We have begun to buy a whole cow’s heart every now and then that we share with the cats. It’s between 2-4 kg and the tallow works well as cooking fat after rendering it while the meaty part is very delicious to eat!
This was a nice and quickly made weekday dinner. Cut “fillets” of the heart was gently fried in the cast iron pan with only pepper and salt. No need for more seasoning at flavour rich meat like that.
Together with the heart we had oven-roasted brussel sprouts, which in our opinion is one of the most yummy thing there is! It was also time for the nice carbon steel pan to cook shredded white cabbage with some dried chili flakes and dried basil.
Together with some fresh greens and a click of butter on top it became a really nice meal!
Time for some lamb heart again! Last time at the butcher’s Cecilia bought five of them. One we had that same week, two for the cats and two for the freezer, which we now defrosted and enjoyed.
Heart is a really nice piece of meat in and of itself. There is not much seasoning needed for it to still be interesting and enjoyable and the texture is also really appealing, compared to other organ meats… This time we made a really simple mix of cabbage, sliced carrots and garlic as a bed for the sliced heart to rest on.
The mix was seasoned with salt and pepper and put in the oven at just below 200 °C for roughly 40 minutes.
This was a really simple dish, but still really tasty.
We had it with some feta cheese and butter and some olive oil.
We have a vision that we will grow cabbage ourselves in the future, but we have also heard that it is quite difficult to get a good yield. It is really nice to see that it is possible to do it. Out of the cabbage heads that we got only one had managed to close, however. We figured it would not hurt to use the green leaves as well, so we basically groomed the one closed head and left that for later and used all the green leaves to roast in the oven.
The chopped cabbage was topped with some butter and seasoned with pepper and salt and put in the oven at 200 °C for about 40 minutes.
Together with the cabbage we made fried minced meat mixed with brown onion and served with some salad and feta cheese.
The plate as a whole was okay, but the cabbage was actually a bit bitter. Not too surprising considering that we used the leaves. The closed part of the head was really tasty though!
Next time we will probably skip the leaves all together, or at least the outermost ones. There is a reason why they are sold as solid closed heads and not with all these beautiful green leaves on the side. Just like carrot haulm are best left off the plate, so it seems is the outer cabbage leaves. But it was well worth a try. It could have been as with the “leaves” on the cauliflower which are completely delicious.
Since we have got the hang of how to make the hangi by now we thought we would make it for the fun of it and enjoy a nice dinner in the process. This time we had some kohlrabi, beetroots, hokkaido pumpkin and white cabbage.
Placing the vegetables in the pit well in time before dinner. We left them in the hangi for almost five hours this time.
We left the thermometer in the kohlrabi this time, just to keep track of how the heat transfered into the vegetables and when the heat started to decrease, which it started to after three and a half hours.
Together with the hangi vegetables we grilled some slices of pork belly and made a really nice summer salad with lots of herbs and flowers.
One of our new favourites for salads from the herb garden is the hyssop. It is a really nice contrast to the otherwise quite plain and boring green salad. Now they also have these wonderful small blue flowers on top the the branches that makes the decoration of the salad so much easier.
Last week, when picking up groceries at FRAM, we found some really nice zucchinis that we just couldn’t leave without. One of Magnus’ old time favourites from years back is the ratatoui, French tomato sauce made of tomatoes (no surprises so far…), onion, bell pepper and zucchini. It goes very well with all kinds of meats. So all that nice and fresh zucchini brought back some inspiration. We did a slight variation of the classic recipe for the ratatouille.
Ingredients for the ratatouille
Just as usual we didn’t have any bell peppers at home, but the key components of the ratatouille is, as far as we feel, the tomatoes and the zucchini. What we used was
Canned crushed tomatoes, 390g
Half a onion
One clove of garlic
A few thin slices of fresh ginger
Chiliflakes, salt and pepper to taste
Start by chopping the onion and zucchini in reasonably small pieces. They should be large enough to create some texture to the sauce, but not too large as to be difficult to eat by themselves. Add them together with some butter and the crushed tomatoes in a sauce pan and bring up to boiling. Add the seasoning, the garlic and the ginger. Let it boil whilst preparing the rest of the meal.
For dinner we made loin of pork in the oven together with broccoli and white cabbage spaghetti.
Once again to minimize the number of cooking steps the loin of pork and the broccoli went into the oven at the same time at 170 °C for about 40 minutes. That made the pork juicy and left the broccoli al dente.
The white cabbage was sliced in thin slices and placed in the steamer and left on the stove to cook for 30 minutes timing the ingredients together nicely.
Dinner is served
The last step was bringing it all together and finally topping it all of with the ratatouille and a few branches of fresh parsley.
Make sure to try the ratatouille out! It is a really simple and yet really tasty addition to almost any food and with an abundance of zucchini that the end of the summer brings, what better way of using it than that?
You can read about the making of the hangi itself in the previous post. After having the food in the hangi for slightly less than three hours we noticed that the temperature in the pumpkin started to decline. It had then reached 69 °C which was slightly below our trial run that we did in the oven at home, where we concluded that a temperature of 90 °C was definitely sufficient. We left the food in the pit for another 40 minutes however, at which point we made the call that the food would probably be done and that if we left it in longer we would eat food with nice texture but which would be cold.
Uncovering the hangi
When deciding that the food was ready we uncovered the hangi. The method we have devised for this, after some trials now, is to fold the burlap towards one of the sides of the pit and then roll it off that side. Then we lift the sheets one at a time to avoid any spare dirt to fall in on top of the food.
The wire baskets with food are then lift up from the pit and placed in a wheelbarrow for handy transportation to the dinner table.
Serving dinner with the hangi vegetables
Together with the hangi vegetables we grilled some venison topside and tomatoes on the regular grill. We also picked some herbs from the garden and made a herb salad as well as some herb butter.
So, how was the vegetables this time? They were almost perfect! Really, really tasty and just perfect al dente. The Hokkaido pumpkin couldn’t have been better. The whole turnips however would have required a slightly higher temperature to bring them over from hard to nicely al dente. The white cabbage was also a delight!
How to improve the hangi
We feel that we have found the recipe for success, but there are still room for improvements. The key elements that we have identified for making the hangi a success are:
Make a large fire with a lot of fire wood and keep it burning for at least three to four hours.
As soon as the fire has started to be stable place the large rocks on top of it. Don’t be afraid for them falling down and extinguishing the fire. Rather make sure to add sufficient with fire wood in order to keep the fire going anyways.
Use a large amount of stones to capture as much heat from the fire as possible and keep them on the fire for as long as possible to accumulate as much heat as they can carry.
When the stones have captured enough heat and the fire starts to burn out, quench the embers with water until there are no other heat sources but the stones themselves.
It should be mentioned that the stones that we use tend to crack due to the heat. Ideally one should use volcanic rocks, but that is slightly difficult to find here in Sweden (surprisingly, right?). They will still get the job done and cook the food, but one might have to go for a hunt for new rocks every now and then, since it is just quite inefficient to place small rocks on the fire. Both because they can’t take as much heat and because they are much more difficult to remove from the hangi once it is finished.
This post will not be about pizza at all, since we don’t eat things like that! However, in Sweden, when you buy pizza at the pizza baker’s you’ll get a very nice cabbage salad as a small side dish. I assume though that they put a lot of sugar in it so I don’t recommend anyone to try it.
But it’s really simple to do at home and the homemade version is definitely something everyone should try! It’s always fresh to have something acidly with your meal.
All you need is:
White or/and red cabbage
Salt & pepper
Seasoning, eg. herbs or chili flakes
Shred the cabbage finely and put into a bowl.
Mix the vinegar, water, oil and seasoning together and pour into the bowl of cabbage.
You’ll need to decide yourself how much acidity you like, so make sure to taste it till you’re satisfied. Make sure to do a big batch of it, since it can be stored in the fridge for several days.
We had this lovely red cabbage variant with chili flakes to our first meal after 72 hours of fasting.