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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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Oxheart Revisited

15 Oct

I bloody love Brideshead. So does my friend Lauren. And on the last hot day of summer, we were finally converted to the baroque.

By Brisdeshead, I obviously mean the 1981 BBC version. Nothing else will do. I’m not sure if its Jeremy ‘rubs-thighs’ Irons, or the Oxford connection, or the phrase “I’m sorry about your pig”, but together it is sublime. Castle Howard is really the star though – much more than Jezza, or even ole Gielgud.

The other excitement waiting for me at Castle Howard was the butchery there, where they claim to have a good range of offal. FYI they do. And the butchers are lovely! And I got a haul of black pudding, sausages and … an ox heart!

A breakfast of kings went down the following day. But I was most excited about the ox heart! From the estate. Imaginary Catholic-guilt-wine-tasting-idolent-summer-interwar-halcyon-days-heart. Hearts are big. I really wanted to treat the Bridey (the heart) nicely, so decided to treat Bridey as if the cut was a roasting one – but pot-roasting.

First you have to prepare your heart. Abattoirs slash all hearts to check that they are healthy, so it does sort of butterfly open already. Remove the bits of sinew.

Here I am pulling the sinewy heart strings out. Pulling on Bridey’s heart strings. (I wouldn’t actualy sigh over Bridey, but I like the sound/concept.)

Did you know you can put your fist through the blood vessel of a cow? I didn’t until I tried. That’s how big cows are. Massive.

They were a couple of other things I wanted to do with my heart, as well as roasting it, so I sliced a nice muscular part of it off, for a rainy day … you’ll see what I mean …

Next was time to cook my heart. I used the slow cooker. I mean, why wouldn’t you? A better term if you don’t have a slow cooker would be casseroled whole heart, I guess. The idea is to cook a whole heart and then serve it as if its a joint (practise for Christmas really).

What I did was to put the heart in the slow cooker, cover it with water (maybe only just, so a little sneaky bit of heart peeps above the surface) and then cooked it on high for 6 hours. You can see its lying on a bed of onions, carrots and swede. There’s also quite a lot of fresh rosemary tucked around. Snuggly. Turn it over half way through the cooking time.

 

Here I am, doing some carving. Heart makes lovely slices. If I ran a delicatessen counter, I would totally sell slices of cold heart. (Puns about that on a postcard – or the comments – please …)

As you can see, a lovely gravy is made by the veg and the meat together, nothing else added.

Check the grain of that meat out! And it was super tasty. And only a few ingredients. Simple, delicious snackage. The heart was fresh and tender and tasted beefy. BEEFY. But in quite a sophisticated way. I will definitely cook ox heart again. I think it is my favourite of all the hearts.

You can also use it cold in sandwiches. Here is my train baguette. Baguette de coeur de boeuf. Baguette de coeur de boeuf de la Castle ‘Oward.*

 

Castle Howard (*cough cough* Brideshead) suits me, doesn’t it?**

*Can you tell my French is less good than my German – Blutpfankuchen indeed!

** I just realised and stood in front of the sign that said son’t stand on the steps. Sorry. Don’t do that.

 

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.

Pig’s Ear Popcorn

29 Jul

So my current obsession with all things auricular means an infinite variety to my creations. As you might have noticed I also tend to be all over a food or ingredient for a few weeks and it’s all I want to use/eat. Lately I’ve been experimenting with making popcorn at home. An excellent mix to go on your popped corn is paprika, salt, sugar and dark chocolate.

But what would happen is crispy pig’s ears and popcorn got cooked together to make a delicious snack?

Offal snacks have been on my mind, as there are few offally bits that you can just pick up and run with. Scratching are one. I’m not sure about biltong. Gone are the days however, where my afternoon snack could be a couple of slices of ham. Oh dear. What to do? Tongue is an option, but what else could be out there?

Cue my patented pig’s ear popcorn! Similar to creating crispy pig’s ears, instead of a frying pan, use a saucepan. Fry the ears in hot oil for five minutes, then add your popping corn. Wait til it’s all popped and then shake through your salt, sugar, paprika, or whatever flavouring you’re balling with currently! I like some fennel and cumin seeds thrown in with the popping corn.

I made some to take on a long car journey with me and below is the picture of the remnants, because they were SO BLOODY DELICIOUS I snacked down on them all and forgot to take a good picture.

I used salt, sugar and paprika to shake on, leaving out the dark chocolate … chocolate and pork didn’t seem quite the perfect combination.

Next time you’ve got some pig’s ears lying around your fridge have a go! Or just pop some corn, it’s bloody great!