Friday, February 11, 2011

Quails and wild grapes

Thinking about a menu for a lunch under the tree on Sunday, before we return to New York.

Inspiration strikes in various forms, though always at the last minute. My mom has been asking me for days what we will be eating and I have not been much help, apart from threatening her with quail. We have about two dozen, bought in a fit at Joostenberg weeks ago, and lurking in the freezer ever since.  People are skittish about quail. Small. Bird. Cute. Also bones.

Then we drove past the wild grapes growing on a fence up the road. I thought homemade verjus thoughts. Then I opened a long-forgotten Nico Ladenis book and saw a recipe for a terrine of confit of guinea fowl.


Wild grapes. Quail. Confit. An idea.

Just meat in a terrine. No bones, no recognizable quail parts to upset people.

Yesterday afternoon we picked a basketful of the little sour purple grapes and some leaves. I added some muscat grapes to the idea, too. At home, I covered the quail in thyme and bay leaves, and pureed the grapes, straining the juice over the birds. Into the fridge.

Needed fat, though.

Googled Cape Town and duck fat and found John and Lynn Ford who run the best mini market you don't know about. More about them, later. This morning we found them in the darkly obscure Triangle Square, which is a passage,  near an entrance to the Cavendish Square  Woolworths on the lowest floor (home wares entrance, near the WW parking...). They are there on Fridays, and at the Biscuit Factory on Saturdays.

The quails are roasting deliciously now, bathed in duck fat, herbs, grapes, shallots and garlic, and later today I will have the fun task of removing all the meat from their bones.

Hold thumbs.
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