Wednesday, 18 November 2015


A much delayed guest blog by Tom Clarke

So it was with a great honour I was first invited to Offal Club earlier this year. Then to add to the prestige, after blogging on each of my first two visits, I was given the responsibility of writing the next installment of this blog, to write about the food, drink & quotes of 'Bar-B-Quoffal'

'Bar-B-Quoffal' took place at Dom's residence in "hipster ghetto Chorlton" (Ⓒ Jason), in September. That it's now November shows I shirked that responsibility very badly, I'm getting this one in just ahead of the next sitting...

So anyway, to THE OFFAL... 
(inter cut with random quotes across the evening, not sure who from, probably Jock..)

The theme for this running of The Offal Club was slightly different in that all dishes were to be cooked as Hephaestus intended - over the flames of a hot, hot barbecue. That's not to say the recipes below are strictly summer, as you know offal is just as good in the winter.  Just grill and eat indoors.

& think on, just one of these recipes would make a perfect side dish for any festive meal.

Yakitori skewers


What you need...

1 pound chicken hearts (this time sourced at Worldwide Foods in Rusholme...)

For the sauce:

    2 chicken carcasses cut into 6 to 8 pieces
    1 cup sake
    1 cup mirin
    1 to 1/2 cups soy sauce, depending on darkness
    3 tablespoons sugar
    Freshly ground black pepper

Dom gets to work

What you do...

     1. To make the sauce: Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spread the bones in a saute pan and roast until the bones are brown and the fond at the bottom of the pan is beginning to darken, about one hour.

2. Remove the pan from the oven and put on a stovetop. Deglaze the pan with about 1/3 cup of the sake, scraping up the browned bits until the bottom of the pan is clean. Then add in the rest of the sake, mirin, sugar, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the sauce is thickened, about one hour. Season with black pepper. Leftover sauce will keep in the refrigerator indefinitely if reheated once a week.

3. To grill: skewer chicken hearts and set over a medium high flame or in this case,barbeque - far more effective.

When the chicken hearts are almost cooked through, about 2 minutes, baste with the sauce and grill again until sauce is dried, about 20 seconds. Baste again and grill just until the sauce is starting to dry, about 10 seconds. Sprinkle with sansho pepper if desired. 

Serve with wedges of lemon, salt, and mustard on the side.  

(& booze of course, as standard...)

Just ready to serve...


What you need...Extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons parprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Few springs of flat leaf parslay
1 garlic glove
Sea salt to taste

What to do...

1. Put 12 wooden skewers to soak

2. Put a little olive oil in a frying pan and place over a medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the liver and sear on both sides for 2-3 minutes each. Cut the live in two lengthwise and sear the cut sides.

3. Removed the liver onto a chopping board and dice the cubes about 4cm square. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add seasonings and mix well. Marinate for 1 hour at least, stirring regularly.

4. Thread the livers onto the skewers.

5. Gill over barbecue for 3/4 minutes each then serve immediately in pitta bread. 


Kidney in baked potato...

 What you need...(read closely)

For the Mujdei sauce (Makes 1 cup)

    • 1 bunch parsley, leaves finely chopped
    • 1 bunch dill, fronds finely chopped
    • 2 -3 large garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed
    • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
    • About 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/2 cup strong concentrated chicken broth, at room temperature

Preparing the bacon and broad beans
Place the parsley, dill and garlic in a medium mixing bowl and toss to combine. Add the vinegar, salt, red and black pepper and stir. Pour in the chicken broth and mix until well combined. Let sit for 30 minutes so that the flavors blend. 

For the marinade; marinating and grilling liver

    • Juice of 2 lemons
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1/2 cup dry sherry wine
    • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely ground
    • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
    • 2 pounds calf's or beef liver, cut into about 1 to1 1/2-inch thick slices
    • 1/2 cup melted butter
    • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

    To make the marinade: Juice the lemons and place the juice into a glass bowl; add the olive oil, sherry wine, parsley, ginger and red pepper flakes to the bowl and mix the ingredients well.

Rinse the liver with hot water and loosen the membrane covering the meat with your fingers. As you hold the liver under hot running water, pull the membrane off the liver and discard it. Place the liver into a shallow dish.

    Pour the marinade over the liver, and flip it several times to coat all sides with the marinade. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator. Chill the liver in the refrigerator for about two hours.

Awaiting the main course...
    Ensure the barbecue is still hot. Remove the liver from the glass dish; discard the marinade and dry very well with pepper towels.

  Dip liver slices in the melted butter. Place on the barbecue about 4 inches above the fire. Grill until liver is browned, for about 3 minutes per side. Turn once. Do not overcook; it should be still pink inside.

    Remove from barbecue to a serving platter, sprinkle with salt and pepper and tent with foil for about 10-15 minutes; then, if you like, slice into thinner slices on a bias. Serve with the mujdei sauce. Grilled or sautéed in oil and butter onions and mushrooms is a very traditional side dish for liver.


In all glory...


Fresh outta the oven.

What you need....

For the pastry (makes double)

    500g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
    140g icing sugar
    250g unsalted butter, cubed
    4 egg yolks

For the filling...

...and the filling is from 'Heston at Home' (so buy the book cheapskates...)

What you do....   

 To make the pastry, mix the flour and icing sugar in a bowl. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until crumbly. Mix in the egg yolks. If the pastry is still too dry, add 1-2 tbsp water until it comes together. Roll into a ball and divide in half (freeze one half for another recipe). Flatten out the pastry with your hands, wrap the dough in cling film, then chill for at least 30 mins. While the pastry is chilling, make the filling. Beat all the ingredients, except for the zest, together. Sieve the mixture, then stir in the zest.

  Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to about the thickness of a £1 coin, then lift into a 23cm tart tin. Press down gently on the bottom and sides, then trim off any excess pastry. Stab a few holes in the bottom with a fork and put back in the fridge for 30 mins.

    Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Line the tart with foil and fill with rice or dried beans. Bake for 10 mins, then remove the tart tin from the oven, discard the foil, and bake for another 20 mins until biscuity. When the pastry is ready, remove it from the oven, pour in the lemon mixture and bake again for 30-35 mins until just set. Leave to cool, then remove the tart from the tin and serve at room temperature or chilled.

Cutting it

With Carringtons just round the corner it was rude not to...

Firey vodka from Jock

Er, okay... until next time..enjoy the recipes...keep it #offal.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Ox Heart Jerky, Oxtail and Tamarind Soup, Sweetbreads, Mushroom Risotto, Spicy Ostrich Liver, Smoked Bacon, Onions, Peaches Roasted With Amaretti Biscuits, Sanguinacilly

Saturday 6th June 2015

You're Offal, But I Like You!

So here we are again, fresh from Simon's tour-de-70's offal extravaganza, next up we find ourselves the guests of returning favourite Dan and new Chef Pete, in leafy Manchester wealth-ghetto Bowdon. Dan, keen to impress upon us that his recent Kitchen refit really did need a back up kitchen installing at the same time led the charge more than ably assisted by Pete.  Numbers were swelled by the offspring of 2 offaliates, and yes, like policeman, they look younger every day. As before Tom got the tidings out early through his excellent blog here.  As resident Offal photographer Joby had politely declined this one, usual standards of photography have not been maintained and so for half decent pictorial interpretation head over to Toms place.  The last time we were here, Dan fed us raw Ox heart, so it was only going to get better, and my it did...


Personalised OC logo's included.  We are going to merchandise the life out of this one...

Venue: Dan's

Member's present: Simon, Jason, Dan, Pete, Son of Pete, Dom, Tom, Steve, Son of Steve

1. Ox Heart Jerky.

This was stunning - 2 flavours made overnight in the Aga.  Get it here and also here.
Trim any fat away from a whole beef heart (5-6lbs) and slice into ¼” strips as thinly as possible.   Marinate half of the slices in a ½ cup red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon cumin, 1 ½ teaspoons cayenne, 1 tablespoon salt, 2 teaspoons black pepper for at least twelve hours. Marinate the other half of the slices in 1/3 cup Thai chili sriracha, 2 ½ tbsp fish sauce, 3 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp demarera sugar, 1 ½ tbsp lemon juice for at least twelve hours. Dry on paper towels. Leave to dry in bottom oven of Aga overnight with door ajar.

The Offal Club accepts no responsibility for how middle-class that last instruction came across as.

2.  Oxtail and Tamarind Soup.

A real eye opener - hot and sour but with Oxtails.  From the Guardian hereA fresh take on the old-fashioned broth, with sharp notes of lemongrass, lime, tamarind, galangal and chilli. Serves 4.

3 tbsp sunflower oil
1.2kg oxtail, trimmed and cut into pieces 
1.3 litre water or light chicken stock 
A large pinch of salt
A large pinch of sugar
4-6 tbsp tamarind water
140g oyster mushrooms, ends trimmed, torn in half
4cm piece of galangal, sliced
2-3 stalks of lemongrass, bruised and cut into 3
4-5 lime leaves
2 plum tomatoes, cut in half
2-3 bird’s-eye chillies 
2-3 tbsp fish sauce, to taste
2-3 lime juice, to taste
2 tbsp coriander, chopped

1 Heat the oil in a large casserole. Add the oxtail pieces and fry over a high heat until browned all over – you may have to do this in batches. Remove and set aside on a plate.

2 Pour away any excess oil from the pan, put the oxtail back in the pan and cover with the water or stock, salt, sugar and tamarind water. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cover for 2–2 ½ hours or until soft but not falling off the bone. Skim the fat off the surface every so often.

3 Add the remaining ingredients except the lime juice and coriander. Cook for a further 20-25 minutes. Before serving add the lime juice and coriander.

3.  Sweetbreads.  Mushroom Risotto.

Pancreas, not thymus, lambs.  First time for OC, previously only having done Veal Pancreas, but now I'm just name-dropping...Thanks BBC!

Note – ingredients doubled up on all these measures. A selection of different mushroom types (shiitake etc) used instead of morels, which are impossible to get hold of!

For the risotto 
 knob of butter
 3 shallots, finely chopped
 500g/1lb 2oz carnaroli risotto rice
 1.5litres/2½ pints hot vegetable stock
 3 tsp finely chopped thyme
 2 tbsp mascarpone
 3 tbsp grated parmesan
 125g/4½oz cold butter, diced
 cabernet sauvignon vinegar, to taste
For the mushroom stock
 olive oil, for frying
 1kg/2lb 4oz button mushrooms
 150g/5½oz dried ceps (porcini mushrooms)
 100g/3½oz mushroom bouillon
 1.75 litres/3 pints veal stock
 1.75 litres/3 pints white chicken stock
For the morels
 20 morel mushrooms
 2 tbsp minced shallot
 4 tsp white wine
 200ml/7fl oz chicken stock 
For the garnish
 parmesan shavings
 wild rocket
For the sweetbreads
 240g/9oz lambs sweetbreads 
 salt and pepper
 olive oil, for frying
 knob of butter

Preparation method

1. For the risotto, heat the butter in a frying pan. Gently fry the shallots until softened. Add the rice and stir to coat in the butter and shallots. Cook until the rice is translucent.

2. Add the hot stock and thyme and cook for seven minutes. Spoon the risotto onto a baking tray and set aside to cool.

3. For the mushroom stock, heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based pan. Add the button mushrooms and fry until golden-brown.

4. Add the dried ceps, mushroom bouillon and stock. Bring to the boil, and continue to cook over a high heat until the volume of liquid has reduced by half. Strain the mushrooms, set aside and return the liquid to the pan. Continue to cook over a high heat until the volume of liquid has reduced by half again. Remove from the heat and reserve for later. 

5. For the morels, trim the white rim around the base of the morels, then soak in warm water to remove any sand that may be inside the mushrooms. Drain.

6. Heat a little olive oil a pan set over high heat, and fry the morels with the minced shallot until golden-brown. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and cover with a lid. Cook until the wine has evaporated, then add the chicken stock and cook with a lid on until the stock has evaporated and the mushrooms are glazed. Remove from the heat and reserve for later.

7. For the sweetbreads, using a sharp knife remove the outer skin/membrane from the sweetbreads. Season with salt and pepper.

8. Heat a little oil and a knob of butter in a pan set over high heat. When the butter is foaming, add the sweetbreads and fry until golden-brown and crisp on the outside and the juices run clear (not milky) when a knife is inserted into the thickest part. Remove from the pan and reserve for later.

9. To finish the risotto, heat a large pan over a medium heat and add 400g/14oz of the cooked and chilled risotto rice. Pour in 360ml/12fl oz of the mushroom stock and cook until the rice is al dente, then remove from the heat and add the mascarpone, grated parmesan and the diced cold butter. Keep stirring until all the ingredients are combined and hot. 

10. Add a few drops of cabernet sauvignon vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon the risotto into four serving bowls and garnish with the sweetbreads, morels, parmesan shavings and rocket. Drizzle any juice left in the morel pan over the risotto as this is packed with flavour.

4. Spicy Ostrich Liver. Smoked Bacon. Onions

Minimum order 5 kilo's.  Nuff said.  Possibly one of the nicest liver dishes I've tasted.  This one was cooked in the second kitchen.  Because we could.  Can be found here.  Turmeric mash, chef's own.  Damn fine mash.

5. Peaches Roasted With Amaretti Biscuits.  Sanguinacilly

So it turns out you can rock up to an abattoir in Cheshire with an old milk bottle and come away with pigs blood.  Who knew? This one knocked Simon's previous dried blood affair into a cocked hat.  Only made a little less appetising by finding out that Dan's daughter had to sieve out the blood clots.  Sanguinacilly from The Odd Bits by Jennifer McLagan.  Peaches courtesy of Anna del Conte.

 3/4 Cup sugar
 1/3 Cup packed alkalized 
(Dutch-processed) cocoa
 2 Tablespoon cornflour
 1/2 Teaspoon ground ginger
 Pinch of fine sea salt
 1 Cup whole milk 
 1/2 Cup pork blood, prepared (see page 217) 
 Finely grated zest of 1 orange 
 3 1/2 Ounce candied fruit, finely diced (optional)


Step 1: 

Place the sugar in a bowl, then sift in the cocoa and cornflour. Add the ginger and salt, then gradually whisk in the milk until the mixture is fairly smooth. Pour in the blood and whisk to combine.

Step 2:

Pour the mixture—which will be a crimson color—into a saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir constantly with a spatula to make sure the mixture doesn’t stick to the sides of the pan. Continue to stir until the mixture thickens and approaches a boil. The color will change from burgundy to dark chocolate and will become shiny and smooth. It will look like melted chocolate. Remove the pan from the heat.

Step 3:

Stir in the orange zest and candied fruit, if using. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir it again to distribute the fruit. Press a piece of plastic wrap on the surface to prevent a skin forming, cool, and refrigerate. Serve in small dishes with whipped cream.

Quotes of the Night:

We need to be clear on the glands

People on the Internet will be favouriting this tweet before you've even tasted it

Tonight we dine like kings!

I don't want to detract from your culinary skills but the gold cutlery helps

Next up: Barbeq-offal at Doms (allegedly)

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Home-cured guanciale with radish on a pea and mint sourdough tartine; calf’s kidney and onion baked dumpling with piccalilli and chili jam; braised calf’s kidney wrapped in wild garlic and spinach, mushroom sauce and parsnip and apple mash; sautéed calf’s kidney with a cream, calvados and mustard sauce, served with rice; fricassée of lamb’s sweetbreads and black pudding with pea purée, rhubarb and cider sauce and a garnish of preserved lemon peel; manchester tart.

Friday 27th March 2015

Last of the Spring Wine

And so, with Spring upon us and a new offal cookbook on my shelf, there was plenty to inspire another evening of overindulgence. However a "new" cookbook is not entirely correct. Having already filled our shelves with everything offal-related Amazon have to offer, my wife had resorted to second hand bookshops for my birthday present. There she discovered the Offal volume of the Good Cook series of tips and techniques for aspiring chefs of the 70's: back when offal was part of the standard fare for cordon bleu and haute cuisine. The master chefs of this tome particularly recommended calf as having the finest kidney of them all and so, having never had this before, a quick phone call to Frosts ensured 3kg were placed on order to try out some of the recipes. Some fresh lambs sweetbreads that just happened to be sitting on their counter were thrown in and the menu was nearly complete. Ever reliable, Joby responded to his invite "I have home-cured some jowl if you're interested" - oh yes!

And an evening of overindulgence it indeed was. As new offaliate Tom commented afterwards in his blog, not so much Offal Club, more "Wine Club interrupted with offal courses".

Chefs, Sommeliers and Menu: 

Venue: Simon's

Member's present: Simon, Jason, Howie, Joby, Dan, Jock, Simon C, Pete, Tom, Phil, Steve.

1. Home-cured guanciale with radish on a pea and mint sourdough tartine.

The jowl, from a rare-breed Tamworth, was cured before Christmas: it spent about 10 days in a home-made seasoned rub with a mixture of Italian herbs and some other goodies.

Then it was dried and rubbed down, wrapped in muslin, and hung up to air-dry indoors for 12 weeks, before being eaten at every available opportunity.

2.  Calf’s kidney and onion baked dumpling with piccalilli and chili jam.

3.  Braised calf’s kidney wrapped in wild garlic and spinach, mushroom sauce and parsnip and apple mash.

4. Sautéed calf’s kidney with a cream, calvados and mustard sauce, served with rice.

5. Fricassée of lamb’s sweetbreads and black pudding with pea purée, rhubarb and cider sauce and garnished with preserved lemon peel.

Lambs sweetbreads
Aromatics (onion, celery, carrot, thyme and bay)
Black pudding
300ml Cider
300ml Chicken stock
2 Lemons 
Crème fraiche
1 Onion
1 Potato

Peel the lemons and place the peel in a jar with plenty of salt, leave for 72 hours then rinse off the salt before serving. Juice the lemons and reserve the juice.
Prepare sweetbreads (soak in vinagered water for several hours, poach in water with lemon juice and aromatics for 5 mins, cool in iced water then drain, devein and deskin, place between towels and press overnight). 
Poach the rhubarb in cider for 15 minutes then remove rhubarb and add chicken stock and reduce.
Fry the onion with the bacon then add peas, potato, mint and thyme and stock and simmer for 20 mins. Remove mint and thyme. Add cream and puree.
Slice the black pudding and bake for 15 mins. Sprinkle the rhubarb with a little sugar and bake for 5 mins.
Fry the sweetbreads in butter for 10 mins till browned.

6. Manchester tart.

Post-prandial entertainment:

Wine and other beverages:

Quotes of the Night:
If in doubt, deep fry the fucker.
That's an extraordinary piece of piccalilli.
Where's the warming station?
Simons using the cooking calvados. It cost him 41 quid.
You're going to wake up tomorrow with gout.
Is this your Manchester tart?
The kidneys are very understated.
You realise, Jock, you are going back for seconds of Jason's man custard.

Next up: It's back to Bowden for Dan's new kitchen experience.