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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!

Honeycomb Tripe – Nose to Tail Fortnight Day 5

5 May

Day 5 was always going to be a busy day because we were having tea at Daz’s Mum’s house. SO we just wanted a little snacky lunch. After cooking tripe a few days ago, there has been demand from some quarters for MORE TRIPE! So I went back to the tripe shop and chose my tripe carefully.

After some research, last time we had blanket tripe. This time I thought we should try the other sort they sell, which is honeycomb tripe. I really like how it looks – a lovely geometric pattern. It also makes an amazing sound when you rub it with your fingers! Organic percussion? The meat orchestra? Rocky makes a good noises when he punches beef? Me and Sly in a meat duo?

NB: My youtube channel is called goodlyoffal. Apparently I have one now, because wordpress wouldn’t let me just upload a video. Watch that space too?

Daz had wanted me to make the same sauce as we had before. I stubbornly wanted to try something different. So the recipe we used was:

200g honeycomb trip sliced thinly, 1 onion sliced, 4 large (but not field) mushrooms, quarter teaspoon harissa, 1 tsp ginger paste, 2 tsp honey

Add a little oil to the pan, cook the onions down a bit, add the mushrooms, sweat them a bit more. Add the harissa, ginger and honey. Stir and then turn the heat down. Put a lid on the pan and let it all cook together for about ten minutes. Add the tripe and stir with the lid off now. After five minutes, add the can of tomatoes. Simmer for another ten minutes, season and serve! We ate it with some crunchy bread.

What I did realise whilst I was cooking this is that a lot of my recipes start with onion (or celery if I’ve run out of onion). Is this the case for everyone? I’m starting to feel I’m in a bit of a cookery groundhog day … suggestions welcome. As Daz pointed out though “a lot of recipes in the world start with celery and onion” so maybe that’s ok.

If other news, I did an amzing thing, which was to JUICE SOME CLEAVERS. Cleavers you might know by other names such as Stickybud and Goosegrass. It is an amazing detoxing herb. I drink it dried in tea, but was isnpired by this post by herbalist Lucy Jones to harness the goodness another way. Also I have wanted to play with my juicer for a long time. I can tell you that juiced cleavers tastes a bit like grass. I’ve frozen it in ice cube trays to add to post-sport smoothies.

What other things are good to juice?

Lamb’s Testicles – Nose to Tail Fortnight Day 4

3 May

If you’ve come here from the FemaleDom website. That’s OK, but please can you sponsor my half marathon, before you get your greasy mitts on my testicle pictures?

£1/$1/1 euro would make an extra hundred pounds a day for good causes. You can do it anonymously.  I dare you:

http://beatms.mssociety.org.uk/netcommunity/lucymooreruns

Also, it just goes to show that a well-meaning, ethical endeavor can be highjacked for porny porn porn … *le sigh*

So we had testicles for tea. They come from the back-end of the animal – see we are working our way along. I testicles are a bit more out there than tripe even, so despite being super excited, I was also a bit wary. The excitement meant that I did exactly what I did yesterday and woke up really early and had two false postal alarms before the delivery man came with a big box.

The delivery man said he was very glad I was in the house. I said I was very glad to get my testicles. He looked uncomfortable.

Keevil and Keevil were the testicle-suppliers that came up when I googled ‘buy testicles’. A lot of other things came up, including testicle implants. I can say that when I emailed yesterday panicking that they hadn’t arrived, they were very nice and have been very kind on twitter. Have a look at their website – they have meat boxes themed by London borough – apt since their actual premises is in Smithfields (which I learnt yesterday was one of the first places that Huguenot silversmiths settled after fleeing France in the 1600s)! What I liked best was their very low post and packaging. So many online meat suppliers either insist you buy over £40 or charge £20 just to deliver. You can’t try the product if you have to fork out stupid money just to get it sent.

And here, they are my bag of testicles:

I think the smile on face here is meant to convey a) Gosh four! I thought I’d only get too and b) I bet my hair looks very bouffe in these pictures. Bonus testicles are always good. Yes that is puffy bedhair. You can also see my pyjama top covered in strawberries. I am that glamourous. Look at those lovely balls. Hmmmmm …

So now I had the testicles what was I meant to do with them? There was some conflicting advice. On the one hand Jennifer McLagan advised to soak them overnight, skin, poach, re-poach and so on, which all sounded very good but time-consuming. On the other Anissa Helou said you could do that, or just skin them and use them as they were. The latter advice suited me better because Daz had to go to rehearsal so tea needed to be made with some fair haste.

Daz is my very supportive boyfriend, but he wasn’t entirely convinced that eating testicles would be a delicious thing. He did say he would try them, and I said that was fine, if he didn’t like them then we had sausages to quickly fry. But he does get an award for being a Big Brave Boy.

So, how do you prepare a testicle? Basically, the testicle lies within three membranes and you need to cut it out them before you can use it. Below is a step-by-step photojourney of the de-sacking, but basically you use a knife to make a small nick, widen it with your fingers (there is a tearing sound) and then to in effect, turn the ball-sack inside out.

Step 1: Membrane the first. Pinch the skin of the testicle up and put the point of your knife in to make a little cut. Then make the cut wider, using your fingers or a knife, to then turn it inside out.

Here we have both testicles inside-outed, to the side I think is the tube that take sperm to the penis and some other biology. I wasn’t sure whether I should eat it or not, so erred on the side of caution. (The other two testicles are in the freezer, so I might experiment with those.)

Step 2: Sack the second, do exactly the same. Here you can see me pulling the membrane away with my fingers. If you push a bit with your finger, then pull it comes away pretty nicely.

Step 3: Membrane the third. This one is the trickiest. Your really have to use your fingers (or maybe a spoon) to push the membrane and the body of the testicle apart. If you don’t do that, the flesh will rip and you won’t have a lovely smooth edible bollock. So go gently, teasing flesh and sinew apart.

And this is the testicle that you have to cook with. It is soft and also a bit like one of those jelly tube things that if you squeeze it shoots out your hand. Gel-filled and purple? No? Anyway, they are slippery and I dropped one. BUT I caught it with my knees. Offal Save!

I know these instructions are quite long, but it’s quite intuitive when you get going. There are instructions from Anissa Helou here and Jennifer Mclagan’s view here and a much more exhaustive account in ‘Odd Bits’. I don’t have Fergus Henderson’s books yet, so I don’t know what he thinks, but I’m sure he likes them.

So now I had some testicles, what was I going to do? I found a lot of recipes that recommended crumbing and frying them. I thought this sounded a good idea because most fried things are nice, and frying isn’t too heavy a flavour so the flavour of the testicles (which I was told was mild) comes through. I sliced the testicles into rounds holding on firmly but not tightly and then I chucked some spelt flour, some ground black pepper and the zest of half a lemon into a bowl and covered the testicles discs in the mixture so they were covered both sides. They only take a minute to cook each side, so I got my vegetables ready and then cooked the balls at the very end.

Here are my lovely little testicle fritters, they look pretty good don’t they? The taste is lamby, but in a mild way. So even if you don’t like lamb, I think you’d like these. The texture is like one of the quenelle dumplings – like a REALLY firm mousse. They do leak some juices. I don’t *think* its jizz.

And here was our final dinner. If you are interested in the vegetables: to the left we have kale steam-fried with ground ginger, red chilli and half a lamb stock cube; to the right stir-fried purple sprouted broccoli with wild garlic* wilted over the top just from the heat of the pan. The punchier flavours of the vegetable went really well with the creamiest of the testicles. Bit of lemon to squeeze. Tortilla – mostly because Yorkshiremen have to have bread at every meal.

And here’s my favourite little Yorkshireman, digging his testicle fritter!

That IS a nice face he’s doing. Apparently lambs testicles are a very potent aphrodisiac. Just saying. The other thing I’d like to say is please don’t all rush out and buy shed loads of testicles so that they are the only type of meat being demanded and whole carcasses are thrown out in the street. At the moment I think they disappear at the abattoir most of the time and then get turned into things we don’t know about (can anyone enlighten me?). It’s much better that people buy them for what they are and treat them with respect. (Even if that respect is turning them inside out three types and frying in hot oil. Still respect.)

Would you eat a testicle?

Have you eaten a testicle?

Don’t worry, I will try to even out the gender balance and find an udder or a womb.

*We FORAGED the wild garlic today, down in Kirkstall near the Aire. There is quite the crop far down on the banks. I also got some nettles and some cleavers for JUICING! *tries not to look like a smug Guardian reader*

Nigerian Trotter Stew – Nose to Tail Fortnight Day 2

2 May

The first thing to understand is that a stew is Nigeria is what we would call a sauce. Understand? Good.

In working my way along the animal, after the tail, the toes seemed like the next appropriate spot to move to. There’s recently been some good trotter chat on twitter, so if you want to keep abreast of that, you’d better give me a follow! Acting on the advice of Luke from the restaurant Dough, then disregarding it somewhat (sorry), I slow cooked my trotters in water with four cloves for six hours on high. This makes the most amazing stock. However, I made a beginnners mistake and realised after I’d removed the elbows that what I had were not chunky back trotters, but slimline fore trotters – that equals less meat.

Another thing to note. Always buy your trotters from the back end of the pig. Not the front. No joke.

Then I had a massive bowl of stock with lots of bones and bits of pig in it. I went through the bowl, removing the bones and breaking the skin up and removing any bits of cartilage that I didn’t think would be good to eat. I then had a smaller bowl of meat (included skin and tendons and all the bits, because of the slow cooking they are ALL GREAT TON EAT) and a bigger bowl of stock.

A soupcon of trotter pour monsieur?

Now, time to make my sauce. I got the recipe from my first foodie penpal Jen who runs the Sharing Supper Club. I read it and then did it slightly differently. I must learn to concentrate whilst cooking.

So for a Nigerian stew – which means what? You need:

1 onion chopped, 1 can chopped tomatoes, quarter teaspoon cameroon pepper, half a can of stock, fresh thyme

I cooked the onion tomatoes and spice together for about fifteen minutes, then blended them to smooth and returned to the pan and added some of the bowl of pork trotter stock.

Then I had Nigerian stew. The thyme goes on top as you serve it.

It is very easy. I got the spice from Jen, but if you live in Leeds you could get it from one of the African shops in the market. I almost bought some dried smoked shrimps today – any ideas for them?

I then added my bowl of trotter meat and stirred it all together.

It goes to a really lip-smakcing sauce. We had a few spoons of it with some rice (cooked in the rest of the pork stock) and a couple of tortillas.

Lip-smacking is the word. Even Daz’s friend Bill who shuddered when Daz showed him a picture of the trotter in our fridge, liked it.

Testicles tomorrow! I’d better not balls them up! ho ho *crawls into a corner*

Veal Tail Risotto – Nose to Tail Fortnight Day 1

1 May

So if you read this previous post, you’ll know I’m eating my way along the animal this fortnight, beginning at the tail.

Day 1 began with tail, rather than head, because I didn’t plan very well, so had to get some veal tail out the freezer. (Offal drawer is not big enough to accommodate a whole head at the moment.) This veal tail I purchased a few weeks ago from the Alternative Meat Company along with my hearts, hanger steaks and tongues. Veal does have a beefy taste, but quite a light one. It tastes pretty sweet too. I wanted to use some flavours that wouldn’t cover the veal taste. With ox tail, recipes tend to use quite a lot of heavy flavours like star anise and chilli and I wanted to avoid that.

Veal tails are smaller than oxtails, so I used two. I was cooking for three people.

To begin with I decided to poach the tails in water for a few hours to separate the meat from the bones and to make a veal stock.

The water looks a bit pink because I added the defrosted blood from the cellophane packets to the water. It;s all good. I let the bones simmer all afternoon, so for maybe four hours. Keep topping up the water so it doesn’t boil dry. When the meat is separating itself from the bones, take the pieces out, pull the meat off and put to one side. Bones, gristle and cartilage to the bin. You should now have a bowl of poached veal and a jug of veal stock!

ooh look at all the goodness in there

The stock should look cloudy. This will be the base stock for your risotto, it should smell a little beefy and a little chickeny.

Then, to the risotto making.

Finely chop 1 onion, 3 cloves of smoked garlic and 2 sticks of celery. Heat a tablespoon of oil in your risotto pan, add the finely chopped ingredients and sweat them down gently so its all softened and lovely. Add 1 tsp dried parsley, half tsp dried rosemary and quarter tsp ground nutmeg. Stir it all together. Add the risotto rice -enough for 3 people – about 350g I think? I judged it by shakes from the packet though … Stir again. Add the veal bits and stir around.

The you’re at the point where you can add your stock –  a little at a time so the rice swells with the fluid, then add a bit more and so on. I’ve assumed that most people reading have made a risotto before – if you haven’t then please get in touch and I can give you more deets.

When you’re happy that your rice is cooked and lovely, take the pan off the heat and stir in about 500g of fresh spinach. The heat from the rosotto will wilt it down fast, but you loose very few of the nutrients from it.

Serve with grated cheese (parmesan for authenticity, cheddar for convenience if you’re me).

I understand, mostly what you can see is a pile of cheese.

To sum up, the ingredients you need are:

1 kg veal tail, several pints of water, 1 onion, 3 cloves garlic, 2 sticks celery, 1 tsp parsley, 1/2 tsp rosemary, 1/4 nutmeg, 350g risotto rice, 500g spinach, cheese for grating.

I hope you like the freshness of the ingredients. I think this was a good start to Nose to Tail Fortnight! I’m going to try and blog each day moving my way along the animal – here’s where we are now:

Nose to Tail Fortnight

30 Apr

Nose to Tail Fortnight is something taking place across London restaurants from TODAY until Sunday 13th May. It’s encouraging people to eat the whole animals. Different restaurants have bought whole animals to cook all of, or are doing special tasting menus. This is its first year, so its not spread country-wide. it is run by Ethical Eats, who are a London food network so I guess it figures. However, I don’t feel like I could ignore it at this stage in my offal-eating world. So.

I am going to attempt t eat my way along the animal. In two weeks. Only using less used cuts and offal. Can it be done?

I should say I’m going to start from the tail up. That is because I forgot what the fortnight was, got some veal tail out the freezer, then realised. So tail forwards it is. I’ve got trotters for tomorrow. I’M GOING TO TRY AND SOURCE SOME TESTICLES. However, despite making a scrappy list of animal body areas, I’ve not really planned this. Lucy, not planning soemthing down to the last detail? What sorcery is that?

This is how I am going to track my progress. It is not species specific:

Take up the gauntlet yourselves and buy and cook some offal these first two weeks of May!