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.'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.