With relatives, presents, and seasonal benders behind us, it was time to celebrate the true meaning of christmas, a Festoffal 2010 to start the new year. The long rumoured Offal Club North had again failed to materialise due to a problem with franchising, so once again we located to the Offal Clubs spiritual home, Didsbury. As luck would have it this coincided with legendary local meat purveyors Axons branching out into rodents, and a supply of oven-ready Squirrel was secured. Not strictly offal, and in fact the offally bits had not made it out of the abbatoir, but no one passes on the opportunity to eat squirrel, and anyway, we more than compensated for it with the starter. The desert was, once again, an inspired Offal Club North production courtesy of Joel: a squirrel's head and even including those pesky squirrel footprints...
Chef's: Jason and Joel.
Venue: Jason's house.
Members present: Simon, Howie, Jason, Joel, Scott.
Devilled Lambs Hearts on Toast with Red Onion Marmalade
(from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstalls River Cottage Everyday)
- Cut 4 lambs hearts into quarters and trim / clean.
- Simmer gently for 1 hr 45 mins in a pan of water containing 1 chopped onion, 1 chopped carrot and 1 chopped celery stalk, a bay leaf, sprig of time and a few black peppercorns. Allow to cool then slice thickly.
- Quickly fry the heart pieces in a little oil until they start to brown, then season. Add a small glass of sherry and allow to bubble for a minute, then add 1 Tbsp cider vinegar, 1 Tbsp Redcurrant jelly and allow to dissolve. Add a couple of splashes of Worcestershire sauce, a large pinch of Cayenne pepper, 1 Tbsp English Mustard.
- Allow to concentrate until nice and glossy, add 2 Tbsp double cream and shake to dissolve.
- Fry 3 sliced red onions on a low heat in butter until soft (10 mins), add 6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar and concentrate until most of the liquor has evaporated.
- Add one chicken stock cube and a small amount of water - concentrate again.
- Arrange devilled hearts and onion side by side on a single slice of toast, garnish with chopped pasley and serve.
(adapted from the rabbit recipe in Hugh Fearnley-
Whittingstalls River Cottage Everyday)
- Joint 6 squirrels (legs, arms, saddle but lose the ribs, its not worth it).
- In a large casserole fry 8 slices of streaky bacon, chopped.
- Brown the squirrel pieces, then add 4 sliced carrots, 4 sliced celery sticks, 2 sliced onions and allow to colour. Add 4 bay leaves, some fresh thyme, a few peppercorns, 4 garlic cloves finely chopped, 1 Tbsp tomato puree and 1.5 kg of tomatoes (peeled, deseeded, chopped). Add one glass of white wine and enough water to just cover.
- Place with lid on in oven at 140 C for 2 hrs, by which time most of the squirrel is falling of the bones.
- Serve with mashed potato and tail garnish.
Wine: Vega Oliveras Tempranillo, Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon, Vina Ecoyen Navarra, Wolf Blass Yellow Label Cabernet Sauvignon, Albacore Red Blend
Post offal entertainment: Wii sports resort, sword fighting and table tennis. Nurofen.
Quotes of the night:
"It tastes great cold!"
"What does "1" do?"
"Stop pressing the fecking B button!"
Excuses of the night:
"at the mother in-law's"
"operating in the morning"
"off to Ireland"
Next venue: Offal Club North have promised (damn those New year resolutions).