Field notes from last night’s recipe

I made something delicious last night, but it feels like it was about twice as much work as it should have been and produces results that were about 2/3rds as good as they should have been. Hence this post is notes rather than a recipe. Feel free to experiment on this theme and report back if you come up with a more sensible way to cook it.

The food concept is basically fancy liver and onions with tomato and kale, served with quinoa.

Ingredients list (quantities are so approximate you wouldn’t believe):

  • Lots of frozen tomatoes (you can’t buy frozen tomatoes as far as I know. These were from my mother’s garden which she froze back in the summer. I imagine fresh would work fine for this). I think there were about a dozen smallish ones (larger than cherry tomatoes but not too small that I couldn’t close my hand entirely around one).
  • A large bunch of kale
  • Two medium sized onions
  • A small bunch of sage
  • About two hands full of chicken liver
  • Some flour for coating the liver
  • Oh god so much butter
  • Four rashers of bacon
  • About one and a half cups of quinoa
  • Half a lemon
  • Some salt


This is what I did, but it’s pretty far from optimal and could be streamlined a lot. I recommend not following it directly but instead treating it as an inspiration for a better, swifter, means of cooking this.

First roast the tomatoes (I did this in a baking tray with a raised grill). Cut them in half for this (the frozen tomatoes were frozen halved anyway). As they roast, periodically drain off and keep all the liquid. For me this produced about two cups of liquid over the course of the cooking. When most of the liquid has come out of the tomatoes but they’re still quite soft, take them off the roast.

While those are roasting, start cooking the onions. This involved slicing them fairly finely and then cutting the slices in half lengthwise, then putting them in a pan on high heat with lots of butter and some salt (note: This recipe ended up a bit too salty because of this and the bacon. Maybe don’t use too much salt here)

At some point when you have a free moment, finely chop up the sage.

Once the onions are starting to caramelise, chop up the bacon quite finely (it ended up in roughly 2cm by 0.5cm strips for me) and add it to the onions. Continue cooking until the onions are well and truly caramelised, then add the tomatoes and the sage and keep cooking for a bit longer.

At this point it’s time to start cooking the quinoa. Cook this basically as normal – one part quinoa to two parts water – but instead of water use the tomato water we reserved earlier in the cooking process. This probably won’t be quite enough so top it up with enough water to make up the difference.

While all of those are cooking, chop up the kale, removing the stems and slicing the leaves quite finely.

I then transferred the onions, tomatoes and bacon mix out into a serving dish and reused the pan (which was still quite greasy from the previous mix so didn’t need more butter for me but you may wish to add some more) to fry the kale. This should only take a few minutes, you don’t want it overcooked.

While that’s cooking, prepare the liver. Cut it up quite finely (I think I had it at roughly 2cm by 1cm strips) and mix it up with some flour until it’s thoroughly coated.

Once the kale is done, transfer it out to the serving dish. Now it’s time to start cooking the liver.

I made a mistake here, which is that the pan now had lost most of its grease so it needed more butter. I didn’t wait until the butter was hot enough, and as a result the liver did not cook quite as I wanted – you need a good high heat or it tends to boil a bit in its own juices. So don’t do that then.

Anyway, cook the liver until it’s, err, cooked. Then add the things you’ve previously put in the serving dish back to the pan, stir everything together for about another minute or two, and transfer back to the dish.

Hopefully the quinoa is ready at this point. Add the juice of half a lemon to it and mix thoroughly.

Now serve.

I found this made enough food for two people to eat slightly more than they probably should but about as much as they wanted, with not quite enough left over for a third. On the other hand this should be pretty easy to scale up.

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