Sunday, 22 May 2011

Fish at last

This week has been an interesting one for me, from offal to meat to fish it was a real mixed bag. We started the week cooking with offal, something I hadn't been exposed to at all outside of indiscriminate bits of kidney inside a good old steak and kidney pie. I knew that I disliked liver, something about the heavy metallic smell and taste and soft mouth coating texture of it put me off years ago. However I held a hope of having developed a taste for it and perhaps even enjoying it this time around being the rabid carnivore that I am. I thought liver may be for me like oysters, olives and mustard, food that I never touched for years that I suddenly woke up craving.

These are the dishes we cooked:

Seared Calves Liver, Potatoes, Caramelized Onions, Jus

Unfortunately liver didn't do it for me again, it was medium rare, slightly overdone for the chef. The flavour was just too strong and unfamiliar for me so I brought it home to my flatmate who absolutely loved it. Apparently offal is like that, completely polarizing, people either absolutely love it or hate and often family members may be completely split down the middle. It's important to be able to cook offal well because its a valuable addition to restaurant menus in that people who love it don't often get to eat it at home because some in their family may not so they order it when they go out.

Sweetbreads, Asparagus, Jus

Sweetbreads I didn't mind, I liked the creamy texture and the inoffensive flavour compared to liver.

Do you like offal? Let me know what you think in the comment section below!

We moved on from offal to cooking some paupiettes, meat parcels stuffed with various things:

Chicken stuffed with Savoury Mousse, Courgette Spaghetti, Tomato Sauce

This was a really nice dish, but I over-reduced my sauce to a nice heavy consistency, I think subconsciously it may have been my brain reminding me that I haven't eaten bolognese in too long.

Finally we started on seafood which continues next week. Seafood is my passion and I've been looking forward to tasting and comparing British seafood to back home.

Rolled Fillets of Lemon Sole with Mushroom Duxelle, Spinach, Beurre Blanc and (badly piped) Potato

It was my first time filleting a flatfish and its definitely more finicky than filleting a snapper, it has four fillets instead of two, all of different sizes. I enjoyed the fish and I'm looking forward to dressing crabs and cooking moules mariniere next week.


  1. True to your theory about polarised families I love liver especially chicken livers but am not good at cooking them so often order went out.

  2. The only liver i like is foie gras. I like your blog Adam its really interesting. I will definitely be following it. Hows the course going?

  3. You know what Sam? It's Jimmys cooking at 37 Lyndon St that put me off liver once and for all!

  4. Course is going great mate, love going to school! Who'd have thought..

  5. haha that would put even the biggest liver lovers off liver haha. thats good to hear. when are you back in nz?

  6. Late posting Adam as I catch up with your London life. We were brought up on offal. Lambs brains in breadcrumbs, ox tongue & tail (not together), steak & kidney, lambs fry & bacon (couldn't stomach even the smell of tripe). These were the ones I could eat and usually enjoy. But like you I find liver strong and prefer to accompany it with other flavors. My mother is a great offal cook and my sister Sarah a keen offal gourmet. The most adventurous I get now is chicken liver pate but it's difficult when other family members aren't keen. I've also enjoyed a fat snapper head. If you ever need any recipes to work on in an NZ context my old mum would love to pass them on.