Roast quail with Spring vegetables and a yogurt tahini dip or that moment when you create characters who have a nasty habit of having a life of their own, and proper will at that too!
I don't know where this past weekend has gone off to! I had many plans, many things I wanted to do, food I was going to cook, photos that were to be taken, posts to be prepared and written, shots to edit and arrange, and chose from. I don't even remember all I had in mind to achieve this past weekend, which happened to be a long one, as it is. It all started going south of planned as we took off friday morning to do some shopping. We didn't take off, let me say. I was on the grips of inspiration and had a scene all played out in my head that needed to be put down to paper - or should I say screen? - as fast as could be. So while my husband woke up fairly early for a day off to go and do part of said shopping at the butcher's and the fishmonger's, I stayed home with our boy, and wrote away. When I virtually looked at the time, the whole morning had breezed by me, and showers had yet to be taken, and we had yet to get dressed, and I had yet to prepare lunch so we could go out right after and get rid of the rest of the shopping. INtending to do away with that straight away, so we could have the rest of the weekend to pursue other pleasures.
Again, it did not go as planned. We took off to a certain store that happened to be closed due to the 1st of May bank holiday, and we had failed to realise or confirm if they were open for business that afternoon. It turned out they weren't, and that ruined Saturday as we would have to go back there. Taking stock, we ended up dragging that son of ours to a clothing department store - the boy's nemesis for sure - to buy him socks and tees, as he has decided he will not stop growing from week to week, forcing us to put away garments that were perfectly good on him just yeaterday and today are about two sizes too small. By then I was on the verge of a tantrum of my own, what with his behaviour, I mean, he's six and the last thing he wants his to be stuck inside an overcrowded store! and the fact that my mind was buzzing with sentences and dialogues and virtually whole chapters I just wanted to get down written. It turned out that most of our afternoon was to be spent outside the house, and my fingers itching to touch my keyboard! My temper was not a good one, trust me. My patience was on the brink, and I never had much of that, either way.
You see, I could time seeping through my fingers, what with iposing upon myself a goal of finishing a novel in under a month, and realising the date was gettig closer everyday, and even though I have it all inside my head, the gist of it at least, it still has to be written down, and that's the part that takes time. And asside from that, there is life. There's a child needing attention, there's a husband requiring love, there's myself, wantng to log off, read a book, catch up on this show or that, drink a glass of wine while I munch on out of the oven fresh bread, while cooking dinner and talking away. There's life to be lived, the mundane, un-glamorous everyday things like loading the washer and making up beds, and doing the dishes, the banal moments of kissing in the kitchen as we pass each other, going our ways to get chores done, the unsung tasks of getting your fingers cut on a sharp blade from your food processor as you try to get that piece of fruit out, the one that always seems to get stuck in there. There's life to be lived, and it will take place, whether you want it or not. But sometimes it is just too hard to turn off the brain and get back to the real world, what when two of your characters have had the lousy taste of falling for each other and deciding that they want to have sex. Because you are stuck with writing it all, and with trying not to make it Fifty Shades of Grey bad.
And then there was the blog, which needed updating, which required recipes to be thought of, and cooking to be done, and photos to be shot, and food to be styled. It takes a lot of time, let's not be shy about saying it. A lot of time and effort is put into this, and even though it is always a pleasure, even though it is something that makes me feel so good while doing it, so good about myself, it is a time consuming activity. And because of that, sometimes simple is often better. This was our friday night dinner. We were pressed for time, having spent the whole day out. We also had fresh quail, and fresh asparagus, and fresh tomatoes that were begging to be roasted! I knew what I wanted for dinner and this was a mere question of seconds to decide on a recipe, to come up with an idea. Turns out it is kind of the quintessencial Spring dinner, if you're into to birds as I am - ok, that one did not come out quite like I meant it to... - and fresh vegetables and roasts. Because, if you think a roast is always heavy, and comforting, and warming, filling you up with much needed heat in Winter, think again. There are light roasts to be had all year long, something that will leave you feeling satisfied, yes, sure, but not sleepy and heavy stomached as a typical Winter roast would.
So here's how you go about it, and this is for three to four people, depending on the size of those birds. Take about two spoonfuls of butter, at room temperature and mix in salt, pepper, smashed garlic, a scatter of dried herbes de provence, a teaspoon of powdered sweet paprika. Rub this mix into each quail, even inside it. Place on a roasting tray that has been lined with olive oil and one large onion thinly sliced, cover with foil and cook in the oven at 140º for about one hour. Prepare your vegetables and coat them with a drizzle of good olive oil and a pinch of salt. Add them to the roasting tray, turn up the heat to 190º, get rid of the foil and let it roast for at least another half hour, depending on size of vegetables. On a small bowl drop the contents of a greek yogurt pot and mix in a teaspoon of tahini paste, a pinch of salt and a drizzle of sesame oil, mizing well. Serve the quail and veggies with a dollop of this creamy sauce and a glass of good red wine, and you're set to go. It'll make your tastebuds sing and leave you satisfied without feeling heavy and slightly dormant. You can even go and sit down at the computer to work some more, if you're anything like me when caught in the hands of the muses...