Joan Bakewell's old-fashioned liver and capers

I've always enjoyed Oscar Wilde's quip: "Is life worth living? It depends on the liver?" I've also always enjoyed liver. And for this recipe it doesn't have to be expensive calves' liver. The stronger ox or even pig's liver will do, though, of course, calves' is subtler. This is a dish for dark winter days, preferably with a log fire burning - OK then, the central heating turned up - and the curtains drawn close. Even better if the wind's whistling outside or a keen frost is settling in. Though I realise these don't come to order. But the dish is simple enough, and goes perfectly with baked potatoes, crispy skinned and dabbed with butter.


1lb calves liver
2oz beef dripping (it's delicious and adds such flavour to dishes such as this) or lard
1 onion - chopped
About 250ml of creamy yoghurt
Plain flour, seasoned
About a 1/2 pint of beef stock
2tsp capers
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper


Slice the liver into strips about half an inch wide, roll the slices in a few tablespoons of seasoned flour and fry them briefly in the dripping or lard for about 3 minutes, stirring so that all the pieces are equally cooked yet remain pink. Then remove all the pieces to a warm plate in a cool oven (you don't want it to cook any further).

Next fry the onion in the same fat (you may need to add a little more). When it is just turning brown, add about a tablespoon of the flour to thicken, with some salt, 2 teaspoons of whole capers and 3 teaspoons the white wine vinegar. Then slowly add the beef stock and keep stirring the mix for about three minutes. Stir in the yoghurt, return the liver to the pan and heat it through without boiling. Mmm, can't wait for those cold winter evenings!

Joan Bakewell's autobiography, 'The Centre of the Bed', is published by Hodder and Stoughton