It is in my nature to measure and monitor, which makes life interesting and the only way should you want to select and make progress with any animal breeding. I slaughter about ten old Quail Hens every two weeks and 20+ Young Quails every alternate week and always weigh all animals and carcasses at slaughter. Obviously there are many other measurements and observations I frequently collect and record to assist in selecting that “perfect” bird.
Here are some of the figures I collected over the past week and which are fairly representative for the past six months.
||Mature Birds – g
||Young Birds – g
Live Bird – Average live bird mass after food and water were withheld for 12 hours
Carcase 1 – Average carcass mass after heads and lower legs were removed and feathers plucked
Carcase 2 – Average carcass mass butterflied, which in my case means the removal of the entire backbone, all internal organs removed, wing tips removed and excess skin trimmed.
After all this lovely Quail Meat you have harvested there is still the Coratella that makes a wonderful meal on its own and Quail Stock which I use in almost all of my daily cooking.
It will be hard to find a better light dinner than quail eggs topped with truffles and home cured salmon on the side. All washed down with good hand crafted Home Made Wine (organic and preservative free)
I came across these pictures taken over Christmas and remembered that I wanted to post them. The occasion warranted some extra work, and I had a request for home made pasta anyway. The brightness of the colours impressed everyone, including me.
Make fresh egg pasta dough as described, leaving out two of the eggs as the spinach / beet paste will have some moisture. Divide the pasta dough in to 3 equal parts
For the Colours
Blanch about 250 g spinach and then squeeze our all the water. Process in a food processor to a smooth paste then pass the paste through a fine sieve to have a thick intense green juice. Do the same with 2 medium sized beetroots processed to a thick intense red juice
Mix enough of the green juice into one third of the pasta dough, which should be very dry as one egg was left out, until you have an even coloured pasta dough with a smooth consistency. Repeat the process with a second of the three portions, using the red beetroot juice. The third portion should be corrected with water to ensure all three portions have the same amount of egg and consistency.
Cook in salted water until al dente, (make sure that you cook equal amounts of every colour). Drain the pasta (do not rinse it under the cold tap) and transfer it to the pan with hot sauce. Mix and serve with plenty of grated parmigiano.
The Quail Sauce being a home favorite as we have plenty of quail, goes particularly well with home made parpardelle and did the tricolore a lot of justice on this occasion.
ENJOY !! Do not forget the home made red wine.
Breakfast cannot be more enjoyable than with fresh home grown free range eggs and organic spinach out of the garden. I am lucky enough to have a combination of quail and chicken eggs for breakfast.
Wash two large bunches of spinach (beetroot or radish tops work equally well). Do not add water, the water clinging to the leaves from the washing will be enough. After a while press as much water out of the spinach as you can and put aside. Add one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and one tablespoon of butter to a pan. Also add three large cloves of garlic and one small chili finely chopped, simmer for about two minutes on low heat. Add the spinach to the pan and season with salt and pepper to taste. Now break in as many eggs as required and cook until eggs are done to your liking. You can cover the pan for a while when cooking if you want the eggs hard. Sprinkle with grated parmigiano, black pepper, add a dash of olive oil and serve with home made bread.
Fresh South Island salmon from our friend Ross Hutchinson at Blue Water Products in Dunedin is an excellent product for this easy to make delicacy.
Fillet and de – bone one FRESH salmon. Mix 800 gram coarse sea salt and 200 gram granulated sugar with the grated rind of two organic fresh lemons. In the bottom of a large enough stainless steel container to have both fillets lying flat and not touching, place a layer of the salt mixture. Now lay the fillets, skin side down, on the salt mixture and cover well with the rest of the salt mixture. The fillets should be totally covered. Refrigerate for 24 hours, then turn the fish over and again completely cover it with the salt mixture. Refrigerate again for 24 hours. Remove the fillets and wash very well under cold running water until all the salt is washed off. Pat dry with paper and your salmon is ready to eat. I normally cut it into four pieces and vacuum seal those pieces I am not going to eat immediately. In the vacuum sealed bags in the fridge these should last a good four weeks.
Today we had quail eggs topped with truffles Mrs BYF brought back from the promised land, with cured salmon and fresh garden salad – sprinkled with ground black pepper and a dash of olive oil. Excellent with home made ciabatta and home made wine.
Another, and a big favorite in our house, is to place a bit of home made ricotta on a piece of fresh pane di casa and top it with cured salmon and caper berries, freshly ground black pepper and a dash of good olive oil. Wash all of this down with the best Italian Prosecco you can afford and pretend you are in heaven
Fresh egg pasta and quail ragu shall always remain one of my favorites. Mrs BYF took off to foreign shores (again) and I shall have to look after myself for ten weeks. Tuesday being slaughter day and the quails were young, plump and very soft, so I decided to treat myself. While slowly simmering the quail ragu, I decanted a bottle of Blackcurrant wine, made on 2014-09-01, for the occasion. Even though I already racked it twice (and tasted it every time) I was pleasantly surprised. This is a bold and concentrated full bodied dark red wine with a pleasant strong velvety aroma and an endless after taste. Being young, I shall bottle tomorrow and keep it for some time and I am sure it is going to be very good as the bottle I had with the paste was excellent. I am fortunate to have made about 70 liters of this wine and I shall post the recipe later during the week.
Recipe for fresh paste
Mix 500 g plain flour with 20 quail eggs (5 chicken eggs). Knead until smooth (ad water or flour to get the correct consistency), cover and place in the fridge for one hour. Fold and roll the dough several times through the thickest setting on the pasta machine, then gradually pass it through at a thinner setting each time, until the desired thickness is obtained. Use ample amounts of flour whilst rolling the dough. The pasta can now be used or allowed to dry for later use. This fresh pasta cooks very fast and is ready in less than five minutes.
Fried eggs for breakfast. The unique thing was not the bit of chili and butter in the pan but that the eggs were from top to bottom: bought brown hens egg , pure white egg, laid by my Ancona hen, egg laid by my guinea fowl hen and a pretty speckled egg laid by my quail hen. In the pan the pale yellow is the bought egg and the middle egg beside it is the guinea fowl egg. The latter took a bit longer to cook than the others. Very tasty treat. Yolk color is more often than not an indication of quality of the feed consumed and the general well being of the bird.