Monday, June 30, 2014

Quail stuffed with Couscous and served with Eggplant parmiggiana



I found a pack of 6 quails in the Portuguese market the other day and couldn’t resist taking it home with me. I love quail and it’s quite hard to find organic, run free and halal quails anywhere nowadays, so when I saw these beauties I just had to have them.

The best way to cook (and eat) quail in my opinion is stuffed and roasted with white wine and butter, lots of butter.

It might seem frightening to cook something so sophisticated but in fact it’s pretty simple. Don’t be scared to try something new and once you get it right (if not the first time) you will have a great recipe to show off your skills at a dinner party.

This is one of those recipes without measurements, so feel free to adjust everything to your tasting.



6 quails

about 100g of soft butter, I used unsalted.

fresh thyme and rosemary

about 1 glass of white wine (whichever wine you prefer, but not very sweet)

salt and pepper to taste


Start by cleaning the quails well, outside and inside with water, and then patting them dry with a paper towel, to make sure the skin gets crispy and brown.

Let them sit on paper towel until completely dry.

Meanwhile, remove one stick of butter from the fridge, chop some rosemary and pick some thyme leaves. Set aside.

Once they are dry, twist their wings so they rest their “head” on their “hands”, just like they were lying on the beach, sunbathing. (see pictures below)

Make the couscous.

Stuff each one, individually and generously with the couscous. (see pictures below)

Wrap their legs with cooking twine to make sure the couscous will not fall off.

Rub each one with lots of soft butter, leaving some chunks of butter on top. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.

Arrange them in a baking pan, one close to the other.

Sprinkle some herb mix (rosemary and thyme) on top. Pour some white wine in the pan and cook them at 350 F until golden brown and crispy.

Open the oven every 15 minutes and pour some of the wine on top of the quails, basting them in the liquid.










4 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 cup of couscous

1/2 cup white wine (dry)

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

olive oil

salt and pepper

thyme and rosemary


Fry the onion in olive oil until trans lucid. Add the garlic, thyme and rosemary.

Add the couscous. stir well and season it with salt and pepper.

Add the wine and stir well. Add the chicken stock, hot. Turn off the heat and cover the pot with a lid. Leave it covered for 5 minutes. It’s ready. Fluff it with a fork.


Eggplant parmiggiana:

1 or 2 eggplants

1 can/ jar of organic tomato sauce

2 bay leaves

oilve oil

salt and pepper

mozzarella cheese

parmesan cheese

Slice the eggplant thinly. Fry each slice in olive oil until soft.

Coat the bottom of a pan with tomato sauce and season it with salt, pepper and bay leaves. Start building layers of eggplant and tomato sauce until you use all the eggplant. Top it with the tomato sauce, mozzarella and parmesan and bake at 350 F until it boils and the mozzarella starts to brown.


Monday, June 9, 2014

Baking with chef Chuck Hughes




I know I haven’t posted in a while and I’d really like to apologize to my readers for taking so long. I honestly just haven’t had time. As some of you may already know, I started working for Garde Manger (chef Chuck Hughes’s restaurant) in the beginning of the year and it has been a very busy but truly rewarding experience.

Before the restaurant I was in a very early morning lifestyle, starting bright at 7 o’clock and arriving home between 4 and 5pm, but since the beginning of the year I went from an early morning worker to a very late night one. And don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love that change. I frankly despise the alarm clock going off at 5 am and being in a zombie like state for the rest of the day. But I’m still adapting to this big change and trying to find time for everything I want to do.

The restaurant is great and the food is amazing. I actually went there for the first time last week as a client and was treated like a queen. The staff was super attentive and the food was more than satisfying and really well done.

But What I really wanna write about today is my experience with Chuck. You may know him from his popular shows on food network: Chuck’s day off and Chuck’s week off, which were both filmed at the restaurant, or even from Top Chef.

Every time he goes to the restaurant I am amazed as how nice he is. He is always helping out everyone and even scrubs pan and pots really hard to help the dishwasher. I go up to make dessert (because I work in the basement kitchen) and there he is, in the dish pit, making sure everything gets done. He is such a nice guy, always with a big smile on his face and ready for action.

I love the ideas he gives me and all the inspiration pictures we discuss in our meetings.

I actually got to bake with him last month and it was an amazing experience. It was maple syrup season and he decided we should serve Chomeur (a classic Québecois dessert) and just opened up a book and started baking for me. We discussed the sauce consistency and the right pot to serve it and voilà, we created the perfect dessert for the season. It was so delicious we actually had it on the menu for 2 weeks, on demand, as it took 20 minutes to bake and it was served hot with a vanilla ice cream scoop on top. Yum! We sold out every night, of course!

Right now it’s summer and it’s all about our new Pacojet (a machine that makes ice cream between other great stuff) and there he was again, creating new fantastic ice cream flavors.

You can tell he loves what he does, just by looking at his face when you try something he’s made, or when he gets super excited to try something new I made.

Between all the photographs with clients and fans and all the shows and tours he does he still has time to seat and talk about his dessert ideas, and help everyone around. I’m very proud of working for such a nice, creative and professional chef.

And if you like him and would like to meet him, just stop by the restaurant for a delicious and hearty meal and you might spot him, walking around and hanging out with his biggest fans: his employees. And if you want a taste of his creations, just order the affogatto and you’ll taste his white chocolate vanilla ice cream inside a warm cup of espresso served with chocolate dipped meringue and topped with orange peel candy.

The restaurant is at: 408 St François Xavier St, in the old port.

For reservations and info: