Broad Bean Pods

487EBABB-DAB7-4D88-AF29-3F6D2C131F03With temperatures rising and with possible water shortages looming we have to waste less food. What is viewed as food in today’s supermarket shopping culture is a good question. If you have your own garden and you don’t use insecticides, secondary harvests like beetroot and carrot tops, pumpkin and radish leaves and nettles are nutritious and delicious, doubling the harvest of greens in small veggie patches. The main harvest in my garden at present is broad beans and throwing away the lovely young fresh pods has rankled with Mrs BYF for ever.

What we did today was to remove the beans from the pods and save them for later. The pods were rinsed, cleaned and sliced sliced in about 3 mm thick pieces, much as one would slice green beans, to be used in a stew. The stew was so delicious that I had to share the recipe with you.

Broad Bean Pods Stew

500 g any meat, cubed or on the bone. Because I had to make room in my cages I butchered some birds and I used:

2 quails,  wings, neck and the backbone of a chicken. I also added all the livers.
1 onion diced
1 clove garlic chopped
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 1/2 cups of white wine
5 cups sliced broad bean husks
1/2 cup stock, more if needed
6 tablespoon olive oil
pinch of chili flakes or one small chili
sage, about 1/2 cup sliced

Large pan or dutch oven with a tight fitting lid that will take all the ingredients.

Soften the onion in the olive oil over low heat, do not let it change colour. Add the garlic and meat and lightly brown over medium heat. Turn the heat up and when bubbling add the wine, leaving it to boil the alcohol away.
Add the sage, chili and puree and turn the ingredients over in the pan until well covered. Add the husks and a few tablespoons of stock. Cover the pot tightly and leave to cook over slow heat. Check in 20 minutes for moisture and add salt and pepper. Cook for about 60 minutes or until the meat is tender, adding stock only if necessary. The dish should not be soupy.

Serve with polenta or rice to soak up all the lovely sauce, or enjoy with crusty home made bread and a glass of home made red wine.

“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


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)


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



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%)


2013-10-22 - Quaglia con Pancetta, Salvia e Polenta 4

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 !!







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