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Ox Heart Carpaccio

17 Oct

When you need a quick lunch at work, why don’t more people take a chunk of offal and a lime?

A question indeed. With all the talk of ceviche and the explosion of sushi in popularity, why isn’t carpaccio and tartare more routine? I don’t the answer, but I thought I’d try an alternative lunch last week and have some ox heart carpaccio. Queue: one lump beef, a tupperware, things to marinade.

I took my chunk of ox heart (read about that here) to work, chopped it into a size I would call a morsel, then squeezed a lime over the top and shook a bit of green tabasco on top. This was my pack-up. The tabasco is still in my bag and has come in handy on more than one occassion since. Always be prepared. The idea was in my 15 minute break, to have a healthy snack of heart and an orange. Main and pudding.

Here is the heart, immediately after being prepared:

And look at the difference:

It REALLY does cook the meat. This particular lunchtime I had to go back on the shop floor, so it marinaded for a bit too long I think (20 mins) – I think 10 mins would have been better. BUT it was well delicious. I added some Beauty Oil to the carpaccio mix. It was delightful. Obviously I wouldn’t eat this every day, but I would recommend trying it.

Maybe days when you need some extra iron? Or if you had a steak, you could trim a bit of and use it like this. Summer food. Hearty food. *pun intended*

For me, it was an experiment that went well. Try it and see!

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Rabbit and Rosemary Ragu

3 Oct

As part of the year of the offal, rabbit (and all other game) is totally allowed. Wild animals are definitely free range, they can choose their own diet and usually death by shotgun is pretty surprising and fast. A win all round.*

Rabbit is a meat I really love, but whenever I’ve cooked with it before, I always feel like I haven’t helped it fulfill its culinary potential. A bit dry. A bit flavourless. This time, I was determined to do some good cooking and have a lovely end product. To this end I employed my slow cooker (I know I’m repetitive), to simmer the rabbit slowly, creating a delicious stock and keeping the meat moist.

Rabbity goodness. I put the rabbit (already jointed) in the slow cooker with a generous sprig of rosemary (sent by my foodie penpal) and covered it all with water. I then left it on high for 8 hours.

The next stage was to separate the stock from the meat (with the future idea of rabbit risotto), then the meat from the bones, thus creating a platter of rabbit for sandwiches and also said risotto. I did some excellent anatomy as well. Rabbits have chunky thigh bones – check out the scary spine too …

 

Primeval!

To make your rabbit ragu, it is of course simple. Cook an onion with some garlic til it is all softened. Add a teaspoon of rosemary and as much rabbit as you feel like. Add a tin of tomatoes and simmer for about twenty minutes. Cook your pasta ten minutes before, drain and serve with some tasty ragu atop!

 

 

Next time you’re buying a chicken to cook and separate, please think about doing it with a rabbit.

 

*I do recognise that sometimes the birds are injured and need their neck wringing. That is less pleasant, but still if you have a good gundog pretty fast. I would rather that than leukemia.

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.

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!

Venison Liver and Holistic Cauliflower

15 Sep

Less of a post, more of  a handy hint: did you know that venison liver is awesome? Try it. I got mine from Round Green Farm at the Kirkstall Farmers Market and it is SUPER TASTY. I’ve eaten it before and always look out for it. The simplest way to cook it is to flour it all over and then fry for 2-3 minutes on each side.

Did you know that you can eat the leaves of cauliflowers as well as the florets? I didn’t and I come from the Land of the Brassica (tip courtesy of the lovely lady a B Whiteleys Vegetables). Don’t eat the woody tough bit that runs down the middle of the leaf, but the floppity leaf bits at either side. I snipped them away with scissors and them steamed them briefly. Lovely, cabbage but not, if you will. I’m sure this is old hat to some people, but it was flash of enlightenment for me! What other overlooked leaves can you eat?

I also made a cauliflower cheese. What a nice dinner! I do like going to the Kirkstall Market …

Hanger Steak and Broad Bean Risotto

21 Aug

So there’s a note to myself in this: Lucy please write your recipes down. Kthnxbi.

Like all my greatest moments of genius, this one wasn’t particularly well recorded. Partly because offalling is a part of my life now, so I don’t really think about it as much as I used to when I’m cooking. That’s a good thing, because it means the lifestyle change has become in ingrained.

So to this simple recipe. It utilises my slowwww cooooooker (again), but you could just use a pan.

One word about hanger steak before we begin. It’s not steak. It’s not an organ, but it is I think in the under-used cuts category. Why? It lives near the diaphragm and has something to do with all that pumps-and-bellows jazz and the heart of our body, so it is quite awkward to cut out and is usually thrown out with the rest. I think it’s a shame because it is well tasty. It’s also called ‘feather steak’ I think. In England I think we call it ‘skirt’. Wikipedia will tell you more! (Don’t believe it all though, hanger steak is delicious, though I would prefer to call it skirt.)

Ok, so take your bit of skirt. I used some veal skirt. Put it in the slow cooker, covered in water for about 6 hours. It should be all melty and tender. Alternatively, put it in a casserole covered in water in the oven at a low heat for 6 hours.

Remove, drain, reserve the stock and gently pull apart the meat fibres, discarding the bit that runs down the middle. It should come apart really easily into these long filaments. I think it’s really beautiful how it falls apart unlike any other cut of meat. I think there’s a very poetic moment when peel the strands away …

Then you have cooked meaty-deliciousness and some amazing stock. Both are vital for supreme risotto. (You could do this a few days before if you were feeling all Delia.)

Then make risotto.

I chopped an onion and some garlic and melted it all down, then added 300g risotto rice and stirred so it was all covered in the oil. I chopped a generous sprig of fresh marjoram and threw that in. Added the meat. Then began to add the stock a little at a time so it cooked through. With the amounts of stock you just have to use your judgement a bit and if you think you need more just make up a bit of bouillon or vegetable stock. (Don’t introduce chicken stock, that would be a fauz pas, because you won’t get the true veal-ly flavour.)

Five minutes before you think it’s done, add as many broad beans as you think appropriate (for me a metric fuckton).

Top with parmesan. Maybe a bit more marjoram. If you’re feeling flush.

Nom Nom Nom.

Pig Kidney Stroganoff

30 Jul

Ve vere just expecting you Mr Bond ….

I’m not sure what puts a connection between James Bond, things that sound vaguely Russian and dodgy eastern European accents, but there you go. This can only be eaten and discussed if you use a comedy voice. Have you got your Xenia Onatopp voice in your head now? “Vot shall ve do viz zese pigz kiduhneyz?”

In all seriousness, I was super lucky at the Kirkstall Deli Market on Saturday.* I snuck in just before everyone packed up due to the pouring rain. My mission was to get some black pudding from the Blue Pig Company. I had some a few weeks ago on a romantic weekend away at the Craven Arms where they use it in their menu and it is well delicious! I then had a trawl around the other stalls, picking up some lovely tea and chatting to the venison man (they’d sold out of liver and kidneys) and the buffalo people (they didn’t have any offal). I did however, end up back at the Blue Pig stall, investing in some pork and apple sausages. I then spied some kidney at the back of the stand. Hiding. Sneakily hiding. To cut a long story, the kind stall owners gave me the two pig kidneys for free! Altruism at its best!

Normally when I cook kidney, I get kidney from the market. As it is a filtration organ, it does worry me slightly that these kidneys are not organic, so probably have residues from feed supplements and other animal things I don’t really know about! Pig and beef kidney are meant to be the kidniest tasting of them, so I was looking forward to experimenting with these lovely free range kidneys (but free range doesn’t necessarily mean organic, will have to investigate)!

Kidney stroganoff was a suggestion that my godmother made when I began this journey. She makes it quite often and loves it.

The recipe I based mine on was from good old Delia. I did make some changes though …

Take:

2 pork kidneys, 1 sliced onion, 2 oz butter, 8oz mushrooms (I like chestnut ones), 150ml soured cream, 1 tablespoon paprika, salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a pan, cook the onion gently for ten minutes, add the mushrooms and cook for a further ten minutes. Prepare the kidney by de-coring and slicing. Turn the heat up under the pan and add the kidney, brown it all over. Next turn the heat down and add the paprika and the sour cream and simmer for five minutes.

We had ours with some kale and some brown rice. I’d recommend giving pig kidney a go. Especially if you’re going to pair it with nice robust flavours. A subtle blend of herbs wouldn’t stand up to it, but punchy paprika and black pepper both do the job well.

I pretended I was a secret agent eating hearty food in an Eastern Bloc country. James Bond would be proud.

*The Saturday I’m talking about was in May possibly … a little while ago certainly.