Recipe by: Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris and Shannon Bennett
Preheat oven to 180C.
To prepare the quail, remove the breasts and reserve carcasses for the Sauce. Set quail breasts aside in the fridge until needed.
For the sauce, firstly chop the quail carcass and bones into small pieces. Place a large saucepan over high heat. Add the oil and quail bones and sauté, stirring until well caramelised.
Add the onion, carrot, cinnamon and star anise and continue to fry until vegetables soften.
Add the mandarin juice and zest, white whine and stock and stir to combine. Remove the soaked shitake mushrooms and soaked mandarin peel from the soaking water and add to the stock. Reduce heat and allow stock to simmer for 10 minutes or until reduced by a third.
Meanwhile, peel the fresh mandarin, ensuring peel is kept in 1 piece or several large pieces. Place the skin directly on to the flame of the stove top and scorch evenly. Set aside until needed.
Once reduced, strain stock through a fine sieve, reserving the solids. Return the strained stock to a medium saucepan, add scorched mandarin peel and simmer over low heat fro a further 10 minutes or until reduced a little further, but not syrupy. Once reduced, strain again and set side until needed.
For the Pickled Turnip, place mirin, rice wine vinegar, caster sugar, ginger and dried mandarin peel in a large saucepan over high heat. Bring the mixture to the boil and allow to simmer gently until sugar has dissolved.
Meanwhile, peel the turnip and, using a mandolin, slice into 2mm thick slices.
Once sugar has dissolved, remove the pickling liquid from the heat. Add the turnip slices and allow to steep, off the heat, in the pickling liquid for 30 minutes.
For the Turnip Fondant, peel the turnips and cut 4 thick slices, about 2cm thick. Use a 6cm ring cutter and cut out discs of turnip. Use a small paring or turning knife to smooth off and bevel the sharp edges of each disc.
Place the butter in a medium, oven proof saucepan or flame proof casserole dish over medium heat. Add the 4 pieces of turnip and cook in the melted butter on one side only until turnip begins to colour.
Turn the turnip discs over and transfer the saucepan to the preheated oven to bake for 15 minutes.
After 25 minutes, add 2 ladlesful of the sauce and bake for a further 10 minutes, turning occasionally and basting with pan butter.
Test with a skewer to see if the turnip discs are cooked through. When ready remove from the oven and rest for 3 minutes before plating.
For the Mushroom Purée, place oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add enoki, portabello and oyster mushrooms, ginger and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes or until soft.
Pick out the shitake mushrooms from the reserved stock solids and add to the saucepan. Add 200ml of the strained Sauce to deglaze the pan. Season well, reduce heat to low and allow the mushroom mixture to cook until reduced by half.
Once reduced, transfer the mushroom mixture to a Thermomix or blender and blitz until very smooth. Season with bonito flakes and mushroom soy and blitz for a further 5 seconds to combine. Set aside, keeping warm until needed.
To finish the quail, place the strained sauce back on the stovetop over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Remove the quail breasts from the fridge, place in the sauce and simmer for 2 minutes. Turn the breasts over and simmer for a further 2 minutes or until cooked through.
Once cooked, remove the breasts from the sauce and rest on a warm plate for 2 minutes before serving.
Season the Sauce with a little of the pickling liquor to taste and keep warm until needed.
To serve, place 2 dessertspoons of warm Mushroom Purée in the centre of 4 wide, shallow serving bowls. Place 1 quail breasts per plate on to the Mushroom Purée.
Cut the Turnip Fondants in half and arrange two halves on to each plate at different angles.
Drape 6 pieces of Pickled Turnip over each quail breast and arrange 5 slices of fresh breakfast radish over the top of the Pickled Turnip.
Add 2 fresh mandarin segments to each plate at different angles. Garnish with a sprinkle of bonito flakes over each dish. Top each dish with 3 nasturtium leaves, 4 pineapple sage flowers and 4 small mint leaves. Finish with fine mandarin zest over the top.
Divide the warm Sauce evenly between 4 small serving jugs and serve on the side, to pour onto the plate just before eating.