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Northern Stars supper club. Pt.3: blood, guts & prime cuts

4 giant uncooked fresh blood black puddings

(This is the third article on our Northern Stars supper club… here’s parts one and two )

Oh, you are offal…

Over the last few years Miss South and I have tried many things in our ongoing voyage of discovery for good food, sometimes confronting long-held prejudices in a quest for enjoyment and understanding. Offal, unintentionally, has been at the fore of our experiences; with memorable contributions including Fergus Henderson’s ox heart, Robert Owen Brown’s tripe, a barrel-load of black pudding, Portuguese gizzards, tongue and liver, and savoury dux* from the Borders. There’ve been some epic fails too – I’ve not tried devilled kidneys since I badly botched them a few years ago – but generally our forays into offal have been enlightening and enjoyable.

This post’s all about the journey from pig pen to plate over 48 hours. It deals with, and shows, some of the reality of this process, and some of the less common dishes which until recently many butchers, cooks and consumers would’ve taken for granted. Needless to say, if you’re of a delicate disposition, you may not want to continue to read this, and there will be some photos you may find a little challenging. If however you’re curious about how to make faggots (or savoury ducks) and black pudding, or wonder about the place for real, fresh food in this modern age, please read on.

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Local northern food to put a smile on your face

Northern Stars supper club. Pt.2: local food for local people

sliced rhubarb

(This is the second article on our Northern Stars supper club… you can check out part one here)

When we had to name our team for the recent ‘A Question of Taste’ TV show, I rather glibly chose Northern Stars… it chimed with our team’s all-northern roots, and echoed North Star Deli’s title as the genesis of our team. When we hatched plans for our recent supper club after the show, that name morphed to became a genuine manifesto for the evening. I was keen to make the JoinUs4Supper evening a showcase for some of our favourite local food stars and producers… the products I’ve known and loved for sometime… and those which I take down to Miss South in London, to bring a taste of the Pennines to the big city.

The combination for the night of farmer, chef and foodie gave us a chance to share some of these tastes with friends and fellow foodies in Manchester, and now we can share them with you too.

Northern stars local specialities 1

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Headline image, inside North Star Deli at the JoinUs4Supper event

Northern Stars supper club. Pt.1: the meal

Northern stars main 1

For someone with an overly healthy interest in food, there could be few things more exciting than being set loose in a professional kitchen. Last Thursday saw my debut in the kitchen, at the latest JoinUs4Supper evening at North Star Deli. If, however, you’d seen me on Wednesday night, I’d probably have looked more than a tad pensive, mildly nervous, and concentrating deeply. A little part of me was starting to think I’d bitten off more than I could chew by accepting the challenge to collaborate with Deanna, Ben and the North Star Deli team. That and the fact I was helping stuff a pig’s intestine with blood, desperately trying to ensure it didn’t drop and burst in an ignominious end to our efforts to make fresh black pudding. All this from a throwaway comment about having a go on a TV food quiz to a couple of fellow foodies

Northern stars final 1

After weeks of thoughts, discussions and debate, we were clear in what we wanted to do. At the heart of the meal was the intention to place Porcus pork in the limelight, with local cheese and veg as superb supporting actors. We wanted to find a flavour and feel which properly encompassed the character of our TV team.

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Northern Stars Supper Club

Northern Stars supper flyer rev2 v5

This week marks North/South Food‘s second birthday, and after two years of cooking, experimenting, exploring and learning we’ve got possibly the best present we could envisage. I’ve briefly mentioned it before, but I’m hugely excited to properly announce our collaboration with the popular JoinUs4Supper evening at North Star Deli in Manchester on February 23rd.

This evening grew out of a food blogger, a food producer and a chef all being thrown together by the opportunity of a TV quiz – united by a zeal for good food  – and the three of us sharing so much passion for quality local produce that we wanted to share it with a wider audience. We started to talk about what we’d do if we could cook together, and before we knew it those wonderful folk at North Star invited us to guest at their supper club.

3 northern logos

So we’ve put our heads together and pulled out all the stops to design a wonderful winter meal, proudly featuring some of the best Lancashire and Yorkshire produce and dishes. We’ll be revealing the full menu details next week, but in the meantime I can reveal that SJ from Porcus will be providing the centrepiece to the main dish of the night… stunning free-range Tamworth pork, happily raised on the moors above Todmorden. A vegetarian option will be provided, using products from the Pextenement Cheese Company. If you’ve followed or read us over the last few years you may’ve spotted certain recurring North/South favourites: this is your chance to try some of them with us.

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TV Dinners: A Question of Taste and beyond…

NorthernStars frame

Well, as you may already know, Mister North is on TV tonight; part of a team on BBC2’s new food quiz ‘A Question of Taste‘. Our team, which we christened ‘Northern Stars’, is made up of a trio from the North West, united by our love of the knowledge and experience of food. (Update) You can now watch the episode on BBC iPlayer until Jan 30th, or on Youtube.

Myself, Joby aka Mister North: general food geek and co-author of this blog, alongside my London-based sister Miss South (who cheered from the audience but didn’t fancy being in front of the cameras on the show!) I live in Todmorden in the South Pennines (roughly half-way between Manchester and Leeds, straddling the Lancashire/Yorkshire border). Tod’s a lovely small town with a great market, a lot of brilliant local food producers, and through Incredible Edible Todmorden is leading the drive to become self-sufficient in food).

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