Thursday, May 20, 2010


The other day I had a cheerful chat with our local butcher up here on the mountain. That’s nothing new - I love butchers! They are a special, unique breed of humans.

When I took over the management of the resort on Hinchinbrook Island all the resort’s goods came from either Brisbane or Townsville. It didn’t require too many brains to realise that situation to be illogical and inconvenient. Being a keen supporter of local businesses, I approached the traders in the sleepy township of Cardwell across the waters from the island with the suggestion I purchase the resort’s livery from them. My idea was welcomed with open arms.

From the butcher to the hardware store, to the supermarket and all others in between, they were more than willing to oblige; happily promising to supply me with everything I needed, from paint brushes to kidney beans! To everyone’s mutual satisfaction, structures were quickly set into place. It was a two-way street (or waterway)! Cardwell benefited from the deal. In return, the townsfolk willingly spread the “good word” about the resort, so the resort reaped the rewards from “word of mouth” as many visitors followed the Yellow Brick Road from Cardwell across Missionary Bay to the island. It was a convenient and fruitful arrangement for all parties concerned.

The Cardwell butcher who gave exemplary service even at a moment’s notice was all heart. I’ve found that to be true of our butcher up here on the hill, too. A number of times I’ve asked for something special, or for them to attend to a special chore for me. Not once have they hesitated or let me down, ever willing to bend over backwards with continuous smiles on their faces. How do they do that? Butchers are so flexible! They could be competition gymnasts!

All it takes is a little commonsense….the more we shop locally, the more prices can be held at bay or lowered! That’s better than a kick in the kidneys - simple mathematics really! It’s tripe to think the grass is greener elsewhere!

I know a lot of folk don't like offal - they think its awful.....but the following recipes are for those who think offal is awfully nice....and that's the offal truth!

Tripe Italianne: Cut 1.5kg boiled tripe into thin strips. Put 1 chopped onion, 1 chopped carrot, 1 stick celery, chopped and 1-2 finely-chopped garlic cloves into pan; add 30g butter; fry well; add 2tbls extra virgin olive oil and tripe. When golden, add 500g chopped, peeled tomatoes, chopped basil and chopped spring onion; season. Reduce sauce over low heat; sprinkle with parmesan; serve with cannellini beans.

Crispy Sweetbreads: Soak 450g sweetbreads 2 hours in cold water; drain; place in saucepan; cover with fresh water; add 1tsp salt. Slowly bring to boil; drain. Remove membrane without tearing sweetbreads. Rinse pan; add sweetbreads, crumbled chicken stock cube and water to cover; simmer gently 15-20mins until tender. Drain; chill. Cut large sweetbreads in half at an angle, leaving smaller ones whole; coat in beaten egg; roll in fresh breadcrumbs. Melt butter in pan; fry sweetbreads gently until browned. Serve with bacon and lemon wedges.

Sweetbreads with Mushrooms: Soak 700g sweetbreads in cold water 4 hours; change water often. Place in a pan of water; slowly bring to boil; boil 2mins; drain; pat dry; remove membrane; cut crosswise into slices. Melt 2tbls butter in pan; add 1 chopped onion and 225g button mushrooms; cook until tender. Add 2tbls butter to pan; add sweetbreads; sauté 5mins. Add 100ml brandy; heat; ignite; cook gently 10mins. Combine 3/4c cream with 2 beaten egg yolks; add some hot pan juices to egg mixture; return to pan; add onions/mushrooms; heat gently; do not boil; season.

Middle Eastern Brains: Soak 4 sets lamb brains in water with 2tsp vinegar 1 hour; rinse; cut into large pieces; sauté 3 crushed garlic cloves in 1/4c olive oil; add 1 can drained tomatoes, 2tbls chopped parsley, 2tbls chopped coriander, 1tsp paprika, pinch cayenne, 1tsp cumin, pepper, salt and 1tbl lemon juice; cook gently 15mins; add brains; cook 10-15mins.

Kidneys in Port: Cut 6-8 sheep kidneys into 4; remove gristle; toss in seasoned flour. Fry gently in butter with a little chopped onion and a few sliced mushrooms; cook 5mins. Add 1/4c beef stock, 1/2c port; season to taste. Bring to boil; reduce; add a 1/3c cream; cook until thickened.


  1. My wife and I are fans of the TV series Top Chef, and the chefs are often challenged to prepare dishes with offbeat proteins. I don't think I've seen offal done yet though. Your recipes sound tempting but I think I'll pass.

  2. Not my cup of soup Lee, btw isn't that second last one an oxymoron???

  3. Lee,
    Having traveled the world abit, I think I've eaten, at least once, most body parts of animals, birds and fish. Liked most, disgusted by none and even savored a few.
    No aweful offal just awesome offerings.
    Local trade and customer service are a vanishing occurence and more's the pity!

  4. I knew my recipe submissions this week would stir the pot up a bit (pun intended)!

  5. I'll eat almost anything, including Sushi with or without raw fish or raw fish eggs, cow brains, frog legs, and a taco made of fried guts.

    Most taste like chicken, I love Sushi, and the guts were kind of crunchy. So offal doesn't sound so bad, if done right.

    My daughter ate Haggis and liked it. I haven't had it yet, but its on my list of things to try.


  6. I'm with you, Janice....I've tried just about everything....including haggis....and like most of what I've tried....there's little I don't like or don't eat.

  7. Hi Lee ~~ Do you watch Master Chef on TV. I like it and they sure use unusual ingredients. Interesting though to learn more tips for recipes
    I still buy recipe books.
    my visitors, Jacqui and husband No 3
    Walter have arrived, watched Geelong beat Collingwood and have now retired to bed. I won't be far behind them. All going well here Lee.
    Take care, Love, Merle.

  8. Oh dear. I'm vegetarian, and the thought of eating, gotta run.

  9. Hi Merle...yes, I do watch MasterChef (and I watched "My Kitchen Rules") and enjoy both shows. I'm crazy, I know because they take me back to when I was cooking professionally and get the adrenaline flowing and I'm reminded of the stress of commercial kitchens...but I can't help myself! lol

    Sorry about that, Voyager! ;)

  10. Being a true Southern woman of the US, I have never ate pickled pigs feet and I sure would not try offals. Yuck. I do not care how much spie or liquor you put with them I'd have to be about to die of strarvation before I would consider tasting such food and still might rather die. Peace

  11. Each to their own, Lady Di....some like offal and some don't. It's a matter of choice....and taste. I like offal because we were given it as folks believed in us being allowed to try almost everything...if we didn't like it, fair enough.

    I've always held the belief that I must try something before stating that I don't like do I know either way until I try it?

  12. I quite like offal...tripe and onions, sweetbreads made into fritters or in a cheese sauce, steak & kidney pie, lamb's fry and bacon for breakfast...all very old and traditional of course, but very more-ish.

    Your recipes sound most tempting, Lee...

  13. G'day Robyn...good to see you. Nothing wrong with the traditional!

  14. Hi Lee
    I think there has always been a good case to purchase or shop locally wherever practical particularly in relation to buying in season produce.

    Our taste buds usually serve us well.

  15. Although I have a really good working relationship with all in our local meat market, and even if they do come out from behind the counter to show me recent products, "Cliff you really should try this," I think they know better to try the auwful offal. Probably not with my money but on the other hand I took my MIL (McPherson) to a Robert Burns night and had some haggis that tasted like it sounds.
    All good writing though my dear. Regards. c

  16. Hi there Cliff...nice to see you, as always. :)

  17. Hi to you, too, Lindsay...likewise. :)