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KFC

29 Jan

Dear Offallygood Friends,

I ate it. I had the most delicious chicken bucket EVER. It was very tasty.

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The wrapped packages are corn on the cobs! Obviously, the flash wasn’t on. Ooops!

Below: Obligatory GET IN FACE SHOT …

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In all seriousness, now that I’m back to eating meat. Like not feeling guilty about having lasagne with mince, or chicken thighs. I feel a bit bad. I’m pretty sure the cows that died for my Morrisons lasagne didn’t live a skippy-happy life. Don’t get me wrong – it is delicious, but the sour taste in my mouth comes from ethics. Perhaps Offfallygood has turned me vegetarian after all?

One idea I am nursing is to be vegetarian all week, then eat some well-chosen meat at the weekend. Maybe from a meat box that we freeze?

To me, I just don’t feel very happy with this carnivorous liberty I have now. I don’t want really to eat meat that I’m not confident in. I guess the legacy I have now is much more of a conscience about food. I started out to relieve my offal debt – and I have totally done that pound for pound – however I do feel much more a responsibility to make low-impact choices, to try and live increasingly respectfully and to try and offset decisions I feel are neccessary but bad.

I’m sure lots of people already live this way, but all this blog has ever been is a chronicle of journey. The offal year has closed. I’m looking forward to the future, but won’t need to share it as often. Yes I have a few drafts that I’ll be sending out and when I cook my penis, you’ll be the first to know, but for now this is a offally grateful, offally humble, AU REVOIR.

 

P.S. In case you’re worried – my vegetarian cooking is just as experimental as my offal cooking – tonight Triple* Celery and Walnut soup.

*celery, celery seeds and celeriac … I love celeriac

 

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!

 

 

Tears of Christ and the Fifth Quarter

12 Oct

Last week, my beautiful life partner took me for a surprise dinner to Salvo’s Restaurant. Salvo’s is a restaurant that I wanted to go to since I moved to Leeds really – everyone said how amazing the food was and my friends who had been to Italy said how authentic it was too. This however, was no usual night at Salvo’s, but a night of offal feasting!

Needless to say, the food was amazing. Each course surpassed the previous one and there was a lovely chatty atmosphere. I got to eat some NEW OFFAL and got some lovely ideas to bring home to cook too. If a night like this is done again, I’ll definitely go, because it was totally delicious.

Our menu came with some historical notes:

This is one aspect of Roman cooking which derived from the practice of paying the slaughterhouse workers of Rome (the most modern slaughterhouses in Europe were found in the Testaccio distrct in the 19th century) with some of the less noble parts of the beast which were then often sold on to the local hostelries. The skills and knowledge of the Roman cooks created culinary masterpieces from the cheapest ingredients, refining ‘Cucina Povera’ or the cooking of the poor, to gastronomic heights.

And so to dinner*:

Sopressata alla Toscana

Typical ‘insaccato’ from Tuscany made with the tongue and other pig bits, served with mustard fruit

What an elegant way to begin an Offal Supper, the mustard fruits were like spicy glace fruits and the ‘insaccato’ was delicious.

Crostino Toscano

Roughly chopped chicken livers with anchovies, capers and white truffle oil on toast

Amazing. Anchovy and liver is awesome.

O muss’ e puorco sorpressata

Pressed pig’s head with red chilli and amalfi lemon, watercress salad.

Nasturtiums always get my vote, so I was sold even before tasting. Post devourment, this was my favourite dish. Citrus cutting through the pork, so very delicious. Tongue-tingling in the best possible way.

Zuppa di lenticchie con cetechino di Modena

Umbrian lentil soup with cotechino sausage. Originated in Modena and now traditionally served at Christmas, but borne out of hardship in the 15th century, the pigs rind is stuffed with minced lean and fat pork and cooked slowly.

Daz’s favourite. Served with some fresh shaved fennel to help cut through the richness.

Risotto con midollo di vitello

Risotto with veal bone marrow

New offal to me. Marrow in the risotto, as well as in the bone. Plus I loved delving in the bone with a teaspoon. (I couldn’t believe that the people near us didn’t eat theirs – I almost asked if I could have it, but felt I ought to be more decorous than that.)

Rognoni trifolati al senape

Lamb’s kidneys in grain mustard sauce with barone sourdough.

Yum. I ran out of things to mop the sauce up with. Again I restrained my gluttonous self from actually licking the plate.

Linguine con aglio, olio e animelle d’agnello

Pasta with garlic, olive oil and chilli, served with lambs sweetbreads alla pizzaiola

At this point I was so excited by each course that I kept forgetting to snap a photo. It was better presented before I dived in. Alla pizzaiola is with tomatoes and capers according to the staff we asked. Capers appear to be an ingredient I’m not using enough of. Again, gorgeous.

Coda alla Vaccinara

Old Roman style oxtail with celery and pine nuts, enriched with bitter chocolate, pecorino mash.

Lovely. I would have never thought to serve a chunk of oxtail as a cut in its own right. Lovely sauce and the cheesiest mash ever.

Here I am eating the prickly pear fruit brought round to freshen all our palates before dessert. Gip (one of the owners I think) brought it round and explained that he imported it to sell, but ate most of the stock himself! I’d never tried it – I would say to me it was a bit like a cross of watermelon and carrot, but a little drier than that would sound. Daz (who hates fruit) manfully tried it, but it wasn’t his cup of tea. I’d go for it again.

Sanguinaccia

Pig’s blood and chocolate pot with chilli almond shortbread.

I was pretty excited to see this on the menu as it’s a pudding I’ve been meaning to make all year. Very tasty.

Thank you very much Salvo’s for making such a delicious dinner. I loved all the courses, the service was lovely and the atmosphere great. I was also really intrigued to see quite a mix of different people there too – offal is clearly a universal love! If you’ve not eaten there yet, GO, I don’t think anyone would be disappointed!

*Please note, my pictures were taken on my phone – for clearer, professional shots of the food, please go to the Salvo’s website.

Roast Veal Heart, stuffed with Spring, wrapped in Vine Leaves – Nose to Tail Fortnight Day 7

7 May

Yesterday we had quick-cooked veal heart. Today we had slow cooked veal heart. Me and Mr Stupendous Snooker think that this is the best veal heart recipe we’ve done yet.

For me it was a couple of firsts. I’d never roasted a heart before. I’d never made stuffing from scratch before either. Neither had I put a bin bag on the floor to do cooking and baking on so I didn’t miss very much of the snooker.So this was my set-up:

What you can see on the floor is a bowl of Spring stuffing, a crock pot, a heart , a lemon, a packet of breadcrumbs (I am bad), a grater, tomato puree and the round things to the back are raw cookies, waiting to go in the oven. I thought the bin bag idea was GENIUS.

To the recipe – if you don’t have a heart that you’ve already taken the chamber walls out of, then do so. Or get your butcher to do it. If you haven’t and don’t want to do it yourself. Don’t worry, you can put the stuffing in each chamber and have a multi-chambered heart. Like a tomb. If you need to trim any tubes or gristle from your heart, do so now.

Next make the stuffing. I called it Spring stuffing because I wanted really fresh and zingy flavours to go with the taste of the veal.

You want to mix together:

  • 100g breadcrumbs
  • zest of 1 massive lemon and its juice
  • 1tbsp tomato puree
  • a few shakes of Magi seasoning (or Worcester or soy sauce)
  • 1 heaped tsp dried parsley
  • torn leaves of most of a supermarket basil plant
  • one large mushroom (grated on the zester)
  • one stick celery (ditto)

Mix it all together, it will go a bit sticky. If you don’t think your lemon is large enough (look at the corker in the picture), then use two.

You will now need a packet of vine leaves and string.

First stuff the cavity/ies of your heart. Hold it together in your hands and then gradually wrap vine leaves around it. If you’re having trouble holding it together, tie it up with string. Then wrap the vine leaves around it. The vine leaves will help to keep the heart moist while it is roasting in the oven. If you don’t want to include them, wrap the heart in bacon and make sure it is covered with foil.

So wrap the vine leaves around the heart. I used most of the packet, you want the layer to be quite think so the leaves closest to the heart impart all their flavour to the meat. We’ve done this vine leaf trick before on pheasants and it really does make them lovely. You could do it on a chicken!

Then tie everything together with string again. I went for the three strands approach, you can use as much as you like.

Pop it in your pan and roast in the oven for 2 half to 3 hours. The temperature should be a Gas Mark 4 (190C).

And that’s what you end up with. I carved it laterally, so the slices had stuffing in the middle. YUM! We ate some with kale and broccoli in the evening and there was enough left for both of us to have cold for lunch the following day.

Six meals. One heart. True Love.

Or something.

Stir-fried Veal Heart – Nose to Tail Fortnight Day 6

5 May

Now we moved more towards the middle of the animal, things are going to get cooked in a less linear order. This is because I am defrosting a lot of the offal now (there was a freezer accumulation) and it all depends on what I pull out.

Now we are in the innards of the animal, and pretty much all we’ll eat over the next couple of days will be organ-licious. The variety, however is hugely surprising.

Before we get to the veal heart of the matter – a word about lunch. Today we double offalled. Oh yes. Two organs, one day. All the win. For lunch we chicken liver curry. This was one of the first things I cooked with offal and because I live in the curry-capital that is Leeds, spicy chicken livers are on a lot of menus. Today we had a curry that channelled a bit of Africa as I used again some of the spices that I got sent in my first foodie penpals package. Today I used the Hot Chilli Pepper (it is super hot) and some Cameroon Pepper (which tastes a bit smoky). These along with ginger, chilli flakes and garlic made something pretty hot (but not too hot for me). I didn’t take a picture because for me now, it’s a pretty normal thing to cook and I’m sure I’ve made it and not blogged about it. It was good. It looked like a typical tomato-based curry, but with chicken livers in.

For supper, the Beautiful Man and I were slightly more adventurous and chose to make a couple of meals out of our de-frosted veal heart (from the lovely Heaves Farm Veal). So there’ll be another post about the Grand Plan tomorrow. I’ve cooked heart before (it was 2 for 1 when I got the hearts) so this time I had an idea of what I was meant to be doing. The heart has several chambers and for dinner tonight I was taking out the meat that makes the walls of the heart and chopping it up for stir fry. Most hearts you buy (I am led to believe) are already slit so the abattoir vetenery officer can check the animals health. This makes our job easier. Key to understanding where to cut is handling the organ, understanding where the chambers are and where you need to cut. Again, like the testicles, it’s quite intuitive.

Once you’ve cut the chamber walls out, slice them fairly thinly, bite-sized pieces I think. Then I marinaded the meat. I think this helped to tenderise it.

For the marinade:

1 tsp minced ginger, 1 tsp ras el hanout, 1 tsp harissa, 3 tbsp orange juice, 1 wedge of lemon squeezed in.

Mix all these together with the heart in a bowl. Leave to stand for twenty minutes.

All there was then left to do was make some egg-fried rice (this was incidentally the first time me or the Wondrous Male had made egg-fried rice – all the experiementation) and stir-fry on a high heat the heart for five minute or less.

So there you go. The exciting thing that I’m taking away from this is that heart can be lovely if you just cook it fast. After Valentine’s Day (which was good) I felt like I’d lost a bit of my heart confidence. But it’s back now! So, next time you’re making stir-fry and shopping in Morrisons put up a pack of heart there.

Just so you haven’t lost track of our pace along the animal – here is my up-to-date diagram again:

As you can tell, I’m not a graphic designer, or any sort of artist. The green bits are testicles. (The lady cow is now a gentleman cow btw. I don’t think that’s because too much offal was eaten. That was BSE.) There’s an extra species listed type listed too! Hurrah!

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!

The Versatile Blogger Award

22 Apr

See Carol Anne, I’ve not forgotten …

Quite some time ago my friend Carol Anne nominated me for this award because she is very kind. It gave me a very big boost early on in blogging year. Carol Anne runs RockSalt which is a very good foodie blog and you should go and check her out while you’re in the vanguard of fashion because I feel sure she’s going to hit the big-time i.e. Guardian Food Page. So you have been prodded in her direction.

So, with blog awards come rules. For this award, those are:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and link back to them in your post
  • Share 7 things about yourself
  • Pass the award on to 15 bloggers

Thank you very much for my award Carol Anne. It is very kind of you. You’re the shiz!

Now, to share seven things about myself? If you’re reading this, you probably know me quite well already, but I’ll and dredge up some HILARIOUS TRUTHS.

  1. When I was a young girl, my ambitions when I grew up were to be either a hairdresser, an airline pilot or a virgin. Now this is amusing because I regularly get old off by the hairdresser for doing my own, I’m pertrified of flying and I’m still not sure what the last one means …
  2. I worked for many years in a Fish and Chip Shop. My induction to that particular trade involved having my hand grabbed by Mick the Fryer, dipped in batter and plunged into the hot fat. The time in the fat seemed like an eternity, but was in fact milliseconds. Still I can say, to sound well tough, that I deep-fried my own hand. Grr. Look at me guns.
  3. Both my little toes have dual-toenails. There is a normal one and then to the side are little baby toe-nails growing from the same root. So like hooves?
  4. I was convinced for many years that the song ‘Bandages’ by Hot Hot heat was in fact called ‘Play that Jazz’ http://youtu.be/i_K36y-iLUk Not as silly as it sounds now is it. I had such utter conviction in my interpretation of the title that I would regularly request ‘play that Jazz’ at indie nights and often wondered why the DJ didn’t listen to my request. Because, Lucy, you were not in a speak-easy.
  5. I am incredibly clumsy. despite the fact I was born on a Tuesday I am not full of physical grace. Violent, sudden and jerky movements, lack of fine motor control and a general lack of realisation of my own strength mean that both me and the Daz are covered in bruises. He regularly goes OW when I hug him. I spill a lot of things. Even my cat is clumsy – he recently fell out of bed.
  6. To combat this, I have excellent peripheral vision. I can spot a heron at fifty paces behind my head. I can always watch what I’ve knocked over and predict the parabola of its trajectory quite accurately.
  7. I carry at least seven bag-for-lifes around with me at all times. Last night to go out for my friend’s birthday I was minimal and had my hand-bag (large size, purple with gold elephants) and then two extra bags – canvas (Hereford Cathedral) had stuff in I’ve been kleptomania’ing the last few days, the second (Diamond Jubilee, Queen wearing yellow) had tripe, celery, shoes, half a tub of hummous in it. Sometimes my boyfriend refers to me as The Bag Lady (not in a Mulberry way), and says I look like this: http://youtu.be/2YynWkISUGc (please stop before 58 secs, ignore the orange commentary, and he doesn’t mean Jennifer Connolly, but the other one)

So there you go, if you’ve never met me, you will be forgiven in thinking that I am a confused, battered, be-hoofed, deaf, clumsy, lasar-eyed tramp. Maybe Louis Theroux will make a documentary about me?

The fifteen bloggers I am passing this award onto are listed below. They are all people I like, people I think are trying to better the world or people who I nick ideas off all the time.

  • Dog Snooks is a really funny blog about snooker. It’s full of funny jokes even if you don’t like snooker. I do like snooker and I do like this. Daz has a theory he expounds at great length, that you can make comedy out of anything and this is his arena for proving that.
  • Diary of my Body is a GOOD THING. It’s a blog collective of women writing about their experiences in learning to love their bodies and who they are. If you are a person with an ounce of soul you should have a look and listen to the stories these ladies have to tell.
  • Plate Britain is a new blogger like me. They are eating only British produce for a year to try and eat more sustainably in terms of food miles and where our snacks come from. I wish I’d thought of the idea. Good luck!
  • You have to cook it right is an American blog all about respecting your ingredients and letting them shine in the dish. I found some great advice on venison here. Do check the archives!
  • MotherEagle is my friend Katie’s blog. She is a needlewoman extraordinaire and I can’t wait for her new etsy collection to come out featuring her bad-ass embroiderings. I’ve got my eye on snapping up her anatomical heart when it comes on sale – ‘heart is a wet organ’ come have come straight from here!
  • Miss Pybis is beautiful artist I know. Her art and drawing stands apart from anyone else I’ve seen and I can’t wait to make my fortune so she can cover my house in beautiful murals.
  • Life in Harmony and Balance belong to my life-coach friend Steph. A lot of wisdom is contained within these pages, so be prepared for even a casual read to reveal things you almost thought about yourself but couldn’t quite get the words. If you want life-coaching get in touch with her.
  • Renegades of Junk and Pound for Pound are both written by Daisy. RoJ is about her charity shopping adventures – thrift chic! PfP is about her charity weght-loss odyssey. Do give her a sponsor as she’s raising money for the British Heart Foundation.
  • Debbie Osborne ArtDebbie’s Homemade Home and Mailmaker are great artistic blogs run by Norfolk-based Debbie. I’ve seen her studio. It’s inspirational.
  • Jennieishappy is the blog of my foodie penpal giver for last month. She’s got fingers in many pies and takes some lovely photos. Don’t know what foodie penpals is? Have a gander back to Rocksalt above!
  • Something Missing – Julia had the fortune (?) to receive my foodie penpal parcel last month. Her blog tackles the questions raised when you ned to make something sugar-free, wheat-free, dairy-free and so on. Have a gander.
  • Monique writes a lifestyle blog What I am up to – she got my foodie penpal package for this month. We’ll see what she thinks on the 30th!
  • Trunch Lane features forgotten corners of Lincolnshire. It’s brilliant. It shows you there’s more to the Shire than just pork products.

And lastly, my favourite blog of all: Being Dad Today – if you don’t shed a little tear, then you’re not a human. it’s a brilliant and very touching blog about parenting. My dad was absent, so I love reading about Bob and his daughters!

Offal loves you! x