My friend Rocksalt is hosting the European part of Foodie Penpals. Foodie Penpals is where you get matched up with two people – one gives you a box and you give the other one a box – in a big circle of food love. That’s nice isn’t it?
I really enjoyed making mine and putting together some tasty (?) treats. Fingers crossed I got mine right – my own preview of it is here on my other blog.
Anyway, Jennie sent me a lovely box full of Nigerian treats as she had recently been on holiday there.
It is pretty timely as I’ve just fallen in love with the African butcher in the market in Leeds – I can thoroughly recommend their chicken and thyme sausages (not sure how African they are though!). And some recipes were included, which Jen had kindly made offal-appropriate!
You can see that I was a very lucky recipient!
Clockwise from top: lemongrass, Cameroon pepper, pepper soup spice, BBQ peanuts, Chin Chin (sweet goodnes), green tomato chutney, Suya spice (hot), Hot chilli pepper, Suya spice, my lovely card!
Some things are for the experimentation with, some were specified to eat now, so since it was a lovely Spring day, my boyfriend and I took a picnic! The barbecue peanuts and the chin chin are snack for now, so we made some cheese and tomato chutney rolls and took them all off for a jolly. A jolly that would end in being gobbled up. Nom.
Here is Kirkstall Abbey grounds where we took our picnic to. By walking along the canal. Oh, the Romance!
And here is my Romantic Cheese and Green Tomato Chutney Roll. You can’t get better than that.
The following day I used the lemongrass to make some herbal tea to drink while I was working on job applications and suchlike. Literally I put three stalks in the teapot and poured over water that was just off boiling. What a lovely treat. I’m a massive herbal tea fan, and have used fresh lemongrass before, but this dried stuff was the bees knees. I was surprised that it gave the tea so much colour too. Aside, I love lemongrass essential oil and use it a lot when I’m making potions for friends and myself, so it was lovely to handle the real thing.
One of the nicest things Jennie did was put a couple of recipes in with the stuff so I’ve got a starting point to work from. One of which was for Pepper Soup.
Me being me, and this blog being what it is, I did end end up asking for “a pound of mixed offal please” at the butcher in the market. In the same transaction I’d asked for chicken necks (watch this space), but they’d SOLD OUT. So whoever bought all the chicken necks in Leeds a) what were you making and b) that’s very greedy of you. The butchers, who seem to do a fairly brisk offal trade, were confused and asked me if necks and other offal had been on television, because there’d been a run on it. Clearly signs of Spring mean we want our meat to be extra-perishable!
The following recipe is pretty much the one Jennie sent, but I changed some things because I was trying to do about fifty million things at once, but none of those fifty million things were to read the recipe properly. Ooopses …
1 lb mixed offal cut into chunks, some oil, 2 onions finely chopped, 2 medium potatoes peeled and chopped in bite size chunks, 3 peeled and chopped carrots, 2 tbsp pepper soup spice, 1 tsp chilli, 1 heaped tsp mixed herbs, handful fresh mint leaves.
- Tackle the tongue first. Boil it for about twenty minutes and then remove the outer skin. Cut into chunks.
- Boil chunks of meat in water to cover them for a couple of hours. Put the heart and tongue in first, then liver, then kidneys. When cooked through, drain, reserve water (offal stock?), and finely chop the meat.
- Add oil and onions to pan, cook til soft, add offal, carrots, potatoes, herbs and spices. Fry all together about twenty minutes.
- Add offal stock and any extra water you might need so all ingredients are covered with liquid. Simmer another twenty minutes.
- Add chopped mint just before serving!
The soup was very delicious, but very spicy. Possibly heavy-handed with the chilli and the pepper soup spice? I’m not sure. However it definitely blew away the beginnings of a cold that I had. The mint is an amazing addition by the way. It seems to at the same time cool your mouth, but also make the spices seem hotter. (I guess that’s to do with the way mint essential oil works on the skin, so it cools down hot skin and warms up cold skin.) It was beautiful!
Even though I’m an offaltarian, I had been a bit sceptical of a soup with chunks of offal in – but it was great. I’m not sure it would be to the taste of a first time offal-eater, but at the medium to advanced level I would say it was pretty good. I enjoyed the mix of species in the offal mix too. I don’t think people should be afraid to mix species with their cooking.
All in all I really enjoyed my first foodie penpal. Jennie was very generous with what she sent, considerate and I’m sure whoever gets her next box will be very lucky. I’ve definitely enjoyed learning a little more about African cookery, and am going to invest in an African cookery book at the first oppurtunity! Any suggestions?