Grilled Moroccan lambs’ liver kebabs

Food & drink
Grilled Moroccan lambs’ liver kebabs post image

I often buy lamb from The Wensleydale Butcher, who source animals from across the Dales. £75-ish, depending on the time of the year, will buy half a lamb butchered and vacuum-sealed into plenty of useful cuts. It’s remarkably good value, and the meat comes with cast-iron provenance.

‘Half a lamb’ means exactly that, and it arrives with a pack of about three or four hundred grams of liver. I normally chuck that straight into the freezer and forget about it.

But that’s not right. So, getting all Fergus Henderson nose-to-tail eating, I fished some liver out of its icy tomb and set to work.

This is a quick and easy kebab recipe for a simple lunch. It takes about twenty minutes to pull together

Firstly, the liver. You need about 350g for four healthy skewers.

If your liver is from a well-reared lamb, from a farm that looks after its stock, your liver is going to be fine and you don’t need to go to the bother of soaking it in milk. This is normally done to take the edge off the taste – it helps the liver flavour to mellow out, but in this case, you’re going to be hitting it with some serious spices anyway, so the benefits are debatable. If you want to, just pour some milk over the liver and let it stand for twenty minutes before tipping the now-horrifyingly bloody milk away.

Proper beer chutney

Food & drink
Proper beer chutney

Right about now is the best time to start thinking about getting some things together for Christmas, and this chutney is one of those things you’ll be quietly smug that you made way back in November when you spoon some of it onto a plate next to some cheese during that weird, dead week between Christmas and New Year.

This is a traditional recipe that’s described as ‘pub style’, which I think means that it’s got beer in it and nothing more. It makes a huge amount, at least four big jars, but recipes like this aren’t really practical to make in very small quantities, so be prepared to give some away.

Preparation is simple. All you need is a big pan and a bit of patience with a knife.

Baking bread in lockdown

Food & drink
Baking bread in lockdown post image

It’s a strange time to be a baker.

Our isolation encourages a regression to more basic needs, more elemental things. We remember, slowly remember, some of the things we used to do, the way things used to be. Necessity is a great leveler and an excellent coach, and the sudden resurgence of people discovering the joy of a fresh loaf of bread all over my Instagram feed is something truly wonderful. It reminds me that technical proficiency is merely an affectation. Simply ‘doing’ is the answer. The search for perfection is not.

Doing, learning, doing again, and again and again.

I feel lucky to have some experience of baking bread, but this is one of those areas where you’re always the student. There’s always something to learn, the key is to just start. Don’t they say that the best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago, or failing that, today? The same applies to learning how to bake a loaf of bread.

There’s power in that dough, power more potent than the mere flour, water and salt it contains. It teaches you to care, to nurture, to wait, to be patient. It forces you to stop and listen, to feel, to be cautious, to be bold. There’s nothing like it. It’s elemental and basic, alive and ancient.

Where to start? Here’s a list of resources and recipes to get you going. You don’t need much – flour, water, salt at the bare minimum, yeast or baking soda, a book or two.

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Sarto, Leeds

Eating out
Sarto, Leeds post image

Some new ground for two of Leeds’ existing and best-known independents, Sarto is a restaurant collaboration between the people behind The Brunswick on North Street, up past The Reliance, and the frankly awesome Laynes Espresso just outside the station.

It focuses squarely on pasta, and was born out of a series of test pop-up events that clearly showed the demand. Sarto serves a decent variety of fresh pasta dishes at pretty good prices in a space in Munro House, close to Leeds College of Music and the BBC.

The food is excellent. Fresh pasta, cooked well, with care and attention. Big bowls of rigatoni dressed sparsely with slow cooked shoulder of lamb and mint, fettuccine with wild mushrooms and cream, spike with marsala, big bowls of sourdough bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar … you get the idea. More …

Where to eat in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York

Eating out
Where to eat in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York post image

New York, New York. The king of cities. Bustling, frenetic, funny, edgy, and with literally thousands of places to eat.

Here’s a quick round up of the places we ate on a recent short break in the New York, based in the much-recommended neighbourhood of Williamsburg, over in Brooklyn, about five minutes ride from Manhattan on the L train.

Where to eat in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York

First off, the grandfather of New York pizza is Di Fara’s in Brooklyn, but Brooklyn is a massive place, and after we realised it’d take the best part of an hour on the subway to get there, then having to face into an infamously slow and somewhat unpredictable service, we decided to give the relatively new Williamburg branch a go instead. Housed in a really good food market type place on N 3rd Street, this outpost is said to be the twin of it’s more famous brother, and it did not disappoint. I’d go as far as saying that this was the best pizza I’ve had outside of Italy. Light, and tasty dough, with a good zing of acidity through it, topped with perfect combinations of ingredients and excellent tomato sauce and slices of mozzarella. So good we ordered more.

Di Fara’s pizza, Williamsburg

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