Liver Schnitzel

Liver Schnitzel
There are over 500 recipes on Pebble Soup. If you discount the odd pâté, none of them include offal. Personally, I blame school dinners and the 70's/80's family attitude to meals which was very much along the lines "eat it or lump it".
As kids we accepted the food given to us, that we liked it or not. Gluttons ate it all, more choosy little people became obstinate and developed dislikes which would last a life time.
It's possibly the treatment of offal in slaughter houses and in homes that now partly results in these cuts disappearing from our plates. Offal have got a powerful taste, treat them like any other piece eg: chop, chop, chop, off you go, in the casserole...will not work. They need a bit of preparation and care.

When we arrived in Vienna, it was late evening, finding a place to eat proved difficult. We ended up seating in a large empty Italian restaurant managed by Lebanese owners and a charming waiter. Later we were told that Viennese waiters are rude and grumpy, it's in their job description. But that night I would have defy any waiter not to smile back at my huge grin and childish expression when I ordered "liver pleeeease."
The liver dish asked for, with so much glee, was a Liver Schnitzel. Thin slices of pork liver in batter, with an emphasis on thin. Cooked this way, the taste of liver comes through but isn't sickening. It was a delight.

Day 2 and time for Schönbrunn Palace, the Habsburgs' summer residence. Situated on a hill, it has the most incredible views of Vienna. Here the air is clean and fresh, no wonder empress Elisabeth, known to the world as Sissi, loved it.

Known to the world, apart from my partner who had never heard of her and kept calling her Zizi which of course had for effect to bring back that childish expression, a few chuckles and the urge for another liver dish.
Food facts:
Liver is full of vitamin A and contains little fat.
Liver Schnitzel
  • 4 thinly sliced Pork liver.
  • Flour to cover slices of liver
  • 1 eggs Whisked (if you cook for 2, keep the egg whole)
  • Bread crumbs
  • Salt and Pepper

  • Method
    First dip the slices of liver into flour and then in the egg. Coat with the breadcrumbs.
    Fry at low temperature until golden brown.

    Crêpe Suzette - Pancake Recipe

    Being bilingual can get confusing at times. First there is the slight annoyance of the faux amis / false cognates. Words similar in appearance but which have a different meaning take money and monnaie. Money as in "money makes the world go round" something which wouldn't happen with monnaie which means change, usually small or a currency.
    Well confused, then let's move on to celebrations: In France, La Chandeleur, le festival des chandelles (candles) is a fixed date: 2nd February. It indicates the start of carnival celebrations. On that day, pancakes are made, flipped, eaten. So La Chandeleur is also known as La Fête des Crêpes. Pancake day, not exactly .......
    On the British side of the Channel, Pancake day is on the 4th of March not the 2nd of Feb. and indicates the start of Lent. Let me tell you something for nothing, and of course you can keep "la monnaie", though celebrations are always special occasions, as far as I am concerned, everyday is a good day to make pancakes.

    Having said this, I've found memories of my mum rummaging in her purse to find a coin, to hold in her hand when flipping the crepes. Superstition has it that if the pancake lands flat bang in the pan, money will flow in throughout the year. Of course, with my mum's obsession with weight, pancakes were far from sweet and usually not edible. So hopefully, I will pass this recipe to the next generation because it's my favourite thing
    Crêpe Suzette
    For the Crêpe

    1 cup flour
    4 large eggs
    1 1/4 cup milk
    1 pinch salt
    4 tablespoons unsalted butter
    vegetable oil for oiling pans

    For the Sauce 
    3 tbsp caster sugar
    250ml freshly squeezed orange juice (2-3 oranges)
    zest 1 orange
    1 tsp lemon juice
    1 tbsp Grand Marnier or Cointreau
    50g unsalted butter

    Make the Crêpe batter by combining all the ingredients in the food processor or whisk them by hand in a bowl. Leave to rest for minimum an hour (overnight in the fridge will do too.)

    Make the Crêpes the usual way, keep them warm in the oven (very low temperature with a baking sheet between each to prevent sticking)
    In the meantime:
      In a small frying pan, melt the butter when it foams add the sugar and stir until it has all melted. Work fast as you want a juice not a caramel and you want all the pancakes to be "juiced".
    Next add rind and juice, bring to a simmer, turn the heat to low -fold each pancake in half and place as many as you can in the pan in turn- fold in half again and repeat 

     Places the pancakes back in the pan, warm the liqueur briefly and pour over the pan of crepes. Ignite the sauce, remove the pan from the heat and let the flames die before placing on dessert plate.

    Decorate with what ever you think appropriate, I used Chantilly, clementines, kiwi and a commercial orange coulis.

    I enter this recipe in the February Inheritance Recipes challenge which I co-host with Coffee and Vanilla

    One more crêpes recipe on Pebble Soup - Galette au Sarazzin 

    Spreading the word : Samsung Mentoring Campaign

     This is post is more about your aspirations than it is about food. 

    Last week a wannabe food blogger contacted Pebble Soup with a few good  ideas for a guest post. she seems really keen. So we agreed that she could write a blog post which would be published. That was last week and since I haven't heard anything. 
    Conclusion: It takes a bit more than a good idea and enthusiasm. It takes guidance too.

    Following this sorry episode, enters Gizzi Erskine, chef, Sunday Times' contributor and food writer. Gizzi has joined forces with Samsung's Launching people campaign to give individuals with a brilliant idea the opportunity to realise their project.
    The campaign covers food, film, music and photography.  The mentors are an impressive "brochette" of talents.  Gizzi's partners are award-winning actor and producer Idris Elba, singer-songwriter Paloma Faith and portrait and fashion photographer Rankin.

    In the next few weeks they will be searching for undiscovered British and Irish talent. If you are interested, have a look at the video below where Gizzi talks about the program from her perspective:

    Still interested? Would like to know a little more?
    Here is the MANIFESTO VIDEO
    Gizzi Erskine: “I want to see someone that has a serious passion for the industry – I want to understand their passion and be able to see and feel it. I want to show that you don’t have to be conventional to be successful. I’m looking for someone who’s happy to break the rules – and maybe teach me a thing or two along the way. The simple ideas can be the best. But a simple idea with a bit of glitter on it is far more exciting.”  

    Film: Idris Elba, award winning actor, producer, and DJI want a story that’s inspiring.”       

    Music: Paloma Faith, singer-songwriter, performer and actress I’m really looking for something we’ve not seen in a British artist before."

    Photography: Rankin, world famous portrait and fashion photographer I want to know what they do that’s different, that’s interesting


    The chosen candidates will work with one of the four inspirational mentors to collaborate on a unique project. Their journey, from meeting the mentors to the launch of their project, will be documented in a television series to air later this year.
    So, if you've got a great idea and think you have what it takes to impress the talented panel of mentors, then pitch your project via between now and Thursday 6th March 2014.  Gizzi, Idris, Paloma and Rankin will each choose one person to work with one-on-one, helping to bring their ideas to life and launch their project.

    To apply you need to make a 2-minute video all about you and your ambition. This is your chance to show off your passion, your personality, and your project idea, to get the attention of the mentors. Add an image and a bit of copy and you’re good to go.  You can find out more and upload your submission at:

    Two opportunities for everyone:
    1. The mentors will select four candidates with whom they’ll work one-to-one. The chosen protégés will spend 2-3 weeks together, working closely with their mentors in a house fully furnished with Samsung’s latest technology on their personal projects, building towards a grand launch event and making their ideas and ambitions a reality.
    2. There is also a people's choice where the public will get to vote for one winner in each category to receive £500 for personal tuition and Samsung technology up to the value of £2000. Disclaimer: This is a commissioned piece. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Photos and video content courtesy of Samsung Launching People.  

    Tangy Lemon Mousse

    It's looks a bit like "lemon month" on Pebble Soup. After Lemon Biscuits, here comes Lemon Mousse. The recipe is slightly involved and requires an extra ingredient : patience. We found out about it a little too late eg: after scoffing the first 2 bowls. Really, it would have been better to leave to set in the fridge overnight.
    So my advice to you is prepare in advance, chill and don't go near the fridge during the chilling process.

    Q: Why would you choose this Lemon Mousse recipe?
    A: it contains only 66g of sugar compare to others which often include over 200g.
    Lemon Mousse
    3 gelatin leafs
    3 large size organic eggs- separate yolks and whites-
    66g caster sugar
    Zest from one lemon
    225ml juice from the lemon (add water if you don't get as much from the lemons)
    225ml whipped cream
    work the gelatin leaves according to instructions
    Beat the egg yolks and the sugar until the mixture turns pale and fluffy
    In a bowl or with the mixer beat the egg white until stiff
    Whip the cream until fluffy
    Melt the gelatin in a small saucepan after getting rid of the water, lower the heat and add the lemon juice, followed by the egg yolk mixture, stir all the time.
    Cool for 15 minutes and add the egg whites and the whipped cream
    Pour in 4 small bowls and refrigerate for a minimum of 3 hours.

    Poppies, Fish & Chips - Restaurant Review -

    Pop and the Popettes at Poppies
    There is a fashion for everything, including words which appear and disappear, even sometimes reinventing themselves. "Iconic" was resurrected a couple of years ago, since then one can't read an article without bumping into an iconic something or another. As if we lived in perpetual search of godlike figureheads.

    Problem is that when you real meet an icon which word do you use so that people recoil in horror or worse shut down completely. And what if you meet an icon who prepares an iconic dish. Then, you are in trouble of biblical proportion.
    Look at this picture and tell me that the dish doesn't qualify as iconic. Cod 'n Chips prepared and served the Poppies' way. And that is the best Fish & Chips in the UK. I know you are thinking "euuh! she is making it up again!" sorry to disappoint, I am not.

    I mean, I am not the only one who says so, Poppies has been named Best Independent Fish and Chips Restaurant 2014 in the UK at the National Fish and Chip Awards organised by Seafish UK.
    I asked Pat Newland known as (Pop) what difference did the award make?
    "January and February are usually slow. Don't take me wrong," Pop says "we are doing well. But after Christmas, there is always a low. Not this year. Since the award, business has been doing really well."
    True enough when Pebble Soup team walked in, Poppies was full. The first thing I noticed was the lack of greasy smell. Poppies smells fresh. It's a place which invites the customers in. Besides the 1950's theme, there is a noticeable attention to details and the ventilation is one among many.
    Here, none of that wooden cutlery, "proper" knifes and forks on formica tables and take-aways are wrapped in newspapers' replica from between 1945 and 1945.
    That's Pop's gentle wink to the time when he started to work at his dad's shop age 11. Then he was in charge of cutting the newspapers to "take-away size".
    Nowadays the papers are ordered especially at great expense but that is the kind of thing that Pop will do to make his vision complete.
    I got the feeling that nothing was a gimmick, Pat Newland genuinely wants us to experience how it was done in the East-End, way back then when fish & chips was "the fuel that powered the people."
    The East-End and the clientele have changed but not the recipe which is still the original. I can't help asking Pop about the international fish current situation. He replies, "there is a lot of politics around the fish industry, down on the ground the main concern is to get the best fresh fish which means a supplier you trust."

    "our sustainably caught fish originates from Peterhead Fisheries and is delivered daily by T.Bush, a third generation family business at Billingsgate Market. We only buy fish of the finest quality which is prepared on the premises by our on site fishmonger."
    The difference is plain to the taste, fresh is the operative word. Personally, I think the world of frozen fish however fresh fish taste different. But what about the potatoes?
    "Maris Piper" of course, Pop explains that they are the best for frying. They keep their consistency at high temperature. But we've all had our potato troubles, one batch is good and if you are lucky enough to remember their name, you get them again and bang, the quality is different.
    Pop explains his cunning plan to always get the best potatoes, "Every week, I get 100+ bags, we test a sample on arrival." But that can't be it. There is more, so, I asked, "what if..." and with that smile that make the world around him melt, he replies, "Turn see that door, it leads to the basement. When they deliver the bags, every week, they bring them down the stairs. All the way down, and if the potatoes are no good, I ask them to take the bags back... up....every single bag. I never have any problem, the potatoes are always good." 

    Now I could go on telling you about the Popettes and the importance of the team working at Poppies, because without them, the vision would remain a vision but I'd rather you'd be won over "for real". So next time you are in the East End of London, look out for the best independent Fish & Chips in the UK - An icon.

    6-8 Hanbury Street
    London -Spitafield-
    E1 6QR

    Open from 11am till 11pm
    For details and  more information about Poppies Story, drop by their website

    Disclaimer: my thanks to Pat Newman for the interview and for the fish 'n chips.

    Kiwi Muffins

    Muffin, breakfast
     Kiwi muffins
    Doesn't it strick you as odd to spend so much time discussing food, cooking it, sill our efforts focus mostly on lunch or dinner. What about breakfast? Looking for a breakfast alternative is not as hard as it seems.
    Muffins are perfect for breakfast. The word muffin is said to originate from the old French "moufflet" meaning soft when describing bread. Imagine if muffins had not immigrated to the States to become an integral part of most American breakfasts, if only Muffin had hung around a little longer. It could have been Proust's memory trigger and would by now be more popular than plain madeleine.
    As it is we don't rely on muffin enough for our first meal of the day. Even less on kiwi muffins. Kiwi is an usually ingredient for this quick bread, they need to be ripe and flavoursome otherwise their delicate flavour will struggle to get through. Supermarket often have muffins on the reduced counter, so let's grab a bargain and create our own muffin memories with
    Kiwi Muffins
    • 125 grams plain flour
    • 100 grams caster sugar
    • 2 tsp baking powder               
    • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
    • 1 dash salt
    • 1 egg
    • 100 ml milk
    • 2 tbsps butter (or margarine, melted/ I used vegetable oil)
    • kiwi fruit (peeled and crushed)
    Preheat oven to 200C/400F  and prepare a muffin tin by spraying with cooking spray
    Mix the dry ingredients together
    Add the rest of the ingredients
    divide in the tin holes and bake for 12-15 minutes
    Blog event entry
    Kiwis are in season from November to May, the main recipe on the net is that of Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall which sadly didn't work for me, it might be due to the fact that measurements are in mugs. So I am sharing this via Simple & in Season hosted by one of my favourite blogs: Ren Behan's


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