Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Ox Heart Jerky, Oxtail and Tamarind Soup, Sweetbreads, Mushroom Risotto, Spicy Ostrich Liver, Smoked Bacon, Onions, Peaches Roasted With Amaretti Biscuits, Sanguinacilly

Saturday 6th June 2015

You're Offal, But I Like You!

So here we are again, fresh from Simon's tour-de-70's offal extravaganza, next up we find ourselves the guests of returning favourite Dan and new Chef Pete, in leafy Manchester wealth-ghetto Bowdon. Dan, keen to impress upon us that his recent Kitchen refit really did need a back up kitchen installing at the same time led the charge more than ably assisted by Pete.  Numbers were swelled by the offspring of 2 offaliates, and yes, like policeman, they look younger every day. As before Tom got the tidings out early through his excellent blog here.  As resident Offal photographer Joby had politely declined this one, usual standards of photography have not been maintained and so for half decent pictorial interpretation head over to Toms place.  The last time we were here, Dan fed us raw Ox heart, so it was only going to get better, and my it did...


Personalised OC logo's included.  We are going to merchandise the life out of this one...

Venue: Dan's

Member's present: Simon, Jason, Dan, Pete, Son of Pete, Dom, Tom, Steve, Son of Steve

1. Ox Heart Jerky.

This was stunning - 2 flavours made overnight in the Aga.  Get it here and also here.
Trim any fat away from a whole beef heart (5-6lbs) and slice into ¼” strips as thinly as possible.   Marinate half of the slices in a ½ cup red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon cumin, 1 ½ teaspoons cayenne, 1 tablespoon salt, 2 teaspoons black pepper for at least twelve hours. Marinate the other half of the slices in 1/3 cup Thai chili sriracha, 2 ½ tbsp fish sauce, 3 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp demarera sugar, 1 ½ tbsp lemon juice for at least twelve hours. Dry on paper towels. Leave to dry in bottom oven of Aga overnight with door ajar.

The Offal Club accepts no responsibility for how middle-class that last instruction came across as.

2.  Oxtail and Tamarind Soup.

A real eye opener - hot and sour but with Oxtails.  From the Guardian hereA fresh take on the old-fashioned broth, with sharp notes of lemongrass, lime, tamarind, galangal and chilli. Serves 4.

3 tbsp sunflower oil
1.2kg oxtail, trimmed and cut into pieces 
1.3 litre water or light chicken stock 
A large pinch of salt
A large pinch of sugar
4-6 tbsp tamarind water
140g oyster mushrooms, ends trimmed, torn in half
4cm piece of galangal, sliced
2-3 stalks of lemongrass, bruised and cut into 3
4-5 lime leaves
2 plum tomatoes, cut in half
2-3 bird’s-eye chillies 
2-3 tbsp fish sauce, to taste
2-3 lime juice, to taste
2 tbsp coriander, chopped

1 Heat the oil in a large casserole. Add the oxtail pieces and fry over a high heat until browned all over – you may have to do this in batches. Remove and set aside on a plate.

2 Pour away any excess oil from the pan, put the oxtail back in the pan and cover with the water or stock, salt, sugar and tamarind water. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cover for 2–2 ½ hours or until soft but not falling off the bone. Skim the fat off the surface every so often.

3 Add the remaining ingredients except the lime juice and coriander. Cook for a further 20-25 minutes. Before serving add the lime juice and coriander.

3.  Sweetbreads.  Mushroom Risotto.

Pancreas, not thymus, lambs.  First time for OC, previously only having done Veal Pancreas, but now I'm just name-dropping...Thanks BBC!

Note – ingredients doubled up on all these measures. A selection of different mushroom types (shiitake etc) used instead of morels, which are impossible to get hold of!

For the risotto 
 knob of butter
 3 shallots, finely chopped
 500g/1lb 2oz carnaroli risotto rice
 1.5litres/2½ pints hot vegetable stock
 3 tsp finely chopped thyme
 2 tbsp mascarpone
 3 tbsp grated parmesan
 125g/4½oz cold butter, diced
 cabernet sauvignon vinegar, to taste
For the mushroom stock
 olive oil, for frying
 1kg/2lb 4oz button mushrooms
 150g/5½oz dried ceps (porcini mushrooms)
 100g/3½oz mushroom bouillon
 1.75 litres/3 pints veal stock
 1.75 litres/3 pints white chicken stock
For the morels
 20 morel mushrooms
 2 tbsp minced shallot
 4 tsp white wine
 200ml/7fl oz chicken stock 
For the garnish
 parmesan shavings
 wild rocket
For the sweetbreads
 240g/9oz lambs sweetbreads 
 salt and pepper
 olive oil, for frying
 knob of butter

Preparation method

1. For the risotto, heat the butter in a frying pan. Gently fry the shallots until softened. Add the rice and stir to coat in the butter and shallots. Cook until the rice is translucent.

2. Add the hot stock and thyme and cook for seven minutes. Spoon the risotto onto a baking tray and set aside to cool.

3. For the mushroom stock, heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based pan. Add the button mushrooms and fry until golden-brown.

4. Add the dried ceps, mushroom bouillon and stock. Bring to the boil, and continue to cook over a high heat until the volume of liquid has reduced by half. Strain the mushrooms, set aside and return the liquid to the pan. Continue to cook over a high heat until the volume of liquid has reduced by half again. Remove from the heat and reserve for later. 

5. For the morels, trim the white rim around the base of the morels, then soak in warm water to remove any sand that may be inside the mushrooms. Drain.

6. Heat a little olive oil a pan set over high heat, and fry the morels with the minced shallot until golden-brown. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and cover with a lid. Cook until the wine has evaporated, then add the chicken stock and cook with a lid on until the stock has evaporated and the mushrooms are glazed. Remove from the heat and reserve for later.

7. For the sweetbreads, using a sharp knife remove the outer skin/membrane from the sweetbreads. Season with salt and pepper.

8. Heat a little oil and a knob of butter in a pan set over high heat. When the butter is foaming, add the sweetbreads and fry until golden-brown and crisp on the outside and the juices run clear (not milky) when a knife is inserted into the thickest part. Remove from the pan and reserve for later.

9. To finish the risotto, heat a large pan over a medium heat and add 400g/14oz of the cooked and chilled risotto rice. Pour in 360ml/12fl oz of the mushroom stock and cook until the rice is al dente, then remove from the heat and add the mascarpone, grated parmesan and the diced cold butter. Keep stirring until all the ingredients are combined and hot. 

10. Add a few drops of cabernet sauvignon vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon the risotto into four serving bowls and garnish with the sweetbreads, morels, parmesan shavings and rocket. Drizzle any juice left in the morel pan over the risotto as this is packed with flavour.

4. Spicy Ostrich Liver. Smoked Bacon. Onions

Minimum order 5 kilo's.  Nuff said.  Possibly one of the nicest liver dishes I've tasted.  This one was cooked in the second kitchen.  Because we could.  Can be found here.  Turmeric mash, chef's own.  Damn fine mash.

5. Peaches Roasted With Amaretti Biscuits.  Sanguinacilly

So it turns out you can rock up to an abattoir in Cheshire with an old milk bottle and come away with pigs blood.  Who knew? This one knocked Simon's previous dried blood affair into a cocked hat.  Only made a little less appetising by finding out that Dan's daughter had to sieve out the blood clots.  Sanguinacilly from The Odd Bits by Jennifer McLagan.  Peaches courtesy of Anna del Conte.

 3/4 Cup sugar
 1/3 Cup packed alkalized 
(Dutch-processed) cocoa
 2 Tablespoon cornflour
 1/2 Teaspoon ground ginger
 Pinch of fine sea salt
 1 Cup whole milk 
 1/2 Cup pork blood, prepared (see page 217) 
 Finely grated zest of 1 orange 
 3 1/2 Ounce candied fruit, finely diced (optional)


Step 1: 

Place the sugar in a bowl, then sift in the cocoa and cornflour. Add the ginger and salt, then gradually whisk in the milk until the mixture is fairly smooth. Pour in the blood and whisk to combine.

Step 2:

Pour the mixture—which will be a crimson color—into a saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir constantly with a spatula to make sure the mixture doesn’t stick to the sides of the pan. Continue to stir until the mixture thickens and approaches a boil. The color will change from burgundy to dark chocolate and will become shiny and smooth. It will look like melted chocolate. Remove the pan from the heat.

Step 3:

Stir in the orange zest and candied fruit, if using. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir it again to distribute the fruit. Press a piece of plastic wrap on the surface to prevent a skin forming, cool, and refrigerate. Serve in small dishes with whipped cream.

Quotes of the Night:

We need to be clear on the glands

People on the Internet will be favouriting this tweet before you've even tasted it

Tonight we dine like kings!

I don't want to detract from your culinary skills but the gold cutlery helps

Next up: Barbeq-offal at Doms (allegedly)

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Home-cured guanciale with radish on a pea and mint sourdough tartine; calf’s kidney and onion baked dumpling with piccalilli and chili jam; braised calf’s kidney wrapped in wild garlic and spinach, mushroom sauce and parsnip and apple mash; sautéed calf’s kidney with a cream, calvados and mustard sauce, served with rice; fricassée of lamb’s sweetbreads and black pudding with pea purée, rhubarb and cider sauce and a garnish of preserved lemon peel; manchester tart.

Friday 27th March 2015

Last of the Spring Wine

And so, with Spring upon us and a new offal cookbook on my shelf, there was plenty to inspire another evening of overindulgence. However a "new" cookbook is not entirely correct. Having already filled our shelves with everything offal-related Amazon have to offer, my wife had resorted to second hand bookshops for my birthday present. There she discovered the Offal volume of the Good Cook series of tips and techniques for aspiring chefs of the 70's: back when offal was part of the standard fare for cordon bleu and haute cuisine. The master chefs of this tome particularly recommended calf as having the finest kidney of them all and so, having never had this before, a quick phone call to Frosts ensured 3kg were placed on order to try out some of the recipes. Some fresh lambs sweetbreads that just happened to be sitting on their counter were thrown in and the menu was nearly complete. Ever reliable, Joby responded to his invite "I have home-cured some jowl if you're interested" - oh yes!

And an evening of overindulgence it indeed was. As new offaliate Tom commented afterwards in his blog, not so much Offal Club, more "Wine Club interrupted with offal courses".

Chefs, Sommeliers and Menu: 

Venue: Simon's

Member's present: Simon, Jason, Howie, Joby, Dan, Jock, Simon C, Pete, Tom, Phil, Steve.

1. Home-cured guanciale with radish on a pea and mint sourdough tartine.

The jowl, from a rare-breed Tamworth, was cured before Christmas: it spent about 10 days in a home-made seasoned rub with a mixture of Italian herbs and some other goodies.

Then it was dried and rubbed down, wrapped in muslin, and hung up to air-dry indoors for 12 weeks, before being eaten at every available opportunity.

2.  Calf’s kidney and onion baked dumpling with piccalilli and chili jam.

3.  Braised calf’s kidney wrapped in wild garlic and spinach, mushroom sauce and parsnip and apple mash.

4. Sautéed calf’s kidney with a cream, calvados and mustard sauce, served with rice.

5. Fricassée of lamb’s sweetbreads and black pudding with pea purée, rhubarb and cider sauce and garnished with preserved lemon peel.

Lambs sweetbreads
Aromatics (onion, celery, carrot, thyme and bay)
Black pudding
300ml Cider
300ml Chicken stock
2 Lemons 
Crème fraiche
1 Onion
1 Potato

Peel the lemons and place the peel in a jar with plenty of salt, leave for 72 hours then rinse off the salt before serving. Juice the lemons and reserve the juice.
Prepare sweetbreads (soak in vinagered water for several hours, poach in water with lemon juice and aromatics for 5 mins, cool in iced water then drain, devein and deskin, place between towels and press overnight). 
Poach the rhubarb in cider for 15 minutes then remove rhubarb and add chicken stock and reduce.
Fry the onion with the bacon then add peas, potato, mint and thyme and stock and simmer for 20 mins. Remove mint and thyme. Add cream and puree.
Slice the black pudding and bake for 15 mins. Sprinkle the rhubarb with a little sugar and bake for 5 mins.
Fry the sweetbreads in butter for 10 mins till browned.

6. Manchester tart.

Post-prandial entertainment:

Wine and other beverages:

Quotes of the Night:
If in doubt, deep fry the fucker.
That's an extraordinary piece of piccalilli.
Where's the warming station?
Simons using the cooking calvados. It cost him 41 quid.
You're going to wake up tomorrow with gout.
Is this your Manchester tart?
The kidneys are very understated.
You realise, Jock, you are going back for seconds of Jason's man custard.

Next up: It's back to Bowden for Dan's new kitchen experience.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Chicken Liver Creme Brûlée; Goose Gizzards with Mushrooms, Fennel and Radish Salad; Marmalade Duck Hearts on an Apple and Celeriac Rosti with Duck Boudin, Port Sauce and a Beetroot Foam; Fabada Asturiana; Blood Orange Cheesecake.

Friday 21st November 2014

Ceps and Duck and Rock n Roll

With Jason and Howie laying down the gourmet offal gauntlet at the last meeting, it was clear that a further 5 course extravaganza was required; fortunately inspiration was at hand during my usual summer jaunt to South West France. In the world's centre for duck and goose farming, I have been annually perplexed at my inability to find duck hearts. However all that changed this year with the discovery of the picturesque town of Bazas and, more importantly, a delightfully well stocked deli therein. Sure enough, there in the small butchery counter, vacuum sealed in their plump pink perfectness, sat 16 fresh duck hearts. Snapping them up, along with a tin of duck boudin (duck meat and pig's blood) and a tin of goose gizzards confit, I whisked them back to our hotel, already salivating at the potential possibilities. Of course there was the slight issue of getting them back to England without them spoiling, but it's amazing what can be achieved with a bag of frozen peas and a large towel.

The date was set, the invites went out. Some morcilla Iberico de Bellota from the Cheese Hamlet and some internet research gave enough for 3 recipes. Then Dom came back with his reply: "I've found a potential starter I fancy trying....chicken liver creme brulee by Blumenthal - have you had it?" No but I was certainly looking forward to it! With Jason agreeing to throw in desert, our second 5 course extravaganza was set. The recipes went out with a request for matching wines and, while Jock was a little thrown by the full sticky marmalade duck hearts recipe, his local off licence representative was apparently very excited, persuading him to acquire some Chateau Musar which certainly worked a treat. Dan brought his friend Pete, who had been angling for an invite for some time and I think it's fair to say thoroughly enjoyed himself. Even Jon managed to come. Sadly Joby was unable to make it so our photography was not up to his usual high standard but the food and drink more than made up for it.

Chefs: Simon, Dom, Jason

Venue: Simon's

Members present: Simon, Jason, Dom, Howie, Dan, Jock, John, Pete.

Crispy Roasted Pig's Tails
(a little extra deliciousness from the Fabada Asturiana)

Heston Blumenthal’s Brûléed Chicken Liver Parfait with Fig and Date Chutney.
by Dom


Salad of Goose Gizzards Confit with Mushrooms, Fennel and Radish.
by Simon

1 tin of goose gizzards confit, cleaned, trimmed and sliced
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 fennel, sliced with tough outer leaves removed
radishes, sliced
lemon juice and olive oil

Bake the gizzards in a little goose fat and salt and  pepper for 20 mins. Slice the fennel and radish thinly and leave in iced water for at least 15 mins then spin dry. Fry the mushrooms over a medium heat until nearly dry then add a little salt. After a minute add the gizzards and cook for a minute.
To serve: arrange the fennel and radish on a plate then add some gizzard and mushrooms.  Drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil.

Sticky Marmalade Duck Hearts with Apple and Celeriac Rosti and Duck Boudin in Port Gravy with Beetroot foam.
by Simon

Plump pink perfectness

Duck and Port Gravy (adapted from The Constance Spry Cookery Book)
4 giblets, chicken or duck
800ml Chicken stock
mirepoix of carrot, celery, onion
mushrooms, tomato
60ml port

Roast the giblets without the liver at 220degC in a little goose fat for 15 mins, turning a couple of times. Pour off the fat then pour over 100ml chicken stock and roast for another 15 mins. Add the pounded liver and another 200ml stock and simmer for 5 minutes. Strain through muslin and reserve.
Brown slowly mirepoix (1oz carrot, ½ oz celery, 2 oz onion) in ¾ oz goose fat, careful not to burn onion. Add ¾ oz flour and brown further. When the flower is turning a nutty brown, add 1 small chopped tomato and cook for another couple of minutes to remove the moisture. Add 500ml stock, 10ml mushroom peelings, bouquet garni and simmer for 1 hour. Depouiller the sauce (strain then simmer for 15 mins slightly tilted on a skewer, adding a spoonful of cold stock every few minutes, skimming any fat that rises). Add the port and the reserved juices above (which have now become gelatinous). Continue simmering until syrupy.

Apple and Celeriac Rosti
500g celeriac
200g cooking apple
1 Egg
15ml Flour

Mix salt and egg in a bowl then coarsely grate celeriac and apple into the bowl and mix again. Sprinkle over the flour then mix again. Leave to stand for 10 mins. Heat a little oil in a muffin tin at 200degC then firmly press some of the rosti mixture into each hole. Drizzle with oil then bake for 30 mins. Turn over, drizzle with  a little more oil then bake for another 30 mins.

Sticky Marmalade Duck Hearts
60ml home made Seville orange marmalade
35ml soy sauce
20ml balsamic vinegar
Juice and rind of half an orange
1 clove of garlic, crushed

Remove any fat and cartilage from the hearts and cut in half lengthways. Marinate hearts in marmalade, soy sauce, orange juice and rind and garlic for 30 mins before cooking. Heat goose fat in large frying till smoking hot then pan fry for 1 minute each side then put aside to rest. Pour off excess fat then deglaze pan with marinade and reduce till syrupy.

Beetroot Foam
1 extra large beetroot
Carrot, onion, celery.
500ml water

Place all the ingredients in a pan and simmer for 1 hour. Strain and reduce to the desired concentration. Add Emulzoon and Xanthazoon (from Biozoon) and froth up using a handheld blender.

Duck Boudin
1 tin of duck boudin
Arrange into patties and then roast in a hot oven for 10 mins.

To serve: Place the duck hearts on the rosti and drizzle over a little of the reduced marinade. Place the boudin nearby and drizzle a little gravy over the top and then down one side, laying some beetroot foam on the other side.

Fabada Asturiana with Spring Cabbage and Brussel Sprouts and Spanish Pueblo Bread.
by Simon

11 Pig tails
Mirepoix (onion, celery, carrots)
Bouquet garni (thyme, bay, parsley)
Mushroom peelings

3 tins of white beans
600g of chorizo
15ml smoky spanish paprika
4 cloves of garlic
600g of morcilla de Iberico de Bellota

To make the pork stock: put the tails in 5 litres of water and boil for 5 mins. Discard all the water and wash the tails to get rid of all the scum. Put all the ingredients together in a pan with 5 litres of water and simmer very gently for 3 hours. Strain and reserve the stock. Discard the vegetables and reserve the tails and allow to go cool.

Roast the tails at 220degC for 1 hour with a liberal sprinkling of salt for a deliciously crispy starter.

Place the stock and the remaining ingredients in a large pan and simmer gently for about an hour. Finely slice the cabbage and brussel sprouts, blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes then quickly cool in cold water and drain. Just before serving, heat up in a large frying pan with 10ml of cider vinegar. Serve with spanish pueblo bread (courtesy of the Barbakan deli).

Blood Orange Cheesecake
by Jason

Not containing actual blood which was possibly an oversight by the Hummingbird Bakery.  From Cake Days by Tarek Malouf and The Hummingbird Bakers, published by Collins.  Unusually sized cake tin from Lakeland.

Quotes of the Night

Your problem mate is you don't follow through, which in some instances can be a good thing

Like a carnivorous Liberace

This is what Kate Winslet would taste like

What has a gizzard?  Birds, no blokes

How did you hear about offal club? From Dan over the last 2 years. He gets £6.50 for each new recruit

I'm a lapsed Jew. So there's no obligation to service your wife on a Friday then?

I was known as the Jew that cooked the best bacon butties in university

Were we piping for children in need?  No it was faggots.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Black Pudding Bonbons; Chicken Liver Tagliatelle; Crispy Ox Tongue; Pig's Head and Beans; Tiramisu Layer Cake

 Friday 18th July 2014.

Off All Day.

Jason and Howie, feeling bereft of their usual offal sustenance, felt it was time to pull all the stops out for the latest OC meeting. No less than a 5 course extravaganza, requiring a whole day of preparation. With five further offaliates accepting the invite, it seemed logical that we would all bring a matching wine to one of the courses. Fortunately Howie, Dan and Iain, sensibly recognising that five bottles of wine were never going to fully satiate our appetites, added some light liquid refreshers to the menu.

Every dish worked to perfection, which was fortunate as Jason refused to accept anything less than 10/10 for his cooking. The wines too were spot on: Riojas to start (always an OC favourite), the inspired Egri Bulls Blood to match Ox tongue, a white Alsace pinot gris with the Pig's Head (thanks be to t'internet) and a sweet red rhone with Tiramisu (thanks to Reserve Wines, West Didsbury for that one). Sadly for Iain, a day of preparation drinking followed by the full OC treatment forced Howie to realise that home was just a little out of his reach, whereas Jason's spare bed looked decidedly inviting. Sorry Iain, you're on the sofa.

Chefs: Jason and Howie

Venue: Jason's

Members present: Jason, Howie, Simon, Joby, Dan, Iain, Dom

It really is a gold plated cake slice.

Aperitif du Jardin:
Arjona rioja, 2012, courtesy of Iain.
Chairs and tables: back of a lorry, Longsight.

1. Black Pudding Bonbons with  apple sauce.
by Howie.
Matching wine: El Circulo rioja 2013, courtesy of Dan.

2.Tajarin con Fegatini (Chicken Liver Pasta) 
From Two Greedy Italians by Antonio Carluccio and Gennaro Contaldo.
Matching Wine: Cote du Rhone village 2013, Jean-Luc Colombo, courtesy of Dom.

No...it's an Ox tongue
3. Crispy Ox Tongue with Mustard Mayonnaise 
From Crispy Squirrel and Vimto Trifle by Robert Owen Brown, served with minted pea puree.
Matching wine: Egri Bull's Blood 2010, courtesy of Joby.

A Bloody Mary intercourse
by Howie.

4. Pigs Head and Beans 
From Beyond Nose to Tail by Fergus Henderson and Justin Piers Gellatly, served with chive and horseradish dumplings and Joby's elderflower bread.
Matching wine: Pfaffenheim 2012, courtesy of Iain.

5. Tiramasu Layer Cake 
From Nigella Christmas by Nigella Lawson.
Matching wine: Domaine des Escaravailles Rasteau Vin Doux Naturel Rouge 2011, courtesy of Simon.

And to finish:
Divine chocolate and Mavrodaphne of Patras sweet red wine, courtesy of Dan followed by Porto Quevedo.

by Apple.

Post-offal entertainment:
Resogun, PS4.

Quotes of the Night:

I had some offal intel from a mate. It should be known as OI from now on.

You are not voting on the food. The food is all 10/10.

I do like tongue.

I've been culturing my own elderflower yeast.  I've out middle classed you now.

There were some crevices that we found it really difficult to get into.

Offal club is all about pushing the offal envelope.  The Offalope.