So, there was lots of snow when we went away. Please look at this lovely picture of a church and then we will never mention snow again...
It's time to talk about something serious - something some of you might find disturbing, but nonetheless, I think it's time we addressed this thing.
A word that can often strike fear into the hardiest of souls. But I come to praise offal, not to bury it. I am an addict. Liver and onions is one of my favourite dishes, the kidney in a steak and kidney pie is the bit I eat first. On a recent trip to a Chinese restaurant, my starter was tongue, tripe and heart in a chili and peanut sauce. I get stared by the women behind the checkouts in the supermarket for buying things their Grandfather probably ate.
And I think you should embrace the offal too! It's cheap, it's tasty and it's a bit unusual (plus it appeals to the same part of my brain that made me giggle like a child when the fishmonger chap at my local Morrison's asked me if I wanted the tentacles with my squid (yes please!) so banish your memories of tough, overcooked liver for school meals, and explore the exciting world of innards!
Probably the most accessible of the offal based meats is haggis. Pay no attention to the fact it is heart, liver and lungs wrapped up in a sheeps' stomach - just think of it as super tasty mince and you should be okay) And it's not just for Burns' Night either. I've made lasagna and Shepards' Pie with haggis instead of minced beef and both were delicious.
So give it a go (and I'm sorry that today being Valentine's Day I didn't make a soup with heart in it, which would have been much more appropriate, don't you think?) This is another wintry warmer type of soup - very rich and great for this time of year. Try and get good quality haggis for that extra special taste!
2 Red Onions
2 Cloves Garlic
1.5l Chicken Stock
100g Pearl Barley
Salt and Pepper
1. Finely chop the onion, garlic and turnip - about 1cm sized cubs should be okay for the turnip
2. Heat the oil in your soup pan. Then add the onion, garlic and turnip and gently sweat for 5 - 10 minutes until they are soft.
3. Slice half of the leek and add that to the pan as well. Save the rest for garnish
4. Cut your haggis into chunks - this will help it break up in the soup.
5. Add the haggis, stock and pearl barley to the pan. Bring up the heat and stir, breaking up the haggis even more.
6. Simmer the soup for 35-40 minutes, until the haggis and barley are thoroughly cooked. Remember to stir regularly, so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan. Check the seasoning at this point, and add more salt or pepper to taste.
7. Cut the remaining leek into thin strips. Place them in a pan of boiling water for about 1 minute, then remove.
8. Serve the soup and then dress with the strips of leek