Chicken liver pie

We had bought some chicken liver at the poultry stall on the market and I had a package of pie dough left in the refrigerator. With some shallots, raspberry vinegar, eggs and cream, I made a nice quiche-like open pie.

Why raspberry vinegar? It is one of those French habits. The vinegar helps to kill any bacteria that might be lurking in the innards and raspberry gives sweetness to the taste. Alternatively, balsamic vinegar or wine can be used with chicken livers.

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Beef and oyster pie with ginger

Beef and oyster pie is an old English recipe that stems from the times that oysters were so plentiful that they were cheap enough for the poor to eat. Beef was not cheap but the meat used was not a prime cut. Many recipes use a pint of British ale in the broth.

Beef and oyster sauce is a common dish in Asia, and almost always there is garlic and ginger in the preparation. That became my inspiration.

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Rabbit with prunes and cider  

Rabbit is relatively lean meat and not expensive. The animals multiply fast and a lot because they have many natural enemies and feature on the menu of various wild animals and birds of prey.

Man has also been catching rabbit for centuries. It easily falls prey to traps and can be blinded with strong lights, and many poor peasant people have eaten rabbit and made recipes with the animal.

The domestication is relatively recent. Rabbits were raised in cages for food and their fur. In France, the “lapin de Garenne” is the main race and the name refers to the wild rabbit running in the fields. Lapin de Clapier is a domestically raised rabbit (clapier is the name of the cage) while most rabbits are now raised in large quantities on industrialised farms.

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Veal kidneys with pasta and cauliflower

I must confess that this dish came together because what I had left in the refrigerator when we wanted to have veal kidney. There was still half a cooked cauliflower waiting for use.

The rognons are popular in France. In the Netherlands, most people would not think about eating it. In England, the kidneys of the adult cows enter in the steak and kidney pie.

The first time I ate kidney it was as a kind of test by my then new boss in France in a restaurant. There I was served a whole kidney with some mustard sauce and I not only passed the test but also started to like it.

Cut-up kidney is easier for frying, what I did with the following dish.

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