Saturday, 27 June 2009

Nads and Glands: the sweet taste of offal.

Friday 26th June 2009.

Deciding it was time to plunge headlong into some serious offal, we managed to procure some lamb's sweetbreads (thymus) and sweetmeats (otherwise known as fries, oysters, testicles or just plain bollocks) for a 4 course extravaganza. With the combination of a tex-mex recipe for the sweetmeats (aptly named "Mexi-cojones"), a prawn cocktail (sadly we could not get hold of a cock's tail) and a kidney/sweetbread fricassee the menu was nearly complete. Joel and Scott were newly inducted and Joel surpassed himself by providing the sweet. He even managed to include a pancetta garnish and some gelatin; in the words of Monty Burns "it's made from hooves, you know".

Chefs: Simon and Joel.

Location: Simon's house.

Members present: Howie, Jason, Simon, Joel, Scott.


4 lamb’s testicles


4 spring onions

1 oz butter

Rind of ½ lime

Teaspoon finely grated ginger

Juice 1 orange

Juice ½ lime

Juice ½ lemon

75ml soy sauce

30g muscovado dark sugar

Teaspoon smoked paprika

Avocado salsa:

2 avocados

200ml milk

2 teaspoon finely chopped chives

Tomato and sweet pepper salsa:

3 medium tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and diced

½ sweet pepper diced

2 spring onions, finely chopped

2 teaspoon chopped fresh coriander

Juice ½ lime

½ garlic clove finely chopped

  • Wash the testicles thoroughly in copious running water. Place in cold water and bring to the boil to gently blanch. Remove just before boiling point and refresh under cold water. Slice.

  • Make the marinade. Melt the butter and fry the spring onions for 3 minutes. Add the other marinade ingredients and then simmer for 5 minutes. Add several ice cubes to cool. Add the sliced testicles and place in the fridge for at least an hour.

  • Peel and dice the avocadoes. Take half this and add the milk and chives and then liquidise. Season to taste.

  • Combine the tomatoes, pepper, onions, coriander, garlic and lime.

  • Heat a frying pan, melt a knob of butter and fry the sliced testicle with a little marinade over a high heat for about 1 minute per side.

  • To serve, place some diced avocado on the plate and cover with the avocado puree. Place the testicles on top with a teaspoon of the cooked marinade from the frying pan and the tomato salsa next to it. Garnish with Doritos.

Prawn and Sweetbread Cocktail

(adapted from Tetsuya by Tetsuya Wakuda)

250g lamb’s sweetbreads

100ml white wine

3 cloves of garlic unpeeled

Bouquet garni (thyme, parsley, celery, bay leaf)

4 king prawns, peeled

Plain flour

4 asparagus sliced

8 green beans

3 oyster mushrooms sliced

Salad leaves


100ml chicken stock

15ml Madeira

10ml sherry vinegar

5ml truffle oil

  • Wash the sweetbreads thoroughly in copious running water. Cover with cold water, white wine, garlic and bouquet garni and bring to the boil to gently blanch. Remove just before boiling point and spread out on kitchen paper to dry. Once dry, remove any skin and sinew.

  • Butterfly the prawns by slicing down the back and remove the digestive tract.

  • Dust both the prawns and sweetbreads in flour and saute in olive oil until brown but not overcooked then set aside.

  • Combine the stock, Madeira, vinegar and boil, then add the truffle oil.

  • Saute the asparagus, beans and mushrooms.

  • To serve, place the salad on the plate and cover with a few vegetables, then lay the prawns and sweetbreads on top with a little sauce.

Kidney and Sweetbread Fricassee.

(from The Fifth Quarter by Anissa Helou)

250g lamb’s sweetbreads (prepared as above then dusted with flour)

4 lamb’s kidneys deskinned and cored.

2 shallots

15ml cognac

100ml chicken stock

5 dried porcini mushrooms


Teaspoon of Dijon mustard

Broad beans

  • Soak the mushrooms in 50ml freshly boiled water.
  • Saute the sweetbreads and kidneys then set aside.
  • Saute the shallots in the same pan then deglaze with cognac. Add the stock. Remove the mushrooms, slice and add. Add the mushroom water leaving 5mls behind as there is always a little grit. Bring back to the boil then add the kidneys and sweetbreads.

  • Serve with mustard mash and top with the broad beans.

Rhubarb Pannacotta with toast, vanilla ice cream and pancetta.

Mainly Rioja with a chardonnay for the prawn cocktail.

Post-offal entertainment:
A brief, failed attempt to relive past glory days with Goldeneye on the Nintendo64 (damn those digital TVs!) was followed by Wii tennis and Mario kart.

"Damn, working again"
"I have a wedding, but will be placing bids on ebay for the doggy bag"
"I'm playing golf: you enjoy your balls and I'll enjoy mine"

Quotes of the night:
"that's not the first time you've had balls in your mouth"

Next venue: Offal club North at Howie and Joel's

The Olaf Club

Thursday 2nd April 2009

Given the near exhaustion of offal possibilities following previous gatherings (and being slightly scared of those that are left), and in recognition of Dan's location in the frozen hinterlands beyond the M60, he proposed an alternative: a gathering of the Olaf Club, a scandinavian themed gastronomic fest with obligatory Viking helmets.

Lamenting the lack of offal, Jason insisted on lowering the tone by garnishing the lovingly made cardomom cake with butterscotch Angel Delight.

Chef: Dan

Location: Dan's house

Members present: Dan, Mark, Howie, Jason and Simon.

Jone's Swedish Meatballs

Meat: (the main ingredient)

2 pounds ground lean meat: use beef, pork or veal (may use some textured vegetable protein ground beef substitute)

Filler: (to give the meatballs the right consistency)

2 eggs

1 cup milk, cream, meat broth or water

1/2 cup all-purpose flour OR 1/2 cup fine bread crumbs OR 1 cup torn bread OR 1 cup mashed potatoes

Salt and Pepper:

Salt to taste (1 1/2 teaspoons suggested)

Pepper to taste (white or black pepper - 1/2 teaspoon suggested)

More Flavor:

Option 1:

1 minced onion

1/4 tsp dry mustard or 1/4 teaspoon allspice

Option 2:

1/4 tsp dry mustard

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

  • By hand or on medium speed with an electric mixture, thoroughly blend the ground meat, filler, salt and pepper, and other flavorings. Beat until very well mixed.
  • Form into balls about 3/4"-1 1/2" in diameter: do this by hand, or use a tablespoon-sized cookie scoop, or a melon baller. Makes 30-150 meatballs depending on how large they are.
  • Serves 6-8, more on the smörgåsbord.

Red Cabbage

1 good-sized red cabbage

2 red onions, peeled and sliced

225g fresh cranberries

50g butter, melted

3 juniper berries, optional

½tsp ground cinnamon

½tsp ground ginger

5tbsp soft brown sugar

5tbsp red wine vinegar

  • Preheat the oven to 150C/ 130C Fan/Gas 2.
  • Remove any tough outer leaves from the red cabbage and discard. Finely shred the rest of the cabbage and make a layer in the bottom of a casserole dish. Then add a layer of onion slices and scatter over a handful cranberries. Continue layering up the dish in this way, finishing with cranberries on the top layer.
  • Whisk the melted butter, juniper berries, cinnamon, ginger, brown sugar and vinegar together and season with salt and pepper. Pour over the cabbage and cover with a tight fitting lid. Cook in the oven for 2½ to 3 hours, stirring once or twice, until tender.

Swedish Cardamom cake

(serves 8)

40g butter, chilled, cubed

1/4 cup plain flour

1/4 cup demerara sugar

1 lemon, rind finely grated


3 eggs

1 cup caster sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom

125g butter, softened

300ml carton cream

2 1/2 cups self-raising flour

1/2 cup flaked almonds

  • Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 7cm deep, 10cm x 21cm (base) loaf pan, allowing a 5cm paper overhang. Rub butter into flour to resemble fine breadcrumbs. Add demerara sugar and lemon rind. Mix well. Set aside.
  • Make base: Process eggs, sugar and cardamom until combined. Add butter. Process until smooth. Add cream and flour. Pulse until combined. Spoon into pan.
  • Sprinkle almonds over cake, pressing in with your fingertips. Sprinkle with lemon rind mixture.
  • Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Stand for 5 minutes in pan.
  • Use baking paper overhang to lift cake onto a wire rack to cool. Slice and serve.


Post-offal entertainment:
A Wii extravaganza: tennis, boxing

Excuses: None (amazing what happens when offal's off the menu...)

Quotes of the night:

Next venue: Could it be back to Mark's?