Friday, March 13

Foody Friday: Heart

The first time I had heart, it was £2 of ox heart and fed four people easily. Economy cooking at its finest! Heart is often overlooked for being tough and gristley, but it really depends how you cook it. I've had more good heart than I've had good steak, but that's probably as much testiment to my inability to cook steak. Heart's good, though, and incredibly cheap. It's a great way to bulk out lasagnes, cottage pies, normal pies, and bolgnaise sauces.

My favourite way to do heart for heart's sake is in a slow cooker. Cut it into reasonable sized chunks (you need a large knife and a lot of clout), add a little water, red wine and seasoning, and put on to cook at breakfast time. By dinner, it's soft and tender and juicy and good, and there's a really nice gravy too.

Mrs Beeton didn't have a slow cooker, alas. Not that a Victorian oven or aga couldn't be persuaded to act like one, but her only recipe for ox heart is to have it stuffed.

Beeton's Bullock's Heart


1 ox heart. The younger than animal, the more tender, but the bigger the more economical!
2 oz bacon
1/4lb suet
1/2 a lemon rind
6 oz breadcrumbs
2 eggs
1 teaspoon parsely
1 teaspoon mixed herbs
salt, cayenne and mace to taste (about 1 teaspoon in total)
Warm water


Sharp Knife
Chopping Board
Large bowl
Larding Needle and twine (or string and a spare pair of hands)
Baking tray
Lots of time.


Put the heart in warm water to soak for two hours.

Chop finely the bacon, suet, herbs and lemon peel together. Or run them all through a mincer.

Add seasoning and blend with breadcrumbs.

Wet to make it a little sticky.

Beat the eggs and add them to the mix. Make it very sticky.

Wipe the heart with a cloth. Use your sharp knife to cut away the lobes and gristley bits.

Stuff with the mix, and sew it up (or tie it tightly).

Wrap in foil and put in a hot oven. Depending on the size of the heart, this could take another couple of hours.

Baste it regularly with stock or fat. before serving, baste it again and leave it to sit a couple of minutes. Good with gravy or redcurrant sauce. It'll probably feed about 8 people, so have some mates over!

Beeton, Isabella; Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management;; 2007

Monday, March 9

Foody Friday: Offal

Another late foody friday. This month's theme is offal!

Okay, so a lot of people don't eat offal (or sweetbreads). I do. I didn't until I went to university, but there I (a) met a lot of people far more adventurous than I and (b) didn't have much money. Also, it was going to be eggs this month, but Easter's not 'til April, so you get offal now.

So, cheap food is good in a recession, and using up all of an animal is more environmentally friendly and ethical and only eating bits and wasting the rest. Also, if it's done right (usually in a slow cooker) things like liver and heart can be absolutely delicious. No really.

I discovered (by which I mean 'I enjoyed for the first time', since it wasn't the first time I'd eaten it) liver in a pub a couple of summers ago. Liver, bacon, and mustard mash.

Searching the historical cookbooks, calf's liver and bacon has been a popular combination for centuries, and rightly so. My personal, poorly informed opinion, is that when it comes to liver the larger and younger the animal, the better it tastes. So calf is my favourite, then lamb, and then pork. I haven't tried much poultry liver outside of pates (and I really ought to do a duck liver and orange pate, because, it's delicious!).

This recipe is largely my own devising, from several attempts at this recipe. I've included the two historical recipes (John Nott and Robert Smith) as well. This makes a large meal for one, or two small meals.

Calf's Liver and Bacon with Mustard Mash


1/2 a calf's liver
2 rashers of bacon
1/2 an onion
1 large potato
1 teaspoon english mustard (not french, ick!)
1 teaspoon butter
Hot water
stock/gravy browning


1 saucepan
1 frying pan
1 chopping board
1 sharp knife
1 fork (for mashing!)


Cut your potato into tiny little bits and boil until easily mashed.

Chop your onion finely and fry until soft.

Add the bacon and liver to the onion. Be careful not to over-fry, or the liver goes rubbery.

While frying, mash the potato with butter and mustard.

Put the mash on the plate and lay the bacon and liver on top.

Add a small amount of hot water to the bacon, and your stock or gravy browning. Basically, make onion gravy. I'm bad at gravy.

Pour onions and gravy over the top of mash and meat.


The Cook and Confectioners Dictionary, Or, The Accomplish'd Housewifes Companion - To Roast a Calf's Liver

Lard your Liver well with large Slices of Bacon, fasten it on the Spit, roast it at a gentle Fire, and serve it with a good Gravy, or a Poivrade.

Court cookery: or, The compleat English Cooke - To Roast a Calf's Liver

Lard your Liver with fat Bacon roll'd in savory Spice, pretty thick, and fasten it on the Spit; baste it with Cream, and serve it up with good Gravy.

Nott, John; The Cook's and Confectioner's Dictionary, Or, The Accomplish'd Housewife's Companion; Bible and Crown; 1723; Googlebooks scan from Original at Harvard University, digitized Jul 9, 2007

Smith, Robert; Court Cookery, or The Compleat Englishe Cook; Three-Daggers; London; 1725; Googlebooks scan digitized May 1, 2007

I still completely owe you a writeup of Fishguard. Work has been a little mad, but hopefully it'll settle down soon.

Sunday, March 1

Foody Friday Chocolate Cream

I have been completely owing a post since I got back from Fishguard, but going on holiday left me very tired! Plus, selkie had to be in to Samhain by today, I have an interview tomorrow, and technology is ceasing to exist around me.

Anyway, selkie has gone. It gained lost the first two parts and gained 5000 words, and went through some other fairly dramatic structural changes. I think I've learnt the pacing difference between a novel and novella.

I have about five minutes before my laptop battery runs out, so this is a bit of a fly-by Foody Friday.

Chocolate Creams

Robert Smith - chocolate cream

1 pint Cream
tablespoonful Cocoa
2 Egg yolks

Large Pan
Chocolate Cup (rammikin or small dish)

Boil the cream and cocoa together
Add the egg yolk and stir over the heat until it thickens
Put in your cups and leave to cool in the fridge.

Smith, Robert; Court Cookery, or The Compleat Englishe Cook; Three-Daggers; London; 1725; Googlebooks scan digitized May 1, 2007