20 January 2013


We celebrated Burns' Night a bit early this year so that we could indoctrinate another person to the amusingness that is the holiday that honors Robert Burns. This year, though, we did not do our stand-by of Oat and Neep Stew.

Instead, we used some of the lamb offal we acquired through Garden Variety Cheese to make haggis. Well, haggish. That is to say, we did not have lungs or stomach, only liver and heart in sausage casing. Nonetheless, I'm told that it made a very decent approximation of haggis, and I can say myself that it was delicious. The lamb's liver was so light and tender, and of course the heart was delicious. We used caul fat instead of lard or suet, which I understand is an odd choice but it was a good one as it ended up with just the right fat content we thought.

Anyway, on to the recipe.

serves 4
adapted from Rampant Scotland

 1 lamb heart
1/2 of a lamb liver
1 cup fat (lard, suet or caul fat)
1 small onion
1/3 cup steel cut oats
1/3 cup stock
1/2 teaspoon salt
a few grinds of black pepper
1 tablespoon each fresh minced rosemary and thyme

some sausage casing

1. Put the heart and liver in a pot and cover with water. Boil until quite tender, at least half an hour.

2. Remove the heart and liver to a bowl, keeping the stock you've just made.

3. After the meat is cool enough to touch, mince (but do not puree!) the meat, onion, herbs and whichever fat you've chosen quite finely.

4. Add all the minced ingredients into a bowl with the oats, stock, salt and pepper; mix well.

5. Stuff the filling into the casing, leaving a fair bit of room for expansion and working out as much air as you can (otherwise the casing will blow apart in the midst of boiling...mine did...). A tip that I thought worked quite well for stuffing the casing without a machine to do it for you is to use a miso soup spoon to assist your endeavors.

6. Tie off the end of the casing.

7. Boil for at least an 1-1/2 hours, and up to 3 hours.

8. Serve with mashed potatoes, turnips and parsnips.

13 January 2013

Cocoa Wheat

Ever since I was a child I've like all the "Cream of" hot cereals--particularly rice and wheat. My mother bought the instant varieties that you could do up in the microwave, and I had huge bowls of it every morning. I didn't know though that I was being deprived of something even more amazing: CoCo Wheats. Well, I say more amazing, but really the store bought cereal CoCo Wheats don't hold a candle to the burning inferno that is the amazingness of homemade cocoa wheat. Seriously, it's fantastic. It might be that I have really delicious cocoa powder (definitely part of it), it might be that I don't care for the additives in the branded cereal, it might be a lot of things, but it certainly is heavenly.

Cocoa Wheat
serves 2

2 cups milk
2-1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1-1/2 tablespoons honey
1/3 cup farina
(pinch of salt)

1. Whisk the cocoa powder into the milk

2. Heat the milk over medium flame until simmering (I like to stir fairly often so the milk doesn't scorch or bubble over)

3. Add the honey (and salt if using)

4. Add the farina slowly (so as not to clump)

5. Cook the farina (still stirring) until thickened to preference (just a few minutes)