I often get asked what’s my favourite food to eat – well there are three – – –
Lobster – I love it, my dream is to eat 12 all by myself, I’d even settle for 3. Once upon a time when working as a chef in London I went out with my work buddies, got a little drunk while my then boyfriend now hubby went to a contractor’s dinner, apparently there was a central table full of dressed lobsters. At the end of the night there were quite a few left and he asked the Mafia East Ender Scaffolder company owner if he could take one home for me. He managed to phone me, don’t know how because I didn’t have a mobile then! And tell me he’d left it in the fridge. Of course I rolled in drunk as a skunk in the silly hours and opened the fridge to look at its majestic presence. I remember thinking ‘I want that Lobster, right now, right here, right now’ but then my little ‘angel’ on my left shoulder said ‘leave it until tomorrow, when you’ll appreciated it’ of course the devil won. So I reached in and pulled it out – sat on the floor in front of the light in the fridge, otherwise in complete darkness – not sure why I didn’t put the light on. I then ‘oohed & arrrred’ as I divulged its glorious flesh sat on my kitchen floor – it was the best thing I had ever eaten. I licked the shell and thought one day I want a table full of lobster – – it hasn’t happened yet, but it will do.
The second is Sweetbreads – some people think they are – – –
‘Bollo_ _s’, I like em! (see what I did there!) they are actually the thyroid gland from a lamb, a lamb has two glands. You can only get them in spring and they are very hard to find. Norwich market is the best place. You have to peel the skin away (I know, don’t be put of) – you then poach or steam to tenderise, then lightly pan fried to colour. The texture – all soft and delicate makes them delicious, the flavour subtle and smooth. I really do love em. You hardly ever see them on a menu – the last time I did was at the Southbank Chop House in London over 15 years ago – I divulged in a really expensive piece of beef, just because it was served with a sweetbread.
My third is Foie Gras – ethically sourced, I know it’s a disgrace how those poor geese are treated. I love geese we have Charlie, Doris, Splodge and Boo at Lodge Farm a Pilgrim breed mixed with a little Grey Lag, so clever – only yesterday there was a gust of wind, they all ran towards the apple tree knowing there may be wind falls. I would never eat them!! And I defiantly wouldn’t force feed them to enflame their livers they do it quite well by themselves – – BUT it tastes so good, it’s like guilt mixed with heaven. ‘Gavage’ is the process of force feeding geese to enflame their liver, you don’t want to know the details, it’s not nice. But there are ethical farmers who let their geese roam free and gorge themselves silly, creating the chemical imbalance that inflames their liver naturally with no discomfort or pain – thinking they are migrating they stuff their little beaks to their hearts content while having a fabulous free range life – that’s the liver I go for. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get my hands on the good stuff for years – but when I do its just toooo good. Pan fried it just seals the edges, warming up the smooth, gentle parfait like liver inside, crisping the edges while it melts like butter – – the texture and the taste is better than anything, just thinking about it makes my brain turn to jelly and my limbs weak.
SO – What’s do I find gross in the ingredients world – nothing much really, I’ll eat almost anything half edible. The most repulsive thing someone could serve me is egg mayonnaise, after all its overcooked rubbery eggs in gelatinous smoosh – smelly and sloppy. Of course if I was served it I would eat it with a scowl and hide some of it under my cutlery or shove it in to a close by flower pot.
I might not be so happy if I was served Horse Penis, very popular in China. I certainly would refuse to eat dog in Korea – ethically of course. Monkeys brains is a no no along with the habit of cooking live fish on a tepanyaki in Japan, I don’t want to indulge in suffering – you may think I’m hypocritical as I’m an ethical carnivore but I just love meat, I think I was a wolf in another life & I’m definitely from cavewoman stock.
I do meat free Mondays and eat vegetarian a couple of days a week if I can, we should all eat less meat it’s not sustainable long term but when I see ham in the fridge after meatless days the savage comes out in me and I tear a piece off and eat that little piggy’s flesh – the ‘angel’ on my left shoulder tells me off but I whack her off and eat another piece.
After all you can’t feed a wolf carrot loaf.