Tag Archives: spices

Stir-fried Veal Heart – Nose to Tail Fortnight Day 6

5 May

Now we moved more towards the middle of the animal, things are going to get cooked in a less linear order. This is because I am defrosting a lot of the offal now (there was a freezer accumulation) and it all depends on what I pull out.

Now we are in the innards of the animal, and pretty much all we’ll eat over the next couple of days will be organ-licious. The variety, however is hugely surprising.

Before we get to the veal heart of the matter – a word about lunch. Today we double offalled. Oh yes. Two organs, one day. All the win. For lunch we chicken liver curry. This was one of the first things I cooked with offal and because I live in the curry-capital that is Leeds, spicy chicken livers are on a lot of menus. Today we had a curry that channelled a bit of Africa as I used again some of the spices that I got sent in my first foodie penpals package. Today I used the Hot Chilli Pepper (it is super hot) and some Cameroon Pepper (which tastes a bit smoky). These along with ginger, chilli flakes and garlic made something pretty hot (but not too hot for me). I didn’t take a picture because for me now, it’s a pretty normal thing to cook and I’m sure I’ve made it and not blogged about it. It was good. It looked like a typical tomato-based curry, but with chicken livers in.

For supper, the Beautiful Man and I were slightly more adventurous and chose to make a couple of meals out of our de-frosted veal heart (from the lovely Heaves Farm Veal). So there’ll be another post about the Grand Plan tomorrow. I’ve cooked heart before (it was 2 for 1 when I got the hearts) so this time I had an idea of what I was meant to be doing. The heart has several chambers and for dinner tonight I was taking out the meat that makes the walls of the heart and chopping it up for stir fry. Most hearts you buy (I am led to believe) are already slit so the abattoir vetenery officer can check the animals health. This makes our job easier. Key to understanding where to cut is handling the organ, understanding where the chambers are and where you need to cut. Again, like the testicles, it’s quite intuitive.

Once you’ve cut the chamber walls out, slice them fairly thinly, bite-sized pieces I think. Then I marinaded the meat. I think this helped to tenderise it.

For the marinade:

1 tsp minced ginger, 1 tsp ras el hanout, 1 tsp harissa, 3 tbsp orange juice, 1 wedge of lemon squeezed in.

Mix all these together with the heart in a bowl. Leave to stand for twenty minutes.

All there was then left to do was make some egg-fried rice (this was incidentally the first time me or the Wondrous Male had made egg-fried rice – all the experiementation) and stir-fry on a high heat the heart for five minute or less.

So there you go. The exciting thing that I’m taking away from this is that heart can be lovely if you just cook it fast. After Valentine’s Day (which was good) I felt like I’d lost a bit of my heart confidence. But it’s back now! So, next time you’re making stir-fry and shopping in Morrisons put up a pack of heart there.

Just so you haven’t lost track of our pace along the animal – here is my up-to-date diagram again:

As you can tell, I’m not a graphic designer, or any sort of artist. The green bits are testicles. (The lady cow is now a gentleman cow btw. I don’t think that’s because too much offal was eaten. That was BSE.) There’s an extra species listed type listed too! Hurrah!

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Foodie Penpals!

30 Mar

My friend Rocksalt is hosting the European part of Foodie Penpals. Foodie Penpals is where you get matched up with two people – one gives you a box and you give the other one a box – in a big circle of food love. That’s nice isn’t it?

The box I received came from Jennie who is a co-host of the Sharing Supper Club and you can follow her twitterings @jen_dub.

I really enjoyed making mine and putting together some tasty (?) treats. Fingers crossed I got mine right – my own preview of it is here on my other blog.

Anyway, Jennie sent me a lovely box full of Nigerian treats as she had recently been on holiday there.

It is pretty timely as I’ve just fallen in love with the African butcher in the market in Leeds – I can thoroughly recommend their chicken and thyme sausages (not sure how African they are though!). And some recipes were included, which Jen had kindly made offal-appropriate!

You can see that I was a very lucky recipient!

Clockwise from top: lemongrass, Cameroon pepper, pepper soup spice, BBQ peanuts, Chin Chin (sweet goodnes), green tomato chutney, Suya spice (hot), Hot chilli pepper, Suya spice, my lovely card!

Some things are for the experimentation with, some were specified to eat now, so since it was a lovely Spring day, my boyfriend and I took a picnic! The barbecue peanuts and the chin chin are snack for now, so we made some cheese and tomato chutney rolls and took them all off for a jolly. A jolly that would end in being gobbled up. Nom.

Here is Kirkstall Abbey grounds where we took our picnic to. By walking along the canal. Oh, the Romance!

And here is my Romantic Cheese and Green Tomato Chutney Roll. You can’t get better than that.

The following day I used the lemongrass to make some herbal tea to drink while I was working on job applications and suchlike. Literally I put three stalks in the teapot and poured over water that was just off boiling. What a lovely treat. I’m a massive herbal tea fan, and have used fresh lemongrass before, but this dried stuff was the bees knees. I was surprised that it gave the tea so much colour too. Aside, I love lemongrass essential oil and use it a lot when I’m making potions for friends and myself, so it was lovely to handle the real thing.

One of the nicest things Jennie did was put a couple of recipes in with the stuff so I’ve got a starting point to work from. One of which was for Pepper Soup.

Me being me, and this blog being what it is, I did end end up asking for “a pound of mixed offal please” at the butcher in the market. In the same transaction I’d asked for chicken necks (watch this space), but they’d SOLD OUT. So whoever bought all the chicken necks in Leeds a) what were you making and b) that’s very greedy of you. The butchers, who seem to do a fairly brisk offal trade, were confused and asked me if necks and other offal had been on television, because there’d been a run on it. Clearly signs of Spring mean we want our meat to be extra-perishable!

The following recipe is pretty much the one Jennie sent, but I changed some things because I was trying to do about fifty million things at once, but none of those fifty million things were to read the recipe properly. Ooopses …

1 lb mixed offal cut into chunks, some oil, 2 onions finely chopped, 2 medium potatoes peeled and chopped in bite size chunks, 3 peeled and chopped carrots, 2 tbsp pepper soup spice, 1 tsp chilli, 1 heaped tsp mixed herbs, handful fresh mint leaves.

  1. Tackle the tongue first. Boil it for about twenty minutes and then remove the outer skin. Cut into chunks.
  2. Boil chunks of meat in water to cover them for a couple of hours. Put the heart and tongue in first, then liver, then kidneys. When cooked through, drain, reserve water (offal stock?), and finely chop the meat.
  3. Add oil and onions to pan, cook til soft, add offal, carrots, potatoes, herbs and spices. Fry all together about twenty minutes.
  4. Add offal stock and any extra water you might need so all ingredients are covered with liquid. Simmer another twenty minutes. 
  5. Add chopped mint just before serving!

The soup was very delicious, but very spicy. Possibly heavy-handed with the chilli and the pepper soup spice? I’m not sure. However it definitely blew away the beginnings of a cold that I had. The mint is an amazing addition by the way. It seems to at the same time cool your mouth, but also make the spices seem hotter. (I guess that’s to do with the way mint essential oil works on the skin, so it cools down hot skin and warms up cold skin.) It was beautiful!

Even though I’m an offaltarian, I had been a bit sceptical of a soup with chunks of offal in – but it was great. I’m not sure it would be to the taste of a first time offal-eater, but at the medium to advanced level I would say it was pretty good. I enjoyed the mix of species in the offal mix too. I don’t think people should be afraid to mix species with their cooking.

All in all I really enjoyed my first foodie penpal. Jennie was very generous with what she sent, considerate and I’m sure whoever gets her next box will be very lucky. I’ve definitely enjoyed learning a little more about African cookery, and am going to invest in an African cookery book at the first oppurtunity! Any suggestions?