There were times gone by (usually during periods of world famine and severe deprivation!) that animal offal was a common nourishment. Nowadays, at least in New Zealand, it’s generally thought that offal is food more likely to be served to pets, than people – but not so.

Lill from Whangarei considers it a special treat and looks forward to a weekly serving of tongue from her supermarket deli’. As it happens, offal is served as a delicacy in many fine dining restaurants.

For many, the thought of eating lamb brains or ox tongue may be a bit hard to digest(!), but in the spirit of oily rag culinary adventures, we thought we’d suggest some recipes for you to try!

Lambs brains – Place the brains in a pot and add enough water to cover. Bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes before removing the water. Cut into bite-size potions. Coat each one with flour, dip into a beaten egg then into bread crumbs to cover, and deep fry until golden brown. Serve with a splash of lemon, and greens from your garden. Another way is to dip in batter and deep fry.

Ox tongue – Give the tongue a good wash (use water not mouth wash!). Place the tongue into a slow cooker and add just enough water to cover it. Instead of water, you can use beef stock, red wine or a mixture of the two. Throw in a sliced onion, carrot, celery, some garlic gloves, and a bay leaf. Cook on low for about eight hours (!) or on high for 4 hours. Once cooked, remove the tongue and leave to cool, then take a small knife and remove the outer skin. Slice the tongue and serve cold or re-heat in the cooking liquid.

Liver – Liver is an incredible source of iron. When pan fried it goes well in a cooked breakfast with mushrooms, bacon, hash browns, baked beans, fried tomatoes, and breakfast sausages! Here’s what you do. Slice the liver into thin strips. Place in a bowl and cover with milk and leave to soak for a couple of hours. Then drain the slices, dip into flour, and pan fry in butter on a medium heat until each side is brown.

Other offal favourites include fried kidneys or a steak and kidney pie, ox tail soup, tripe and onions, black pudding, and of course, mountain oysters!