Tag: star-anis

Roast Quail with Spice Crust

Quail with Spices

I remember when I was a child I refused to eat quail, I didn’t like the idea of cooking a bird of that size. I got older, learnt that there is no difference between eating chicken, quail or any other fully grown bird and then one day, I tried a piece of its juicy meat. I was convinced within seconds! I have since tried out many recipes, fruity with roast grapes, quail with different herb variations, pure and buttery, exotic quail with various spice mixtures, so many possibilities that change with the seasons. There’s one thing these recipes have in common, I always fry the quail in fat with a piece of garlic and then I roast it in the oven for 8-10 minutes. It makes the skin crisp and the meat doesn’t loose its juices.

You can play around with quite a few aromas because it tastes so strong, it allows you to be more experimental than with chicken. I love to look through my big box of spices and follow my nose to choose the right mixture. It makes me feel like a child in a sweet shop! This time I go for 1 small star-anis, 2 cloves, 12 black pepper corns, 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds and 1/4 teaspoon of aniseed, everything ground coarsely in my mortar. This spice mixture makes the crust for 2 quails. I had some goose fat in the fridge, perfect for frying poultry but you can use butter instead. I fried the birds together with 1 clove of garlic cut in half until their skin was golden brown on all sides and put them into a baking dish. The buttery juices mixed with a dash of lemon juice go over the quails, followed by the spices rubbed into their skin and some salt. Now they just need to go into the oven, set to 200°C / 390°F, I used the Rotitherm roasting setting which works perfectly for poultry. Mine were done in 8 minutes, I had bigger quails which needed up to 15 minutes depending on their size.

We focused on the quail and enjoyed this meal with slices of white bread to dip into the spiced juices and a salad on the side.

Quail with Spices


Quail with Spices

Ginger Honey Glazed Duck with Spices and Polenta

Honey Glazed Duck

Sometimes I don’t have the time or patience to slow cook a whole duck for hours like I do with my Christmas Duck. Although this really makes for the most tender and juicy meat, I need a quicker alternative. Here’s what I came up with, honey glazed duck legs, juicy as well, with crisp skin, rubbed with spices and – most importantly – you can enjoy all of this after about an hour. If I find the time I marinade the meat in the morning so that the flavours can spread and soak into the skin during the day but it’s great either way.

I prefer the darker, deeper meat of wildfowl like duck, goose and pheasant, especially in the cold season. They allow you to rub strong spices and herbs into their skin without loosing their own qualities. For my duck legs, I went for an aromatic mixture of clove, bay leaf, ginger, star-anis, thyme, allspice and a good amount of honey for a crispy caramelized skin. The juices made an amazing sauce, a concentrate of all the spices, I just added some red wine. Perfect to dip the polenta in which I seasoned with thyme and rosemary.

Honey Glazed Duck

 Ginger Honey Glazed Duck with Spices and Polenta with Thyme and Rosemary

I prepare the polenta around 4o minutes after I put the duck legs into the oven.

For 2 people you need

duck legs 2
red wine 250ml
(or 100ml red wine and 150ml broth)
salt and black pepper
olive oil


For the marinade

strong honey 2 tablespoons
ginger, thumbnail sized, grated
thyme, leaves of 5 sprigs
allspice berries, ground, 3
cloves, ground, 5
bay leaf, ground, 1
star-anis, ground, 1
cinnamon, ground, 1/4 teaspoon

Warm up the honey in a small sauce pan until it becomes liquid, spread on the duck legs together with the spices and rub everything into their skin marinating them for 1 hour (if possible). You can also prepare them in the morning (like I do) and keep them in the fridge all day before you cook them in the evening.


 For the duck legs

Set the oven to 260°C / 500°F. My oven has a Rotitherm roasting setting which works perfectly for poultry.

Put the duck legs into an oiled baking dish, skin side up, and season with salt and pepper. Pour the remaining honey and spices of the marinade over the duck and place the dish in the hot oven. When the skin starts to get brown after a few minutes turn the temperature down to 130°C / 265°F and pour the red wine into the baking dish (a little over the duck as well) and bake for 60 minutes. Check with a skewer, if only clear juices come out the duck is done. Keep the duck legs in a warm place, pour the juices into a sauce pan and season with salt and pepper to taste. I didn’t even need to cook the sauce down. It was perfect, very intense, it didn’t need anything else. If you like you can add some more honey, Balsamico or a little orange juice.


For the polenta

polenta 120g / 4 ounces
water 250ml plus 150ml for cooking
milk 250ml
thyme, leaves of 4 sprigs
rosemary, chopped, 1/2 – 1 teaspoon
salt 1 teaspoon
olive oil 2 tablespoons

In a sauce pan, mix 250ml of water with the milk and salt and bring to the boil. Take the pan off the heat, add the olive oil, polenta and herbs and mix with a whisk. Turn down the heat to the lowest temperature and put the pan back on. Cook the polenta for 10 minutes mixing and adding the rest of the water once in a while.

Honey Glazed Duck