Thursday, 20 October 2011


Every week I spend hours & hours listening to and seeking out new music.

I love it.

It fills my soul.

Gives me solace when I am sad.

Raises my spirits.

It makes me smile.

It makes me cry.

It makes me laugh.

It helps me cook.

I get super excited when I discover something great.

It is something I love to share.

Like my cooking.

That is why I set out my posts here like that.

A recipe.

A song.

And I love that I know others that love to share too.

Very often what I post is not necessarily new discoveries but old favourites.

Or tracks the kids have been putting on. 

This week I am posting a new track.

A track that I CAN NOT stop listening to.

I love it when a song gets in your bloodstream.

This is one of those......

An artist's name I hadn't heard before (Lianne La Havas),  in a duet with one I do (Willie Mason).

I hope you like it as much as I do.

Her new EP was playing while I cooked this dinner..... and it's playing while I write today's post!

This recipe is surprisingly easy & super quick (the marinating time is the longest).  It uses a spice mix that I always have in my cupboard.  I make it myself.  It doesn't take very much time & you end up with quite a bit.  If you store it in your pantry in an airtight container you can use it for lots of things. I love to use it for Salt 'n' Pepper tofu- a lunch special I make for myself fairly regularly.  The fragrance of this spice mix is too divine for words!
If you don't want to use Quail- it would be equally delicious with chicken or duck!
The spice mix comes from Martin Boetz's cook book for his LONGRAIN restaurant.  It ALWAYS reminds me of some VERY VERY special friends in Sydney (you know who you are! x)...we may or may not have had WAY too many Caprioskas there was NECESSARY!

(makes 1 1/2 cups)
  •  50g szechuan peppercorns
  • 1 tblspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 piece of cassia bark
  • 5 small red chillies
  • 100g sea salt. 
DRY Roast spices (this means DO NOT add ANY OIL) in heavy based pan till you are smelling the heady & delicious fragrance- about 2-3 minutes. Let cool and grind till fine. 
Store in an air tight container. (It will keep for several months)

500g Quail Breast
2 tablespoons Salt'n'Pepper spice mix
3 tablespoons dark soy
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon (3 cloves) garlic crushed

Mix together all ingredients in a bowl.  
Work through well so that the Quail is well coated.
Set aside for at least 2 hours to marinate- or overnight if you have time.

Heat a non-stick pan to medium-high.
Place the breast skin side down and fry (I did not add any extra oil) for approx 3 minutes. Turn and fry for no more than  a minute.  
Remove and place n a plate.
Let sit for 5 minutes.
Then slice into large bite size slices (I sliced each Quail breast into 3)

1 lebanese cucumber- peeled into fine strips (use a veegatable peeler)
1 carrot- finely julienned
a handful of vietnamese mint
a handful of regular mint
a handful of coriander
2 cups of bean sprouts (make sure they are rinsed)

In a large bowl mix all of the salad ingredients well.
Sprinkle generously with Nuoc Cham (click here for recipe).  You can omit the chilli if you want to serve it to kids.
I did and added fresh chilli to ours.

Place well tossed salad on plate and place Quail on top.
I served it with Jasmine Rice as my kids are super hungry at the moment but it would be delicious just as a salad on it's own.

Here's the track that I talked of....'No room for Doubt' by Lianne La Havas with Willie Mason:


  1. Love, love, love, love, LOVE music. And I adore that you share your tunes - makes me feel like I'm there with you as you're cooking up those beautiful meals. Have wanted to try quail - think this is the recipe for it. Thank you xx

  2. This must be so delicious! Love Vietnamese flavours. Also... great track, beautiful singing.

  3. Hi GG,

    I am a regular reader of your lovely blog. I have recently joined twitter. I have tried to follow you, but seem to be blocked. I am hoping that this is not personal.

    Thanks for such well written posts. I love listening to your musical choices and hearing about what you are cooking!

    catherine lucas

  4. You know I had to listen. Sublime. <3 <3 <3

  5. Hey GG

    Can't wait to make this (along with every thing else you have posted).

    How long will the salt and pepper spice mix last for in an air tight container?

    Also...where can I get cassia bark from?

    Thanks again.



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