Luhvian quail

It certainly is a good day in the Delta Quadrant when Seven of Nine is cooking for you. Having food cooked by Neelix is all very well and good, but I’m sure sometimes it’s good to have a change. In this case, we have a dish from a multi-plate feast prepared by Seven (Voyager: The Void). While the crew are solving various mysteries and then entering into various alliances during the rest of the episode, at least we know they had a delicious meal prior to these activities.

The recipe starts by brining the quail for 45 minutes-1 hour. You can skip this step but I think it really makes a difference in the juiciness and flavour of the quail. If you do skip the brining, you will probably need to add some salt to the truffle sauce or the roast vegetables to compensate.

image

Replicate your own
(Serves 2 or 3 as a main course or 6 as a starter)

You will need to start brining the quail about an hour before you want to cook them.

6 quail
1 litre water - 500ml boiling, 500ml chilled or at room temperature
30g salt
4 carrots
8-10 mushrooms
1/2 pumpkin, cut into rounds (or press out with a round cookie cutter)
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
4 springs fresh thyme, for garnish
2-3 vol-au-vent cases (see notes, below)
Splash of olive oil

For the truffle sauce:
1-2 thin slices of truffle, chopped fine (about 5g)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon Madeira
100ml chicken stock

Preheat your oven to 180°C / 350°F.

Begin by brining the quail: bring half the water (500ml) to the boil, and then in a glass or ceramic bowl large enough to hold all the quail, add the salt and the boiling water. Stir until the salt is dissolved, and then add the remaining water to cool the liquid down. The brine should be at room temperature or cooler before you add the quail.

Add the quail to the bowl and make sure they are completely covered - use a small plate to weigh them down if needed. Set the quail to one side while you prepare the vegetables.

Add a splash of olive oil to a roasting dish, and then add the pumpkin pieces, carrots (leave whole) and mushrooms. Sprinkle with the dried thyme and then turn the vegetables to coat them in the oil and thyme. Put the vegetables in the oven and roast them until they begin to soften (but are not completely soft), about 20-25 minutes.

Remove the quails from the brine and drain. They do not need to be completely dry but make sure you’ve removed most of the brine from the cavity. Arrange the quails on top of the roasting vegetables, and return the dish to the oven.

Cook the quail for about 15 minutes, then flip them over and cook for another 10 minutes on the other side. 

If you have room in your oven, you could heat or cook your vol-au-vent cases while the quail are cooking. They also take about 20 minutes to cook.

While the quail are cooking, make your truffle sauce: Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the truffle pieces and cook for about 30 seconds, then add the madeira and chicken stock. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat. Simmer on a medium temperature until the liquid has reduced by about half.

To serve, place the vol-au-vent in the middle of the plate. Place one quail in the vol-au-vent and the vegetables around it. Garnish the plate with 1 or 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, and spoon the truffle sauce over the top.

Notes:

  • If you don’t have fresh truffles, truffle oil can be substituted in the sauce
  • Vol-au-vent cases can either be bought frozen from the supermarket, made from storebought puff pastry, of if you are feeling particularly adventurous, made from homemade puff pastry. Whichever option you choose, they generally need to be heated or cooked for about 20 minutes to allow them to properly puff.

image

Zoth-nut soup

Zoth-nut soup. From the Delta Quadrant, it’s clearly a very prized soup, as the recipe was given to the Think Tank as payment for helping a planet resist the Borg (Voyager: Think Tank). While the focus of the episode is the Think Tank wanting to keep Seven of Nine as payment for assisting the Voyager crew, I couldn’t help be curious about this soup. It must be a very great soup indeed to be worthy of payment when your planet has just been protected from the Borg! I was determined to try it out and see how good it actually was.

I decided to use chestnuts for this soup because they are fairly rich and creamy, so I thought they’d add some qualities which would make zoth-nut soup so prized. I used chicken stock but you can of course substitute vegetable stock to make a fully vegan soup.

Replicate your own
(Serves 2 as a main course)

400g chestnuts, shelled (see below) or tinned
2 cloves garlic
2 carrots
2 small-medium leeks, or 1 large leek
1 litre of chicken or vegetable stock
Salt
Pepper
2 bayleaves
2 sprigs parsley
Vegetable oil, for sauteeing the vegetables

If you’re working with fresh chestnuts in shells: using a sharp knife, cut an X shape into the base of each nut. Spread them on a roasting tray and roast in an oven at 190°C / 375°F for about 15 minutes. Let them cool until you can handle them, and then peel the skin off. They are easier to peel when still warm, so if they cool down too much you can pop them back in the oven for a few minutes.

Roughly chop the garlic, carrots and leeks. Add some vegetable oil to a large saucepan and add the chestnuts and garlic, and sautee for a few minutes until they start to soften.

Add the carrots and leeks and again sautee for about 5 minutes, until the leeks are softening up.

Add the stock, salt and pepper, bayleaves and the parsley, bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for about 40-50 minutes, until all vegetables (and the chestnuts) are quite soft.

Remove the bayleaves, and blend the soup (you can also squash the vegetables with a potato masher if you want a coarser texture).

Sprinkle some extra parsley on the top for a garnish, and be thankful the Think Tank already have the recipe and won’t be coming after you.

Leola root soup

After the excesses of the holidays, what better way to recover than with some leola root soup?! Leola root, that bane of the Voyager crew, was said to be highly nutritious but not the most pleasant tasting. Chef Neelix would not be dissuaded from using it and continued to use it in many dishes, including soups, rices and tarts - and Captain Janeway, while not liking it any more than the rest of the crew, at least acknowledged its benefits.

In creating the prop for the leola root, the Voyager prop teams used a ginger root that they added some alien fronds to. I’ve decided to stick with using ginger - it is also highly nutritious and has many health benefits, and looks pretty alien to me. You can rest assured that there will be more leola root recipes in the future!

Read more about leola root at Memory Alpha.

Replicate your own
(Serves 3-4 as a starter, or 2 if you really want to eat it as a main course)

This is a very flexible recipe and I would suggest modifying it to suit your tastes as you wish.

1 knob of young ginger, peeled and diced (I used a piece about 8cm / 3inches long)
1 small chili, chopped fine
1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
Vegetable oil

Start by peeling and dicing the ginger. Sautee the ginger in a dash of vegetable oil until it is soft. Add the chicken or vegetable stock, and the sesame oil, soy sauce and fish sauce, and any other flavours you wish.

Bring to the boil and then reduce and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until all flavours are combined.

Serve and remind yourself you are lucky to have more than just leola root to eat!

Notes:

  • Use young ginger if you can, as this is softer and less fibrous than older ginger
  • To peel the ginger, use a teaspoon to scrape the skin off - or use a vegetable peeler
  • If made with vegetable stock, this soup can be made vegetarian or vegan
Canape plate: Ailis pate, Felada onion crisp and stuffed Cardaway leaves

This week we’re travelling to the Voyager universe and the Delta Quadrant by preparing a canape plate devised by Neelix. He used this to give the bridge crew some sustenance during a particularly stressful time (Voyager: The Cloud). I suggest you can take Neelix’s plan and use this to de-stress dinner party guests, captains (of any sort) and even yourself. Like many foods in Star Trek, we don’t get a great look at the plate, although it’s definitely all finger food.

This canape plate involves three recipes - Ailis pate, onion crisps and stuffed cardaway leaves. Due to the pate being quite strong flavoured, I decided to make the stuffed cardaway leaves vegetarian - but you could of course add some mince meat if you wish. I also added some corn bread to the plate to go with the pate.

This picture was taken in the hazy afternoon light, but if you squint hard enough, I’m pretty sure you’ll get a view into the stars…

This one’s a long one, but all recipes are fairly straightforward and you’ll be rewarded with a fantastic canape plate acceptable anywhere on Earth - and the Delta Quadrant.

Note: As always, photos of the cooking process are available on the Facebook page. This week this will include step by step photos for folding up your own cardaway - or grape - leaves.

Replicate your own
(Makes a canape plate enough for 5-6 people)

For the Ailis pate
(Makes 5 small containers or ramekins of pate)

You will need to start the day before.

500g chicken livers
1/2 onion, minced
5 sage leaves, chopped fine
1 tablespoon green peppercorns, crushed
100g butter
25ml cup sherry (optional)

Start by rinsing the livers in cold water. Change the water a few times until it runs clear. Trim the livers by removing any sinew and discoloured pieces. Set aside.

Sautee in a small amount of butter the onions in a frying pan until softened. Add the livers and cook until they are no longer pink - about 3-4 minutes. Toss in the sage and green peppercorns and mix.

Put the mixture into a blender or food processor and blend. Add the butter and sherry if using, and blend again until smooth - this might take a few goes. Spoon the mixture into some small containersor ramekins and refrigerate.

In the meantime, make the sauce.

For the sauce:
25ml sherry
15ml Worcestershire sauce
300ml water
14g powdered gelatine

In a small saucepan, add the sherry, Worcestershire sauce and 60ml of the water. Heat until almost boiling and add the gelatine, stirring until it is dissolved. Add the rest of the water and let it cool to room temperature.

Spoon the sauce over the pate until the top is covered, and return to the fridge. If you want, you can press some sage leaves or green peppercorns into the top of the sauce once it has been in the fridge for an hour or so (so it has started to harden but you can still press the leaves into the jelly).

Refrigerate the pate overnight, then serve with crackers or bread.

For the stuffed Cardaway leaves

1 jar or package of brined grape leaves (about 40-50 leaves)
1/2 cup pinenuts
1 cup uncooked rice
4 sprigs dill, minced
1 bunch mint, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Start by plunging the grape leaves into hot water, then rinse under cold water. Let drain while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

In a dry frying pan, toast the pinenuts until they begin to brown. Remove and set aside. In the same frying pan, add a small amount of olive oil and then cook the garlic and onions until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the uncooked rice, toss with the garlic and onions and cook until golden. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Mix together the pinenuts, rice and onion mixture, dill and mint. Now you’re ready to fold!

Line a heavy casserole pot or dutch oven with grape leaves. Smooth out a grape leaf, vein side up. Cut away the stem. Place a spoonful of the mixture in the middle of the grape leaf, above where you’ve cut off the stem. To fold, picture the grape leaf as an outspread hand. Start by folding the pieces in the thumb and little finger positions over the mixture. Fold in the sides and then roll the leaf up. Place seam side down in the pot. You can stack them on top of each other if you need to.

Step by step photos of rolling up the grape leaves will be on the facebook page.

Once you’ve rolled up all your dolmades, sprinkle them with the lemon juice and olive oil. Add enough water so the dolmades are covered, and cover with extra grape leaves if you have any left (if you don’t - don’t worry - it’s not essential). Add a plate or saucer to weigh the dolmades down, cover the pot and simmer for 45 minutes.

Let cool while you prepare….

Felada onion crisps

3 or 4 onions
4 tablespoons plain flour
4 tablespoons breadcrumbs
Smoked paprika
Salt
2 eggs, beaten
Grapeseed oil for frying

Mix together the flour, breadcrumbs, paprika and salt. Set up a dredging conveyor belt with a bowl of the eggs, then a bowl of the flour mixture. Slice the onions into thin-medium rounds and pat them dry.

Dip each piece of onion first in the eggs and then in the flour mixture. You do need to be gentle to ensure the onions stay together.

Heat the oil in a saucepan until it is 180 degrees Celsius. Carefully place each onion piece in the oil, and cook until both sides are golden brown. Drain on some paper towel before serving.

All that is left now is to assemble your canape plate: I’d suggest adding some slices of bread or crackers for the pate and then enjoy everything by eating it with your fingers.

This plate is great for not only diffusing stressful situations if you’re on the bridge, but also for dazzling at a dinner party.