“Tricolore” Pasta with Quail Sauce (Home made pasta in the colours of the Italian flag)

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.

Tricolore Pasta

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

Method

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.

Pappardelle al ragù di quaglia (Egg pasta with quail sauce)

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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.

Quaglia Marinata al Forno

GROWTH AND DRESSING PERCENTAGES

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I slaughtered another batch of quails today. The law of averages is playing up and a batch of 38 quails produced 29 males and ONLY 9 females. So the bank is empty, but the fridge is full. Being a scientist and engaged in a breeding program endeavoring to improve the Coturnix coturnix in New Zealand, I of coarse monitor many parameters and wish other people would also provide concrete actual results (especially those Americans claiming to grow gigantic everything, which is not always good even though they may be big), so as to be able to monitor and compare progress and set standards. In my egg producing breeds, I am of the opinion that I have reached optimum body size. For the dual purpose breeds, I am still selecting for larger birds and am  making  some definite headway. Here are some results obtained from the last 180 quails slaughtered :

Body mass at 21 days of age (all sexes of all breeds) – 114 g (averages still on the rise)

Body mass at 35 days of age (males of all breeds) –  188 g (averages still on the rise)

As I slaughter on day 35, here are the slaughtering results :

Live mass – 188 g

Dressed mass (back bone out, skin on, wings clipped) – 105 g (56%)

Gizzards, livers, harts, etc – 11 g (6 %)

Stock Meat – Back bone, wings, etc –  34 (18%)

Intestines (Discards) – 10 g (5 %)

Feathers, heads, blood, feet, etc (Discards) – 28 g (15%)

QUAGLIA MARINATO AL FORNO

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One of my favorite Quail recipes is marinated quails on the coals. Very easy – on slaughtering day, place the quails in a container and add enough olive oil to cover them well inside and out. Now add some salt, pepper, chili, rosemary, oregano, garlic and a few slices of lemon. Those that I do not marinate go straight into maximum vacuumed sealed bags and if consumed within a week, I store them in the fridge only – the rest goes into the freezer, if any. Leave in marinade for one day while turning it over every so often. Grill on a medium to hot fire and as these are young and tender, it only takes a few minutes to do. Serve with polenta and a very good red wine – ENJOY !!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Low-Fat Fad Has Done Unfathomable Harm – Eat Healthy

Dreamtime

 

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/02/24/modern-diet.aspx

Quail Giblet Risotto (works for chicken giblets too)

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We are used to this dish made with chicken giblets, but, as you know we also have quail! I make stock with the quail  bones, and this risotto, every time when I have to cull. Risotto involves standing and stirring the pot all the time – no  answering the phone, getting the door or visiting the bathroom! 😉 The consistency of the dish must be just right, not too wet, not too dry and al dente. It takes some work but is worth the trouble. My smallest grandchild is particularly fond of this dish, to the  point where his grandmother once told me to stop shoveling it in after the 3 rd bowl – she was afraid he may pop.

Quail Risotto 

2 liters of good chicken or quail stock stock. I make my own, it is simple and easy and makes all the difference to the taste

2 cups of Arborio or Carnaroli rice. Yes, it has to be Arborio or Carnaroli, the normal rice does not have enough starch

10 quail giblets  (or 400 g Chicken giblets). One can save quail giblets by freezing them until enough has been collected

1 medium sized onion finely chopped

1 Large clove Garlic (more if you like) finely chopped

1 tablespoon rosemary or sage finely chopped

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive Oil

3 tablepoon butter

pinch of dried chili flakes

1 cup of good white wine

salt andpPepper

Half a cup of grated parmigiano cheese ( stir it in at the end, or serve with cheese on top)

one bottle Sangiovese wine (to go in to the cook and the cook’s friends 😉 )

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Heat the stock and keep it hot. Ad one table spoon of olive oil and one table spoon of butter, a quarter of the onions and a quarter of the garlic to a pan and saute until soft. Ad the giblets and brown slightly. Pour half a cup of white wine in and evaporate.  Turn the temperature down, ad the Chili, Sage or Rosemary, and braise in a drop of stock for about 30 minutes until tender. Use a pot big enough to hold everything with ample room for lots of stirring. Put the rest of the olive oil and one table spoon of butter in the pot and add the rest of the onion and garlic and saute over a gentle heat until the onion is soft but not coloured.  Add the rice to the onion mixture in the pot and stir a few minutes to heat through. Toast the rice and cover every grain in oil. Add a half a cup of good white wine and cook until the rice have absorbed all the wine. Turn the heat medium low and start adding a few ladles of stock, and stir constantly. Every time the rice becomes dry, ad a ladle of hot stock and keep stirring. When half cooked (ten minutes) add the warm giblets to the rice. Keep adding hot stock a ladle at a time and keep stirring until the rice is almost al dente.   The consistency should be very moist as the rice will still absorb moisture and dry out for some time. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper while cooking. Immediately take off the heat and stir in one tablespoon of cold butter and half a cup of grated Parmigiano (optional). Stir quite aggressively to make it creamy and smooth. Let it rest for about three minutes while the rice finisesh cooking in the residual heat and serve immediately. Top with grated Parmiginao cheese if not stirred in at the end. The rice must never be dry but must also never float in the stock. If you add the stock all at once you will end up with boiled rice, not risotto.  Each grain of rice should have its own glistening coating of stock, and should be chewy, not soft and soggy. In Veneto they serve risotto “all’onda” which means like the waves of the sea – very soft and they give  you only a fork to eat it – no spoon. This is also the way I like it, even though I am from Lombardy.

We often eat risotto as a main meal but it makes a great primi piatti if the main meal is  meat. I would serve a great Sangiovese red with this if there is any left after tasting the good wine while cooking.

Stock

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Good stock is the one ingredient a kitchen should never be without.

INGREDIENTS

Chicken bones or (quail back bone, neck, wing tips and excessive skin) – About half a Kg in total or more if you want to make a stronger stock.

2 onions (No need to skin) – Washed and roughly cut up. Could be replaced with Leeks

2 large carrots leaves and all) – Washed and roughly cut up

half a bunch of Celery (Leaves and all) – Washed and roughly cut up. You could add celeriac leaves if you have any

salt lightly to taste

8 Liters of water

I often buy chicken frames from the supermarket (sorry, but sometimes I have to go there) or use the back bones and necks of the quails, when I slaughter, which are both good for stock even though different. Quails make a much stronger stock than chicken. You can also do a fish stock, by replacing the meat with fish heads and frames. I keep the stocks separate so I have different flavours for different dishes.  Put all the ingredients, including the water (cold) into a meat stock pot and boil over a low heat for at least two hours, but preferably more. Let the liquid reduced by about one third and keep topping it up with more cold water to keep it at this level. Stir every so often to prevent it from burning and sticking to the bottom.

Strain the liquid from the solids using a colander and return the liquid to the stock pot and heat until boiling again. Immediately pour into clean containers and seal immediately (I use 2 liter plastic buckets). Should the lids fit properly, the reduction in product temperature will form a very effective vacuum seal. If you have maintained a high level of cleanliness and your containers were  clean, the stock will remain good for months in the pantry, even though I normally keep mine in the fridge. Once opened it should be kept in the fridge and used within a couple of days. The vegetables  are good to feed to your Chickens and Quails.

With home made stock, soups are delicious and easy, pasta sauces and stews shine and you cannot make risotto without it. Braising meat and keeping it moist with the correct stock also ad complexity and additional flovour.

The Curse of the Cookbooks

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I had to photograph the result of a cooking discussion or, cooking bickering, if you must.

The great thing about being self sufficient and eating from the vegetable patch is the joy of harvesting something one grew oneself. It is organic and fresh even if, at time whatever is harvested is gnarled and puny it still tastes wonderful. The bad thing is that one is held hostage by the blackbird that eats all the seedlings the chickens overlooked when they were free ranging last time. The seasons and climate, especially here in Dunedin , dictate whether things grow or not and the person in control of the garden constantly suffers arched inquiries as to why in the world so much (or so little) of something was planted

Sometimes there is a glut of something and then the search for a great recipe, or, often many great recipes of one particular vegetable or fruit depending on the amount harvested. The frantic paging through the cookbooks begin, and since my 200 plus books are all about regional Italian cooking the search can not be narrowed down to, say, Indian or Chinese, and mutterings of  ‘ it was always in this book, where has it gone’ are commonplace. A lot of time is spent getting side tracked when I see something fondly remembered or something I always wanted to try. Once the recipe is selected sudden resistance from the household to the ingredients could flare up, prompting the beginning of a new search and the hauling out of more books!