4 jumbo quails · 250g thinly sliced brussels sprouts · 2 carrots, peeled, halved lengthways and sliced into half moons · 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced · 2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced · 200g butter · 2 cups chicken stock · Salt and pepper
Gently sweat the onions and garlic in butter, add the carrots and season. At the same time, heat up a heavy pan with oil. Season the quails with lots of salt and brown until golden. The colour is essential as you won’t be able to get much more after this step. Place the quails in the oven at 200°C for 9 minutes. In the meantime, add the brussels sprouts to your carrot and onion mixture, add a good knob of butter and adjust the seasoning to taste. Once your quails are done, remove from the pan and set aside to rest. Deglaze the pan with chicken stock and a spoon of butter and reduce to a beautiful jus. To serve, pour the jus over the quails and serve alongside the brussels sprouts.
MY MUM’S SUMMER PUD
2kg mixed berries. I have always used a combination of frozen mixed berries and whatever is fresh in season · 1 loaf sliced white bread, preferably slightly aged · 200g sugar · Zest of 1 lemon · Crème fraîche to serve
Gently bring the fruit, lemon zest and sugar to simmer in a heavy saucepan. Remove from the heat and carefully strain the juice. You want to keep the integrity of the fruit without turning it into pulp. Set the juice aside and save for later.
Find a suitable dome-shaped bowl, roughly 15cm in diameter. Remove the crust from the bread and gently roll it out with a rolling pin. Line the bowl with bread, starting at the centre with a good disc and then carefully overlaying the bread so that there are no cracks, right up to the rim of the bowl. Once the berry mixture is cool, pour it into the bowl, ensuring that it covers the bread. Pour half the juice into the bowl and then top with more bread, making sure there are no gaps. Weigh the pudding down with a couple of plates and leave in the fridge to stand overnight. When you are ready to serve, carefully flip the pudding onto a plate. Don’t be alarmed if your bread is marbled. Pour over the remaining sauce and serve with crème fraîche or pouring cream.
LA TETE MINCE PIES
1 large apple, minced finely · 2 tbsp each sultanas, seeded raisins, currants and sugar · Zest and juice of 1 lemon · Half a tsp cinnamon and mixed spice · 1 tsp melted butter · 1 tbsp brandy · 30g chopped nuts · 250g puff or shortcrust pastry · Butter to line the moulds · Suitable baking tin · 1 large egg for egg wash
Mix all mincemeat ingredients thoroughly. If you like your mince pies super boozy, like I do, it’s good to do this earlier in the year, sometime in October, and then add a bit of alcohol every month. Otherwise, make the day before. Butter and flour the moulds and line with a layer of pastry. The thickness of the layer comes down to preference. Fill tarts with mincemeat and then top with a lid of pastry. Don’t forget to egg wash the rims of the lid and base to ensure the pastry sticks. You can be creative and add stars or stripes to the lids. Crimp the edges together, brush with egg wash and bake at 180°C for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool slightly before turning out onto a cooling rack.
Photo credit: Hein van Tonder