Tag Archives: food

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.

Oxtail Soup – the Heinz Kind

11 Jun

Sometimes you just need an offal quick-fix.

This is my go-to for that. it contains 3% oxtail, so it’s not the most oxtailful of oxtail soups, but it does hit the spot. You can also buy it in lots of supermarkets. And it comes in two sizes. The smaller size is shown above.

What I’m really meaning to say is that offal doesn’t have to be complicated. There are very easy and simple things you can buy. The ox tail soup is one of them.

I really like it with some sourdough toast. I always have a tin or two in my cupboard (just in case).

Apparently a few years ago Heinz did a tinned kidney soup too. There is a mixture of love and hate on the internet about it. Yahoo links you to this recipe for it which I’ll probably try and copy when I’m feeling energetic. I also enjoyed this one from Ron. Maybe with enough pressure more offal soups will return! Maybe you could make an uber kidney soup with lots of species? I’ll write to Covent Garden Soup about it – I saw an carton in the supermarket today that was cheese and piccalilli soup. To me, kidney sounds a bit more tasty …

Did you have to eat tinned kidney soup? Can you buy it where you live? Am I the odd one out in preferring kidney to piccalilli soup?

While I’m on the soup subject*, get in on the Baxters Royal Game Soup action. Its VERY DELICIOUS. My housemate adds a can of Spam to it for extra meaty action. (That is however, a step too far for me.)


*I’ve not been sponsored, don’t worry. I am above selling myself to The Man. If The Man is feeling generous then I’m happy to accept sponsorship to my half marathon http://beatms.mssociety.org.uk/netcommunity/lucymooreruns – that’s you Heinz and Baxters!