Tag Archives: poultry

Chicken and pork, a chiporken?

A couple of years ago I cooked a turducken for Christmas. This year, for something a little different, I decided to try a chiporken. I bought a large and a small chicken and boned them both leaving the wings and legs on the large bird. I made a stuffing based on Jamie Oliver’s recipe, from diced leg pork, bread crumbs, sage, nutmeg, salt and pepper and 3 rashers of smokey bacon. I ran this through a blender, and then stuffed the small chicken.

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Next I wrapped this in my favourite smokey bacon,

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then put it in the large chicken,

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and sewed it up.

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As is usually the case, Christmas day was hot, hot, hot in Queensland, so I cooked this in our kettle BBQ, which isn’t ideal, but at least it’s outside. It’s hard to get an accurate and consistent temperature in the BBQ, and I usually have trouble judging cooking times. So I cooked the chiporken for a little over 3 hours, at some largely unknown and varying temperature, until a meat thermometer told me it was 175°C in the middle. As it turns out, that meant it was somewhat overcooked on the bottom, a regular feature of roasts done in my BBQ (maybe it’s me?),  but it sure looked good from the top!

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It wasn’t as tasty as the turducken, but was pretty good, certainly an improvement on plain chicken. And if I do it again, well definitely at least twice as much bacon wrapped around the inside bird.

Preserved Duck Egg

Well, I’ve eaten salted duck eggs and balut (duck embryos in the egg), so preserved duck eggs were next.

These are also called century eggs or 100 year old eggs. The ingredients list on the packet says ‘calcium ,salt, tea leaves and water’. The eggs are wrapped in a layer of clay with the tea leaves on the outside.

 

 There are a lot of recipes on the internet for using these eggs, but I just wanted to eat them on their own.

If you decide to try these eggs, be warned, they have a strong smell of urine. The egg white becomes a translucent brown colour, and doesn’t have much flavour. The yolk is a deep greyish green, soft in the middle, and tastes like egg with maybe a hint of duck flavour. The yolk is very creamy, and left a quite delicious creamy aftertaste. 

 But it would take a while to get used to the smell, it’s not surprising that some people think they are preserved by soaking in horse urine.

Chicken hearts

I’d had a pack of chicken hearts in the freezer for quite a while, so finally it was time to try them. They’re not much to look at, but a lot of the things I eat are worse looking than this. They had been prepared by the butcher, with the tops cut off, removing any veins, and some of the fat.

I found quite a few different ways to cook the hearts, but I was hungry, so I took the easy option, and just pan fried them in oil, with garlic, until they browned up nicely.

I think they look a lot nicer cooked than raw! And they are so good to eat. A little bit chewy cooked this way, but by no means tough, quite a nice texture really. They had that lovely chicken skin, fatty flavour that I love. I saved a few for the next day and ate them cold, and what a great snack they are. Delicious with a cold beer. It’s a pity that they are high in cholesterol, or I’d eat them often.

Salted Duck Eggs

Ever since I tried balut, I have intended trying salted duck eggs. So this week when I was pedalling by an Asian Grocery store here on the Sunshine Coast, I stopped, and fortunately they had a few in stock. They are mainly a Chinese dish apparently, but the eggs I bought were bright pink, which is from a dye they use in the Philippines to distinguish between salted and plain duck eggs. The eggs were already cooked, so it was just a case of removing the shells and eating.

As you can see from the photo, they look a bit different to ordinary cooked eggs. The egg white is a bit denser than normal, quite a pleasant texture, but very, very salty. The yolk has a quite a hard lump in the centre, but overall is creamier and heavier than a boiled yolk. It’s a bit salty, but not as bad as the white. It has just a hint of duck flavour, which I didn’t expect, but which I found delicious. I think overall these eggs are too salty to be eaten on their own like I did, but mixed with something that needs saltiness, maybe chopped up on a salad, they would be really good. I’ll have to do some research into recipes using these eggs.

Duck tongues

An Asian restaurant in the Brisbane suburb of Sunnybank had a selection of BBQ takeaway in the window, including duck tongue. I had seen duck tongues in the butcher shop a few doors down, but they were expensive and I had no idea what to do with them, so buying ready cooked tongues seemed like a good idea at the time. Unfortunately I couldn’t just get one to try, so a very small handful of these cost me $6.50, not a cheap snack.  But that’s the price you sometimes pay to eat weird stuff. I resisted the temptation of asking if I could put them on my bill (a duck joke). Ducks tongues are small, about 4-5 cms (but bigger than I thought would fit in a ducks head).

Towards the back of the tongue there is a bone, but there is actually a suprising amount of meat on each tongue (it’s probably not actually meat, has the texture of tender well cooked cartilage).  Now, I don’t know what is  in a Chinese BBQ marinade, but I do know I don’t like it! All the BBQed meat in the shop had a similar almost greyish, greasy appearance, and the taste of the tongues was unlike anything I have eaten. And that wasn’t a good thing, I thought they were bloody awful. Apparently duck tongues should have a duck flavour but these didn’t. So the experience was very disappointing, but I will try again if I can get them prepared differently.

Cooking balut

A couple of years ago, after first hearing about balut, which is an almost fully developed duck embryo still in the shell, I couldn’t think of anything that sounded worse to eat. Well, that was then and this is now. After the Wildfoods festival, I think I can eat anything! So I’ve been searching for balut, without success, until yesterday I found them at an Asian food store here on the Sunshine Coast. Balut is a very popular street food in the Philipines apparently. Today was the day, an exciting new lunch, so a bit of research indicated I should boil the eggs for about half an hour. No problems there, even I can boil eggs. I let them cool a little after cooking, and carefully broke away a small section of shell so I could drink the ‘broth’ inside. There wasn’t much, but it tasted delicious. I can’t quite pick the flavour, maybe a cross between egg and duck (there’s a surprise!), quite strong, and a lovely aroma. Then it was time to carefully remove the shell. I have to admit, balut isn’t the nicest looking snack I’ve tried.

 And breaking it up to eat it doesn’t make it look any better.

The yellow yolk tastes just like egg yolk, but maybe a bit stronger, and the embryo itself was a bit chewy with a sort of flavour and texture that might come from overcooked boiled duck (not that I’ve tried that). The egg white part was so hard and rubbery I didn’t even bother to try it. I actually quite enjoyed the flavour and would probably eat balut again, but I’m not going to rush out and buy more in the near future.

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.