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The versatility of Cold Oxtail – part 3

25 Sep

Continuing my flirtation (that’s becoming more of an obsession) with the cold offals, is the last chapter in the suggestions I came up with for things to do with a cold ox tail. This recipe also put me in the new territory of baking bread (don’t judge too much). I guess it’s also a kind of Americana too …

So, in the words of Katherine Hepburn “Hot Dawg!”, this was good.*

To bring anyone new up to date, I have recently been bemoaning the fact  that you can’t find ready made offal sandwiches in Leeds. This has caused me to get experimental with cooking and cooling my own offals. The legacy of which began in posts one and two and continues now.

I welcome you to the Inaugural Presentation of the Ox Dog. That’s right. An Ox Dog. A hot dog, filled with ox tail. Ox dog. Ox dog. Ox. Dog.

The real inspiration behind here was a post from RockSalt about making hot dog rolls, which you can find here. I trust Carol Anne and believed when she said how simple they were to make. They are. I’m no bread baker, but even I managed to make some presentable rolls.

This is them before they got ovened. The recipe is super simple, so please do have a look and have a go. Basically you add yeast to water, let it bubble, then add egg, flour and salt. You don’t knead it very much. They take ten minutes to bake. The whole process is forty minutes – what’s not to love? Mine are all yellow because I used canola oil in the batter, which is orange to look at! I think they look sunshiney, or jaundiced, depending on your outlook on the world.

Whilst my rolls were getting doggy (?) in the oven, I made my filling. I took the now dwindling bowl of cold oxtail out of the fridge and added it along with some sliced peppers to a pan and gave them a good frying. The peppers and the oxtail go all sticky in the pan together.

Once it all looks suitably delicious, turn the heat off and if ten minutes have gone by since you put your rolls in, get them out too. Then either wait and fill your rolls once they’ve cooled, or don’t wait, get indigestion from hot bread and eat straight away. I put some cheese on top and grilled them.

I should point out, my grill is very fierce and you probs shouldn’t actually burn them. However, this was a lovely snack, made from stuff I had already (using up ends of peppers). This was probably the fifth meal from my oxtail, which is pretty good going considering I was working with pure meat and stock.

I would definitely make these again – I would even cook an oxtail especially for these – Halloween here I come!

 

*That is also a clue. And it is the Katherine Hepburn portrayed by Cate Blanchett in the Aviator, not any other KH – in case you were confused and couldn’t remember her saying that in the African Queen.

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The versatility of Cold Oxtail – part 2

18 Sep

In the part the first, we saw an ox tail ramen soup made purely from the ox tail stock. You can find that post here. It was of course concerned with the stock. Now we turn our salivating attention to the meat. Lovely, sticky, cardomanny, tamarindy meat.

The reson I decided to cook an ox tail and eat it cold was due to the paucity of cold offal snacks available to your average offaltarian. Do you ever see kidney sandwiches in the supermarket? No. Is there a liver salad waiting to be dressed in the chilled cabinet? No. I work. Sometimes I get tired of cheese sandwiches. Or tongue sandwiches (also packets of cold pressed tongue are phenomenally expensive – 75p per slice – I’m not Midas). Anyway you don’t get pre-made tongue sandwiches in Leeds.

So, to cold lunches. Salad. And ox tail. Ox tail salad. Lordy lordy! I was well addicted to ox tail salad for a while.

Here is one salad I made. I won’t insult anyone’s intelligence by telling you how to make a salad. This one was based around spinach, broad beans, oxtail and a stale packet of mixed nuts.

Here is a tupperware salad, made of spinach, coleslaw mix and ox tail.

The secret behind these salad is of course the dressing. This I will tell you about, at length and naturally in excruciating detail, for my laws on salad dressing are Gospel.

The joke is, my dressings are pretty easy. Oil (I use Neals Yard Beauty Oil) which is a blend of hemp, avocado, flax seed, pumpkin seed and evening primrose oils. I think it tastes really nice. Then I use usually either lemon or lime juice. And I’ll add maybe some garlic, or some harissa, maybe mustard!

This summer I got well into flavouring my own vinegars! The idea first came to me on the old herb course as vinegars are another traditional way to preserve the qualities of medicinal herbs. I didn’t make any medicine-grade vinegars, but I did make strawberry vinegar, thyme vinegar and honeysuckle vinegar. Now I’m adept at the vinegar-making, I’m going to make some Autumn vinegars too – bramble and elderberry are on the list.

Again, it’s another fancy thing that’s really simple to do. For the strawberry vinegar, you add some strawberries to some cider vinegar, leave it on the windowsill for a week then strain. For the honeysuckle a couple of weeks. For the thyme one month. Strain and bottle.

Ox tail salads, in their infinite variety, are IMMENSE. Next time you buy one, reserve some meat and eat it cold. Yumyumyum!

The versatility of Cold Oxtail – part 1

11 Sep

Apart from cooked sliced tongue, it’s quite hard to find offal that will go in sandwiches. You can’t even find a ready-made sandwich with offal in (unless you’re counting sausage, but then they invariably have ketchup in which I just can’t stomach). Kidney sammich, anyone? To remedy this I slow-cooked a lovely oxtail with the express purpose of using it cold. Oh yes. You can’t keep me in that box. I’m not Schroedinger’s Cat.

Here is my lovely ox tail from Walsingham Farm Shop – a present from my Mum – and you should definitely visit if you’re in Norfolk. I meant to take a picture of the label (which specifies some details about the beast that provided the tail), but forgot – however there is a great page about their suppliers on the website. This sort of transparency in origin is what was emphasised in my abattoir visit. Yet I do remember, growing up in Lincolnshire, it being perfectly normal to know who farmed the animals you were eating (and you probably wouldn’t trust a butcher who couldn’t tell you).* I decided to add some flavours and chose black cardoman, tamarind and mugwort. I shouldn’t have put the mugwort in as the stronger flavours swallowed it up …

Then you cover it all with water and I slow cooked it on high for about six hours. The next step was to separate the meat from the stock, and then the bones from the meat. You will have a jug of beefy, taily deliciousness and a bowl of juicy, beefy meat.
I put both of them in the fridge and waited to use them.

The first thing I wanted to use was the delicious stock, so I had a stab at making a beef noodle soup. Of course, all the fat had risen to the top of the stock, so I scraped a lot of it off, used some to fry my peppers and put the rest away for later use.

It had set into a jelly (because of the lovely bones) – with a nice spicy layer at the bottom of thicker gravy. It all goes in! I really wanted to taste the stock, so kept the rest quite simple. I fried some onion and peppers, then added some rehydrated seaweed, the stock and the noodles, then boiled it all together so the noodles were done. Added some spinach at the end, bob’s your uncle. I put a blob of harissa in the middle too.

A lovely meal, from a jug of stock and some cupboard bits and bats.

If you don’t think about making stock already – please do try it out. You can ask your butcher for some bones, or use leftover ones (a perfect example is an eaten around chicken carcass). All I then do is boil it for a number of hours until all the bones come away from each other  (I don’t know if that’s a professional way to judge it, but it appears to work for me). You can add veg and things, but I tend to be a stock purist. Sieve it to get the bones n ting out, then you can either use it within a week, or freeze it to use at your leisure. Risotto totally is best with homemade stock. And it’s really good for you – lots of trace elements are kept in bones, so real stock can help boost your immune system! If it sounds like a faff, kept your eye out for reduced fresh stock in the supermarket, as you can freeze it ready for risotto o clock!

I can hear you asking, what else did she make with the ox tail? Stay tuned for part 2!

*I am aware of the quotation marks around “normal for Lincolnshire” – this can be seen to include tracing six generations back with strangers (you never know who you are related to) and every tenth house having a surplus veg stall outside.

Lincolnshire Haslet – Nose to Tail Fortnight Day 14

16 May

Wow. The last day of nose to tail fortnight and my eating along the animal challenge.

How do I feel? Full of meat. I’ve got a craving for cauliflower.

How far along the animal did I get? All the way, baby!

Here is the full nose to tail body part list: pig head, cow foot, pig lung, cow heart, deer kidney, chicken liver, cow stomach, lamb testicle, pig trotter, cow tail, sausages and caul fat.

Haslet seemed a fitting way to end my nose to tail fortnight. Here is what wikipedia says:

Haslet, also spelt ‘Acelet’, is a porkmeatloaf with herbs originally from Lincolnshire, England. The name is derived from the Old Frenchhastilles meaning entrails[1].

In Lincolnshire, haslet (pronounced hayzleht locally), is a meatloaf typically made from stale white bread, ground pork, sage, salt and black pepper.[2] It is typically served cold with pickles and salad, or as a sandwich filling.[citation needed]

Basically it is offal and off-cuts ground up with sage, salt and pepper; the pressed out of it; wrapped in caul fat; then baked. I haven’t tried to make it myself, mostly because Hargreaves of Spalding make the best ones and I try to alway have one in my Leeds-based freezer. It freezes really well and defrosts gently over-night.

I like to eat the end slices by themselves. As well as eating it cold, you can also fry it up and have it warm. A very versatile pork product indeed. The top should be a darker colour (due to the baking). If you look carefully at the picture above, you can see the pattern of the caul fat on the top. The caul keeps the haslet bound together.

In my sandwich on Sunday, I added fresh sage leaves and a few leaves of Jack-by-the-hedge. That made an excellent sandwich.

Don’t buy the stuff from the supermarket deli counter. It is minging. If you do, I’ll play you this Cyndi Lauper clip very early in the morning, so you faint from over-exposure to Shaggy. That’s real threat.

If you’d like to try a proper one, it can be arranged. You can either find a proper Lincolnshire butcher (if he doesn’t rub his hands together, he’s not the real deal) or send me a message and I can be your dealer.

Another Lincolnshire delicacy to try is Stuffed Chine. Shaggy loves it.*

 

*I imagine he does.

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:

Meat Mail …

5 Mar

A while ago a super exciting package arrived on my doorstep …

Where has this monster package come from? What might it contain? Why did it arrive at 7am in the morning? Why did it feel so very cold? Why is it so very heavy? What does that yellow sticker say?

Well, it might be no surprise that it contained MEAT. More precisely OFFAL. More precisely an amazing package of veal offal from the Alternative Meat Company. The purchase was inspired by my trip to Kendalls and the eating of the veal liver, which you can read all about in an earlier post. So what’s in the box I hear you cry?

Ooooh, it looks like there’s a lot in there … what can it be? Some delicious treats to go in my belly?

Ah ha! So what are we looking at? Well from top left there are two hanger steaks, two packs of oxtail, two hearts and two tongues. Why is it all in pairs? It was buy one, get one free on the veal offal. Including postage, it came to about £20 and we’ve already had a lot of meals out of it. It all arrived perfectly frozen and on the day I requested and it all went into the freezer. We now have an offal drawer.

Steak, you may say, what about the offalism? Well, let me tell you that hanger steak is not an offal, but it is an underused cut. Also on Masterchef they called it offal, according to my friend Lucia, so therefore it must be. We’d recognise it more by the name of beef skirt.

I’ve got a few recipes to try and lots of ideas. Mostly I’m excited at trying some really nice veal. Alternative Meats get their veal from Cumbria, and on their website there is a video with the farmer. I really trust the company to supply nice things and was impressed with their service and the quality of the product and it’s delivery. Baby cow eating ahoy!

If you’ve been to their website, you’ll see that they do a lot of African meats. My question is now:

Let me know! Next week I’ll reveal the results of my previous fish poll …