Tag Archives: liver

Happy New Year

4 Jan

Well, December slid by didn’t it? My last month of offaltarianism morphed (mostly) into vegetarianism. I think I just got a bit tired of being inventive. I fell back to random tomato based curries and soups. I did invent a new soup to get around the fact I couldn’t use bacon in a brussel sprouts soup – Brussel and Anchovy Soup. Much more delicious than I thought it would be!

I had two Christmas dinners: with my family in Norfolk we had a big chicken, so I had a wing (thanks Anissa); then in Leeds with my partner and his son we had sausages. Getting others to agree to an offal Christmas dinner was harder than I had anticipated! I introduced a friend to the joys of chicken liver curry (the livers marinated in pomegranate juice … mmmm mmmm), but mostly I made the most of my veg box and as it got closer to the festive season, tried to make toblerone the major component of every meal.

So what now? To be honest, I don’t really know. I have eaten only offal for a year. I have relieved my offal debt. I can return to how I was eating before?

I won’t. My whole year of experiences has made me think much much more about what I put in my body. In this flush of eating what I like, I’ve scoffed a lot of bacon and am planning KFC VERY SOON. I’m excited to roast a chicken one weekend. Once this flush is over – what then?

I did have the idea of trying to only eat meat where I knew exactly where it came from. In a way, that is so much harder than just eating offal. Questioning people? Conversing, rather than mumbling “I’ll have two kidneys please” – not sure about that. When we’ve got our shed sorted and a chest freezer purchased I do want to buy a whole/half animal and eat it across a year. Not yet though …

So Happy New Year! I’m still cogitating on my offal journey and how it will impact on the rest of my life. Please look through the archives – I’ll be adding some outstanding ones including Homemade Haggis over the coming months. Enjoy offal. It is delicious. Respect the animals by eating it too. I would be well pissed off if I was killed for my meat and then my heart was passed over – wouldn’t you?

Quick Chicken Liver and Tamarind Curry

22 Feb

If you’ve ever lived with me, you’ll know that I have a penchant for suddenly making “curries” out of pretty much whatever is in the fridge. Kipper and swede curry, surprisingly good; curried bechamel parsnip lasagna, quite the disgusting disaster. Tonight however, with some defrosted chicken livers winking at me, I’m game for a new curry.

Chicken livers are fast to cook and well delicious. I first had them a few years ago fried with balsamic vinegar and wilted spinach salad, or something along those lines, balsamic was definitely involved. However, even though I know I like them, I really don’t ever cook with them. Time to rectify this!

At the start of January (the same day I bought my kidneys) I bought a packet of Sainsburys chicken livers in a fit of enthusiasm. I then realised I didn’t have time to eat them, so froze them. With the old offal, especially the organs you can only freeze things for a month, so the other night I combined unorthodox currying with my defrosted livers.

A while ago I made a tamarind stew which was super delicious (it may or may not have involved oxtail) and I thought the tamarind’s sour notes would be a good foil for the chicken liver richness. There is also an amazing chicken liver curry that you can get from Shabab’s that is spicy and delicious. With chicken livers, you can, I believe cook them until they’re slightly pink, but because these ones had been frozen I gave them a good cooking. This didn’t mean they were tough though. It’s all to do with cooking times. Like so much of cooking.

What I wanted was to get loads of flavour going in those livers, so I marinated them for half an hour or so, basically while I cooked the vegetable part of the curry.

I have a rice cooker, so before I did any of the following I put the rice cooker on with some brown rice in!

What you need is:

1 packet chicken livers;

1 onion chopped; 1 medium sweet potato roughly chopped; squirt garlic puree; 1 tin chopped tomatoes

1 tsp tamarind paste; 1/2 tsp ground ginger; 1 teaspoon madras curry powder; 1 tsp chillies chopped in oil; 1 tsp cumin seeds.

First of all mix together all the spices. It will go to a dark loose paste. A teacup and a teaspoon are good tools.

Secondly, take half of the mixture and put in a bowl with the chicken livers. Mix this well. It is now marinading.

Thirdly, start to fry the onion, then add garlic, then the sweet potato. Cook this for a few minutes on a medium heat, then add the other half of the spice mix. Keep stirring. Add the tinned tomatoes. Keep it moving. The chicken livers take very little time to cook, so you want the sweet potato to be cooked through. This seemed to take about twenty minutes.I added the blood from the liver carton to the sauce too.

Fourthly, put the curried veg mix to one side in a bowl, and using the same pan add some oil and fry the chicken livers, along with their accompanying marinade. They need a couple of minutes each side on a higher heat than the vegetables did.

Don’t worry if they start to look a bit breadcrumby because the liver is full of blood and bits come off and make it all look a bit scruffy. You can see that below. Don’t worry.

I cooked them so there was still a tiny bit of pink in the middle, mostly because I knew there would be residual heat that cooked them further whilst I plated up rice, made drinks and faffed around. Also, you want to avoid cooking-the-shit-out-of-it-itis. By the time you eat it, the pink is pretty much gone.

Fifthly, add the vegetables back into the pan and combine them and the livers together. The crumby bits of liver will now combine in the sauce.

Get a plate, put some carbs on it, then add your curry. DELICIOUS!

Dining out at Kendells

2 Feb

One of the first challenges of the offaltarian diet you’d think was Eating Out. As a lot of vegetarians find, restaurant menus can be quite limited in what they offer and part of the point of my year of offal eating is to broaden out what I eat, as well as to make up my holistic carnivore debt.

As a very lucky lady, I got taken for the second time to Kendells restaurant in Leeds. It is very nice indeed. It’s pretty well-known for all the food awards it has won. It’s an excellent place to eat. What I want to add to the blogosphere of food writing was that the offal dishes that I ate, were not just excellent offal dishes, but were excellent dishes in their own right.

As a starter I had Boudin Noir which is French black pudding. There’s not a lot of similarities between it and the rounds you can buy in the supermarket. Soft, delicious and melting, I had to hold myself back from scoffing it all up super fast.

For my main course I had Foie de Veau which is calves liver, more of this in a second. Less recently than our trip to Kendells I was in Lincolnshire at the cafe I used to work at. In the Shire, offal is still pretty big. Liver and onions is on a lot of menus and people don’t think anything of it. I ordered Liver and Onions as part of my pact to order offal whenever I can. It was pretty gross. Cooked, frozen and re-heated, the liver was GREY and tough and I couldn’t finish it. So there was still a little trepidation when I ordered my baby-cow liver at Kendells.

I should have known not to be worried, because it was the tastiest meat I think I’ve ever eaten. Thin tender slices of pink-in-the-middle-sticky-grilled-charm on the outside, I well loved it. In all seriousness it was a whole new carnivorous experience. Liver is amazing when it’s done well. If you’re iffy about it, please don’t be, just go somewhere good and try it out! At Kendells served with creamy mash, crispy bacon, home-made onion rings and fried sage you can’t get any better! New taste sensation=liver+fried sage!

I’ve read a bit about calves liver now and if you’re thinking of going out and getting some, please ask your butcher if it’s continental or British. Continental is bad as the calves are kept in pretty nasty conditions. However that is outlawed in animal-loving England – even the RSPCA says it’s ok to eat British rose veal. There are a couple of companies that come up in a google search that appear reputable, so I might buy from them. Here and here. In fact I’ve already put together an order with the Alternative Meat company, oh yes! In my ignorance I didn’t ask the question at Kendells when I sat down to eat, but I’m crossing my fingers that it was Nice Veal.

Overall I would like to say a big Thank you to Kendells for introducing me to offally good delights and making me think further (after the eel debacle I should have known) about the provenance of the offal I’m eating!