Have you ever eaten Sanguinaccio – an Italian Dessert made using pigs blood? Please meet Rodney Dunn, a very well accomplished leader in the Australian food scene who knows how to make a good Sanguinaccio!
We were thrilled to have the opportunity to have his contribution to our Whole Beast feature, focusing on the “odd bits”. Here are a few interesting things we learnt during a recent interview.
Rodney’s culinary inspiration, like for most of us who share a holistic food philosophy, comes in many forms. “It may be a certain fruit or vegetable from the garden or a cut of meat from one of our animals. I have an extensive cookbook collection sitting at around 800 books at the moment, which I love to browse for inspiration as well. I find the best inspiration comes from talking to inspiring people within the industry, be it other chefs, bakers, butchers, gardeners etc or the passionate people that come to the classes at Agrarian Kitchen.”
His earliest offal recollection is lambs fry at his Aunty Helen’s. “Dad always loved it so she cooked it when we came to visit. I didn’t hate it, but I never lined up for another serve. For a young kid it had a strong flavour but thankfully it never turned me from trying further offal later in life. My mother on the other hand would always talk about having to cook lamb brains in home science at school… in white sauce nonetheless. I think negative reactions are usually formed from poorly cooked offal dishes.”
Given that they raise their own animals at the Agrarian Kitchen, the amount of time, love and energy that go into it is easily measured (and felt) and therefore in the kitchen not a scrap should be wasted! “I also love converting people to offal that never thought they would like it. I am lucky to have the medium to do this through our whole animal masterclasses such as The Whole Hog, Mutton Dressed As Lamb and All Beefed Up.”
Have you got a copy of Rodney’s agrarian kitchen? Wow, what a book! Page 208 reveals the very recipe, Fried Tripe and Chickpea Salad, which Beast Master Rodney shared with us for this Whole Beast feature. He explains that “this (recipe) was all about trying to change peoples perception of a much maligned ingredient and to use it in a lighter way, rather than the rich braise you most commonly see. Tripe itself doesn’t have a strong flavour and is about texture and will carry any flavour you care to pair with it. Much like calamari, so I have adopted a similar preparation.”