Tag Archives: sage

Foodie Penpals the Sixth

31 Aug

Woah, six months on foodie-penpalling – surely this can’t be true? Well it is. I might even collect all my posts in one place now … how do you like them apples? If it’s the sort of apple you’d like a bite from check out RockSalt for the rules!

This month my package came from Helen who has the Patient Gardener Blog. This is a lovely blog and Helen’s relationship with her garden (with other sides to her many interests too). I am a struggling, starting-up grower-of-things-that-don’t-immediately-die. Potatoes are my only continuing success … I think that’s my Lincolnshire blood seeping out. Helen’s blog is nice for me to read because she tries to appeal to people (like me) who are trying to have a go. She is also a SeedyPenpal.
So, what did I get? Well …

Yup, that’s some anticipation for you. When I open my parcels, I do try to make an event of it, so I’d brewed some tea and sat down with some chocolate.

Of course, I used my favourite Smoky Tea from Lahloo, my favourite Emma Bridgewater mug and some Rococo chocolate (that I found when I moved house – lavender flavour). Then I realised that I had probably morphed into being a bit of a poncy twat … and if I had read what I’ve just written I would be shaking my head in despair. But nice things are nice and I find it hard to write about savouring nice things without sounding like a tool.

Nevertheless, Helen sent me a lovely parcel full of great things:

I know, it’s amazing! A living sage plant, home-grown shallots, porcini mushrooms, homemade Cornish fairings (plus recipe), goji berry and seed mix, sesame snaps and two packets of tyrells crisps. Lovely!

Helen sent the sage because she felt it went well with meat – which is does of course – pork and sage is a classic, as is liver and sage! It was prescient (what a great word @carllegge) because my sage was/is dieing. Shallots are great – I usually use onions, so was pleased to have a new, fresh flavour to use. I love vegetable crisps and sesame snaps so two great ticks there. The porcini have already been used in my stuffed spleen (more of that another day). I’m toying with the idea of making my own granola because A) the only one I love is Mornflake apple and it seems to have disappeared from the shelves of Leeds and B) I can be proper fussy (as above), so I am sure the goji mix will get in there. Best of all were the Cornish Fairings which are a gingery, chewy biscuit. Super tasty!

I used some of the shallots up in a chilli-kale combo: put some oil in a pan, then add three peeled and quartered shallots and cook for five minutes, add enough kale for two people and one teaspoon chilli flakes and about a quarter of a pint of stock, stir and cook til kale is done. Yum. The shallots were well nice cooked with the chilli and stock – next time I’m going to just cook them on their own so they are a total star.

I have even managed to keep the sage alive for over two weeks!

It even stayed alive while I went on holiday. So Sandra the Sage I hope will live a long and happy life! What a nice forever present.

My parcel went to Switzerland this month – to Ratri who writes another lovely blog about food and her travels called NomadicFeastKitchen. Carol Anne and I recently had a twitter exchange about the worry that what you’ve sent in your eyes is quirky and thoughtful, can come across as weird and emptying out the cupboards-y. On that note, go see what Ratri made of my parcel …

And of course, you should totally join in here.

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Lincolnshire Pig’s Fry

4 Mar

This, in case you were wondering, is a pack of Fry. Or Pig’s Fry. Or Bag of Deliciousness. What you can see, going left to right is some pork offcut, some fat, some liver and hiding underneath is some sliced kidney. These are the raw ingredients for Lincolnshire’s Fourth Most Famous Pork Dish (Sausages, Haselet and Chine come further up the Walk of Fame) – Lincolnshire Pig’s Fry. A lot of the cuisine I grew up with can be summed up in two words. PORK and SAGE. Pigs are very cunning, George Orwell would have us believe. Sage is used as a medicinal herb to aid alertness and concentration and also helps the body to digest fat. Clearly Lincolnshire’s sons and daughters should be taking over the world on this diet … *embarrassed cough* Margaret Thatcher …

Being the well-behaved yellowbelly that I am, I did feel quite sad when I realised it had taken me til my 27th year to cook and make it myself. Unsure of how to procede, Google came to my aid with a recipe from this website. I’m not sure if it’s a blog, or something else, but thank you for putting it online as it gave me an outline for my Fry Making!

What you need is:

1kg pig’s fry – I bought this from Hargreaves Butchers in Pinchbeck (“Now then Mrs Moore, nice bit of beef *whispers* on the bone?” a quick nod, then “See you round the side” where you collected your then illegal beef on the bone from a secret door near the bins … I kid you not so many moments of my adolescence were pretty much copied by League of Gentlemen) – if you don’t visit backwaters very often then you’d need to either ask your own butcher for a fry, or get a pig liver, couple of kidneys and some meat. So it all adds up to a kilo of weight.

Potatoes, washed and peeled, then sliced

2 large onions sliced in rounds, 2 large carrots sliced in rounds, 2 pints of stock, 2 tbsp dried sage, 2 tbsp flour, salt and pepper, a knob of butter.

First of all you need to tackle your offal:

From left to right you’ll find a slice of liver, a slice of kidney and some fat from around the organs. In the background of the third picture, you can see the pork meat. No idea of the cut – I kept meaning to telephone and ask, but also kept forgetting.Possibly belly, but it didn’t seem fatty enough. Anyway, I’ll take order for when I’m next down in the Shire …

Everything needs to be cut into similar sized pieces. You need to check the liver is de-veined – if it isn’t they come out quite easily if you just pull them. The veins look like white tubes. You only need to pull the biggest ones out. The kidney needs to have the white core removed and then cut to chunks. I like to say “WHITE CORE” in a Star Trek voice because I think it sounds like either space engineering, or astronomical stellar gumpus! “We can’t save the white core, captain! We just don’t have the power!” The fat also needs to be cut to chunks, as does the meat.

Add the flour to a bowl, season it with salt and pepper, then roll each chunk in it so they are all generously covered. If you run out of flour, just use a bit more.

Heat the butter in the bottom of the casserole you’re going to use and add the onion. Cook until soft. Now add the floured meat chunks and brown them all off.

Add the carrot, the sage and lots of black pepper. Add the stock. Boil, then reduce to a simmer.

Lay the slices of potato on top of the casserole, the layer can be as thick as you like, mine was of 2 or 3 slices thick. Put lid on the casserole and either heat in oven for a few hours, simmer on hob for few hours or if you’re using a slow cooker, cook on High for four hours.

Basically you get a really sagey stew – think Lincolnshire sausage seasonings – with a potato top that is basically steamed because the lid is kept on the casserole. Different to Hotpot, because the potatoes aren’t crisp. It is well delicious and stands up to re-heating very well.

We had at least six really large meals out of it, but what I think I’d do next time is to cut it all up, but cook half and freeze half. I think two smaller frys are better than one big one.

Also, don’t be concerned about the lump of fat, I’m sure it’s really nice fat and even though it looks massive in my hand a) I have tiny mouse hands and b) it’s very thin. It does add a lovely taste and because the sauce goes floury and potatoey it sort of melts into a suspension. You wouldn’t know it was there, if you hadn’t seen this picture.

I can’t wait to go back to the Shire to get me some more fry!

If you’re interested in the cuisine of Lincolnshire you can visit the Lincolnshire Sausage Assocation website – I’m already planning an October Sausage Festival trip – maybe to tie in with Mum’s birthday? Nothing says “I love you, thank you for nurturing me” than a superfluity of sausages!