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.

quail5_lefermier_231115Honey and Spice pan seared quail: serve 4

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


Christmas Eve Dinner “à la Française”: Part 2

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Pork Loin with an Almond, Sour Cherries, Pistachio stuffing and a Cherry sauce.

 

Ingredients for the stuffing:

  •  150g almond meal
  • 1 brown onion
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 bunch sage
  • 1 small bunch rosemary
  • 150 g sour cherries
  • 100 g pistachios
  • 1 egg

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Method:

  1.  Preheat the oven at 200 degrees Celsius (392 F)
  2. Finely chop the onions, grate the garlic and finely chop the herbs.
  3. Heat up a medium saucepan with some olive oil on a medium heat. Cook the onion, garlic and herbs for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Leave to cool. Roughly chop the cherries and the pistachios and keep aside.
  4. In a mixing bowl mix together the cherries, pistachios, almond meal and the egg. Add the onion mix and stir well, season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Open up the pork loin so you a “flat” piece. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Place the stuffing in the middle and wrap the meat around it. Tie up the loin tightly (not too tight) with cooking string.
  6. Scar the skin using a sharp knife and rub the skin with a little olive oil and salt, this will give you a perfect crackling. Place the pork loin in a roasting tray and cook in the hot oven for 3 hours on the middle shelf of the oven. If you see the crackling is getting too dark, you can cover it with foil for the last part of the cooking.

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Ingredients for the sauce:1 brown onion

  • 1 brown onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 50 ml port
  • 400 g sour cherries (in juice)
  • 300 ml chicken stock
  • 350 ml cherry juice

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Method:

  1.  Finely dice the onion and grate the garlic.
  2. Heat up a medium size saucepan with olive oil and cook the onion and garlic for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the port, half the cherries and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  4. Add the cherry juice, the stock and Reduce by half. To thickens the sauce mix a little bit of corn flour with water and mix it through the sauce until you reach the desired consistency. Then add the rest of the chopped cherries and check the seasoning.

I have chosen to serve a simple green salad freshly picked from garden and dressed with sherry vinegar and olive oil with this delicious Christmas dish.

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I recommend a Chateau “Le Bourdieu” Médoc 2010 available from http://www.airoldifinewines.com.au

Bon Appétit

Le Fermier

 

 

 

Christmas Eve Dinner “à la Française”: Part 1

VolauVent_lefermier_241114

Joyeux Noël! | Merry Christmas!

 

Celebrating Christmas in the summer is still something I can’t get used to after so many years living in Australia. I love white Christmases and all the hearty Christmas foods that are so soothing to eat in the freezing winter. That being said, I absolutely love seafood and so being able to crack into a beautiful, fresh crayfish at Christmas Day lunch is something I relish.

Luckily I don’t have to choose between re-creating the nostalgic feasts of my childhood Christmases and indulging in new summer festive food traditions because I always celebrate Christmas Eve French-style with my brother and his family, and then an Aussie Christmas Day lunch with my wife and hers.

So today, I thought I’d share a perfect menu for both and maybe inspire you enough to share some of my favourite family dishes with yours this holiday season.

Christmas Eve Dinner “à la francaise

Most French families will kick off any family meal with a delicious terrine or pâté. I posted a recipe for a great Huntsman Terrine a while back, which you can check out here, otherwise you can pick up a ready made slice from most good quality delis.

For Entrée, I’ve chosen a duck and mushroom vol au vent. The hero of this, aside from the light-as-air pastry, is the Girolle mushrooms (they’re called Chanterelles in Australia), which hail from my region in France and are delicious and meaty in texture.

For main, I couldn’t go past a beautiful pork loin (with the skin on as crackling is a MUST!) that I’ve filled with a sage, pistachio and cherry stuffing, and a classic garden salad on the side.

Lastly, a true French Christmas treat is a Bûche de Noël, which is a sponge, rolled with and covered in crème au beurre (Italian meringue whipped with butter). It’s super rich but there’s like nothing else. You can flavour them too, so I chose to do coconut, white chocolate and passionfruit.

And there you have it. Joyeux Noël and bon appétit!

Chanterelle Mushroom and Duck Vol au Vent with a Port Sauce

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Ingredients for the Vol au Vent:

  • 4 sheets puff pastry
  • 2 duck breast
  • 50g Chanterelle mushroom (dried)
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 shallots
  • ½ bunch flat leaf parsley
  • 1 egg
  • 50 mL milk

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Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (392 F).
  2. Take the pastry out of the fridge or the freezer (leave it warm up a bit if it’s directly from the freezer).
  3. Whisk the egg and the milk together to make an egg wash.
  4. Using a round pastry cutter cut the 4 vol au vent bases and place them on a flat baking tray lined with grease proof paper. Cut 3 more circles for each one, then using a smaller cutter cut the middle out, so only the outside ring remain. Brush the base with the egg wash and place the ring on top, press down gently to make it stick and repeat the process until you have 3 layers on each Vol au Vent.
  5. Put them in the fridge for 15 minutes before baking them.
  6. Take the Vol au Vent out of the fridge, brush them with egg wash and bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Soak the mushroom in warm water for 10 minutes, then discard the water.
  8. In the mean time, grate the garlic, finely chop the shallots, wash and chop the parsley.
  9. Take the fat off the duck breast and dice them (about 1 ½ cm).
  10. Heat up a medium size shallow frying pan with olive oil on high heat. Cook the shallots, chanterelle mushroom and garlic in the pan for 2 minutes on high heat, tossing from time to time. Then add the duck and cook for about 3 minutes on high heat.
  11. Add the chopped parsley and stir.
  12. Add the port sauce and toss well so that all the ingredients mix together.
  13. Spoon the mix into the warm Vol au Vent and serve immediately.

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Ingredients for the Port sauce:

  •  1 brown onion
  • 4 clove garlic
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • 200 ml port
  • 350 ml beef stock

Method:

  1. Finely dice the brown onion, grate the garlic and finely chop the thyme.
  2. Heat up a medium size saucepan with a little bit of olive oil. Add the onion, garlic and thyme and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat.
  3. Pour the port in the saucepan and reduce by half, then add the stock and reduce by half again.
  4. Mix a little bit of corn flour with water, enough to make a runny paste. Slowly add it to the sauce until you reach the desired consistency. Check seasoning and set aside.

With the Vol au Vent I recommend a chateau “Briand” Bergerac red available from www.airoldifinewines.com.au