Tag Archives: hunting

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.

Quick Link on Butchery

So I’ve spent the last… six(?) hours working on a post for an upcoming blog carnival (there will be links as well as the post in question – stay tuned) but I wanted to throw a quick link up here today.

Home Deer Butchering 101

Sofya writes about killing and butchering your own food – among other things – with great enthusiasm and a practical approach (and lots of pictures).

Even though most of the pics are in sepia, I was watching my reactions to reading about (and seeing, albeit quite second-hand) the process of butchering a dead deer, and I was interested to note both (a) my initial squeemishness over the idea of cutting through joints (in spite of the fact that I do this all the time with cooked dead animals…), and (b) my growing interest and comfort with the subject.

I’m definitely not at the point where I can seriously start working on Going Hunting. I haven’t even killed a fish yet, after all. But I wanted to read this, to SEE this, even at a distance, just to see where I’m at with it. Taking my temperature, so to speak. If my long-term goal is to be able to competantly hunt and kill my own food, the first tiny micro-step in that is to be able to look at what comes after – the process, with all its blood and smells and mess, of dressing and butchering a carcass – with open eyes.

It’s a tiny step. But it’s a step.

Meliad the Birch Maiden.

Inspiration Everywhere – DIY Food (from the ground up)

Today I’m making bread. It’s currently at the “chef” stage and is about to have oil, salt, egg(s), cream (or milk), and a little bit of flour thrown in all at once in order to get on its way to being a “sponge” (and then, eventually, a dough).

In the other room, my beloved is talking to one of her other partners[1] about the concept of “do no harm” – in the Jain sense, the Buddhist sense, the Pagan sense, and how that concept relates to one’s dietary choices.

I’ve been reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal Vegetable Miracle (again), because I love it so, and because – in a year or two (working on a different book right now, thanks) – I want to write a book similar to this one about local food in my (micro) bio-region.
Not surprisingly, I find this book inspiring on a number of levels.

As I may have said here before (although, surprisingly, I can seem to find I post where I stated it in so many words), I dream of having a “little house in the country… in the city”.
I’d happily take up residence on the Experimental Farm (most likely on the Dows Lake side of the Arboretum — although there’d be some judicious tree-felling involved if I were actually to do that) if it meant I could farm (in a small scale way) 2-3 acres of land while still being able to walk to the down-town homes of my friends and extended phamily.

As it stands, I’m making due with the stuff I can grow on my balcony, harvest from local trees, and/or pick up from the (rather appallingly small) Foodland Ontario section of the grocery store. But I have big dreams, my dears and, though it’s surely taking a LOT of tiny steps to get there, I’m on my way to achieving them. 🙂

Meliad the Birch Maiden.

[1] Open relationships for the win! 🙂

Bartering – The Continuing Saga

So, as I’ve mentioned before, my Young Lady arranged for us to barter preserves for moose meat with one of her coworkers. Said arrangement was made back in July, long before Moose Season (which is all of two days long, if that, in Ontario) was upon us BUT arrive (and depart) it has, and my sweetie’s coworker shot himself a moose.

Go him! 😀

Which means, of course, that it’s care-package time for me[1].

So far, I’ve made:

Apple Red-Wine Jelly
Caramel Apple Jelly with Pie Spice
Grape Jelly
Apple-Serviceberry Sauce
Green Tomato Chutney
Garlic-Dill Cucumber Pickles

I’ve also made peach-strawberry jam, but I’ve only got a little bit of that, so I’ll be making more. I’ll also be doing a mint jelly, a hawthorn-berry jelly (mixed with rosehips and possibly crab apples), an apple chutney, a spicy peach chutney, and a cranberry curd[2].

I actually need to hit the grocery store just now and pick up eggs, sugar, and more jars before I can keep going. Woops. O.O

Anyway. This has been my totally-preoccupied-by-food post. Hope you don’t mind it. I’ll let you know how the moose is, once we’ve given it a go. 🙂

Meliad the Birch Maiden

[1] This is not a bad thing in any way what-so-ever, as I quite enjoy making preserves and, hey, I’m also taking the opportunity to make a bunch of little 125mL jars of the same concoctions so that I can make Gift Baskets in late December for my various relatives. 😉

[2] Planning on making a BIG batch of this, so I can put some of it into a coffee cake over the weekend! 😀

Barter! And Local Food! :-D

I got a lovely, if stress-inducing, surprise this morning. Some co-workers of my partner go hunting a couple of times a year, so she’s arranged to have us barter preserves for steaks. Moose, and possibly deer, specifically.

Other than freaking out about not having enough jam on hand (despite not needing it on hand for another 2-3 months) to do an appropriate trade, I’m really pleased about this.

See, I’m not a hunter. I don’t know how to aim and I don’t know how to shoot and I don’t know how to gut and dress a dead body. While I can see that as a potential in my future, somewhere in the foggy distance, it’s seriously Not There Now. Which means that my options for eating critters are:
(a) factory farm stuff, that I don’t support ethically but can afford
(b) ethically raised smaller farmer stuff, that I LOVE but can’t afford
(c) being vegetarian – which I just seriously Don’t Wanna.

So the possibility of getting Happy Animal Meat (as opposed to factory farm meat) at a price I can actually afford (barter) is an extremely good thing in my world. 😀

Re: Don’t Wanna: Yeah, that. I’ve tried being vegetarian, with short stretches of vegan, and it doesn’t work. I’m constantly hungry (not “I have eaten something light and so I don’t have the heaviness of body that I associate with fullness” but “I am slightly dizzy and my stomach feels like a clenched fist, wtf didn’t I just eat??”) and after a few weeks have trouble stringing complicated thoughts together (this on eggs-&-dairy a-go-go + a wide variety of mixed beans and whole grains, so…). So, yeah. Not for me.

That said: I live in a temperate climate with long-ass winters and an unreliable growing season. I know people can and do eat a mostly vegetarian diet in this area (look at the Six Nations and the Algonquins, hello), but a diet that includes fish-in-summer and mammals-in-winter does make sense to me from an Eat Local perspective.

Anyway. That’s my thoughts on that. With this in mind, i will have to make extra preserves this year (haha “this year” – it’s my first year doing preserves with any intent at all) so I can make some appropriate trades. 🙂

– Cheers,
– Meliad the Birch Maiden