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spicy lemon quail & stuffed mini capsicums

May 9, 2011

Mother’s Day mornings at our place are often panicked.

Rushed.

Full of feathers and craft glue and helping other peoples’ children celebrate their mothers. There is simply no time for pancakes or cups of tea when the whole household needs to be in the city and ready to roll by 9:00am.

Well, there could be, but mum has long expressed her preference for getting an additional half hour’s sleep.

Instead, Mother’s Day starts when the afternoon grows late.

When the guest of honour retires for a long, well-deserved, afternoon nap and the house is silent.

It is then that we spring into action. Groceries are bought, meat is defrosted and bottles of wine are placed in the fridge to chill.

And when she awakes, she sits on the other side of the kitchen bench and watches.

“Cheh, what is that?” she will ask, pointing at a box on the counter top.

“Freekeh, mah.”

“What is freaky? Can I put it in my rice?”

“Yes mah.”

And then later, as she speaks to her father on the telephone to wish him a “Happy Parents’ Day” as her mother has gone a-travelling to Ipoh with friends.

“Sheryl is cooking for me. I don’t know what she is cooking – oh! Quail. You know, the little birds?”

A pause.

“No. Not chinese style. Ah-moh style. Why do I want her to cook things I already know how?”

We sit in our pyjamas, socks and wool lined ugg boots on stools at the kitchen bench. Big, fancy dinners out were banned a while ago.

“Why do I want to go outside in the cold and dress up and eat in a crowded place? Better to stay at home where I can be comfortable. You are doing the dishes afterwards anyway isn’t it?”

She peers into the oven. Breathes in the puff of steam that escapes from the open door. Stares at her plate. Then grins.

We eat the quail with our fingers. Tearing limbs apart and sucking on the bones. Knives slice through the capsicum like butter. Grains spill out onto our plates.

Contented murmuring and then we are done.

“Happy Mothers’ Day mah.” I say.

“Happy Mothers’ Day dear.” says dad.

“I’m not doing the dishes” she replies.

spicy lemon quail

you will need:

4 medium quail (approximately 600g)
3tsp smoked paprika
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1 lime
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
1tbsp brown sugar
50ml olive oil
salt

how to do it:

1. Mix all of the ingredients (except the quail) in a non-metallic bowl to form a fragrant, slightly runny paste. I don’t usually specify the kind of bowl but the citric acid + metal + meat combination is apparently not a good one.

2. Cut the necks off your quail then, using scissors, snip along the backbone. You will find this on the opposite side of the bird to the breast. Flatten the quail out so it looks like the pictures above except uncooked. Wash out any gunky offally bits from the inside of your bird and pull out any stray feathers.

3. Rub the marinade onto the skin and the inside of the quail. Stack in the marinade bowl and leave in the fridge for at least an hour so they soak up some of the flavours.

4. Place the quail in an ovenproof dish and pour the remaining marinade on top. Bake in a 180C oven for 20 minutes.

5. Leaving the birds in the oven, turn the oven to grill and crank it up to 220C to get that skin crispy for a further five minutes – watching it carefully to make sure it doesn’t burn. Serve with stuffed capsicum & basil oil (below).

stuffed mini capsicums

you will need:

6 mini capsicums
1/4C quinoa
1/4C freekeh (or burghul)
2tbsp currants (optional)
1/2C water
1/2C vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp pepper
salt
2 tbsp olive oil

how to do it:

1. Cut around the stem of each capsicum to detach it. Scoop out the seeds and inner membranes with a teaspoon and replace the cap.

2. Add the quinoa, freekeh, currants, water, stock, cumin & pepper to a small pot. Bring the liquid to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook at a simmer for 15 minutes, stirring toward the end as the liquid is absorbed.

3. Salt the grain mixture to taste then scoop the grain mixture into the cavities of the mini capsicums, pressing down slightly to make sure the whole cavity is filled. Top with the stem.

4. Place the stuffed capsicums in an oven proof dish and drizzle the oil over the top. Bake in a 180C oven for 35 minutes.

basil oil

In a food processor, blend the leaves from one bunch of basil with approximately 100ml olive oil. Drizzle the oil in gradually and stop when you reach a consistency you like.

disclosure: Shez was given the quail used in this recipe by Game Farm at a Tasting and Masterclass event held at Bitton Cafe & Grocer on 4 May 2011.



  • #1
    May 9th, 2011

    Your parents are hilarious! It’s like one of those Singaporean sitcoms I used to watch. We bribe our mum as well so we don’t do the dishes but sadly once it’s allocated to us there is no escaping the dishwashing. LOVELY quail and freekah recipe Shez!

  • #2
    May 9th, 2011

    *freekeh

  • #3
    May 9th, 2011

    I love how your Mum is so direct 🙂 Hope she liked the quail made your way (especially the lady-like way it was sitting on the plate) and that she didn’t have to do the dishes! Love the stuffed camsicums! Yum!

  • #4
    May 9th, 2011

    Wah got ang moh style now huh very good hen haochi

    I’ve always found quail look pretty freaky. Maybe the size, maybe the splayed limbs. Delicious, yet they make me…quail a little

  • #5
    sue jane
    May 10th, 2011

    haha..that’s so grandpa..

  • #6
    May 10th, 2011

    Love your post!!! I’m so going to try this, I’m a little scared of cooking quail but you’ve convinced me it’s worth it!

  • #7
    May 10th, 2011

    lol – your quail has its legs crossed over – how lady-like…!

  • #8
    May 12th, 2011

    Such an excellent post, and echoes my own mother’s day, isn’t it?! We cooked ah-moh style for mum too this year! As a side note my ah-moh partner has taken to “isn’t it” and “is it?” much to his own dismay.

  • #9
    May 15th, 2011

    Love how the quail’s legs are politely crossed!

  • #10
    May 20th, 2011

    What a sexy looking quail! Even a little sassy.

  • #11
    July 17th, 2011

    I love it how you stuff the capsicum, it looks so pretty. Also Quail is my favourite food. Love the lime and chilli combination.

Shez