Daily Archives: May 10, 2012

Blood Pudding (yes, really)

Okay. Now, as you know bob, I am a kinky person and the kind of Goddess Spirituality Practitioner who does an MA (or starts one) looking at Menstrual Blood in a ritual/religious context (and also, apparently, capitalizes “menstrual” and “blood” in certain contexts).

So perhaps it not a huge surprise that I’ve had more than a taste of blood in my life time.

But, in spite of that, I had my first taste of blood pudding today. As in: I literally just finished it now.

My long-suffering, 18-years-a-vegetarian, beloved… She found it in the freezer and asked, very carefully, “Um… What’s blood pudding?”

I figured I couldn’t push the stuff on her without trying it myself, first.

Blood pudding is a type of sausage which, as the name implies, is made from blood. Usually pig’s blood, sometimes duck or cow or sheep or goat… you get the drift. It’s known by a slew of different names – from Black Pudding to sai krok lueat, soondae to mustamakkara, biroldo to krovyanka, morcilla to blutwurst – but it’s all the same general idea. Cook blood with some kind of filler (chestnut meal, oat flour, suet, rice, kasha (buckweat groats), barley, even potato noodles) until it’s able to congeal when cooled. Sometimes it’s stuffed into casings, sometimes it’s not.

My blood pudding is two 1cm-thick rounds of blood pudding (with casing) that I picked up at the grocery store, weeks ago, more or less because I was curious, and promptly stuffed into the freezer for a day when I was feeling iron-deficient and/or adventurous.

Today was, apparently, the day.

I dropped one of the sausage rounds into boiling water (the water is now cooling and will be tossed onto the balcony garden inside of the next hour or two, fyi) to flash-thaw it and cook it up a little bit.

Then, having looked up some techniques and recipes on The Internet, I got to work.

First, thing, is I took the sausage out of its casing. Partially because I think the casing, in this case, was sythetic, but also because it seemed like a good idea to use it the way you might use chorizo – breaking it up into tiny chunks that mix with a bunch of other ingredients.

I mashed it up in a frying pan with a bunch of left-over button mushrooms, a chunk of diced onion, a large, diced clove of garlic, a bit of butter, and handful of left-over roast pork that I chopped up fairly small.

I had originally intended to throw in some chili powder and grainy mustard and a few other things (apple juice could have worked. So could sun-dried tomatoes. It’s fairly versatile stuff, I gather), but I left it at that.

I served it over a small bowl of rotini and… it was really quite tasty. 🙂

Some notes:

1) It’s really rich.
This isn’t actually surprising, I realize. It being made from the stuff that supplies an entirely body with nutrients, after all.
I’m actually feeling just a little dizzy from it. O.O
So we’ll see how that goes over the rest of the evening.

2) Blood pudding smells sweet. It smells sweet when it’s just out of the freezer, and it smells even sweeter once it starts cooking.
This isn’t surprising either:
Fresh blood smells like body (it’s – oddly, perhaps – one of the more beguiling and beautiful scents I’ve come across. Pungent and complex and really quite wonderful). Older blood – which, if you’ve ever tried to preserve the stuff, you’ll know – smells utterly horrific. Sickening. The kind of stink you expect to encounter if you stir up stagnant water that’s been sitting for a year. Horrible smell.
But old blood – dried blood that’s been dry for some time, for example – that’s another story. Old blood smells like honey. If iron could bloom, the honey from its nectar would smell like this.
How do I know? Goddess Spirituality, remember? For a year or two, I dried and preserved my own menstrual blood. I have it in a zip-lock on one of my altars and, on very, very rare occasions, I pull it out as an ingredient in spell-casting.
The honey scent in that bag is utterly glorious.
There is a sweetness to us – like it or not – that comes out in the end. It makes me happy.

…So, no. I’m not surprised that blood pudding smells sweet to me.
But it is weird to be cooking something that I think of as “meat” and to be smelling something closer in scent to apples – or even flowers – than to other parts of the same animal. That was a really strange experience, and (I think) may have contributed to some (though not all) of my nervousness around putting it in my mouth. It didn’t smell like I was expecting it to smell.

As far as how it actually went:

I like it. I think I would do something like half a sausage-round per person if I were doing a dish for multiple people — so my little package of two rounds would have been blood pudding for four in a stir-fry or a pasta topping.

A (very few) possible dishes involving blood pudding:

– Crumbled into scrambled eggs with green onions and a sharp cheddar (or, possibly, a blue cheese like Stilton)
– Sauteed with dark leafy greens, mushrooms, and garlic (then served over rice or pasta)
– combined with kasha or wild rice, plus onion, mushrooms, crushed chestnuts, basil and sage (or similar) and stuffed into the body cavity of a chicken, turkey, goose, or duck

I’ve also seen it used as one of the ingredients in Very Fancy dishes that involve stacks of layered bits and pieces (portobello mushroom, celeriac, duck, parsnip, blood pudding); or as an accent flavour combined with deep-winter vegetables and waterfowl or game meats.

I suspect I’ll be experimenting further with blood pudding in the future.

Meliad the Birch Maiden.

Caviar Dreams

Years ago – I probably was about sixteen, give or take a year, so literally half my life ago – I went fishing with my Dad, and – much to my shock – caught a catfish.

Now. I am not particularly fond of catfish. The texture is… weird… (Maybe that’s just the one I caught, or maybe it has to do with the body makeup of cartilage fish versus that of boned fish like the bass and trout and similar that I was used to) and I understand why then get done up in Cajun spice at the grocery store. :-\

However. The catfish I caught had a belly full of gleaming orange eggs (to this day, when I imagine what “orange” would taste or smell like, the fishy scent of those eggs rises in my mind – way more than tangerines or clemintines do, funilly enough…).
I felt slightly terrible, having caught a girl and, thus, kept her from bringing more catfish into the world. Like I’d just wasted a few thousand fish right there. At the same time, though, I wondered if you could eat them.

I didn’t eat them. Not then. But it’s a question that’s come back to me many times over the years – even more-so after I discovered Sushi and the Masago and tobiko that decorate maki like little red and orange jewels, popping so perfectly on your tongue. (Love ’em!)

So, with fishing season Actually Here (fishing license, er, still to be obtained, mind you…), and having just read a couple of posts about trout caviar over at Starving Off the Land, I thought I’d do some poking around.

What I turned up were the following how-to posts on brining your own fisheggs:

Curing Salmon Roe (from The Homebrew Chef)
How to Make Caviar (from Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook)

So. Now I know. If, over the coming summer, I somehow manage to catch myself a brown trout full of eggs, I’ll know what to do with the eggs. 🙂

Meliad the Birch Maiden.