Lamb Sweetbreads with Smoked Butter Samphire and Elderflower Gooseberries

This morning I looked out of the window and the pouring rain and screwed my face up, I had to go out in that. I had to go to the Farmer’s Market and pick up some rainbow chard for the veg patch, arse. I headed out in the rain only to return 10 minutes later, not with any rainbow chard seedlings (Ash wasn’t able to make the market today) but with a punnet of plump gooseberries and a bag of bright green samphire, aces. Despite having loads of writing work I needed to get done these purchases were screaming to be turned into something wonderful.  I’ve mentioned before about my synesthesia, I tasted the sharp gooseberry followed by a bit of the salty samphire, the shapes could work together with a bit of help. I could feel the shape that the dish needed to be and so I turned to my larder to set about finding the components to make that form happen. I should add that Glen was really skeptical about my decision to marry samphire and gooseberry before he tasted this dish, and was eyeing up the tin of beaked beans in the cupboard for lunch, but he went on to eat  3 bowls of it, yeah it rocked.

The only flower that is purely for decoration is the violet on the top of the dish. Parsley, chive and onion flowers are incredibly concentrated and without these the dish will suffer. The 2 tarragon leaves add a lovely burst of aniseed to the dish and in just the right amount. I don’t think you should put stuff on a plate that doesn’t contribute to the dish, the violet is there because it looks pretty and is edible, it’s value is sensory, and a dish should make you happy in a holistic fashion (my god that sounds really wanky but its absolutely true in this instance!).


Ingredients:

 For the sweetbreads:

  • lamb sweetbreads
  • cornmeal
  • type 00  flour
  • Spiced salt (Halen Môn)
  • beaten egg
  • oil for frying

Elderflower gooseberries:

  • 1 punnet gooseberries
  • 2 tablespoons homemade elderflower syrup (otherwise use Belvoir cordial)
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 sprig rosemary

Samphire

  • 1 bag samphire (washed)
  • 1 knob smoked butter (mine is from Derimon Smokery on Anglesey who sell online)
  • freshly ground pepper

To serve:

  •  Parsley flower heads
  •  chive flowers
  •  onion flowers
  •  tarragon leaves
  •  violet
  •  marigold flower
  •  homemade Harvest Ketchup.

The homemade Harvest Ketchup recipe you will have to wait for until the harvest issue of Great Food Magazine is out because it is one of my “Recipes from Wyldelight Kitchen”. An alternative would be a really good sweet brown sauce like Tiptree (or your own obviously!). Method:

  1. Simply dust your prepared lamb sweetbreads in the flour seasoned with the spiced salt, then into the beaten egg then roll in the cornflour before deep frying for a minute or so depending on how big they are.
  2. Put your gooseberries in a saucepan with the syrup, rosemary and water and cook really gently for a few minutes until soft but still holding their shape.
  3. Blanch the samphire in boiling water for about a minute (I like mine to still “pop” when I bite into it. Drain then add your smoked butter and plenty of freshly ground pepper.
  4. To assemble simply put some of your smoked butter samphire on a dish, top with sweetbreads, surround with your elderflower poached gooseberries (and a bit of syrup), dot splurges of your sweet ketchup and scatter your herbs and flowers evenly about the plate. Dead easy, really tasty.
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Coconut Panna Cotta with Ginger and Lemongrass Syrup

This week marked the start of the Thai New Year so the Domestic Sluttery food writers were all asked to make Thai inspired recipes. I made a Thai style Kedgeree for my savoury post (reckon I will always make it this way from now on but with the addition of some Lapsang Souchong too) but I needed to come up with a dessert for Friday’s post.

I’ve never made a panna cotta before, I don’t really do desserts, I much prefer a cheeseboard at the end of the meal. I have had a few wonderful panna cottas in my time though so I knew I needed to achieve that perfect Boob Wobble if it was to be a success.

I’ve had a pack of gelatine leaves in my pantry for a few weeks now, the intention was to make some lovely Elderflower and spring flower jellies as my collection of glass jelly moulds never actually get used.  Coconut panna cotta it is then.  According to the gelatine instructions I just needed 4 leaves for every pint of liquid, simple enough so off I went to buy coconut milk, coconut cream (because I love it) and regular cream (because I wanted it to feel luxurious in the mouth).

I had received some very sad news the day before and thought I was coping really well (cooking is great for grief, eating not so easy) but I found myself crying in Tescos (they’d changed it all around AGAIN) and so did a rubbish job of shopping and returned home with gin, dried porcini mushrooms and chorizo.  I didn’t even realise I’d forgotten to buy any coconut ingredients until I got home and spoke to Glen (who detests coconut so was pretty happy about the shopping fail but obviously a bit worried about the girl crying in the doorway holding a bottle of gin and some chorizo). I had another cry at being rubbish at shopping.  I wasn’t really crying about that at all, I was crying because Nain, my grandmother, had died and I didn’t know what to do.

Another shopping trip later (this one without tears) and I was ready to go.  I love making up recipes but it’s always a bit nerve-racking when doing things like this (science-y).  The coconut mixture I had made was quite thick so would I need more gelatine? Having worked out how much gelatine I would officially need for a Boob Wobble set I threw it all together. It was only when I was putting the unused gelatine leaves back in the packet that I realised 2 must have been stuck together so I’d added a bit more than I should have.  I wasn’t bothered though as it just seemed right.

I don’t have any Dariole moulds so I just poured the mix into whatever I had: a few espresso cups, an old teacup, a couple of jelly moulds and a cocktail glass.

Once set the first cup was turned out and a nervous Boob Wobble test carried out – perfect. Phew, now to taste them.  I poured over my Ginger and Lemongrass syrup that had been infusing away, and tentatively spooned in.  Wow, it was so silky.  Rich in flavour but light in texture it just melted in my mouth. Yeah, I had a little cry, but this time I think I was also crying because something good had happened for the first time in 24 hours of sadness.

The first one turned out onto a plate ready for the Boob Wobble Test

I was so happy I recorded my Boob Wobble, you can see it HERE.

As I mentioned earlier, Glen hates coconut.  He used to love it but his Mum went through a phase of putting desiccated coconut into EVERYTHING when he was little so he just can’t stand it anymore.  I was so pleased with my new creations though that I made him try a bit.  He loved it! He ate 2 of them straight away.  

So if you want to give my recipe a go, and you really should because it’s really easy and tastes like it wasn’t, then you can see my recipe HEREIt really is stupidly easy to make and as always  you should check out all the other brilliant stuff on Domestic Sluttery!