We booked a weekend away in Daylesford, staying in a house with beautiful olive groves and a kitchen with the charm of an old farmhouse, all wood and utensils galore (which is what inspired the cooking on this trip). I brought Bolognese with us, straight out the freezer which was as usual devoured in 3 minutes flat after frequenting the local pub.
Saturday was exploring and the farmers market (where we met Mr Eggs) and his funny chooks. The quails eggs looked quite inviting, so we got some (not really knowing what to do with them) but when someone mentioned ‘scotch eggs’ that was it – plan. I’d made them before with chickens eggs, when my brother got his deep fryer (the beginning of the deep fry phase) and they were really delicious, so why not try it with these little morsels?
There’s nothing like the odd ‘escape to the country’ and Daylesford was perfect with ample pubs and bars, loved the outside courtyard of Frango’s especially, great nick nack shops, roos galore (the first real wild ones I’d seen actually) and beautiful countryside.
We’re not really ‘spa’ people, so although Hepburn was pretty, we were quite happy with the cafes and water holes it had to offer. Great place.
Peanut butter and strange looking chickens (no people don’t eat them, I did ask).
A great place to find interesting pieces in the local shops, second hand stores and the amazing Mill market (my kind of heaven).
A sunny afternoon and 2 bottles of Prosecco on the veranda seemed to happen in a flash and suddenly you had two raving drunkards attempting to peel quails eggs, with not the best precision, but it worked….
Quail’s Scotch Eggs
I like to eat these with English mustard and a nice cold beer, but also great as a party snack, picnic treat or light lunch. Great still warm and oozy but also cold the next day. Tomato chutney or onion relish could sophisticate them up a bit or good old brown sauce and a cuppa could dazzle them down to suit drizzly and dark afternoons in front of the telly.
Ingredients Makes 10 scotch eggs
- 10 quail eggs
- ½ tsp sweet paprika
- Small bunch of rosemary, chopped fine (2 tbsp chopped)
- ¼ of a whole nutmeg, finely grated
- 2 large handfuls of plain flour
- 150g white breadcrumbs or panko crumbs (I used panko)
- 2 large eggs, lightly whisked
- 4 large sausages (pref just pork)
- Vegetable oil, about 2 litres
Carefully place your eggs in a small saucepan and cover with water just boiled from the kettle. Keep on the heat and simmer for 2 minutes (no longer!). 3 minutes would ensure hard yolks.
After the 2 minutes, run the pan under a cold tap and leave the eggs in cool water whilst you prep the rest of the ingredients.
Slice through the middle of your sausages, just piercing along the top sides and squeeze out the filling into a bowl. Add ½ tsp sweet paprika and about 1 tbsp of your finely chopped rosemary. Season well and grate a quarter of a whole nutmeg in, before mixing together with your hands or a fork.
Get your assembly line ready, sausage meat, flour, egg and then breadcrumbs (in order of how we roll).
Carefully peel the quail’s eggs. Best to tap and then roll them before you start peeling. A cold tap running over as you peel can help.
Take bits of sausage meat (about the size of a walnut in its shell) and flatten over the palm of your hand until it’s about 1cm deep. Place an egg in the middle and carefully work the meat up and around it until its completely covering the egg. Repeat with all 10 eggs.
Next, carefully roll all your eggs in the flour, then egg, then crumbs.
Heat your oil to about 160°C-180C and cook eggs in batches for 4 minutes per batch. Maybe try one out first and slice through the centre to get your cooking time spot on.
Once cooked, lay eggs on kitchen paper, and pour yourself a well-deserved drink!
Slow Roast Tomatoes
The tomatoes were breakfast and even though you can’t really call it a recipe – the art is a very low heat and slow and steady cooking time. I like to add baby shallots, 1 head of garlic, cut straight through the middle and herbs of some kind. This time I used caraway seeds and thyme (as we found some in the garden) but I also use fennel seeds and of course plenty of olive oil and seasoning. If you haven’t had tomatoes in this way, seriously give it a go – we have them at least once every weekend now.
Sprinkle some feta on top or make a basil oil and dribble this over – anything goes.
I use 2 punnets of vine ripened tomatoes, cut through the middles and leave for about 2 hours in the oven at 120°C.