I currently sit on my balcony overlooking the beautiful city of Sydney, its iconic Harbour Bridge, harbour and Opera house as well as a few naval boats among other attractive and distracting visions. There’s quite a lot of take in.
However, what’s foremost in my mind even in the presence of all of these sights is the fact that with the conclusion of the week just been comes the mid way point of 2012. A year in which I intend to eat a different meat every week, meaning I am exactly half way through! Is it only me that thinks- Holy s**tballs!?
To me it has flown by. I am on a weird roller coaster of obscure meats, writing, varied questions from anyone I meat (aahhh…), daily advice and constant education. In fact just this weekend I ran into a mates brother who enthusiastically (and a few beers deep) blurted out on seeing me- “Dude! I’ve been dreaming about you bro! I can’t believe you ate possum! I can’t think of anything to stump you!” It was quite hilarious whilst being entirely surreal at the same time. It’s a great ride, that I’m definitely growing from which is amazing, but it’s also daunting and incredibly overwhelming at times.
However, I know I’m developing and expanding my horizons and comfort zones in many areas. Just last night I used a whole onion in dinner, which I have many times this year. That might not sound like much, but trust me- some people who know me well will know that that is a big deal! If my truly amazing late mother were to have heard that, I think she’d laugh audibly and say something like- “Mikes, wittingly ate onion? He must be sh*tfaced ?!” such is the surprise it would cause, and also an indicator of the impact I had on her vocabulary as she matured…
In fact in a couple of weeks I will be going on breakfast TV in New Zealand to talk about my 52 meats challenge, my blog and the message I live, breath and spread- (which if you haven’t picked it up yet…)
Gaining the body and health you truly want doesn’t need to be hard: “Geeky weight loss and health solutions made simple”.
I hope that makes sense to most of you, and resonates with many. Getting in shape, looking and feeling great, getting healthy in all areas should be simple eat clean, exercise regularly, de-stress and get enough quality sleep. If you’re unsure about these things then research and seek out the answers. See my easy summary posts here, here and here. This is something I do on a daily basis.
Which is exactly what I’m doing at the moment, as being interviewed on TV is acres outside my comfort zone and I’m slightly sh*tting myself at the prospect. But, it’s a challenge and a learning experience so I’m diving in head first, (Gulp…) but I’m doing my best to get prepared.
How else am I pushing my own limits and comfort zones?
The meats alone are taking me to places I’d never thought I’d go. I can safely say that as a teenager, seeing the odd possum (that is the occasional possum, not the ‘sandwich short of a picnic’ possum), around the house, I would never have thought I would one day eat one! Nor did I think I’d down a bunch of lamb’s testicles. In fact I can remember my old pet lamb Rufus (yes please cue laughter at the Kiwi having a pet sheep…) having his testicles slowly removed by the process of extremely small rubber band. Not once did it occur to me to say to dad “We’ll keep an eye out for when they fall off hey, I reckon they’ll be tasty to eat. And nutritious to boot I bet.” That didn’t happen. However, I’ve now eaten some sheep’s balls!
This is not Rufus- however, this is exactly what happened to him! Too much??
And I continue to reach out there.
It goes on and on right; horse meat, crocodile, and raw fish! I’m a different beast when it comes to eating compared to the person I was 10 years ago, and it continued this week. Facing the late arrival of a special order for this week, the doors to meat week 26 opened through the dark and often misunderstood form of liver and kidneys. Not my own, but from a lamb.
This week I ate some lamb kidneys and liver!
I’ve only ventured into these meats once, and that was from the lovely little Easter bunny I ate earlier this year. They were bite sized at most and beautiful once sautéed in garlic and ghee.
When confronted with a much much larger version, the lamb’s organs, I was not overly confident the result would be the same.
Who out there has eaten this before?
Take a look at the uncooked product:
Were you an anxious first timer? Or have you been raised on offal like this? I put my reservations aside and went in search of a recipe. As much as I was apprehensive about eating these lamb’s organs, the nutrition geek in me was keen as hell to get some of this super healthy and nutrient dense stuff into me.
Liver and kidneys are jammed pack full of goodies. To cover it off and compare to the flesh of a lamb, let’s take a quick look at their benefits:
- Lamb flesh: a great source of protein and fat, as well as being a great source of iron, zinc and B vitamins 2, 3 and 12
- Lamb liver: a great source of lean protein, iron, zinc, selenium, phosphorous and jammed full of essential B vitamins and vitamin A
- Lamb kidney: a great source of lean protein, iron, zinc, selenium, phosphorous and jammed full of essential B vitamins and vitamin C.
Liver and kidney contain much less fat than flesh, while having much more bang for your buck in terms of micronutrients (minerals and vitamins). These should definitely be a part of every health diet.
How did you cook it and what did it taste like?
These are the pertinent questions though aren’t they?! Well, I had a look online and was considering a couple of pretty simple options, then on purchasing the organs and speaking to Tom the butcher, I decided to go for a simple recipe that involved:
- Slicing the liver and kidneys (there was about 6 kidneys!) into thin strips,
- Dicing up an onion, 2 garlic cloves and a bunch of button mushrooms,
- I added a generous helping of ghee to the pan and added the vegetables,
- Once these had sweated off somewhat I increased the heat and added the offal to cook and form a meal (of sorts).
I had decided on purchasing that this would be a dinner entree, with some lamb flesh, leg steak, to make the main course. So I took a wild guess at the readiness of the kidney and liver creation and dished up.
How was it?
My main answer has to be– ah, not so good. Although I was slightly apprehensive about the eating of this I was keen to see what it tasted like. I’ve heard many people harp on about its deliciousness. It was time to see for myself, and it did not live up to those reviews. Maybe it was the recipe, but all I could think was freezing works (meat works/slaughter house/abattoir). I did a couple of stints working at the local freezing works, or abattoir, as a student in my holidays. I wouldn’t instinctly say the smell stuck with me, but it certainly came flooding back when I tasted this dish. Coincidently so did the amazingly boring and disgusting jobs I did there. Turns out they just loved having students swan in for a few months…
Weird how a smell can manifest years later in a taste. Albeit an unsatisfactory one!
NN was worse. She thought she loved this stuff, certainly her mum’s recipe involving bacon and tomatoes, but this was a definite no-go. Her plate hardly lost any contents. I persevered and got through a good serving, but I didn’t enjoy it. It went back to the kitchen and I was instantly thankful for my foresight to buy a main meal for dinner! Safe old lamb leg steaks!
I can only assume that cooking with other ingredients, such as bacon and tomatoes, masks the flavour of the liver and kidneys, or perhaps I just did a horrible job of it. I’ll admit that is possible…
Would I have it again?
This may seem contradictory to what I’ve just said, but I would definitely have liver and kidney again. A nice restaurant would the first choice, and then someone who can back up a rated recipe with a fantastic dish. However, the way I did it- nope. I won’t race back. I think we all know I am a massive geek when it comes to nutrition and health (ahem, see above) and I am always searching for ways to make life and health easier. So I know the amazing benefits that come with eating this kind of offal on a regular basis. I’ll just have to slowly build my confidence one bite at a time. I may not be the Bear Grylls I thought I was…
So for me, a bit of an anticlimax for the half way point!
I initially had visions of a massive feast, to be enjoyed by many, but things didn’t pan out that way. Very much along those lines I had the call to cook the outlandish Bedouin feast of a stuffed camel. If you’re familiar with the concept of a Turducken, then think this, but on a ludicrously large scale. It is hard to get credible confirmation on whether this is an actual dish, but it calls for something along the lines of this: (take a breath…)
- Cooking eggs and stuffing into fish
- Cooking the fish and stuffing into chickens
- Cooking the chickens and stuffing into a sheep
- Cooking the sheep and stuffing into a camel
- Then simply cook the camel to taste, over a couple of days.
Sure, no drama there! Ha!
Certainly no Bedouin feast this week! But with the right encouragement, support and funding I’m sure I could make it happen! Thoughts? Backers? Keen to make it happen?
Tune in next week when we enter what I’m ingeniously calling: Phase two- the tricky half.
As always, please share this around if you like what you’ve read. Find me on Facebook and @mcampbell2012 on Twitter. There’s plenty more on here to have a look at and be entertained by and certainly heaps more to come! You can easily find your way through the categories at the top of this page, or simply use the search bar below that. I’m sure most of us know how to navigate a web page sufficiently though…
Much love and gratitude,