Thursday, 26 February 2009

quail and quince

Spiced quail with cous cous, quince paste and pistachios (pictures by

I’ll probably do a couple of quail recipes on this blog, as am a big fan. This would work well as a light lunch or starter.

You can find the ras el hanout spice used below in spice shops & good supermarkets or seasoned pioneers do a very good one (or you could even make your own).

Serves 2

2 quails

1 garlic clove

1 heaped teaspoon ras el hanout moroccan spice mix

A pinch of cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons of olive oil
A small handful of pistachio nuts roughly chopped

Salt and black pepper


3 tablespoons quince paste (you can buy this from Italian and Spanish delis)
A pinch of salt and pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon olive oil
A squeeze of lemon
sea salt and black pepper

A few dried rose petals, if you have them


150g of cous cous

1 medium onion

Handful each of fresh parsley and mint leaves

Extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice to dress

For the quail:

Preheat the oven to 200˚C

Take the breasts and legs off the quails and put them in a bowl.

Mash all the marinade ingredients together in a pestle and mortar (or using a bowl and back of a spoon) and then pour over the quail, rub in well and make sure each piece is covered. Marinate for at least 15 mins but 2 or 3 hours is even better.

When ready to cook put the legs on a baking tray on the top self of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they’re cooked and nicely brown n crisped at the edges.

Season the breasts with a little more salt and pepper and then fry them in a hot pan with a splash of olive oil. They’ll need about 3-4 mins on the skin

side (to get it nicely golden) and then about 2 mins on the other side. Rest under foil for 5 minutes or so.

For the sauce:

Mix the quince paste with a few crushed rose petals, then stir in the rest of the ingredients ans season with a little salt and pepper.

Scatter a few dried or fresh petals over and some roughly chopped pistachios.

For the Cous cous:

Slice the onion in to half moons and cook in a tablespoon of olive oil until golden-brown and soft (about 10 mins). Cook the cous cous according to packet instructions, season with salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste. Stir through the herbs and fried onion.

To serve:

Give each plate two breasts, two legs, a pile of cous cous and a good spoonful of

the quince sauce. Finish by scattering around the chopped pistachios (and, if you like, a few herb sprigs).


The Caked Crusader said...

Finger's crossed for tonight - I'm hoping you win!!!!!

Michelle said...

Hey Andy, hope you win tonight. When you have a moment, could you post that recipe for the pigeon ravioli please? I've been dying to try that out! I am sure I'll have more requests after tonight! Good luck!

Andy said...

Thanks so much you both. Will put my post-final reflections up here tomorrow if i get chance.

Hi Michelle! Yep i'll defo get that pigeon ravioli recipe up here v.soon!

Claire said...

Andy have just discovered your website after watching the final (which you should have won!) and wow I can't wait to try out some of the recipes you've got on here!

P.s Im gutted for you but I know you'll be a success xxx (your gorgeous by the way ;-) take care.

Angela said...

So sorry you didn't win, Andy. I thought your dessert looked great, and it's not as if they actually give you a decent selection of dishes, is it??

Jill said...

Andy, so sorry you didn't win Masterchef. I think Greg and John had a really tough decision. However, there is no doubt that with talent such as yours, your cooking career will be a great one!
Good luck,

Becks said...

Really interesting blog site Andy - so pleased you're still cooking up a storm. Unfortunately my attempts are less storm more damp squib!

Tashanoona said...

Andy, I hear you are running a catering business. How do I book you and how much do you cost?

Andy said...

thanks all for your v.kind messages. check out my masterchef 2009 post for some of my thoughts.

Tashanoona - thanks for your inquiry. i haven't a catering firm exactly (that's a journalist over-egging it!) but i am doing some ad-hoc dinner parties and bits catering work to help pay the bills.

i'm really up for any such work so, if you'd to talk more then drop me an email (

best wishes