Thanks to all of you who have been commiserating me on my injury lately - I am slowly recovering, but as Elise said, I reckon I won't be doing any origami for a while. This is my first post in a long time and I have been inspired to do it today because I have recently met someone... no, not what you think! Just virtually, through a transaction on ebay. Mr.K. is taking his pregnant wife to Paris for the weekend to have some well-deserved time off before baby number 3 arrives, so I wanted to share my memories of a favourite restaurant there...
It was at "L'Estaminet"- a smoky, dimly-lit restaurant in the Rue Oberkampf (Paris XI) that I had quail for the first time in my life. We love this Parisian restaurant, which is also a favourite among many graduates and young professionals who enjoy being well-fed with traditional French cuisine without paying the earth. We had first been introduced to this place by our friends Laure et Sébastien about six or seven years ago and have been going back ever since. It tends to be our first port of call during a weekend break in the French capital, when we'd arrive too late to be able to manage a full menu dégustation at any of the grand restaurants and (due to constant delays on the Eurostar) cannot be sure to even make it at all that night... at the Estaminet you can just show up without reservation, you might have to wait your turn, but you're almost sure to get in, even if you arrive quite late. What better start to a visit to France than with a hearty menu of tradtitionally prepared French food!
It wasn't until we moved to London that I learnt to prepare quail myself, having never come across it at any butcher's in Austria. Here in London, you can buy it at the local supermarket and I have therefore had the opportunity to make it many times since, in different variations. I am not usually the one who will fight for the legs of a chicken, I am very happy with some breast fillet, thank you very much - fiddling around with a bone in my mouth (including close encounters with those components NOT counting as tasty meat) is not my idea of bliss. But with quails it's different, I am quite happy gnawing the last bit off, maybe they tend to be better cooked or just too small for me to be aware of any less pretty elements.
Never have I managed to reproduce what they serve at L'Estaminet, but the following recipe has become a favourite - stuffed with raspberries, garlic and thyme, wrapped in pancetta and roasted in the oven for no longer than 40 minutes... this is a perfect prepare-ahead treat for a dinner party!