PHOTOGRAPHY by ANDREW COWEN
WORDS by NELLA VAN VEENENDAAL
EDITED by MAGGIE SCARDIFIELD
DESIGN by REBECCA RIEGGER
First and foremost, thanks Dish-Pig for giving the beauty babe the grossest, ickiest ingredient to cook with. I’m more of an instagram/pinterest cook; think paleo cookies, pastel macarons or flourless chocolate cake topped with edible flowers. That said, I may be perfectly primped at all occasions but I am certainly no diva. When Dish-Pig sent me Book of Tripe by Stéphane Reynaud and asked me if I’d be interested in cooking a recipe, I was totally up for the offal challenge (the cook book is my favourite shade of pink after all).
I launched my blog Beauté Gazette two years ago. At the time I was my Grandmother’s primary carer. She was 93, always carried a powder compact, loved a coral lip and drew on her eyebrows in a wacky-off center way (the pencil was always way too dark for her!). I moved into the downstairs bedroom of her house in Avalon to look after her and given I was far removed from my normal inner-city life and friends, I needed an outlet for my creativity or I was going to go completely mad! I discovered a lot of UK based beauty blogs and YouTube channels and although inspired at first, I quickly grew bored of the traditional-style content available to readers. I wanted to create beauty content with my own style and spin on things, something more personal and colourful. All of a sudden, I was blogging daily; making GIF’s of lipsticks and sundaes or reviewing eye creams that helped reduce puffiness, usually because I had been crying for 2 hours about the fact none of my friends had come to visit or that my Grandmother refused to shower and take her medicines. Writing about this on the blog gave readers an extremely personal look into my life.
Since then the site has grown dramatically. Writing about things like my love for glitter nails has allowed me to form connections with like-minded beauty lovers. Recently I received an email from a 15-year-old reader telling me that she read a review I did on a very bright pink Chantecaille lipstick. She saved up for it and when she wears it now, she feels like a super confident ‘pink power princess’. That’s why I do what I do. I always try to keep a personal connection when it comes to creating content – regardless of whether it’s for Beauté Gazette or any other publication I contribute to, like Oyster Beauty Features, doing nails for V-Magazine or Dish-Pig Editorials.
My whole family lives by the mantra ‘more is more’ – whether it’s my obsession with makeup and nails, my Mother collecting fabrics and artwork or Dad going crazy with coloured grout and collaging our kitchen splash-back in bright colours. We all live together in Marrickville and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Our house is an extension of my Mum and Dad’s love of left of centre design, colour, art and of course the collecting of absolutely anything and everything! With nothing quite matching, there are definite themes but it doesn’t worry us that it looks like a collage of new and old. My father is responsible for building the house and breaking every single cup and saucer, which forms a beautiful mosaic around the kitchen sink. He is a clumsy Dutch giant with a love of Memphis era design…and he’s also much braver than me when it comes to eating things like tripe. When the tripe was delivered to my doorstep I was wearing a vintage kimono, my Equipment silk pajamas and a SKII facemask. It was also 8am, the perfect time to start cooking stomach lining with my morning detox tea right?
When the weather cools down you can’t go past a slow-cooked, one-pot kind of dinner. My usual go-to would be a healthy soup or veggie curry, but for Dish-Pig Cooks we decided on a tripe stew with apples and white wine. Please note: this is not something I’d usually go for – in fact, my least favourite way to cook any form of meat is with a sweet fruit (I have throwbacks to aeroplane Apricot chicken!). Stéphane Reynaud’s Book of Tripe however, is a beautifully presented cookbook and if I’m honest, that’s probably what got me over the line. It managed to glamourise it just enough to convince me. I was curious.
The thought of cooking tripe is pretty much the most gag-worthy thing I could ever imagine. WARNING GIRLS: this is not #cleaneating! I understand the appeal of eating offal in terms of nutritional value like kidneys and livers (both high in iron), but tripe has no nutritional value and my only recollection of it is the texture (you know the type, a bit like the gristle you would spit awkwardly into your napkin at a dinner party, so now to offend anyone). I allowed myself 10minutes of almost puking on the marble kitchen counter tops, before just getting on with it.
Decked out in Romance was Born, I decided to treat the tripe recipe like I was preparing a cauldron of slop in a scene from Game of Thrones. If you are a meat eater then why not eat the whole animal? What’s wrong with stomach lining and calves feet? Grossness aside, I am totally supportive of this resurgence towards eating without so much waste.
I halved the initial recipe because it was enough to feed an army. I’m pretty sure dishes similar were used to keep weight on in the trenches 200 years ago, not ideal for a 30 year old on a Paleo Diet! After rolling a bouquet garni of fresh rosemary and parsley herbs in pork rind, things were looking up and I was kicking goals. I successfully loaded our red Le Creuset pot into the oven, proud of my accomplishment. “I cooked tripe AND a calf’s foot!” I screamed to anyone listening at home. And then the dreaded thought: this meant I was going to eat tripe and a calf’s foot! Oh god.
After all that cooking I wanted to taste the fruits of my labour but I was still anxious. After 6 hours on the slow cook, I served everyone a bowl and we stood around the kitchen daring one another to go first. The broth was very sweet. I gave the calf’s foot to my dog Polly and although she got quite sick from from it, she loved being a fluffy carnivore gnawing on it in the sun for a couple of hours.
Call me a wuss but I couldn’t quite swallow the tripe, I just kind of held it in my mouth, much to my Dad’s amusement. I think I would have enjoyed the rich taste of the broth much more if I didn’t have the aversion to fruit in stews. If it were red wine based, much like a lamb shank stew, it probably would have been more palatable for me. Andrew (the photographer) loved it and so did the Dish-Pig girls, so maybe tripe and I are just not meant for one another. Then again, maybe we’ll meet again down the line and fall madly in love? I can’t say I’d be quick to revisit this particular recipe but I’m definitely going to try the terrine and liver recipes. A cheeky pâté is much more my style with some gluten-free crackers, a glass of Beaujolais and a fresh mani!
Nella van Veenendaal is the brains and babe behind Beauté Gazette.
Follow her on Instagram and Twitter // @Beautegazette
Book of Tripe by Stéphane Reynaud (RRP $49.99) is published by Murdoch Books.