Tag Archives: lamb

Stuffed lambs’ hearts

Here’s a recipe from Fergus Henderson’s fantastic book ‘NoseTo Tail Eating’. I think I have only eaten heart once before and I wasn’t overly impressed, it was tough and not particularly tasty. But I trusted Fergus not to write about it unless it was good, so I gave it another shot.

The hearts as I bought them had been trimmed of veins and sinews at the top, but I trimmed off some of the fat you can see in the photo.

The stuffing consisted of 2 onions and 2 cloves of garlic sliced and cooked gently in butter until soft, but not browned. Then I added a large glass of red wine and let this reduce by half. White bread (I used 3 slices) cut into cubes  was then added along with salt and pepper.

This was cooked gently for 15 minutes, and then left to cool before several sage leaves were chopped and added.

The hearts were then stuffed to the top and a couple of slices of bacon were tied in place to act as a lid.

My 3 hearts were placed in a casserole dish (with a large potato to keep the hearts upright), and chicken stock was added, not quite covering the hearts. They were cooked in a medium oven for almost 3 hours, then the hearts were removed and kept warm while I reduced the juice from the casserole dish to make a sauce.

The recipe called for this to be served with mashed swede but I forgot and bought parsnip, so I used that instead.  The flavour in this dish is great, the heart was tender, with a very fine texture and I thought a slight taste of liver. The stuffing had a fairly strong flavour, but each heart only held a small amount, so it didn’t overpower the other flavours. The taste of bacon complemented everything nicely. And the sauce was strong and delicious, it looks oily on the plate, but didn’t taste it, the only complaint about the sauce was there wasn’t enough of it. Even the potato I used as packing was delicious, picking up the bacon flavour. This was an awesome dish, thanks Fergus.

 

Slow cooked goat shanks

I found a butcher in Brisbane with a range of cuts of goat meat, so I bought a couple of shanks. I have eaten goat several times before but even though it is apparently the most widely eaten meat in the world, it is extremely difficult to buy on the Sunshine Coast. We recently purchased a slow cooker, so that seemed like the ideal way to cook goat. I found a recipe in a slow cooker book for lamb shanks, so I modified to fit with the ingredients I had available. I combined 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of ground cumin seeds, half a teaspoon of dried red peppers, a finely chopped jalapeno (without the seeds) and half dozen chopped fresh oregano leaves. I used this as a marinade on the shanks for about half an hour.

  I then cooked the shanks in a pan until brown, and then transferred them to the slow cooker with a small amount of water and 3 small tomatoes coarsely chopped. I cooked them on low for 8 hours and then served them with extra oregan leaves and mashed potato.

  The shanks could possibly have done with a little less time in the slow cooker, but they didn’t dry out, and the taste…..

I can really only describe it as an explosion of flavour in my mouth. This was an amazing meal. The meat was deliciously tender and moist, stronger in flavour than lamb shanks and without the fattiness, and really well balanced, I loved it. Looks like there’s another trip to Brisbane to get more goat meat coming up.

Wildfoods festival Hokitika NZ

For someone interested in throwing all kinds of weird stuff down their throat like I am, the Wildfoods festival in New Zealand’s South Island seemed to be a ‘must visit’.  So for 2011 we made the effort, flew to Queenstown for a few days, then drove to Hokitika for the festival on March 12.

                       One of the first stalls encountered was the huhu grub stall

 Huhu grubs are the  larval stage of a native beetle. The huhu grubs live in rotting logs, and were being harvested from a wood pile in front of the stall. They were available fresh and alive from the log: 

or cooked:The live grubs were a bit leathery and popped when bitten, but the cooked grubs are delicious, crunchy with a sweet nutty flavour.

Seafood next, with a mix of delights in the platter.Kina (sea urchin) roe is an acquired taste which I love, the taste of the ocean, and I really enjoyed the shot.

The poor mans paua (abalone) and sea cucumber both had an oceany taste similar to the kina, but were rubbery.

Smoked eggs were something new to me, so I tried a raw egg shot. Manuka is a NZ tree (where manuka honey comes from) and the smoke imparts a strong, lovely flavour.

The manuka eggs were delicious, one of the highlights of the day.

Next up was pigs braun. I have eaten braun a long time ago, but I think back then it was made from the entire pigs head, this may have just been the brains. No matter, it was nice, maybe just not as dense and with less pork flavour.

 

                      Back onto the seafood with a couple of……um…..unusual delicacies?

                           Paua tit is the stomach of the NZ abalone (paua).

As paua eat only kelp (seaweed) which I like to chew on at the beach, I thought it would be okay, but I guess the digestive juices were doing their work and the taste was quite bitter, very similar to the Kaio which is a NZ sea squirt.

I ate these two one after the other so I’m not sure which one did it, but I had a bad taste in my mouth for some time. But hey, thats why we try these things. Definately the worst things I ate at the festival. I returned to this stall some time later and tried a seagull egg and a paua pattie.

 Seagull eggs are bigger than hens eggs, and these were hard boiled. The yolk tasted just like a normal egg, but the white was semi translucent, seemed to be in two layers, and I didn’t much like the texture of it. On the other hand, the paua fritter (and these are very popular in NZ) was spectacular, one of the stars of the festival for me. The nicest paua I have tasted in years.

Next it was into insects.

Scorpions (I had a raw one) had a strong unpleasant chemically flavour, maybe they were imported into NZ in ethanol, or maybe that’s what scorpions taste like.

I didn’t try a raw grasshopper, I can get them at home, but did try a chocolate coated huhu beetle from the crouching grasshopper stall.

They tasted like ….. chocolate, no discernable insect flavour at all, but like the scorpion, left my mouth full of crunchy bits of shell to dispose of.

Worm sushi and worms on toast were nice, but any worm flavour was overpowered by the other ingredients.

Next it was time for a drink and dessert.

Some people may be a bit turned off by the thought of colostrum, but it tastes like watered down milk. The worst part is putting on a silly hat, getting down on your knees and getting the shot squirted into your mouth. 

The mastitus mousse was strawberry, and again like light milk, but tasty and refreshing.

There were stalls with more mainstream foods, some of the yummiest pork belly I have ever eaten, a plate of beautiful tuna,

both raw and cooked. And all washed down with a glass of honey mead.

There were a lot of other choices, too many to eat, but one of the best was a West Coast icon, the white bait fritter.

Unlike most fish and chip shop whitebait fritters I have had in recent visits to NZ, these were more whitebait than egg batter. The way they should be, and absolutely delicious.

WARNING. If you have a weak stomach, it might pay to skip through the next part of the story. I wanted to go to Hokitika to challenge myself, eat outside my comfort zone and find out just how far I will go with extreme foods. I think I know now.

No prizes for guessing that these are sheep testicles or mountain oysters. Cooked with onion and pepper they were tender, moist and fairly mild in flavour.

I know they are considered a delicacy in some countries, but testicles are rarely eaten in Australia. I would certainly eat them again.

And the ultimate test of a cast iron stomach?

Yes, for the first time here, shots of horse semen! I heard about them a couple of weeks before the festival, so I had time to get used to the idea.

And thats yours truly shooting horse semen, au natural of course, not the flavoured variety.It surprisingly tasted not unlike milk. So after that, I think I can eat anything!  The stallion shot stall was very popular, but I think it was mainly people hanging around waiting for someone willing to try.  The festival was a great day out, if you can get there next year, do it. I sure hope to.

Mixed Roast. Pork, lamb and beef.

The Christmas turducken was a success and I particularly enjoyed the mixing of flavours from the turkey, duck, chicken and quail. It got me thinking, why not try it with other meats, so that was this weekend’s project, a boneless, rolled, stuffed roast of  pork, lamb and beef. During the week I bought a small leg of lamb and some pork belly. I removed the bones from the pork belly and layed it out skin side down.

The boned pork belly

 I then boned and skinned the leg of lamb and layed it on top with a little stuffing between the layers.

and with stuffing and lamb added

 At this stage I was obviously running out of room, so I limited the beef to a couple of small steaks, added some bacon and more stuffing, and it was ready to roll.

Ready to roll

This pork belly was the only one the butcher had, and was smaller than I wanted, so rolling the roast was a problem, and the pork didn’t quite go right around, but still looked good once I tied it up.

I then sliced the pork skin, rubbed it with macadamia oil and salt, then sprinkled carroway seeds over it, and it was ready for the oven.

And after about four hours at  180°c the roast was ready and looking good.

And to eat? The flavour combinations of these meats was amazing, so much better than each on their own. The meat was moist and tender and the pork crackling crispy and full of flavour. And of course, with no bones, this roast is a pleasure to carve and serve.

An all round beautiful roast that I highly recommend and will most definately do again. And a lot less preparation than a turducken.

Lamb neck chops

I don’t know where some of these things have been hiding, but lamb neck chops are another cut of meat I have only recently discovered. Here in Australia the biggest market for them is apparently as dog food. They are a bit fatty, although I’m not sure if some of the ‘fat’ isn’t collagen, perhaps someone can answer that question for me.

I started by lightly browning the chops in a pan with some onion. The yellowish colour is from using carotino oil,  a blend of red palm and canola oil, which is quite new to Australia.

I then added a little chicken stock and some thyme and boiled with a lid on for around an hour, by which time the stock had reduced to a tasty sauce. The meat could have been a little tenderer with a bit longer cooking time, but it smelled so good and made me so hungry………..

Served with potatoes, cauliflower and carrots and with a sprig of thyme, this made a delicious low cost meal.