Quail’s eggs with rock salt and roasted cumin

These beautiful speckled little eggs may sound posh, but they can be bought pretty cheaply (I get mine from an Asian supermarket).

This is a really simple canapé if you want to impress dinner guests, or go down pretty well with a few cold beers. They can also be made well in advance so that you’re not running around like a crazy person. (Just remember to leave an extra dish out for your guests to throw their discarded egg shells in).

Method

  1. Put a medium sized pan of water on to boil
  2. Put a small frying pan on to heat
  3. When the water is boiling, add the quail’s eggs and boil for 4 minutes. 
  4. After the 4 minutes, take the eggs out of the boiling water with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl of iced water to stop the cooking
  5. In the frying pan add the cumin seeds and toast until you can smell the cumin, remove from the heat and mix with the salt
  6. Serve with eggs in a dish, with the cumin and salt alongside to dip the eggs in

Arancini (Risotto Balls)

I had these for the first time in New York, with a cocktail in an air conditioned bar which felt like I’d arrived in heaven after pounding the streets on a hellishly warm day. 

These make a great little starter, or are divine with a glass of wine or a cold beer.

If you are organised enough to have made the mushroom risotto a day or two before then these are pretty quick and easy.  Some people like these with a marinara sauce, but I think these are delicious enough on their own.

 500 grams Mushroom risotto

100 grams Mozzarella (dolcelatte also works really well)

2 Tbsp. Plain flour

2 Eggs

*100 grams White breadcrumbs (See food hack)

Olive oil for deep frying

Salt and pepper for seasoning

Method

  1. Cut the mozzarella into 1.5 cm cubes, or you can use the little mozzarella “pearls” you can buy in some super markets
  2. Take a tablespoon of the cold risotto mixture in your hand and flatten it.  Add a small piece of cheese and form the risotto around it to make a ball.  Do this until you have used up all the risotto (it’s useful to have a bowl of water handy to wet your hands and stop the risotto sticking. 
  3. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Heat oil on a large heavy based pan or deep fat fryer.
  4. Put the flour on a plate and season with salt and pepper, which the eggs in a separate bowl, and add the breadcrumbs to another dish
  5. Heat oil on a large heavy based pan or deep fat fryer.
  6. Role the risotto balls in flour, then beaten egg, and finally the breadcrumbs
  • Add the breaded risotto balls to oil and fry until golden brown, remember to drain any excess oil on kitchen paper and season with salt and pepper.

* Food Hack  – When you’re shopping pick up bead that has been reduced because it’s going stale.  When you get home, take 5 minutes and whizz the bread up in a food processor until it’s crumbs.  Put these breadcrumbs into a large freezer bag and keep in your freezer.  Bread crumbs are an amazingly versatile ingredient, that you can use in everything from gratins, deep fried crusts, stuffing or even thickening sauces.