Sins of the Flesh

For breakfast this morning I enjoyed raw honey scooped out of a fresh honeycomb after being nurtured in the warm sunshine. I slathered it on a wee dod of fresh-baked soda bread and added a smidgen of warm butter, then washed it down with a cool glass of milk. This really is the true ambrosia of the gods. Strangely enough, the consumption of ambrosia was historically reserved for only the most divine of beings. Take Heracles for instance, upon his assumption into immortality on Olympus, Heracles is given ambrosia by Athena, while the hero Tydeus is denied the same thing when the goddess discovers him eating human brains. But you knew all that, right?

We've all eaten human flesh at some stage in our lives, haven't we? The odd chew on an ear during a bar fight, the inevitable nose or finger bitten off during a drunken scuffle, it's not only a Glasgow thing, say no more. It's no big thing really, let's face it, after a few months of sharing a small barred cell with an English heroin addicted gobshite who snores, the very least he can do is to give up a few of his toes for your supper, eh?

Just in case you are a law abiding citizen (there are a few of us left) and you are feeling hungry, but you cannae find any nice crunchy toes in the fridge to munch upon, try this on for size.

Glesga Spag Bol.

You will need the following.

Generous curl of Scottish butter
100g smoked streaky bacon, finely diced
2 red onion, finely diced
1 carrot, finely shredded
2 sticks celery, finely diced
250g finely minced best rump steak
40g free range chicken livers, finely sliced
150ml full fat milk
Nutmeg, to grate
150ml Wolfblass red label Shiraz
400ml tin plum tomatoes
3 fingers of single malt

Melt the butter in a large flameproof casserole set over a gentle heat, and then add the bacon. Once the bacon fat has started to melt, add the onion, and cook gently until softened, then tip in the carrot, and cook for 5 minutes before adding the celery and cooking for a further 2 minutes.
Crumble the beef into the pan with feeling and brown, stirring occasionally to break up any lumps. Season, then stir in the livers, and let it cook for another 5 minutes while you savour the malt.

Pre-heat the oven to 125C. Pour in the milk, and grate a little nutmeg over the top. For the love of St. Patrick himself, do not catch your fingers on the grater. It hurts. Trust me.
Simmer gently until almost all the milk has evaporated, which should take about half an hour, just enough time to read the paper, do the ironing or even rescue the new sofa cushions from your pet goat.

Pour in the wine and the tomatoes and stir well. Put the casserole into the oven, with the lid slightly ajar, and cook for at least 3 hours (4 is even better) until the meat is very tender. Check on it occasionally, and top up with a little sparkling spring water. Serve with pasta or gnocchi, good friends, and a generous helping of grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese. For the love of all the holy saints, do not forget, only chop the fresh parsley and sprinkle it on top moments before you are ready to serve. Serve with a glass or two of the Shiraz to bring out the flavour of the food.



  1. Beef, liver and bacon? Now ya gone and did it. It's lunchtime over here and I want this. Have to make do with a sandwich of some kind. Ugh.

  2. Ah, you had me until I reached liver. Liver does not pass these lips.

    Having grated a knuckle or two in the past, I decided that lemon zest is not truly necessary for making lemon meringue pie. Grandma said my pie recipe was better than hers...I eventually told her it WAS hers, minus an ingredient.

    Besides, all that grating might've made me put too much of myself into my cooking. ;)

  3. Mr Earl, it tastes like heaven sir. Just hold the garlic as it taints the flavour of the livers.

  4. Hurts, doesn't it hen? Tell me Hope, do you add ice cubes when you make your dough?

  5. I've never tried ice cubes...just cold water.

    I'm listening...go on Professor. :)

  6. I always crumble my beef with feeling.

  7. Hope, if, like me, you use an electric mixer to prepare the ingredients for the base, try feeding ice cubes into the mix instead of normal room temperature water. I always keep the ingredients ice cold during the prep, even to the extent of using a frozen water filled rolling pin to shape the base. I find that the crusts are better this way, plus the base seals in the filling much better and avoids leakage during the oven time. Give it a go... let me know if you see the difference.

  8. Ahhh Map, it's good to see you read every word, as I do like to throw in a wee anomaly or candid reference to our past here and there. Your exuberance with the whole book-learning thing has brought you on in leaps and bounds since the days when we both had to stop grown-ups in the street to ask their advice before we scrawled grafitti on the bus station walls.

    Mind you... your other hobby has proved the mammy right. It will make you go blind.

  9. These posts are food porn.

    That's meant as a compliment.

    I was in a dull meeting once and had to bite the inside of my cheek in order to not doze off. I bit it so hard I tasted blood. Does that count?

    Liver is an organ that's full of toxins and shouldn't be eaten.

  10. UB, liver is an organ that if played right will produce a tune that is music to the taste buds. Simmer it in milk first... nature does the rest.

  11. The Da used to do us a treat with liver, kidneys and onions.
    Just writing this transports me back to that time and I swear I can smell it right now. (Or was that herself lettin' one off on the sly again?!)

  12. if i savour 3 fingers of malt before grating the cheese, i can guarantee an extra meat product in this dish. not that i'd notice until later...

  13. Map, my oul fella was a dandy with the cooking pot. He taught us fellas how to cook up a banquet out of nothing but slivers of Joey-grey and a handful of Murphies. I can see him now preparing mushrooms with the special glint in his eye. He had a soft rasp of a voice about him, but when he spoke every man listened.

  14. Sweet Daisy, there was a time when I would think nothing of guzzling a good bottle of the gold from the screwtop to the very thickness of the bottom. Some mornings I couldn't get over the shock of still being alive.

    One particular Friday night the polis called a priest to the station convinced that the man dragged off the pavement would die due to the breath no longer coming fae his whisky-addled body. Sure enough I came round after 16 hours unconscious with the drink inside of me. A doctor told me that I wouldn't see the age of 30. I took precautions after that, I started to leave home half hour later than normal, just to cut down.

  15. My friend from Parma said no spag bol without chicken livers.
    What do people have against liver?
    If it was good enough for the Etruscans to use for divining the future it's good enough to be eaten.

  16. Fly, tis the liver that gives it such a unique flavour.


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