Liver Love It or Hate It

When I grew up we often had liver to eat, it was very cheap and provided a decent sized dinner. Mum used to dredge it in flour with some herbs and spices then fry it until it was cooked, this was served with boiled potatoes and gravy. At that age I really didn’t like liver too much it was tough, dry and not pleasant in my eyes.  This all happened in the 60’s when people used to eat all these offal products, these days not many people talk about it so much. But just like fashion all things come around again. I have seen Pork Liver in the butchers recently so maybe liver is slowly coming back.

Gram for gram, liver is one of the most nutrient dense foods available to us. It contains a large amount of high-quality protein, an easily absorbed form of iron, all of the B vitamins (including B12 and folic acid in significant amounts), balanced quantities of vitamin A, many trace elements and minerals including copper, zinc, chromium, phosphorous and selenium, essential fatty acids EPA, DHA and AA, as well as the powerful antioxidant CoQ10.  Taken from the following blog :- http://blog.radiantlifecatalog.com/bid/60772/Benefits-of-Eating-Liver-10-Questions-Answered

As I have grown older I have seen liver made in many different ways. But my eyes were truly opened when I was invited to a friends place for dinner and watched the mom prepare Lamb Fry (Lamb Liver), she skinned it and I didn’t have any idea there was a skin on liver in the first place, she sliced it very thin and dredged it in flour, but here is the amazing thing. Before she started the liver she chopped up and fried 250 grams of bacon rashers and a large onion, then put them aside. She fried the liver and told me that it must not be cooked through, That is done when you make up the gravy add the bacon and onions and the liver and cook it on low for 30 minutes or so. Serve with potatoes and any other vegetables. I must say it was fantastic, there was absolutely no taste of the liver, never in my wildest dreams did I think I would love liver and I have repeated that recipe many times since. So I guess I can honestly say I love liver.

Potato Bake

potato-bake

I bought some Olga’s Veal Schnitzels already crumbed, normally I don’t like buying already made schnitzels as too many times I bought some that were very fatty, or had a lot of tendons, you just cannot see what is under those crumbs. So I buy veal, pork, chicken breast or beef and make my own schnitzels and know what meat has been used. I can also add the seasonings and herbs that I want to use and make it special.

Anyway, I made the schnitzels and they were ok, and instead of boiled or mashed potatoes I wanted to make a potato bake with some lovely flavours of bacon, fried onions and fresh sliced spring onion for lightness and freshness. I am lactose intolerant so I used the Liddells brand of lactose free cheese, it is a lovely cheddar cheese without the pain. I used a small dish about 10 inches x 5 inches. Recipe below.

  • 5 above medium Potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 2 Spring Onions, finely sliced, reserve a little for garnish
  • 250 grams (8oz) finely diced Bacon, reserve a little for garnish
  • 1 Large Onion, peeled and chopped
  • 250 grams (8oz) cheese, grated
  • Salt to taste

Rinse the Potatoes, cover with water and salt to taste, bring them to the boil, cook until just done. Drain.

Meanwhile fry the bacon until golden and crisp, drain from the fat and put on paper towels. Fry the onions until golden and fragrant. Drain on paper towels.

Slice the potatoes to 1/4 to 1/3 of an inch thick. Make the first layer of the Potato Bake potatoes, I don’t grease my dish as you have ingredient that have been cooked in oil they will still exude some oil as well as the cheese. After the potatoes add a scattered layer of bacon, onions, spring onions just a few, and then some cheese. Keep this going until you used all the potatoes finishing with cheese. Place in oven and brown the cheese until golden brown. Garnish and serve.

Roasting Quails

I was delighted to see quails for sale at BananaBlue. Immediately my mind was creating all kinds of cooking ideas and side dishes, I thought baby vegetables or a Leek and Barley Risotto would go well with the quail. I decided on the baby vegetables. I chose Broccolini, Baby Carrots, and Young Leeks. I cut out some potato rounds with a cookie cutter, I wanted to keep with the delicate vegetable theme. With the leeks, remove the roots and only a tiny sliver of the connective base, this way it holds together when you cook it. I have added the recipe below.

It is amazing how much meat there is on the quails breast, you don’t expect it when you eat it, the preparing is a little fiddly at first, but once you figured out the first one the others are much easier.

I bought a different pepper grinder that contains a medley of black, white, pink and green whole pepper corns, it’s a milder more pleasant taste I think personally. I also use a salt grinder with pink Himalayan salt, I have to watch my salt intake as it gives me a lot of pain in my feet if I eat too much maybe it affects the neuropathy I am not sure, but anyway this salt because it’s a grinder I can control the amount that comes out so much easier and it’s a really nice tasting salt.

I also used the streaky end of the bacon rasher, it is just the right width to go over the quail I chose to use kitchen twine to hold the bacon in place, I didn’t want to puncture the flesh of the quail and have all the juices run out, it would be terrible if it turned out dry. Being such a small bird its surprising that it still takes about 35 to 40 minutes to cook but the flesh is a little denser than chicken.

Oh and for heaven’s sake don’t feed the bones to your pets they are so thin they would snap into sharp ends, and that would be horrible.Anyway, enough prattling on from me, here is the recipe.

Roast Quail

roast-quail-3a

  • 4 Whole Quails
  • 4 Pieces of Bacon
  • Freshly Ground Salt and Pepper
  • 4 Sprigs of fresh Thyme or a small pinch of dried Thyme for each bird
  • Kitchen Twine
  • Tooth Picks

 

Rinse the Quails under cold water; check the bottom opening is clean of feathers, fat. Dry well with paper towel inside and out, shake a little salt into the cavity.

Put the thyme into the cavity. Grind salt and pepper over the quail to taste, front and back.

With a long string tie the legs together at the end of the bone. Then bring the string under the wing, flip the bird over onto the breast and tie the string across the back.  This pulls the legs up so they are partly protected by the bacon.

Lay the bacon across the breast secure with tooth picks or with more kitchen twine.

Place on a wire rack over an oven tray. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes on 190C (375F) or until the juices run clear from thickest part of breast.

Serve with baby vegetables peeled and halved lengthways, cooked in salted water for 10 minutes, drained and sautéed in butter until starting to colour. Serve.

My Foodie Ideas

Many times in the past and again today I have been asked to write a blog about my cooking.  But I have always said that I stumble over my words and just cannot get anything down on paper. I have a wonderful friend that has a blog and I admire her gift of writing in a beautiful style. Hi Rhonda!

I saw Rachel Ray on television today making Lemon & Pepper Chicken Drumsticks, they had 7 cloves of garlic sliced, the zest of one lemon and juice of two lemons, and one tablespoon of freshly ground pepper for 8 drumsticks that seems like a lot of pepper, garlic and a lot of lemon juice. But with a little bit of tweaking it could be a nice recipe.

Tomorrow I want to make some Roasted Quail with Sautéed  Green Vegetables. Yumm. The Vegetables I chose are baby leeks with the roots trimmed off but the bulb still intact so when you cut them in half lengthways to wash them and then to sautéed  them they don’t fall apart, the other Vegetables are baby carrots and young broccolini.  Originally I was thinking of making a Barley Risotto, with butter sautéed  leek, tender onions cooked to the point of browning and then adding broth and barley, the sautéed  chopped leek and let it cook slowly adding more broth as its absorbed and adding cheese and butter at the end, writing this is making me hungry.  That’s it for now and my first blog entry.