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Foodie Penpals the Second!

30 Apr

Foodie Penpals is a great project run by Rocksalt where you get paired with two different people – one of those sends you a box and you send your box to the other one. This is the second month’s results. If you fancy getting involved then drop Carol Anne an email.

The lucky recipient of mine was Monique at What I am Up to! Monique lives in Germany, so full in the knowledge that the postage would probably cost me some, I did cheat a little and raided my own cupboard for some of her prizes. I hope they were enjoyed! If you are wondering what I sent, do check over to her blog.

My partner was Hannah. I think I’m right in saying much of her food action happens upon the Twitter, so give her a follow @hansyquirk. I am very lucky foodiepenpaller as for the second month running I got an amazing package! But first, my reveal:

Ah, so dramatic! To be honest, I was pretty excited. I’d already had a good feel of the envelope and really couldn’t feel what was in there. So carefully I extracted my goodies and read my card and recipe!

Here’s what this lucky blogger was sent:

And what do we have here? Most excitingly there was a Morcilla which is a type of Spanish black pudding that also has rice in it. Meat in the post! Most excellent! I’d mentioned that I was quite into loose leaf tea so Hannah sent me some cherry flavoured green tea. They come in those teapig shaped teabags! Posh green tea. It was also nice as this time two years ago I was in Japan enjoying all the cherry blossom –  Hannah must be a mind-reader. Further to that assertion, I also got sent some rose and violet dark chocolate. Flower chocolates are my absolute favourite thing, so I was a bit ‘Golly, how did she know?’ My last treats were two packets of Green Pea Garlic Snacks. They are well delicious. I am also rubbish at going to the Chinese supermarket so I would have never got these for myself and they are well tasty. Look out for them.

The following day me and Dogsnooks Daz had the morcilla fried with some of his friends eggs for breakfast:

You can see the grains of coooked rice quite clearly. From the Leeds City Centre Farmers Market a couple of months ago I got some Spanish black pudding (made here) and that was fiery, so I was expecting the same. Instead it’s almost a sweet blood pudding, packed full of flavour. When I eventually make my own blac pudding I’m going to try and channel some of this verve into it.

Perhaps the best thing that I got was a recipe. A very pertinent recipe. A very offally recipe. TRIPE!

Or Trippa alla Romana, as it actually says on the recipe I was very kindly sent.

I’d been meaning to put my toes into the world of tripe for quite a long time. I’ve only knowlingly had it once, on a hotdate at a Chinese restaurant where my date was trying to Jackass me by ordering tripe and expecting me to go EW! Good job it was a first date, as I soon put him right. As I ate all the tripe. Stealing from his chopstick. Surprised that One fizzled out? No, me neither, put on the path to this One, who really is the One!

Since I started offalling, I began to feel the burden of the tripe quite a lot. I want to eat it. I like it. But where to start? Do I begin traditionally with tripe and onions? Do I return to the oriental? Well Hannah’s recipe came to the rescue. An Italian tripe recipe. Italian food is practially English food anyway, and by force of going to the shop, but not actually buying all the ingredients on the recipe, it got made a little Blightier. (Btw, I do NOT read the Daily Mail; I DO own a pair of leggings covered in Union Jacks – make of that what you will.)

I understand that in some places tripe is quite hard to come by. In Leeds we’re very lucky to have one of the last dedicated Tripe Shops open in the market. *whispers subliminally* “don’t muck up the market, Leeds Council”. Naturally I went there for my lovely tripe! Look out for a saucy dietary tip-off from their web-page!

That is the tripe shop counter. I also discovered they sell pig windpipes (you have them with salt and vinegar) and pig stomachs (you have them with salt and vinegar). There is also dripping, white pudding, black pudding and some other things … sounds like my kind of place! Lunch anyone?

I’m sure Hannah can give you her original recipe, but here is my interpretation!

I needed 400g of pre-cooked tripe. Luckily the Tripe Shop only sells cooked and bleached tripe. YOU DON’T WANT GREEN TRIPE. That’s uncleaned tripe. So it’s still covered in half-digested grass.

Here’s my nice big piece of tripe. Tripe-alicious! To the bottom-left corner you can see the THICK SEAM. I was asked the question of whether I like it? I didn’t know, so I was given a little bit. I also got a bit of honeycomb (that’s on the right in the middle). Different tripes, for differents stripes?

440g cooked tripe cut into strips, 2 sticks finely chopped celery, 2 medium carrots diced, 2 cloves smoked garlic crushed, 3 juniper berries, 200ml stock, 1 can chopped tomatoes, 2 tsp tomato puree, several dashes of Maggi seasoning, parmesan

Heat some oil in a pan, add the garlic, celery and carrots until they soften down a little. Add the juniper berries and cook for fifteen minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and the puree.

Stir in the tripe, the stock and the Maggi.

Season. Simmer it all together for 45 minutes. The sauce will thicken. When cooked down, grate parmesan on top and serve!

And there you go! It was very tasty and delicious. Tripe is more a texture than a taste we decided. Bearing that in mind I’d quite like to run with that and make some Japanese style tripe. I think tripe tacos would also be good. I’m pretty converted to the tripe. So thank you Hannah, for giving me a push towards to the tripe!

Foodie penpals is a great thing to be involved with! So get on board! Again, if you want to sign up, go here!

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Who’s got the crack (pudding)?

8 Mar

By crack, I of course mean bacon.

Nine and a half weeks in to my self-imposed offalism, I’ve got the bacon shakes. I really want some. But I can’t have it. It’s not only NOT OFFAL, but is also a REGULAR CUT OF MEAT. I even asked Daz is streaky would be OK and he said NO. Quite right too really. If I broke the bacon rule I may as well go out and eat twenty fillet steaks in a sitting. And not only would that be bad for my digestion, but it would also be a waste of good fillet and we wouldn’t want that.

A little while ago I was talking to my friend MotherEagle about cravings and because she was an aromatherapist I asked her if there were essential oils that stopped cravings. Unfortunately not really, but you can train yourself to associate certain smells with craving a thing so you stop doing it. I’ve been trying this with my bacon obsession and it’s not working. I just want to try bacon and bergamot.

Bacon is a taunting meat as well. It’s everywhere I look. Bacon at the bed and breakfast I stayed at. I had sausage, because there wasn’t even any black pudding. Bacon at MacDonalds (I work very close to one). Bacon in the market near my work. And finally ‘How to make the Perfect Bacon Sandwich’ on the Guardian today. I can imagine the taste vividly. Either I am ignoring the signs of the Universe, or the Guardian has never seen Robin Hood Prince of Thieves and therefore does not know that only Allah is perfect. And I’m pretty sure Allah is not a bacon sandwich.

Is there an offal equivalent of bacon? Is there heck! Though I am going to try and re-create it with pig’s ears. watch this space! I will however have some of those soya bacon chips on hand. Put on pasta with some cheddar, comfort food of the Gods!

In an attempt to satiate my craving, I set to with what is fast becoming a fridge staple for me – black pudding!

I’m not in any way saying that black pudding is the same. It is delicious though and I’m really enjoying using it cooked and crumbled over salads and in warm sandwiches. A new favorite is black pudding omelette.

So it might not look amazing, but a balc pudding omelette is very nice indeed. You want to fry your black pudding so it’s cooked, doesn’t matter if it breaks up and then add your eggs and omelette like normal. Omelette were the first proper thing I learnt to cook and sometimes it’s nice to return to those sorts of basics. What did you first learn to cook?

Blood Pancakes … Are you Goth enough?

21 Feb

It’s Pancake Day! It’s time to use up all those terrible delicious things to get ready for the FAST to make ourselves EVEN HOLIER. This year I am taking up drinking appropriate amounts of liquid, rather than giving things up. It will be good for my diet, make me look like a supermodel and possibly I’ll be given some cetacean rights!

Back to the pancakes however. I found a recipe for Norwegian pancakes on the Guardian website today, and because I love Roalds Amundsen and Dahl so much I thought I’d give them a go. The recipe is here and it’s the top one. I enjoyed using the spelt flour, and really only intended to make some nice sweet ones with some stewed rhubarb.

However, I am not one to miss a oppurtunity and since I recently bought a large amount of dried blood for no real reason – other than I found it on the internet after having that boudin noir at Kendalls. I got it from a website called Tongmaster who specialise in selling all the things you need to make sausages and burgers as well as blood. My blood arrived two days after I bought it and POSTAGE IS INCLUDED. I’d definitely give their website a peruse if you’re thinking of doing things sausage related.

Yet, Hi HO, I thought, I bet blood is delicious when mixed with pancake batter. Well, my thinking wasn’t certain as that. More I reckon blood will be nice mixed with this, should I try it? As well as wondering what German for ‘blood pancakes’ was so I could sing it in a Rammstein manner whilst cooking.

BLUTPFANNKUCHEN! BLUTPFANNKUCHEN! BLUTPFANNKUCHEN!

So decided to re-hydrate some of the pig’s blood. Having never used it before, there was some trepidation, as to what the right thing to do was. I added 2 teaspoons of the powder to about 75ml of water and whisked. This seemed to give a thin blood, but not knowing how thick pig’s blood naturally is, nor about coagulation when something’s been dried, or indeed anything apart from what is on the packet above, I erred to the side of haemophilia. Do use a whisk, so you don’t get little dried blood pockets.

I added about 100ml of batter to the rehydrated blood and whisked. It looked like this:

I thought I had better build up to the making of the BLUTPFANNKUCHEN, so had a normal Norwegian one with orange and sugar. Then I thought, what if it’s disgusting? Best make a small one to test (forgetting of course, that there are things like bins, to put waste in).

Cleverly it took on an approximate geography of Wales. In you were wondering … GWAED CREMPOG!

Adding all the extra liquid does make the batter thinner. Luckily the spelt batter is pretty thick, but if you’re using a normal pancake day recipe it might be too thin, so make sure your batter is extra thick.

I hope you can see the slight nerves in my face …

The BLUTPFANNKUCHEN was actually so nice that I made another, full size one:

The blood doesn’t really taste like blood when it’s in the pancake. The best way to describe it would be to add depth and warmth and a more savoury note. The colour, I think is actually quite good, very Halloween. Both my housemate Liz (who was Goth enough to try it with me) and I agreed it tasted buttery, which is good because that’s what you want a good pancake to taste like. I think to make them again, I would see if I could hydrate the blood in the milk that goes in the original recipe, so they were quite thick and make like drop scones. Liz suggested a poached egg on top, which would be very breakfasty.

For tonight though, I ate it with some stewed rhubarb and some maple syrup. Rhubarb because I think the blood could be a bit rich, so the cuts through it. Maple syrup because it goes well with bacon. And blood is just like bacon.

Though perhaps now I look properly at the camera phone photos, it doesn’t look as delicious as it tasted. Maybe when i have a family we’ll always have Blood Pancakes and it will become some sort of tradition. Yellowbeestonbelly hybrid if you will …

I’m quite happy having dipped my toe in the dried pig’s blood bag that I would be able to do a lot more things with it. I’m not sure whether after the Haggis Making, I’d attempt things that involve stuffing slippery things into other slippery things, so black pudding might be out, but I bet it would make good casserole juice. And i think you could hydrate it in egg for omelets. Maybe even a blood rice pudding?