Archive | August, 2012

Foodie Penpals the Sixth

31 Aug

Woah, six months on foodie-penpalling – surely this can’t be true? Well it is. I might even collect all my posts in one place now … how do you like them apples? If it’s the sort of apple you’d like a bite from check out RockSalt for the rules!

This month my package came from Helen who has the Patient Gardener Blog. This is a lovely blog and Helen’s relationship with her garden (with other sides to her many interests too). I am a struggling, starting-up grower-of-things-that-don’t-immediately-die. Potatoes are my only continuing success … I think that’s my Lincolnshire blood seeping out. Helen’s blog is nice for me to read because she tries to appeal to people (like me) who are trying to have a go. She is also a SeedyPenpal.
So, what did I get? Well …

Yup, that’s some anticipation for you. When I open my parcels, I do try to make an event of it, so I’d brewed some tea and sat down with some chocolate.

Of course, I used my favourite Smoky Tea from Lahloo, my favourite Emma Bridgewater mug and some Rococo chocolate (that I found when I moved house – lavender flavour). Then I realised that I had probably morphed into being a bit of a poncy twat … and if I had read what I’ve just written I would be shaking my head in despair. But nice things are nice and I find it hard to write about savouring nice things without sounding like a tool.

Nevertheless, Helen sent me a lovely parcel full of great things:

I know, it’s amazing! A living sage plant, home-grown shallots, porcini mushrooms, homemade Cornish fairings (plus recipe), goji berry and seed mix, sesame snaps and two packets of tyrells crisps. Lovely!

Helen sent the sage because she felt it went well with meat – which is does of course – pork and sage is a classic, as is liver and sage! It was prescient (what a great word @carllegge) because my sage was/is dieing. Shallots are great – I usually use onions, so was pleased to have a new, fresh flavour to use. I love vegetable crisps and sesame snaps so two great ticks there. The porcini have already been used in my stuffed spleen (more of that another day). I’m toying with the idea of making my own granola because A) the only one I love is Mornflake apple and it seems to have disappeared from the shelves of Leeds and B) I can be proper fussy (as above), so I am sure the goji mix will get in there. Best of all were the Cornish Fairings which are a gingery, chewy biscuit. Super tasty!

I used some of the shallots up in a chilli-kale combo: put some oil in a pan, then add three peeled and quartered shallots and cook for five minutes, add enough kale for two people and one teaspoon chilli flakes and about a quarter of a pint of stock, stir and cook til kale is done. Yum. The shallots were well nice cooked with the chilli and stock – next time I’m going to just cook them on their own so they are a total star.

I have even managed to keep the sage alive for over two weeks!

It even stayed alive while I went on holiday. So Sandra the Sage I hope will live a long and happy life! What a nice forever present.

My parcel went to Switzerland this month – to Ratri who writes another lovely blog about food and her travels called NomadicFeastKitchen. Carol Anne and I recently had a twitter exchange about the worry that what you’ve sent in your eyes is quirky and thoughtful, can come across as weird and emptying out the cupboards-y. On that note, go see what Ratri made of my parcel …

And of course, you should totally join in here.

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Love It!

27 Aug

This week I was in Love It! magazine. The issue went out on the 23rd August. You can buy it until Wednesday 29th! For the scrapbook y’know …

Casual Testicle Curry Turned Indian Feast

22 Aug

The Indian Feast part will be focussed on here. The Casual Testicle Curry you will find over at Juls’ blog PepperandSherry. Juls has been a really supportive reader of here and offered lots of encouragement. She also gets a prize for being the first person to ask me write a Guest Post. I am also available for weddings and bar mitzvahs! So if you go over and read my guest post, I hope it doesn’t reflect too badly on Juls’ wonderful blog. Btw she blates loves the offal too.

To start with, I continued my ear obsession and made Sticky Tamarind Pig’s Ear Salad. This was made in pretty the same way as the rest of my pig’s ear salads, but I marinated the ears in tamarind, lime juice, chilli and garlic paste.

Then obvs, we had testicle curry. I invented my new method of de-sacking a testicle using scissors. I’m very proud of it. You can read the whole recipe for the testicle curry over at PepperandSherry (my first Guest Post), but to go with it I made some black cardoman chick peas, some celery seed flatbread and some raita!

All three extras were really simple to make.

The chickpeas were simply one onion chopped and fried, with a can of chickpeas, a can of tomatoes and four black cardoman pods added, then simmered for one hour.

The raita is really a sort of cucumber salad. You mix some white malt vinegar with a tablespoon of sugar and a pinch of salt, then mix them all togerther.

The celery bread comes from ‘Cook, Brew and Blend’ which is a great volume from the old Yard. It mixes a materia medica of herbs with advice for different organ systems, lifestyles, tips on using herbs, tips on making your own products and lots more. I love it. You can buy it here. The flatbread was very simple and went along the lines of add celery seeds to flour, with a bit of water, mix, then roll flat, then griddle on each side.

Then for dessert we had some chilli and lime sorbet that I made a while ago after a FoodiePenpals package. Nowadays I’m the sort of person who just has the perfect dessert in the freezer.

Hanger Steak and Broad Bean Risotto

21 Aug

So there’s a note to myself in this: Lucy please write your recipes down. Kthnxbi.

Like all my greatest moments of genius, this one wasn’t particularly well recorded. Partly because offalling is a part of my life now, so I don’t really think about it as much as I used to when I’m cooking. That’s a good thing, because it means the lifestyle change has become in ingrained.

So to this simple recipe. It utilises my slowwww cooooooker (again), but you could just use a pan.

One word about hanger steak before we begin. It’s not steak. It’s not an organ, but it is I think in the under-used cuts category. Why? It lives near the diaphragm and has something to do with all that pumps-and-bellows jazz and the heart of our body, so it is quite awkward to cut out and is usually thrown out with the rest. I think it’s a shame because it is well tasty. It’s also called ‘feather steak’ I think. In England I think we call it ‘skirt’. Wikipedia will tell you more! (Don’t believe it all though, hanger steak is delicious, though I would prefer to call it skirt.)

Ok, so take your bit of skirt. I used some veal skirt. Put it in the slow cooker, covered in water for about 6 hours. It should be all melty and tender. Alternatively, put it in a casserole covered in water in the oven at a low heat for 6 hours.

Remove, drain, reserve the stock and gently pull apart the meat fibres, discarding the bit that runs down the middle. It should come apart really easily into these long filaments. I think it’s really beautiful how it falls apart unlike any other cut of meat. I think there’s a very poetic moment when peel the strands away …

Then you have cooked meaty-deliciousness and some amazing stock. Both are vital for supreme risotto. (You could do this a few days before if you were feeling all Delia.)

Then make risotto.

I chopped an onion and some garlic and melted it all down, then added 300g risotto rice and stirred so it was all covered in the oil. I chopped a generous sprig of fresh marjoram and threw that in. Added the meat. Then began to add the stock a little at a time so it cooked through. With the amounts of stock you just have to use your judgement a bit and if you think you need more just make up a bit of bouillon or vegetable stock. (Don’t introduce chicken stock, that would be a fauz pas, because you won’t get the true veal-ly flavour.)

Five minutes before you think it’s done, add as many broad beans as you think appropriate (for me a metric fuckton).

Top with parmesan. Maybe a bit more marjoram. If you’re feeling flush.

Nom Nom Nom.

Foodie Penpals the Fifth

5 Aug

My lovely initial penpal had to excuse herself from this month’s participation, so the lovely Lisa stepped in at the last minute and passed the package on that she’d already prepared. Phew! I didn’t want Lisa to have to make a new one for me, so I received the ‘Learn to Bake’ parcel that she’d already put together with a note explaining why things were there, because they meant something to our penpal partner. I found it really interesting (because I’m nosy) receiving what was designed for another person. And it was a lovely package.

So, there are cake decorations, white chocolate, edible glitter, fancy cases, exotic fruit and a book on baking. Also (possibly a nod to the carnivory, was some tikka rub) which I put to good use making a very simple lamb neck tikka:

There’s the lamb neck and some mushrooms all tikka-ing away in the slow cooker (6 hours=curry-tastic). I literally just added the spice, some coconut cream and some water. YUM! And simple.

My package went to Fay, and you can read about how she found it on her blog here. I sent a real mix of things, but for my next one I really want to put a theme together as I’ve now had a couple of lovely Themed ones. Look out, next Foodie Penpal! Look out!

Vegan Food Swap

4 Aug

Back to normal service now … *wipes media induced sweat away*

Huh? I hear you go. Lucy eats offal. She’s not a vegan. Truly she is fizzing with our brains.

Not so. For a good few years due to monetary requirements I was pretty much vegetarian. Last year I toyed with the idea of veganism (for about an hour, but it was a very serious hour). My downfall is that I find soya very difficult – tofu is OK, but all the Alpro stuff makes me queasy. However I am definitely PRO other people being Vegan. I think it’s an inventive and bold thing to do. I also think that you can learn a lot from vegan cookery – in terms of substitution and in terms of inventiveness! So, yup, I joined and was excited. You can join here.

I sent a parcel to Sasha, who was very supportive of me and helped me make sure all the things I sent were actually vegan. You can read about what I sent here.

The parcel I received was from Jenny. Her package was very cute indeed.


I’d forgotten how bloody cute otters are for starters! She’d baked me some bakewell cookies and some brownie. I got another treat bar, some jelly sweets and a VEGAN CHORIZO. How mighty is that?

The baking was delicious and didn’t last very long at all. The jelly sweets accompanied me on a shopping trip and made everything so much more pleasurable (I hardly ever go shopping, not because I don’t love it, but because I never have a gap in my bank account that says SHOPPING). The vegan chorizo is being saved for a day in the not too distant future, that will be called VEGAN DAY. It may well form part of VEGETARIAN WEEK that I talked about a while ago. We shall see. The point of it all is to think about what we’re eating and why we’re eating it. Everything can be an inspiration.

P.S. Is the soya that we eat from the same sources as the BAD SOYA that is fed to cattle?  We were discussing it at work and weren’t sure of the answer – all enlightenment is welcome!

And I’ve been on the radio too …

2 Aug

5.45 On BBC Radio Leeds:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p00vq6g9/Andrew_Edwards_01_08_2012/

a less fine hour was on the breakfast show when my phone went strange, but still …

7.48 ish

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p00vq6g1/Martin_Kelner_01_08_2012/

UPDATE:

Radio 1010 Newstalk in Toronto – the clip has a picture to make it easier to upload: