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.'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.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Chicken liver salad, Ox heart tartare, Braised Pig cheeks.

Saturday 1st March 2014

Chicken liver salad, Ox heart tartare, Braised Pig cheeks.

After a late duo of OC's at the back end of 2013, and with winter hibernation now over, where better to start up 2014's culinary journey than with an invite out to the Suburbs, and Dan's new house in Bowden.  Sadly with numbers diminished due to a flurry of weak last minute cancellations, and the inevitable restrictive door policy that Bowden operates for people from Manchester, many missed out on the awesome tastes on offer.  However having jettisoned the lightweights, that left us free for some old school OC entertainment.  Back in the early noughties when this all started (before internet and blogging), offal club invariably ended with shouting and 4 player matches of Goldeneye on the N64.  It was a sign of real technological progress then that the modern equivalent had us playing Defender clone Resogun on the PS4 on a gigantic projector screen with ear crushing sound system in Dan's basement.  Oh, and we also, tried Battlefield 4, with Simons cack-handed bullet sponge persona now equally matched by Dom looking at the sky and spinning round repeatedly until death brought relief for him and all those witnessing it.  

Chefs: Dan.

Venue: Dan's house.

Members present: Simon, Jason, Dan, Dom.

Dans Chicken Liver Salad

400g Chicken livers
150g of diced Streaky bacon
Lambs lettuce
60-70g Peas
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the dressing:
2tbsp Cider vinegar
4tsp Dijon mustard
4tbsp Olive oil
4tbsp Vegetable oil

Cook the bacon pieces in a dry pan on a medium heat for 3-4 minutes until crisp. Add the chicken livers and cook on a high heat for a few minutes. Whisk the ingredients together for the dressing and season. Arrange the lambs lettuce on plates and scatter over the bacon, liver and peas. Dress to taste.

Ox Heart Tartare Puttanesca

We used Chris Cosentino's fantastic recipe that can be found HERE. For a muscle that spends all its life exercising, this take on the classic beef dish was surprisingly tender and tasty.

Braised Pigs Cheeks

Does this even count as offal these days? When its this tasty it doesn't matter (and it was the perfect aperitif following raw heart!).  Try THIS.

Excuses of the night:

I'll be revising (Mark)
I'll be in London (Jon)
I'm doing a 10K run the next morning (Iain)
I'm on a romantic city break with the wife (Jock)
I've not been to bed (Howie)
I usually play with a mouse and keyboard (Dom)

Quotes of the Night:

That heart looks the bollocks (Jock)

Monday, 10 February 2014

Hartingtons Offal Cookery Course 20th July 2014

Hartingtons School of Food in Bakewell have recently been in touch with us to let us know about their upcoming offal cookery course with local chef John Parsons. John is passionate about 'nose to tail' cookery and built up a loyal following on his regular Offal Nights at his Sheffield bistro Kitchen during his tenure.

On the course John will demonstrate his skills to show chefs and enthusiastic amateur cooks how they can utilise the whole animal to create inspiring tasty and cost effective dishes.   John will highlight and teach the butchery and cookery techniques that will enable anyone to work with this fantastically varied and exciting form of cookery.  On the day participants will prepare 5 dishes which will typically include:

  • Smoked cow heel broth (Yorkshire faggot)
  • Rolled spleen and bacon (sage,mustard grain, sherry, almonds)
  • Crisp Pigs Brain (Cavolo nero, potato, mousseline, expresso)
  • Szechuan tripe (Pineapple, molasses, mustard greens, black garlic)
  • Sweat breads (Bacon, peas, croutons)
  • Slow cooked beef cheek (Deep fried marrowbone, horseradish)
Further details for anyone interested can be found here.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Fire Exploding Kidney Flowers, Paru Goreng Barempah (Deep Fried, SpicedBeef Lung), Chocolate Pudding with Melting Raspberry Centre.

Saturday 23rd November 2013.

The Lung Kiss Goodnight.

Realising we only had 6 weeks till New Year and had to get in our minimum quota of 4 meetings a year, we hastily called another dinner. Dom was keen to demonstrate his culinary prowess with something from his Sichuan Cookbook and Simon, after the success of the pig's lung both in faggots and smothered in wasabi and soy sauce, was keen to take things a step further. For Dom it was a quick trip to Manchester's finest chinese Superstore, Wing Yip. For Simon, a quick phone call to the local farm shop (Nixon's farm shop) led to some beef lung being put to one side, fresh from the Thursday slaughter, although slight alarm bells were raised when they asked what we intended to with it (clearly eating it was not something they considered). Two things are apparent on googling "beef lung": it is an Indonesian delicacy and a popular dog treat. So the question remained, which one would we end up with?

Chefs: Simon and Dom.

Venue: Simon's house.

Members present: Simon, Jason, Dan, Dom, Iain.

Opening Cocktail: Bourbon, port and rum. Apparently it's called a Suburban.

Why are we drinking this?

Fire Exploding Kidney Flowers.
From "Sichuan Cookery" by Fuschia Dunlop. Offal Club rating: 9/10.

Paru Goreng Barempah (Deep Fried, Spiced Beef Lung) with Nasi Lemak (Coconut Rice).

This really is just a single beef lung

There are a number of recipes on the internet based on Indonesian / Malaysian deep fried beef lung so I took what seemed like the best bits and put this one together.

Just the tender bits.

Although I was offered both lungs, a single one was more than enough, giving 1.2kg of meat at the cost of just £1. It was straight forward to prepare, just slicing off all the fat and gristle. Easy to handle and no smell.

It fits nicely into a single pot.

1.2kg paru-paru (cow's lungs)

5 lemongrass stalks lightly bruised in pestle and mortar
4 bay leaves lightly bruised in pestle and mortar
5ml tamarind paste
10ml salt

Oh no it doesn't!

10 garlic cloves
5 x 5cm piece of ginger
5 toasted candlenuts
15ml fennel seeds
20ml coriander seeds
15ml turmeric powder
5ml sugar
10ml salt

10 ml Sambal Oelek (Chilli paste)
1 Onion sliced
1 Aubergine sliced
½ Cauliflower in florets
Looks almost good enough to eat.
Juice of 1 lime
Handful of fresh coriander chopped
oil for cooking

Put the lungs into a pot with enough water to cover it, with lemongrass, bay, tamarind and salt and boil for 2 hours. While the lungs had no odour during preparation, the cooking pot smelled delightfully of dog food. Drain and set the lung aside to cool.
Pound the marinade ingredients in pestle and mortar to medium fineness. Slice the cooled lungs into 1cm thick slices. Mix with the marinade and leave for at least an hour in the fridge.
Deep fried crispy lung
Deep fry the marinated lung slices for about 7 mins, leave to dry on kitchen paper then slice. Fry the onions with sambal oelak and cauliflower for about 5 mins in one pan while frying the aubergine for 5 mins in another.  Add it all together, heat through and add the lime and garnish with coriander.

Conclusion: The crispy outer part of the lung was pretty tasty but the soft bit inside still had a slight dog food taste. If I did it again, I would slice the lungs up in 5mm thick pieces and then slice lengthways in 1cm pieces so the whole piece became crispy. Otherwise it was pretty good. Offal Club rating 7/10.

Paru Goreng Barempah with Nasi Lemak

Nasi Lemak
Serves: 6
2 cups brown basmati rice
4 cups (500ml) coconut milk
1 slice ginger
Salt to taste

Traditional accompaniment
50g whole peanuts, dry roasted

Put the rice in a pot with the coconut milk and ginger slice and add a pinch of salt. Mix and cook until the rice is done and all the liquid has been absorbed (about 25 mins). Serve with the roasted peanuts.

Chocolate Pudding with Melting Raspberry Centre.

Although we debated adding a little blood powder to the chocolate pudding, we decided that after the experimentation of the lungs it was time for some good old fashioned deliciousness and boy did this hit the spot!! I couldn't find any recipes for a raspberry liquid centre so based it on Heston's recipe (  but swapped the chocolate ganache for raspberry coulis. Offal Club rating 9/10.

Makes 6 ramekins.

Raspberry coulis
Approx 200ml juice from sieved raspberries

Icing sugar to taste (approx. 60ml)

Chocolate pudding mix
200g Dark chocolate, chopped (minimum 60% cocoa solids)
200g Unsalted butter
80g Plain flour
½ tsp Salt
5 eggs
160g Golden caster sugar

Press the raspberries through a sieve and then whisk in the sieved icing sugar. Place in an ice cube tray in the freezer till completely frozen (at least 4 hours).
To make the pudding mix, place the chocolate and the butter in a bowl over a pan of simmering water and melt completely. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
In the meantime, sieve the flour and salt together into a bowl. When the chocolate is cool, add the flour and salt and mix thoroughly. If left to stand this becomes quite thick and is harder to work.
When ready to serve, pre-heat the oven to 180C.
Using a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the eggs and sugar for approximately 8 to 10 minutes or until light, fluffy and creamy.
Fold a third of the egg mixture into the chocolate, being as gentle as possible. Add the remaining egg mixture and fold until well combined.
Place an ice cube of coulis in the centre of each ramekin and pour the pudding mix around it.
Place the ramekins in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes until the pudding mix is fully set. Serve immediately with cream and / or vanilla ice cream.

Wine and Sake:

Quotes of the Night:

I was expecting you to put a batter on that.

Are we having moussaka?

Do you know I've been doing this ten years but occasionally I think what the fuck am I doing here?

You'd make a great zombie.

It's a bit like black pudding twinned with rice crispies.

If you like vegetable oil you'll love it.

To be honest it's no worse than tofu, vegetarians should try it.

I really hate all warm alcohol, I can't stand mulled wine and I gag on Lemsip.

We have turned down human placenta. Not because it was placenta, because it was our mate Karen's.

Next up: It's FestOffal 2014 at Dan's.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Wasabi Lung, Robert Owen Brown's Madeira Tripe with a Duet of Black Puddings, Faggots with Onion Gravy and Duchess Apple Potatoes, Sanguinaccio Dolce 2 ways

Friday 8th November 2013

First Blood

Blood has always featured heavily in the menus of the Offal Club. By blood of course I mean black pudding. Whether it be stuffing a pheasant, a lambs heart or a samosa, frankly we just can't get enough of the stuff and it is by far the most common ingredient used in our menus over the years. It was therefore highly intriguing to come across the use of blood in a dessert in our latest offal cook book "Odd Bits" by Jennifer McLagan. She describes an Italian desert, Sanguinaccio Dolce, a mix of milk, chocolate, sugar and blood blended into a rich custard as a dip for some Italian biscuits. The recipe calls for blood so fresh it's still warm as it was traditionally served at carnival time following the fresh slaughter of a pig. A similar recipe is described by Emiko Davies on her blog, explaining how the the blood gradually thickens the chocolate and milk into a lusciously thick custard as it slowly cooks. Unfortunately fresh pigs blood is not available at our local butchers (something to do with being illegal) but Amazon came to the rescue by putting us in touch with scottish food suppliers Tongmaster. It seemed like the perfect desert to welcome 2 new offalliates, Iain and Dom. What could possibly go wrong..?

As for the rest of the menu, well for starters Joby came up trumps. Continuing the blood theme, he had just returned from Ireland with a selection of black puddings. He then found himself working with Robert Owen Brown, one of our favourite offal chefs and Executive Head Chef at The Mark Addy, Manchester, for his new cook book "Crispy Squirrel and Vimto Trifle" and had been particularly impressed with Rob's Madeira Tripe, which seemed the perfect accompaniment.

For the main, we had been dying to try out Matt Tebbutt's faggots ever since the legendary episode of the Great British Food Revival last year. Then we discovered Tom Kerridge's faggots in his Proper Pub Food series which looked equally delicious. Clearly there was going to have to be a faggott-off.

Chefs: Simon and Joby

Venue: Simon's

Members present: Simon, Jason, Howie, Joby, Jock, Iain, Dom.

Wasabi Lung

Marinating in soy sauce, a dash of mirin and rice vinegar and some wasabi powder for 3 hours and then stir-fried seemed an ideal way to use up the excess lung left over from the faggot making. Very tasty.

Robert Owen Brown's Spiced Madeira Tripe with a Duet of Black Puddings

Robert Owen Brown’s Madeira Tripe (with a little bit of added spice) was served on spelt bread toast. It’s thick seamed tripe, and the recipe appears in his book "Crispy Squirrel and Vimto Trifle" (out this week and available at

That was served alongside two kinds of artisan Irish black pudding from the legendary Pat O’Doherty of Enniskillen,  his normal homemade Fermanagh black pudding, and a special ‘Dubliner’ made with Guinness which he was kind enough to slip Joby as a sample as he'd just missed their black pudding festival. Served on a bed of white cabbage.

By way of personal recommendation, the tripe dish was possibly one of the tastiest dishes some of us had ever eaten, offal or non-offal - it has to be tasted to be believed!

Faggots with Duchess Apple Potato and Greens.

The recipe for Matt's faggots can be found here and here although I left out the pork belly and added 100g of minced unsmoked rindless streaky bacon.  Tom Kerridge's faggots with onion gravy recipe is from page 149 of his book "Proper Pub Food".  The Duchess potato recipe was from here.

Matt's faggots in chicken stock.
Tom's faggots.

Sanguinaccio Dolce 2 ways

I think it's fair to say, things did not go straight-forwardly. After experimenting with cooking the rehydrated blood, it rapidly became clear that it behaved very differently to that described for fresh blood. For a start, as soon as it hit 60 degrees it started to curdle and come out of solution, forming a pudding like consistency, which might be OK for black pudding but was hopeless for custard. Finally I settled on using the recipe from "Odd Bits" (150g sugar, 30g cocoa powder, 20g cornflour, 250ml whole milk) but adding the blood (30ml dried blood and 120ml water) once the custard had been cooked and was still hot. Some rapid whisking prevented the curdling and allowed me to cool the mixture in the fridge although it remained quite thin with a faint metallic taste from the blood.

Just before serving we had another go, using a recipe similar to that of Emiko Davies. Melting 300g of dark chocolate in a bain marie then adding 100ml of boiled double cream created a lovely thick ganache. I then took it off the heat and started adding the blood (30ml dried blood and 90ml water). Initially this thickened the mixture nicely but as I poured the last of it in, the ganache split. Some rapid conversing with google led to 2 minutes hard electric whisking and surprisingly the ganache was resurrected, without any particular blood flavour and the 2 dishes complimented each other rather well. Some fine Italian biscuits and some red fruits (strawberries, redcurrants and pomegranate seeds) and dessert was served.

Rehydrating the blood

Whisk harder Dammit!


Quotes of the Night:

So Jock, I hear you're a member of brothel club?

He doesn't do private practice because of his morals. He doesn't do it because he's a lazy fuck

You know what we need? Faggot tossing

It's a double harness night Howie

Joby is known for his sauce

I won a prize for that. Best use of a pudding bowl or something

Offal on acid: it was rubbish that one

My mate did short crust. I was on rough puff

I'm lunging it

Have you got any oven chips?