“The food was less alien than I’d expected, the kind of food we’d eaten on feast days at Keramzin: sweet pea porridge, quail roasted in honey, and fresh figs. I found I was hungrier than I’d ever been and had to resist picking up my plate to lick it.”
Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Lightly drizzle a small roasting pan with olive oil (about ¼ tsp) and place the 4 quails breast side up. Rub them with 1 tbsp of olive oil, and season to taste (1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper). Set aside.
Combine remaining ingredients and brush quails with half of the mixture.
Place in oven for 10 minutes, brush with remaining mixture, and return to the oven (rotate the pan from its original position to allow even roasting) for 10-15 more minutes (until bird golden brown/ perfectly cooked).
[The roasted quails are served with buttery potatoes and egg
“Butter week had been the best time at the orphanage, when classes had all but stopped so that we could clean the house and help with the baking. Duke Keramsov had always timed his return from Os Alta to coincide with it. We would ride out in the dom cart, and he would stop at every farm to drink kvas and pass out cakes and candies. Sitting beside the Duke, waving to the cheering villagers, we’d felt almost like nobility ourselves.”
1 cup almond powder (or almond meal)
¼ cup sugar 7 tbsp butter (softened)
5 drops of Orange Blossom water (orange extract) 1-2 sheets puff pastry
Combine the almond powder, the sugar, and the butter until you obtain a paste.
Lay puff pastry flat, place almond paste in its center following an invisible line (about 1 inch diameter). Bring the ends of the puff pastry together and close tightly. Turn over (to hide the seam) and shape as a circle. Decorate with pieces of leftover dough. Brush with an egg wash (1 beaten egg) to give the cake a golden color.
Place in a 350 degree-oven for 35 minutes.