I have been breeding quails for many a year now and was absolutely sure that I know the birds and can colour sex the Pharoah Breed of Coturnix coturnix at the age of four weeks, 100 % successfully. Today I was selecting breeding hens out of a pen of 29 four week old female quails which were all very well marked with black spots and no red / brown feathers on the chests, as I have already separated them in male and female groups at three weeks of age. It is normal procedure for me to handle the birds and on feel and visual appearance select a few more than what I would require and then weigh them as well to assist my final selections. I selected 8 birds as I only needed one group of 6 females for a pen. There was this one female that caught my attention every time I handled or looked at her and when I weighed them, she was, at 220 grams, 24 grams heavier than the next best weighted bird of the selected group. I was overjoyed with this wonderful specimen and ringed her for future identification purposes. I worked through the rest of the birds and ended up with a very handsome group of 6 females. As I was clearing the workbench for the next task I heard a crow from the pen of selected hens and on closer inspection found my prized hen crowing.
This is very confusing as she has perfect hen markings and above all the males are always much lighter than the females. I am going to keep a close look at her / him and whichever way it goes, it will be a special bird. Either a VERY HEAVY male or a CROWING female.
My neighbour caught some flounder (Rombo in Italian) locally. He generously gave me two lovely firm, fresh fish caught that day. We cooked them as soon as we could manage, being chronically over fed, we had to wait until the next day. Mrs BYF decided to fry the fish in pig fat that I rendered from the organic Kunekune last year. The fish looked fantastic and was delicious. The fat contributed to the taste as well as the appearance, not sure why, but things fried in fat look more golden brown to me. The side was spinach and smashed potatoes, and roast pumpkin.
1 cup of flour generously seasoned with salt and pepper
6 tablespoons of pig fat or vegetable oil about 10 mm deep for frying
Heat the oil in a pan big enough to hold the entire fish lying on its side. The oil must be hot enough to sizzle when the fish goes in. Use kitchen paper to dry the fish very well. Drench the fish in flour, make sure every bit of it is covered. Shake off excess flour and slide the fish into the pan, skin down. After about 5 minutes, when the skin is crispy and brown, turn over and fry for 5 minutes more.
Serve immediately with some cut lemon and a vegetable of your choice.
Love living in New Zealand!
Whenever Mrs BYF goes to Africa she brings me an artwork depicting an animal that is special to me. This year she brought me a carving of a meerkat. A small sentinel that now stands on the window sill beside my desk, keeping a keen lookout for danger. The little figure is on high alert and I almost expect him to squeak in warning any minute.
I had a meerkat as a pet when I was a boy, and I still cherish the memory of him sleeping in my lap like a cat, exempting me from any random chores lest it be woken and disturbed.
Mayhem happened one night when a fat, drunken guest slept over. Unbeknownst to him, the meerkat had snuggled up against his back under the blanket. The sleeping arrangement worked well until he rolled over on top of the meerkat, squeezing an amazing amount of poop from the frightened animal. There was a lot of loud, alarming noise from man and beast, and some members of the family spent a lot of time cleaning floors, walls, and bedding. The rest tried to calm the meerkat and the horrified and now stone cold sober guest. That was the hard part, and if my memory serves, guest and meerkat never shared a bed again.
150 g Standard Flour
20 g Cocoa Powder
25 g Castor Sugar
25 g Grated Frozen Butter
50 ml Espresso
50 ml Dry White Wine
20 ml Marsala
1 Beaten Egg
Sift the dry components and rub the butter into it. Ad the fluids and egg and mix until you have a stiff dough. Roll out and cut into 100 mm squares. Wrap around Cannoli molds and deep fry in oil. Let it dry on absorbent paper.
400 g Good Ricotta
200 g Good Mascarpone
80 g Castor Sugar
100 g Chocolate Chips
50 g Chopped Pistachio Nuts
Icing Sugar for coating
Blend together Ricotta and Mascarpone cheese. Fold in sugar. Fold in chocolate chips and Pistachios. Cover and chill 30 minutes. Pour into a piping bag and fill the shells.