, chopped
  • 1 teaspoons cornichons, chopped
  • 1 hard boiled egg white, finely chopped
  • 1 hard boiled egg yolk, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon parsley, chopped.

Method:

  1. Whisk the mustard and vinegar together in a small bowl, then gradually whisk in the olive oil.
  2. Stir in the caper, cornichons, egg white, egg yolk, parsley and some salt and pepper to taste.

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Serving suggestion:

  1. To serve lift the chicken onto a board a cover with foil. Put the dried slice of bread at the bottom of a soup bowl, cover with stock and eat as a first course.
  2. Carve the chicken and cut the bacon. Place some vegetables, chicken, bacon and stuffing on a plate. Drizzle with some stock and serve with the sauce Gribiche.

I suggest you pair this classic dish with a “Close Planted” Pinot Noir 2012 from www.airoldifinewines.com.au

Watch the how to video below or visit my Youtube channel  here for more.

Pasta Alla Puttanesca

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Despite the more colourful inferences that pasta alla puttanesca was born of Italian houses of ill repute, made by prostitutes to lure customers in from the streets, the dish in truth, has far more simple beginnings.

Yes, it’s true that “alla puttanesca” can translate to “style of the whores” but the very similar word “puttanata” means rubbish, or crap, and its in this translation where we find a more probable history.

In the 1950’s, on the island of Ischia, a man by the name of Sandro Petti was asked late one night by some patrons in his restaurant to make them some food. Nearing closing, he didn’t have many ingredients left so told them there wasn’t enough to make a meal. “Facci una puttanata qualsiasi,” they said or “Make any kind of garbage”. Only having a few olives, tomatoes and capers, he used these to make a sauce and mixed it with spaghetti. Petti later placed it on his menu, but changed “puttanata” to “puttanesca” apparently because the former didn’t sound quite right.

 

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Pasta Alla Puttanesca

Ingredients:

  • 400g fresh pasta
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 4 anchovy fillets
  • 2 red chilies, sliced
  • 80 g black olives, pitted
  • ½ punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ bunch fresh basil, picked and washed
  • parmesan, to serve

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Method:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta for about 4 minutes or until al dente.
  2. Meanwhile place a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil, then add the garlic, anchovy and chili. Add the pitted olive and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the garlic starts to slightly caramelize and the anchovies start to blend into the sauce.
  3. Add the cherry tomatoes and a little bit of the cooking water, cover with the lid and cook for 2 minutes or until the tomatoes start to cook.
  4. Add the basil to the sauce along with the fresh pasta and some of the cooking water, just enough to loosen and make delicious and saucy!
  5. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed, transfer the pasta in a big serving bowl, top with shaved parmesan, basil and anchovy fillets.

A glass of  EVOI Sauvignon Blanc Semillon   From www.airoldifinewines.com.au would be a perfect match with this delicious pasta dish.

Watch the how to video below or visit my YouTube channel  here for more.

Bastille Day Main Course: Veal Paupiettes with a Cèpe sauce and Pilaf Rice

 

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Happy Bastille Day! This year for France’s national holiday I decided to mix cliché cuisine with lesser known French fare, and paupiette is one such dish. In a nutshell, Paupiette is meat beaten thin which is then wrapped around a stuffing which could include vegetables, fruit or sweetmeats. For today’s dish I used veal scaloppini and for the stuffing, a delicious pork mince flavoured with fresh herbs.

You’ll find paupiette all over France but most likely in northern regions like Normandy.

A favourite ingredient of mine is the cèpe mushroom and I relish any opportunity to include it in a dish, which I’ve managed in this recipe by including it as the sauce for the paupiettes.

Enjoy the main course and stay tuned for dessert!

Serve 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 thin veal escalopes, about 150g each
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

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For the stuffing:

Ingredients:

  • 2 thick slices of crustless sourdough, about 50g and torn
  • 125 ml milk
  • 500g pork mince
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 100 g button mushroom, trimmed and finely chopped
  • ½ cup flat parsley, cleaned and finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper

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Method:

  1. Place the bread into a small bowl, cover with milk and leave for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile place the pork mince, garlic mushroom and parsley in a medium size bowl and season with salt and pepper, mix well until combine.
  3. Squeeze the excess milk out of the bread and add it to the mix, mix well until combine and set aside.
  4. Lay the escalopes on a chopping board, divide the stuffing into 4 equal portion and place it in the centre of each escalopes, make to leave about 2cm on the sides.
  5. Roll each escalopes to enclose the stuffing and form a log shape.
  6. Tie the paupiettes with cooking string to secure the stuffing and place in the fridge for one hour.

Cèpe Sauce:

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Ingredients:

  • 150 Cèpe mushroom
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carotts, brunoise ( finely chopped)
  • 2 tablespoon port
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour
  • 250 ml dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 500 ml chicken stock
  • salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Soak the mushroom in warm water to rehydrate them.
  2. Heat up a large casserole, I normally use a le Creuset, with some olive oil. Add the veal paupiettes and sear on all sides until golden brown, remove them from the casserole then set aside.
  3. For the sauce, reduce the heat to medium, then add a little bit of olive oil to the pan.
  4. Add the onion and carrot and stir well, scraping the bottom of the casserole. Add the mushroom and cook for a few minutes. Stir in the port, remove the casserole from the heat and carefully, using a long match or lighter light the port to burn off the alcohol ( this process is called Flambée).
  5. Return the casserole to the heat, sprinkle the flour, mix well and pour in the wine. Add the thyme, bay leaf and paupiettes and stir. Pour in the stock and bring to a simmer.
  6. Cover with the lid and cook for 30 minutes or until cooked through.
  7. Remove the string from the paupiettes and season to taste.

Pilaf Rice:

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups jasmine rice
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 150ml dry white wine
  • ½ bunch thyme, chopped
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrots, diced

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven at 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Heat up a deep baking tray with some olive oil. Add the chopped onion, carrot and cook for 2 minutes then add the thyme.
  3. Add the rice, mix well and cook for 3-4 minutes on medium heat.
  4. Pour in the wine, cook for a 1 minutes then add the stock. Season with salt and pepper, bring to the boil and then cover with a sheet of baking paper.
  5. Cook in the hot oven for ten minutes.

I suggest you serve the Veal Paupiettes with a side of Potato Purée, some fresh baguette and a glass of  Chateau Penin available from www.airoldifinewines.com.au

Watch the how to video below or visit my Youtube channel here

 

Bastille Day Entrée : Snails in garlic butter

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As famous as the French are for crisp croissants and delectable desserts, they are equally infamous for less conventional dishes like frog’s legs and snails. Being someone who is deeply passionate about food and flavour, I believe you can’t knock something until you’ve tried it, so if you’ve never been game to try “escargot” before, this is your moment to bite the bullet!

If you need more convincing, then how about the fact that snails are high in protein and, on their own, quite low in fat. However, today’s recipe is not one for the health nuts because the key accompaniment is butter, butter and more butter. The up side is that if you were worried about your snails tasting too “snaily”, then never fear, as long as you love butter, garlic and parsley!

Serve your snails as an entrée on a bed of rock salt (to prevent the shells from tipping over and letting that delicious butter sauce escaping) with crusty baguette so that you can mop up the butter afterwards.

Snails in garlic butter:

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Ingredients:

  • 1 tin of snails
  • 1 container empty snail shell
  • 300g butter, soft
  • ½ bunch parsley, washed and finely chopped
  • 80g garlic, peeled and grated
  • 10 ml Ricard or Pernod
  • 300 g rock salt

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Method:

  1. Mix the soft butter, garlic, parsley and Ricard together well and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Drain the snail and give them a quick rinse. Put one snail per shell and spoon the garlic butter on each shell.
  3. Place the rock salt on a flat baking tray, or you can use foil like i did, place the snails on top of it, the salt will help the snail stay upright so the butter doesn’t run away!
  4. Cook in the oven for 10 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius.

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Serve hot with some Baguette on the side and a glass of Chateau Ollieux Romanis “Corbière Blanc available from http://www.airoldifinewines.com.au