Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Offally good

Apart from the occassional Blyton, my early forays into literacy was patchy to say the least. To the dismay of some readers, I did not choose any of the classics to bury my head in (unless 1993's compendium of the World's Fastest Cars counts), and to this day I've only dabbled with a few, but full of good intentions to broaden my horizons...

Instead, the first book that truly engaged me at 9 years old was The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, aged 13 and three quarters. Granted, my west country upbringing was nowhere near Ashby de la Zouch and my life was less dysfunctional (not by much though!), but I obviously connected with the light humour on some level. As Adrian progressed into adult life, I became less enamoured with his perpetually unfortunate escapades, until a recent culinary experience sparked a memory.

Fronting the fictional tv series, Offally Good, Adrian Mole does what the name suggests and cooks with offal. The thought turned my stomach until recent advocates such as Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall have lauded the virtues of Ox tongues and lungs, and dare I say it, brains. So I thought I'd give it a go.

Lambs liver salad with spinach, pomegranate, goats cheese and madeira dressing

8 pieces of lambs liver
2 full hand fulls of spinach
50 grams of crumbly goats cheese
half a pomegranate, seeded
1 glug of Madeira
Salt, pepper, butter and oil for seasoning and frying

Firstly, I was amazed at how cheap this dish was. My pack of liver, which would feed two, cost a mere 83 pence. The rest of the ingredients all came to under a fiver (excluding the Madeira which I had in stock following my duck recipe), with left overs for future lunches and snacks.

To begin, warm some oil in a frying pan (olive is fine, but rapeseed would be great) until sizzling. Fry your lambs liver for no more than three minutes on each side - you want them cooked through but not overcooked, tough and rubbery. Arrange your spinach leaves across two plates, and place your lambs liver artistically. Scatter the pomegranate seeds, and crumble the goats cheese on top. Finish by placing the pan back on the hob and adding the glug of madeira and a nob of butter. Cook off the alcohol, deglaze the flavour, pour over and serve. The sweet sauce and pomegranate, offset by the goats cheese and strong spinach, really compliment the liver.

Unfortunately, I was without camera for this recipe so can't provide you with any images, but the one below gives you a rough idea of what the liver should look like (bear in mind they've griddled theirs).

For another great recipe from one of my favourite blogs, see Belleau Kitchen for lambs liver with balsamic vineger (severe blog and kitchen envy here!). His is a beautiful combination of flavours, but with mine, I can promise your tongue will satisfied from tip to base!

So, if reading's your thing, take a look at some of the great books out there. If like me (and you probably will be if you're reading this blog), the cookbook is your bed time staple, immerse yourself in some of these, and recreate the classics.

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