Last summer, during the few short weeks that lockdown was relaxed for a while, a very good friend of mine, who loves food and all things food related as much as I do, and I went out for road trip to see some of my very favourite suppliers, the first being Norfolk Quail.
Based in Great Ryburgh,near Fakenham, Norfolk Quail produces some of the finest quality quail and poussin available.
John and Ellie Savory have really made their mark over the last few years and have established a business that goes from strength to strength, with an enviable client list, supplying some of the country’s top restaurants.
These little birds are often overlooked as not being the kind of thing you would cook yourself at home, but with a little simple preparation they are an absolute delight.
You may think because they are small they wouldn’t have much flavour but I assure you these are on a whole new level. Either spatchcocked or left whole, being small they cook really quickly and therefore retain their juiciness.
Marinated overnight in Moroccan ras el hanout or Lebanese 7 spice, olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice, I like to roast them in a very hot oven or even better, over charcoal.
Piled on a large platter and served with a salad of dressed green leaves and a dish of simple green couscous, they are a real feast. Just be sure to have a pile of napkins handy as it can get messy!
160ml of boiling water or stock
I small onion, thinly sliced
1tbsp of olive oil
1/2tsp of salt
3/4tsp of ground cumin
50g of shelled unsalted pistachios, toasted and roughly chopped
4 spring onions, finely sliced or a small bunch of chopped chives
1 green, chilli finely chopped
60g of rocket, chopped
60g of flat leaf parsley, chopped 1 small bunch mint, chopped
1 pomegranate, seeded (optional) – the easiest way to do this is cut it in half, over a large bowl, and hit the rounded side quite firmly with a wooden spoon.The seeds should drop into the bowl, leaving the bitter white pith in the shell.
FOR THE DRESSING
2 tbsp of olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
3tbsp of red wine vinegar
1tbsp of Walsingham Honey from my friend Pat
1. Place the couscous in a large bowl and cover with the boiling water or stock, cover with cling film and leave for 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, gently fry the onion in the olive oil, until golden and completely soft. Add the salt and cumin and mix well, leave to cool.
3. Add the pistachios, spring onions, green chilli, rocket, mint and parsley.
4. Whisk the oil, vinegar, lemon juice and honey together and mix through the salad 10 minutes before serving.
5. Finish off with the pomegranate seeds, if using, sprinkled on top.
Serve at room temperature.
If you would like to make a vegetarian version, use vegetable stock and stir through 200g of feta cheese before finishing with the pomegranate seeds.