Tag Archives: Valentine’s Day

This old of heart of mine …

13 Apr

After Valentine’s Day Heart Steak, the heart steak was casseroled. I am a big fan of the slow cooker. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that if you can’t slow cook it, I’m not interested, but sometimes I feel pretty close to that.

Another part of my cookery love is using aromatherapy essential oils in baking (and other recipes). You need to be careful to only add really small amounts, else the taste is super strong, but I’ve made a lot of very successful shortbread – frankincense and lavender were both pretty well received! Cakes also benefit, and rose absolute though very expensive gets that rose deliciousness spot on. In England, we get the therapeutic benefits from using the oils on the skin, whereas in France the benefits are gained from ingestion. I’ve not done this, and I don’t think anyone should without proper advice and guidance. Highly diluted, I’ve found they work well, however I’ve not experimented beyond tiny* amounts of fennel oil in curries. Continuing on with my romantic theme I used vetiver and jasmine oil. These are both relaxing scents and can act as aphrodisiacs. Ooh errr … For more on the essential oil, see good old Neals Yard.

So, in a classic Lucy fashion, chuck all these ingredients into a slow cooker:

2tsp paprika, 1 tsp crushed juniper, 1 drop jasmine oil, 1 drop vetiver oil, 2tbsp jasmine flowers, half pint pale ale, 250g sliced chestnut mushrooms, 1 diced turnip, 600g sliced veal heart (approx)

Cook on high from morning til evening.

Devour. Maybe with some rice. Or mash.

If you don’t have a slow cooker, treat the ingredients like a normal casserole. The strips of heart will need a good four hours of solid casseroling.

There was so much heart casserole, that my beloved and I had to come up with new ways of eating the casseroled heart. One was to make lunchtime tortilla wraps sometimes in a burrito style. Take a wrap, add some salad and some sour cream, maybe some green tabasco, add the heart strips, wrap and nom. Delicious.

I am going to experiment further with cold offal. I’m all over the cooked tongue, but have always disliked pate (bleurgh), do you think a solitary cold kidney would be nice? Do you have any cold offal recipes?

*Tiny means dipping a cocktail stick in, taking it out, then stirring it through the sauce, then discarding. Much much less than a single drop. See Aroma-essence, Gritman and  Essential Oil Cookbook. You can make mean flavoured shortbreads by adding one drop of whatever oil to the creamed butter and sugar part of the mix. Do be careful. The essential oil cooking tips have been fine for me and my friends, but our stomachs aren’t sensitive. So you watch out. Or get in touch if you have any questions.

Happy Valentine’s Day

9 Apr

Just so as we are clear, in case you haven’t guessed, I am not very good at writing things up the day I get them. I invariably cook something, take pictures and all of that and then start writing and stop. It is compounded by a continual and wearing loss of phone data cables. This has lessened somewhat since I learnt you could use your kindle cable for that task (if you have an old nokia like me).

With that pre-amble out of the way, make way for the Valentine’s Day Veal Heart …. tah dah!

So I got this heart from Alternative Meats when they were on 2 for 1 – I do like to sniff out a bargain. I looked around for a long time to try and find a recipe that I wanted to do. Stuffed heart and braised heart kept coming up, but I wanted to try something different. Some bloggers mentioned that you could grill veal heart like steak and that it was super delicious. For this check out Alex Cardoza’s blog. Heart steak sounded like a good Valentine’s meal to me! I do really like the synchronicity of eating heart on the day of love too. (I know I missed world kidney day, maybe i’ll find out when world tripe day is?)

Things you have to remember with hearts are that they are very lean. They have chambers. They also have veins and bits of ligaments n ting. Sinews. Heart is sinewous. You could start a Seamus Heaney poem with that line.

So basically, you have to sort your heart out. (I have now segue-wayed into Carrie Bradshaw *sigh*) I’m not an expert of offal butchery. The pigs I used to joint and roll were all free of these accoutrements, so I wasn’t really sure where to begin. I knew that there would be plenty of heart and I just needed enough for two nice steaks. The rest would casserole (more of that later). What I did was basically try and open the heart out, removing sinews as I went.

You do need a sharp knife and to spend some time playing your heart, so you can work out where the central wall is. Cut along that and you should see something like the view above. Clean those sinews out, then cut the other side of the central wall. It will look a bit like this:

She wrote a book called Odd Bits - guess what that's about? And her blog is super interesting http://jennifermclagan.blogspot.co.uk/

You then want to flatten it out, and then cut the central wall away – this can go to the casserole side. Then find the evenest areas of the heart and cut two steak sized pieces. These you will then grill or griddle or you could I guess fry them too.

There are two things I would do differently next time:

  1. I would make sure the heart was all at room temperature, because it had de-frosted, it was still quite cold in the middle, which meant when I grilled it the heat didn’t permeate all the way through.
  2. Don’t treat it just like it’s a fillet steak. It’s not. It’s denser and meatier and it’s not steak. I like to cook a fillet steak quickly on a high heat both sides so it’s very rare in the middle. I would lower the heat slightly next time so it cooks a bit further through. I think if you cooked it as if you wanted it medium rare, it would still turn out rare. Not the still beating version my beloved and I had.

As you can see in the picture, I also grilled some aubergine. I roasted some potatoes in goose fat (mmmmmmmm … goose fat). We had some purple sprouting broccoli too. This was my finished Valentine’s Day meal:

Accompanied by the beautiful rose that was purchased for me, by the love of life! (He must be that as he didn’t even mention the over-rarity of the heart.) There’ll be another heart recipe on it’s way as these two steak used maybe a third of the heart, so as they say, watch this space!

Also I don’t know how I’ll top this next year, so any ideas are welcome – what did you cook for Valentine’s?

And last but not least, this meal won me a competition from the Lahloo Tea facebook, so you should look at their website and buy some deliciousness. I won the Wild Rose tea. Thank you, Lahloo!