Tuesday 22 January 2013

Horse dóeuvre and Pig in a Poke

When you live in Britain, you must not horse around with comestibles from the Supermarkets.  You have to hold your horses before you pay for the pack of beefburgers you picked out in the freezer at Tesco, Aldi, Iceland and Lidl.  Complaints about food standards in the supermarkets have been going on for years but sometimes it's like flogging a dead horse  (it's actually gone into the beefburger, ha ha!).

Most of the time the food giants get away with it except this time, when the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) tested and discovered horse DNA in the burger samples from the four retailers above.  Tesco's Everyday Value Beefburger, for example, contained 29% horsemeat.

What should go into the ingredients  of a 'Value" Beefburger?

From the Daily Mail 16 Jan.2013

What exactly is a 'Value' burger.  It's a pseudonym for cheap or economy burger - the kind of food that the poorer Proletariat can afford to buy.  While the standard ( or posh) burger must have 62% meat, the economy burger contains only  47% meat,  at the least.

What is meat as opposed to MRM (mechanically removed  meat ) and MSM (mechanically stripped meat)?
Meat is specified as "skeletal muscle with naturally included or adherent fat and connective tissue" and the latter two are meat that have been pressure blasted from the carcass.  MRM and MSM , when used in economy burgers have to be listed as  separate ingredients.

Or course only cheap and fatty meat make up the 47% meat in an economy burger and MRM and MSM  would be used as fillers. See the above image.

When we were growing up in the kampung, chicken and red meat were a luxury.  We were made to eat the chicken right down to the bone.  As for beef, after removing the meaty bits, mak would render down the bones and gristle into a kuah or soup - our Malay kampung version of low-tech MRM and MSM.  Nothing was wasted. It was not just because meat was expensive but  it was out of gratitude for the animal that fed us.  To give a meaty flavour to her dalcha mak would buy the cheaper scraggy bits at the market which she described as tetelan.  A quarter pound of meat sandwiched between two skimpy layers of bread was almost an abomination in my mother's eyes - one should not eat that much meat.  As  she would say,  "Jangan makan lauk sa'ja - mesti ada nasi".  

Where is the source of the horse meat or equine (a posher word) meat?   Horses are not bred for meat like cows.  They are mainly surplus or old horses, pets and race horses included, that are more economical to send to the abattoir than to be put down by a vet.  It was estimated that 8118 horses from Britain were exported to Europe in 2011 for their meat - mainly to France, Belgium and Italy.  By the way it's also used in pet food.

So what's the fuss all about?  According to the renowned French chef Raymond Blanc,   "horsemeat is lean and rich in iron, has a slight taste of game - is incredibly tender - and similar in colour to beef  (my emphasis)"

Fair enough, different cultures have their own versions of what is edible.  The British delicacy "hung pheasant" is a wild bird  (dead one of course) that is tied and propped on a hook with guts and feathers intact.  It is then left to hang for up to a week or more at 10 Celsius until the meat is 'high' and starts to decompose. This will make the the meat tender and improves the flavour.

The French enjoy  frog legs and foie gras or fatty liver where ducks and geese are force-fed three times a day with about 4 pounds of grain and fat so that the livers will be bloated to 10 times the normal size. Chinese partiality to cats and dogs of course is much reviled. So, why the kerfuffle over horse meat?

From the Daily Mail 16 Jan 2013

 The reason is this.  The above 'Value'  Burger claims to have 8 % more beef but nowhere does it include the 29 % horsemeat.  That is deceitful and unlawful.

As for the "pig in the poke" out of 31 other meat food products like cottage pie, beef curry pie and lasagne, 21 tested  positive for pig DNA.

After this exposure, over 10 million beefburgers were removed from the Supermarkets' shelves.  I wonder what happened to them - perhaps they've  been diverted to the underdeveloped world.  Or maybe they've been destroyed.  Either way, it's as immoral as the initial deceit.

Now perhaps I can offer something better than supermarket burgers for all the busy mums and dads in Malaysia.  My dear mak often used the word muai in her cooking.  She applied this mainly to rice.  She judged the value of  rice not by the price but by how muai it is - that is how far it can stretch. Her one tin (a condensed milk tin) of beras  (brand A) should cook  into more nasi than brand B.   Whenever she cooked mee goreng, our favourite lunch on a Sunday, she made sure we had rice with it  - again her concept of muai!

So here's my tested and tasty MUAI  MEATLOAF or SQUARE BURGERS

1 lb mince meat
1 lb cooked rice
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2  Tablespoon Worcester sauce or kicap
3 level Tablespoons  tomato ketchup
2 level teaspoons mustard or chili  powder
2 level teaspoons salt
1 onion sliced and fried slightly
4 teaspoons (or more) curry powder

A 2 lb loaf tin oiled and lined at the base 
Oven 180-190C

Method:  Put meat in a bowl and mix with the cooked rice using a fork or your kid's grubby fingers.  Stir in the remaining ingredients and then spoon into the loaf tin. Pat it down a little.  Bake for 50-60 minutes.

When the meatloaf is cool, cut  into slices.  It can be frozen for up to one month.  Before freezing interleave the slices with grease-proof paper.  It will make it easier and cheaper to re-heat.

This meatloaf is highly recommended by the spouse because it is not too meaty and it's economical or 'muai'!

And it comes straight from the horse's mouth.  When your horrible kids nag you for burgers from the supermarkets or other outlets, just say neigh if you want them to turn into stable characters.  ( I''m enjoying this horse play).


Awang Goneng said...

Thanks for the recipe. I'm so hungry I can eat a horse.

...And doner kebabs, those elephant leg things that they rotate around an electric fire. Guess where the leg meat came from. The Beeb did an analysis once (yes, Auntie Beeb) and they found traces of pork therein. My friend swears that he'd seen collectors of scrap meat come to restaurants to buy meat scraps for about 20p a kilo and said scraps of cooked meat had been left out in the open until collection. Sometimes for the whole week. Don't horse around with what you eat, miss, or you're dead meat.

anak si-hamid said...

Thank you AG,

I may be a galloping gourmet but most or almost all of the time I keep away from restaurants and take-away meals.

That information about doner kebab is very interesting and scary - I shall pass on the message.

Sara Ahmad said...

Hehe, so much pun! :)

anak si-hamid said...

Thank you Sara Ahmad,

So glad to find someone who enjoys puns.

I had much fun doing this posting.