Archive | November, 2012

This and That

29 Nov

Please don’t think I’ve not been busy in the kitchen! I have, I promise, but the offal has been a bit of a slow burner lately. Health issues and a natural inclination to scale the offal feasting back, mean that mostly we’ve been eating a lot of vegetarian food. Yeah! If you know me personally, you could see that as a Bad Thing – mostly because of my epic curried parsnip in white sauce episode. Kind of gross.

Yet, lately I’ve not managed to curdle white sauce with a parsnip. I did make some AMAZING parsnip burgers:

That’s parsnip and fenugreek burger, on a layer of red pepper and walnut pesto what I did make too!

I’ve also learnt how to keep my kale perky:

That’s right – kept in a pint glass of water in the door of the fridge, it keeps for BARE TIME. You also get new tiny baby kales growing in the middle and they are just so cute. So cute.

And that Waitrose labels the fish that is sustainable that it sells! I felt same eating these fishcakes.

I would like all fishes to have this label. BUT it is confusing because I saw some cod with that label (aparently it was a very specific cod catching area and method) AND cod is meant to be almost an endangered species. I still won’t eat cod. I don’t think you should eat any endangered species, even if the bit of it you’re eating isn’t. That’s why I don’t like to eat tuna nowadays. Some tunas are worse off than pandas.

I also thought people might be interested in my CURRENT BEST INGREDIENTS. Only capitals will do. I have phases in my cooking. The blood phase. The lovage phase. The aromatherapy oils in cooking phase. Some of these are with me long time – neroli in the Christmas cakes as we speak. Others – like lovage – are waiting for Spring. The blood phase, well, I will make black pudding and I will make it soon. The point is these are my current favourite things and if you have the (mis)fortune to dine chez moi, these things will probably be in the dishes. Maybe all together, maybe separately, who knows? I’ll keep you guessing.

So there’s Herby Salt from Dilston Physic Garden, Fenugreek seeds which are apparently a cholesterol buster and Nomu dukkah which I got in FPP parcel. I know there’s a lot of talk about how salt isn’t healthy and YOU’RE RIGHT, but we do need salt for our bodies to work and I reckon having a bit of lovely delicious salt used in either the cooking or the condimenting bit, you’ll be OK. Don’t eat it by the spoon though. Personally I find it quite strange ‘using salt’ because I grew up cooking without it (aged grandparents) and it wasn’t until recently that I began. Now I’ve flavoured some of my own salts: lovage salt, juniper and orange salt, rosemary and lavender salt. All are good. I’m working on an ‘Asian’ salt currently! Fenugreek has a lovely gentle curry flavour. I also love how knobbly the seeds are, like potatoes for Borrowers. The dukkah is basically ground up nuts and spices and I can’t wait to start making my own when this is used up. You sprinkle it on whatever you want – soup, stew, vegetables, burgers, all the things. A word of warning though: if you put it on everything, all the time, don’t be surprised that everything tastes the same. It is pretty powerful stuff!

If you’re missing me talking about fresh and juicy offal. Don’t worry, the offal is rising and I’m defrosting an ear as we speak!

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Serious Business

28 Nov

It turns out that writing about sustainable eating is a serious business!

I’ve been invited to give a talk VERY SOON. I was invited by the Anglia Ruskin University’s Global Sustainability Institute. You can find all the deatils here and if you find yourself in Chelmsford on Monday 3rd December – please feel free to come along!

If you’re a regular reader, let me know if there’s anything I *need* to include … Topics I’m going to trot through include why I took this journey up, the changes I’ve had to make (Arthur the pig’s head will undoubtedly make an appearance) and why it is important for us to all think in an engaged manner about what we put in our bodies!

 

 

Six weeks left!

15 Nov

I realised today that I had six weeks and four days left in my offal adventure. I’m pretty amazed that the end is drawing so close so quickly. I still have posts to write up and projects in the pipeline. I even still have offal to try! The offal freezer drawer is two thirds full still. Decisions, decisions …

What I am doing today is sharing the things I’m going to try and make in December (once I have my job applications, lectures and articles out of the way). Really I want to pick your brains, avid reader, and see if there’s anything I’ve left out.

  • BRAINS … I’m not a zombie (and I not sure I get the zombiefication of popular culture), but I do want to eat some brains. I think maybe a venison brain? If not it will have to be a pig brain.
  • PIG STOMACH: the Tripe Shop in Leeds market sells them. You’re meant to eat them dressed in salt and vinegar. That seems like ultimate offal to me. I do however, enjoy a challenge. If I eat them all can I call myself a Yorkshirewoman?*
  • CURED KIDNEY – so I am made pancetta, and am clearly now a curing goddess. I’m going to try and salt some kidney. I don’t know where that will take me, but I’m willing to find out.
  • Real MINCEMEAT. I don’t think that’s particularly offal, but it is pretty medieval. And festive. And I love Christmas. I *will* get unbearable; I like the John Lewis adverts; I own TWO Christmas jumpers (not even ironically).

What else? What else have I discussed and tweeted and forgotten to write down? What would YOU do, if you were me?
And just to get you in the mood, here’s a photo from two years ago, of me getting intimate with the YULETIDE BEEF …

 

*I would never do that. I am totes Lincolnshire, through and through.**

**I hope my insides don’t look like the inside of Lincolnshire which would be mostly brussel sprouts, sausages and illegalr migrant workers.

 

Noffal

8 Nov

Noffal means Not Offal, which is a term I coined when I was shopping today. I posted last about losing my offal mojo, but trying to not make a big deal out of it. Some people were concerned that I was abandoning my project and had hunkered down to steakdom. Don’t worry. Let me alay your fears. I’m still not eating regular meat – but am probably now an ethical pescatarian (?) – what I mean by that is I will eat fish, but only ones classed as 1,2 or 3 on the Marine Conservation list. Tuna is out. Cod is out. Tilapia is IN LIKE FLYNN. I am also dipping my toe into tofu and its philosophy.

Tofucianism has been a concern of mine since I heard a BBC Radio 4 food programme that discussed the impact of soya on the world. It was bad. I had tofu guilt. Basically soya is produced in a lot of developing countries who cut down their natural resources (like rainforest) to make room for the soya. Most of the soya, however, does not go to Alpro (who say they use sustainable soya) but to make cheap animal feed – particularly for cattle. This concerns me because basically I don’t want to be the wanker at the farmer’s market asking producers if they feed their cattle soya. Minefield. But a very thought provoking programme, which you can still listen to here.

So, what was in my shopping basket today? (One Sunday paper always used to have a feature where they judged  the celebrity by their shopping basket – so judge me? Or informed opinions on what else I could be doing please)

I also bought some anchovies in oil. What keeps striking me in my use of the sustainable fish list is how you have to be really sure of the geographical area of where your fish come from. With anchovies, you should only have them from the Bay of Biscay, not from the Portugese coast or the north-east atlantic. Equally, the fishing method is important. If you search for salmon – sea caught salmon is a no-no, but organic open net farmed is a 1. (I am still learning about farmed fish, and understand that there are a lot of concerns, but bear with me as I am a beginner.)

Sausages are allowed. An initial straw poll asked the question and the answer was a majority YES, because of course traditionally sausages were where all the BITS were used up.

The other thing that has been inspiring my Noffaltarian flight of fancy is my weekly veg box. I may do one of those ‘look at my veg box posts’ in a bit, but at the moment, suffice to say, I like it. I always have veg now. No excuse.

So what other vegitarian/fruitarian/raw/vegan treats am I missing out on?

All’s quiet on the offal front …

6 Nov

I think after ten months of being offaltarian, I’ve hit the offal wall. Some may say it was inevitable, or indeed that it should have happened in March, but there, I’ve said it: my offal mojo is deflated. I’ve bought soya spread instead of lard.

So, Offal – like Ross and Rachel – we’re on a break. I am the Ross and am going to get into bed with chickpeas and lentils and hot photocopier ladies for a while; you, Offal, are the Rachel and will be cross with me when I return to you – especially when I’m honest about the roast chicken I ate at my Mum’s the other week. It was sexxxy. But I thought of you the whole time …

I’m not making a big deal of it – all relationships have their peaks and troughs – and our relationships with food are the same. Food fads, celebrity diets, Hugh F-W’s new series, we all like to suddenly embrace the novel. After this year, brassicas feel a bit novel. I’m a bit in love with my veg box.

For a while I blamed being SUPER BUSY – working away, doing yet more job applications – I’ve too much of a headache, Offal – it’s not you it’s me …

I love Offal long time. We will get back together. We just need a little time right now … besides there’s well loads of game at the butcher:

YUM

YUM

GET IN MY

ETHICAL

TUM