Monday, 7 December 2009

Weekly Menu Swap - Hosting Ingredient - Suet

I realise that many people will probably never knowingly have used suet and indeed suet recipes seem to be mainly British dishes but the actual ingredient is available anywhere that cows and sheep are eaten. Why? Because it is the fat from around the internal organs.. OK I know at this point some of you are thinking that's gross but really it's not much different to using dripping or similar. Suet has the properties of being quite flaky in nature, having a low melting point and producing a very distinctive pastry among other things. There is also a vegetarian version though that might be hard to get in none suet using areas.. OK it's not probably something you want to use every day but there are some traditional winter dishes here which don't work without it.

To be fair much of it doesn't get used at least not by butchers these days as my previous post will show, I got a large amount for free of my butcher as he normally asks the abattoir to remove it before sending him the meat.. it's crumbly nature means the cool-room floor gets covered in bits otherwise. Now the abattoir might well have a use for it other than sending to a butcher.. You can certainly buy it in packets but it is coated in flour after it is grated to keep the bits separate so it is no good for me.  It is also used a lot over here to make fatballs to put out for wild birds by combining it with seeds and other bits they like, it makes a good high calorie food for them. Traditionally it was rendered down to make tallow for candles too, very smoky candles for the masses who couldn't afford beeswax! .

So what recipes use it? Well Christmas pudding for a start and mincemeat, this is probably partly because mincemeat at least used to have meat in it.. I once made a traditional mincemeat with minced meat in it and apart from having to keep the mince pies in the fridge they really tasted no different to the none meat version which keeps for at least a year in a jar!

It is also used in suet pastry which is used in suet puddings.. these are savoury puddings ie steamed in a pudding basin, normally an outside of pastry with a pie type filling or even a plain sponge pudding type one to serve with meat a bit like Yorkshire pudding is . There are also sweet suet puddings eaten for pudding such as spotted dick and jam suet pudding... Have you noticed we like the word pudding over here  :)   I'm planning a meat filled suet pasty style pudding this week.

Delia's suet pastry
Bacon and leek suet pudding from Farmers Weekly
Plain suet pudding from The Foody
Spotted Dick from the Jane Austin Centre
Jam spong pudding from Cook it Simply

It's also used in dumplings to put in a stew for the last 20 mins or so of the cooking time which are a firm favourite here. Dumplings are very easy.. they are basically twice as much flour as fat and whatever flavours you like such as herbs, onion, cheese or whatever goes with the stew.

Basic dumplings from The Foody
A version from Jamie Oliver for those who don't have suet

I posted some links to Christmas pudding recipes a couple of weeks ago and will post up my gluten free, corn free, citrus free version when I have finished trialling it..

Here are a couple of mincemeat recipes, mincemeat is easy to make and once made you can make another British Christmas staple the mincepie. There are plenty of other uses for mincemeat too as you can see here.

Delia's version.
A meat version from River Cottage
Anyway that is probably more about Suet than you ever wanted to know so on to the menus.

Our menu this week.

Monday - Suet meat pudding with potatoes, cabbage and carrots.

Tuesday - Fish pie

Wednesday - School play so something simple like baked potatoes we can have quickly.

Thursday - Cauliflower cheese.

Friday - Stew and dumplings.

Baking and other batch cooking- Chrismas puddings, Banana bread, banana chukney, banana curd, banana steamed pudding.. (well I do still have about 16lb of bananas to use up! )

Other Menus

Heather over at Celiac Family has just got back from a surprise trip to Disney World the lucky thing, she has a lovely sounding menu plan though she tells us it is quite simple due to the hectic time of year !

Angela at Angela's Kitchen does use suet even if only to make fat balls for the birds ! her menu so based on some deals her hubby picked up which is the sort of menu I love. her Thai seasoned patties sound particularly interesting.

Cheryl from Gluten free goodness  has a lovely photo of her cats all curled up to greet us. She has a very interetsing sounding menu and she may never have heard of suet but then I have no idea what mahi or kalamatas are so we are even !  


  1. I'm one of these people that doesn't have a problem with suet, no matter what part of the animal it comes from. It is integral to many great tasting recipes and that's what counts! Mind you, I like hot dogs too and it doesn't bother me what they are made from either. And yet . . . I won't eat snails or squid, heart or kidneys. I know . . . I'm an enigma.

  2. Marie - Nothing wrong with being an enigma, keeps us on our toes :)

  3. Interesting information about suet. I've never cooked with it, so it isn't in my menu this week. I'm not sure I'd go out of my way to find suet, but maybe I should take a better look at those recipes.
    Here's my menu this week:
    Thanks for hosting.

  4. Thanks for hosting! I also use suet for bird feeder ornaments and will be making them this weekend with the kids. I usually make mince meat without the meat... which doesn't make it exactly mince meat, does it? Hmmm...

  5. oops! forgot my link:


  6. thanks so much for hosting, and that interesting info, too! I love learnign about new foods and I'd only heard of suet as bird food before. here's my menu:

  7. Mahi mahi is fish and Kalamatas are olives! Funny how things are so different across the pond.

  8. 我從來不認為不同意我的看法就是冒犯..................................................