Monday, June 14, 2010


There's nothing that divides the eating public so much as veal (except, perhaps, Foie Gras or Alanis Morisette, or racism, or war or... actually, there are loads of things that divide the public more than veal.).

Veal! Just in at the supermarket in Kerikeri! They've got steaks, T-bones, chops, Osso buco, all looking lovely and fresh, a good colour and not a bad price. So tonight we're having Baked potatoes, creamy mushroom sauce and veal steaks (it looks like the sirloin to me).

The spuds will be baked in the range oven, so I have no idea how long that'll take. Sometimes it's really hot, but it depends on the wood. I reckon about 90 minutes at least, but I've chosen some smaller spuds so that we don't have to eat past midnight. I love to bake them well-oiled and seasoned. (I use "Krazy mixed-up salt" that's been seasoned with celery seeds and garlic) I bake them to a golden crisp on the outside, and the skins are such a treat that, sometimes, even LW eats them!

The sauce is onions and garlic fried in butter with loads of thinly sliced button mushrooms and a pinch of herbes de provence, once the mushrooms are soft and tiny, a bit of dry sherry and a spoonful of creme fraiche complete the dish.

And, as an experiment, (but mainly because we saw Jamie Oliver do this with some kebabs a few minutes ago on the food channel) I'm going to grill the steaks on the range by lifting the lid over the firebox and using a bbq grill. They're very thin, and should only need about 2 min each side to be just right. I'm hoping that we don't get a kitchen full of smoke or a conflagration where the cooker used to be.

We shall see...

...well, 90 min later and the spuds are still pale and a bit hard, so I'm now finishing them in a hot (220 deg) oven for 30 min.

...the fire was too much flames and not enough embers for the steaks, so they went in a pan!

However, the result was way beyond edible!

I think I'll try a bit of osso buco next!

Added a day later...

As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, veal is a bit controversial, and I, like many others, are absolutely aghast at any farming technique that uses an animal as a little "meat factory" and crate veal, where the calves are penned, milk-fed and denied any ability to move is an appalling practice, and the sooner it's banned the better. The veal here is simply young bulls. Dairy herds have little use for the male calves, and in the past there was a tendency to have them slaughtered as "bobby calves" before they were 2 weeks old. Now these male calves are kept by some farmers as veal calves and milk and grass-fed to about 30 weeks in the same way as their female siblings, before going to the butcher as veal. Not unlike the majority of pigs and sheep, for pork and lamb. The meat is low in fat, quite red (as you can see), and very tender. Looking on the 'net I can see that there are moves afoot to ban the crating of calves in the EU (it's been banned in the UK for over 30 years!).

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