Posts Tagged ‘basil’

It’s not Christmas Day yet in Belgium, but it is in some parts of the world already, however, chances are you would  probably be reading this post on or after Christmas Day 🙂

Here’s a picture I took of a part of our Christmas tree, with the cherub angel harping glorious message to you, my dear readers.


Christmas Eve

While growing up in Malaysia, the Christmas Eve dinner and Midnight Mass were the pivotal points of our lives. My parents made sure everyone sat at the dinner table enjoying a 6- to 8-course meal together, after which we adjourned for the Midnight Mass. 

We did not bother to observe the time.  It could be 1 am or 1.30 am in the morning when we got home, but who cared.  It was Christmas Eve…erm…Day!

I missed those days…

Christmas Eve in Belgium is still a family thing, but not as boisterous as the one I knew growing up in Kuching 😉

I made a simple but special Christmas Eve lunch today.

This recipe is adapted from a festive catalogue of Colruyt, a Belgian family-owned retail corporation, most significantly known for its eponymous discount supermarket chain.

I was browsing through the brochure, and chanced upon a small column about Quails and how to prepare them.

Quails are categorised as a game bird and belong to the pheasant and partridge family. Great!  Sounds Christmassy. “… and a partridge in a pear tree…”

I bought 8 Quails, which looked like midget chickens or turkeys.

1. Quail

The recipe indicated only the method: Pan-fry the Quails in a pan to brown before placing in a baking tray. Season with salt and pepper and wrap each quail with 3 bacon rashers. Sprinkle rosemary, thyme and crushed garlic and olive oil before baking in a pre-heated oven of 180°C for 30 to 40 minutes.

Not bad, I thought.  I meant, the recipe looked simple to follow, so why not, eh?

As usual, my creative right-brain got the better of me and whispered to my Grey Matter what I should add or omit from the ingredients 😀

Here were the ingredients I used to prepare the Quails –

  • 8 Quails, washed and cleaned
  • 6 rashers of streaky bacon
  • 1 large onion, sliced thinly
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • A handful of fresh basils, torn roughly
  • 1 chicken stock cube, crumbled
  • Freshly milled black pepper
  • Olive Oil

I made a special sauce to go with the Quails.

  • “White” Table Grapes, skin removed
  • 2 small shallots, finely chopped
  • Some Cognac for flambéing
  • Some water
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Corn flour, to thicken the sauce

Method –

  • Pan-fry the quails to sear and brown the meat
  • Place the lightly brown quails on a bed of sliced onions, crushed garlic, roughly torn basils, chicken stock cube, freshly milled black pepper and olive oil
  • Cover the quails with the bacon rashers, like you would, a blanket over a child 😀
  • Bake in a pre-heated oven of 180°C for 40 minutes

2a. Quail2b. Quail

2c. Quail2d. Quail

To make the sauce, I sautéd the shallots, then added the alcohol while flambéing the sauce, which in my opinion enhanced the flavour of the sauce. I then added some water and seasoned to taste before thickening the sauce with a mixture of corn flour and small amount of water.  Finally, in went the skinned grapes just before plating up.

3a. Quail


3b. Quail

3c. Quail

Our simple yet stupendously noteworthy Christmas Eve dish 😉

I’m sharing this post with the following links –

The December Cooking with Herbs Challenge…AND Christmas Spices!  hosted by Karen Burns-Booth of  Lavender and Lovage


Cook-Your-Books#7  hosted by Joyce from Kitchen Flavours

 Cook Your Books

Weekend Cooking hosted by Beth Fish Reads – Thinking, Reading, Photographing

Weekend Cooking