Tag Archives: Apple

Day 30: Guinea Fowl Liver with Apple, Rhubarb-Apple Preserves, and Walnuts

23 Feb

We’re 30 days into The Ration Diaries now – thanks for reading! You now have a month’s worth of recipes at your disposal. I’m working on dividing them into a more user-friendly database, so stay tuned for more in the coming month.

Reach into the cavity of any whole bird, whether it’s a chicken, turkey, or guinea fowl (guinea hen), and you’ll usually find some of the offal, wrapped together. These usually include the neck, which can be added to the roasting pan towards the end to add to the pan drippings, and occasionally the heart and liver. If you buy a lot of whole birds over a month (they tend to be cheaper in the long run), you can save and freeze the livers to make a mousse, but during the war, my Granny didn’t have a freezer, of course. I thought I’d use the guinea fowl liver saved from making cinnamon-roasted guinea fowl for a little pre-dinner nibble, on this dinky little Steelite pedestal plate. It took me all of 5 minutes, since I just seared the liver and served it with some rhubarb-apple preserves, fresh apple and walnuts. Although it does contain some cholesterol, liver is rich in Thiamin, Zinc and Manganese, and is a great source of cheap protein, Riboflavin, Niacin, and Vitamins A, C, B6 and B12, so it’s worth serving it to your family. I find children pick up on grown ups’ sense of disgust for certain foods, so if you don’t make an “ew” face in front of them, they’ll probably at least try liver. In other cultures, offal and what some American or English kids would deem “gross” are actually favored. For example, Eskimo children used to fight over the eyeballs of fish, which used to be sort of like candy for them – a treat. So if you serve the liver with something sweet like fruit, which balances the strong flavor, and don’t make a big deal about it, it might become a family favorite!

Even though my Granny raised chickens, meat was still a scarcity in World War II Britain. The English in the 1940s were virulently of the offal-is-awful camp, so the liver, hearts and other innards were sometimes given to the cat in Granny’s family. A few people, like my Grandfather, ate liver with the traditional bacon and onions on toast.

Guinea Fowl Liver with Apple, Rhubarb-Apple Preserves, and Walnuts

2 hors d’oeuvres servings

1 teaspoon drippings
1 Guinea Fowl liver, cleaned
6 slices apple
1 demitasse spoonful Rhubarb-Apple Preserves
1 walnut, toasted and quartered
2 sprigs watercress

Heat the drippings and sear the guinea fowl on both sides. Season well with salt. Slice the liver on a bias. Plate half the liver on a spoon or small plate. Top with 3 of the apple slices, 1/2 demitasse spoon of the preserves and 1/2 walnut. Garnish with a sprig of watercress. Repeat for the other serving.


Day 17: Pollock with Cabbage, Radicchio, Bacon and Apple

27 Jan

Let’s face it, cabbage? Not so sexy. Cabbage and bacon? OK, getting a bit warmer. One of the reasons cabbage gets its unfair reputation of tasting foul is that when it’s cooked over a high heat it lets off sulfurous fumes that stink to high heaven and turn the cabbage bitter. If it’s cooked low and slow – braised – it can be delicious. In this recipe, a bed of cabbage and apples made colorful with radicchio is topped with a fillet of pollock and some sizzling, crispy bacon.

Pollock is less funny in America. Mostly because nobody says “bollocks” here. But it is very similar in texture to cod and usually quite a bit cheaper than cod nowadays.

Imperial War Museum

One reader was nice enough to bring the above poster to my attention. Fish was generally more readily available than meat during the war, so a substantial portion of fish could be had more easily than of meat. And salt cod was no exception!

Pollock with Cabbage, Radicchio, Bacon and Apple

2 tablespoons drippings
1/3 white onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon brandy
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and large diced
1/4 head cabbage, sliced medium
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon black currant jam
1/4 head radicchio
1 cup vegetable broth
6 ounces pollock
1 strip bacon, finely sliced

Heat the drippings in a shallow pot. Sweat the onion and garlic until translucent then deglaze with the brandy. Add the apple until slightly softened. Add the cabbage and season with the salt, sugar, fennel seeds, pepper and jam. Cook slowly until the cabbage has broken down a little. Don’t be tempted to crank up the heat and cook it on high as the cabbage lets off sulphurous compounds when cooked rapidly that can mean it tastes a bit bitter. You want the cabbage to have bite, but to be fully cooked through. Add the radicchio and vegetable broth then gently lay the pollock on the top of the cabbage. Sprinkle it with a bit of salt and cover the pot. Steam for about 5 minutes until the fish has just begun to flake. While the fish is cooking, render the bacon until crisp. Pour off and reserve the drippings for some other use. Spoon some of the cabbage mixture on a plate and top with the fish. Spoon a little of the cooking liquid over the top of the fish and top the fish with the bacon.

Day 5: Kale, Hazelnut and Apple Salad with Mustard Dressing

9 Jan

Despite the positive cornucopia of spectacular food in Britain, I’ll never quite be able to shake England’s association in my head with overcooked veggies. Maybe it was the trips home to visit my grandparents. Maybe it was when I turned 9, I moved back to Britain from New York, and in the process had to get used to British school dinners (which are really lunch, only nobody tells you that). They typically involved some vegetables boiled beyond identification, plus various meats doused in curry powder sauces. I shudder at the memory. As a result vegetables like kale, which when boiled enthusiastically have no flavor, have always made me cringe a little. But when the leaves are nice and young, and you separate the leaves from the stems and ribs, kale makes for a flavorful salad raw. Just look at that gorgeous emerald green! When you add apple – which as you may have already gathered, I worship, and tend to put in everything – it’s a winner.

If you have a sweet tooth like me, you might want to give this salad a whirl. It’s definitely not Waldorf-salad-sweet, but has a savory-sweet balance, and the crisp apples and crunch of the toasted hazelnuts balance the texture of the kale. Kale is chock a block with vitamin K and C and contains a little calcium, so it’s worth trying it again this way, even if you don’t like it cooked.

Kale, Hazelnut and Apple Salad with Mustard Dressing

2 Servings

1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
1/8 cup vinegar (white wine or apple cider)
1/4 cup Vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts
1/3 Gala apple, cored and cut large dice
3 young kale leaves, de-stemmed, ribs removed

Combine the mustard and vinegar in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the oil in a steady stream. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. You may have a little left over after this recipe. You can just store the extra in an air-tight container in the fridge.

Combine the nuts and apple in a large bowl. Gather the kale leaves in your hand on a cutting board and holding them carefully, cut them into a chiffonade. In other words, cut them as thin as possible, thin like chiffon. Add the kale to the large bowl with the nuts and apples. Drizzle with the dressing and toss thoroughly. Serve.

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