We've had Hugh’s Fish fight, lots of people fighting the corner for chickens and some fabulous work for farm animals in general especially from Compassion in World Farming
, though apart from the banning of sow cages in the UK, pigs have not had much welfare publicity. Though now we have The Pig Pledge
& The Pig Idea
part of the Feeding the 5000,
which The Butchery Ltd did all the butchery for last years Trafalgar Square feast. The food waste fed pork was exceptional with a huge depth of flavour, we have since also butchered a few other special pigs,[ fed on by products like whey and seen some very flavoursome pork. We believe, that as with cattle & sheep growing animals more slowly & naturally with a varied diet leads to a higher nutritional value in the meat, that all old fashioned "real meat" flavour & depth that is missing in a lot of modern meat. Alternatively pigs that gain a large part their nutrition from a single source take on some its elements, do you want that to be GM modified imported soya and corn, or whey from a local dairy or used hops from a brewery? Compare some of your local supermarket pork to the last bit of Spanish Jamon made from black pigs raised on acorns if you need any help making that decision.
Generally we don't get on the bandwagon as there are just so many "do-gooding" options out there. When we started The Butchery Ltd in 2011 we decided that we would source well raised meat from sources we felt comfortable with and let the taste & general quality of the meat speak for its self rather than preaching ethics to everyone, but pigs dead & alive have had our heart for so long that we seem to have gotten on the wagon.
Pigs by their very nature often end up being farmed in less than idyllic circumstances. The Foot & Mouth outbreak of 2001 in the UK, led to the sudden & total banning of feeding any scraps from human consumption, to pigs. Since 2002 this has been a EU wide ban, a crying shame for our growing food waste problem, more details can be found on the The Pig Idea solutions
Food waste is a problem prevalent in the world, feeding pigs and other animals our food waste is one angle, The other is not to make as much waste to begin with. Everyone making more effort to use all parts of the animals they choose to eat and only buying enough for their needs, means we can eat less but better raised meat.
Well fed and raised pork can be easily bought throughout the UK & is fabulous value for money, we see hundreds of people from all walks of life & cultures buy this type of pork from us every week, long may this continue as its the only way to support the small farmers we buy from, not to mention our growing staff and ourselves. Most supermarkets & many, but definitely not, all independent butchers and farm shops can supply those wanting to purchase higher welfare pork, but read your labels and ask questions, be aware of general answers & understand that unfortunately some schemes are more about the marketing & pretty labels than the animal welfare (see here for details
). For example Red Tractor guarantees British, but not necessarily very high standards of welfare.
More people buying higher welfare fresh pork is fab to see, but we would like to spread this word & thoughts further, many of the UK's favourite “meats” are from processed pork, bacon, ham & sausages. Start checking your labels & asking some close questions and you might get a bit of a scare, aside from the salt and the "E numbers" your processed pork product is much more likely to have been factory farmed and, or, from abroad. Why is this bad? Well apart from the fact that the UK's pig farmers need all the support they can get & the unnecessary food miles, farming standards vary wildly. A cry we often find ourselves muttering is "Not all meat is created equal".
So next pork pie, pepperoni pizza, bacon butty or ham & pickle sandwich you buy - check its happy pork, if nothing else, your taste buds and health will thank you, as, better raised pork has more flavour it tends to need less processing & if someone cares enough to use high welfare pork your probably going to find they care enough to make sure it tastes just fab. Next time you see that piece of heart or liver in the butchers window, snap it up and try a new recipe.
So take the PIG PLEDGE
and remember bacon, salami, ham & sausages are pigs too!
A very interesting piece about the new breed of butchers in town from the Food Program on BBC4
It features amongst others our amazing friends Dario and his wife Kim at M.A.D last year. Sheila Dillon always curates a interesting well considered pieces for her show.
For those of you who didn't catch Nathan on Raymond Blanc's new BBC2 series "How to Cook Well" you can see the short of his section above. If you want to see the series, for all the recipes and other great guest spots it is on BBC iplayer
Flat Iron - was a real crowd pleaser and is great value too
We recently held a tasting in our Forest Hill Shop, with a few different cuts of meat to try on the BBQ. In Australia nearly everything ends up on the BBQ at some stage, so we thought we would share a few ideas. The lovely Toby Allen popped in to take a few snaps for us and despite battling very bad kitchen lighting and smoke we ended up with a few lovely shots.
And I should mention the tastily talented Alan Stewart manned the big green egg, keep an eye on his twitter for tasty happenings @alanstewart_
Another crowd pleaser, Butterflied leg of Lamb marinated in herbs, garlic and lemon. Cook on high heat, both sides, rest well and slice - we think best served pink
Lamb Merguez sausages, Pork and Kim Chi sausages, marinated pork belly strips
We also had spatchcocked chicken, lamb koftes, Korean Cut beef short ribs, beef heart skewers with horseradish, chicken heart and lardon skewers. Showing that a BBQ doesn't have to be just about the steak and sausages
A little while ago we were asked if we would like to do some filming for Raymond Blanc's new BBC series based on different cooking techniques (no name yet) but due to air early next year. Raymond being one of our favourite chefs, of course we said yes. Filming was to be for the slow cooking episode, perfect to get the mind wandering into stuff for this cooler weather that seems to have struck.
Raymond and Helen the producer popped down to Spa Terminus a few Saturdays prior and had a good look around talking to loads of different traders, he must have thought things were alright, as a date was set and filming done quickly and with the minimum of fuss a couple of weeks ago. We had a good time pulling apart, I mean expertly butchering a beef forequarter whilst we had a nice shoulder of hoggett on the go in my loaner Big Green Egg.
I talked Raymond through all of the forequarter showing him all the little seams to separate the individual muscles, pulling apart such cuts as the flat iron, teres major, bolar and fore shin (had to read that twice didn't you) which was of particular interest to Raymond.
I think generally a good time was had by all and hopefully we make it to air.But that won't be in time for this coming cold snap so I thought I would tell you what we will be cooking to ease the pain of Winters return.
Steak and Kidney pie - whilst someone else doing a real steamed one is always a pleasure (try here if you want to make me one)
. With the little pork chop and the business I don't imagine we will get that far so we will casserole some lovely dry aged beef and fresh kidney then finish in the oven with a cheats puff pastry on top, dont forget to make enough for the freezer.
The counter will have some lovely dry aged chuck and lots of fresh beef, lamb and pork kidneys but sadly as mentioned by Felicity in the article we don't seem to own the suet on our own beasts! With Winter hitting I will ask again. We do have some lovely lard if anyone wants to try that.
Next option will be something with mutton - probably one of Ruth's secret curry recipes but if your looking for inspiration we always turn too Madhur Jeffery
or the tub of Mae Ploy curry paste that is always in the cupboard livened up with fresh ginger, coriander, tamarind & kaffir lime leaves.
Though seeing as this all started with certain French man I better head you in the direction of the ultimate ( solely our opinion of course) French comfort food, Coq au Vin
, perfect with our Fosse Meadow chicken or order yourself a cockerel for next week.
Happy cosy cooking and eating.
With an Autumn feel in the air even though Summer seems to have only glanced upon us we are pleased to bring a few items some of you have been requesting, English Rose Veal and Native Breed Mutton.
As we only source whole carcasses to butcher in-house the veal has been trickier than we originally thought. We always knew it needed to be English Rose but with the added constrictions of natural rearing, high animal welfare and whole bodies only. Most farmers had not actually previously, which just goes to show, yet again that most of our London meat is no longer butchered traditionally in house. We pretty much had to leave our usual requirement for pure bred native breeds at the door as the dairy industry uses crosses to utilise maximum milk production with temperament and disease resistance.
Our first veal shipment is Holstein Friesians from Roger Mason at Heaves Farm in Cumbria
As always, that ever so sensible man Hugh Fearnely-Whittingstall tells us why we should all be eating English Rose veal
, a by product of the dairy industry with some tasty recipe ideas thrown in to get you in the mood for Saturdays shopping with us down at Spa Terminus. Fern Verrow
have had lovely sage recently, and we heard rumours of spinach, then grab a tasty cured pork product from Ham & Cheese Co
if you are looking to go classic Saltimbocca style.
Heaves Farm website also has some great recipes
We did manage to buy a whole veal animal so the counter will have the liver, tail, tongue and all the cuts and bits in between if you want to get your hands on something more fun than the escalope.
Lamb is eating beautifully right now,
fattened on the summer pastures and allowed to grow at its natural rate the end of Summer start of Autumn is actually our preferred time for lamb, spring lamb we feel tends to be over rated and a little tasteless. Let us know what you think of our latest batch of Llanwenog.
A fine specimen fatted up nicely on a summer meadow diet
And we are buying mutton and hogget in as well from the same farmers, which will be a great chance for people to try the meat side by side or have the option for really flavourful long slow cooks. We recently visited one of our favourite lamb farmers Sue Money-Kyrle based in Gloucestershire. Having loved her LLanwenog lambs
, farming ethos and spirit since we opened, not to mention the feature in Jamie Magazine, it was great to finally see the farm for ourselves and it didn't disappoint.
Running a small herd ( 67 animals over 40 Hectares when we dropped by) with real love Sue selects and drives her animals to abattoir by hand and she had a few set aside for us to get a quick lesson in carcass selection while the beasts are still alive a little different from how we normally see them but very educational end to a tour of Walkers Fram admiring the meadows, views, ohh and the sheep! Over the 12 years Sue and James have been at Walkers Farm they have slowly built up a pure bred herd suited to Sue's exacting standards of the breed and the conditions of their windy mountain top at the northern tip of The Forest of Dean. Lots of planting along fence lines as part of the Farm Stewardship scheme
allows more protection for the animals.
The view arriving back at the farmhouse after our tour
They have also been carefully monitoring the ancient meadows applying minerals to the soil as appropriate to encourage a balance mix of healthy meadow flora meaning the sheep stay naturally healthier in the tough conditions. Some plants help as natural wormers, all help create a balanced diet and impart a depth of flavour to the lamb not found on a single grass or cereal fed system. We nibbled very sweet sorrel and spotted clovers, meadow sweet and lots of stuff I wouldn't be game to mention incase they were identified wrong amongst the grasses.
close up of the meadows, which had just been cut for silage
Great farm, great farmer(ess)! damn fine lamb and mutton. EAT SOME NOW.
As many of you, especially I am guessing the self employed and small business owners would find, business and pleasure are often mingled. But if you weren’t at least a little in love with what you were doing then you would be crazy to be in business doing it !
Which found us on a family “staycation” in Norfolk visiting The Carleton Herd
, a small herd of Red Poll not far from Norwich. Conservation grazed
on river meadows, these beasts tick all our boxes, native breed, lovingly, slowly and naturally reared on non-arable land, fed on mixed pastures, small groups, local abattoir, non intensive, low input and all those other fuzzy words which do add up to what we believe is spectacular tasting, healthy meat with low environmental impact.
Robert one of the owners, two friends and neighbours have paired up to be able to best utilise the boggy areas around the river running through their properties, drove us around in his Ute
to see the farm, the Red Polls are lovely medium sized healthy looking animals which as Robert admiringly points out fit naturally in the flat Norfolk landscape. One of the heifers had calved last night, therefore changing her status to cow, a few calved quite a while back and some are obviously due to be mums very soon. A good-natured breed our 5mth old daughter has her first encounter with a bovine and seems pretty pleased by it. The guys chose to let the heifers mature properly before allowing them to get pregnant so that they need less help with birthing.
We see different areas at different stages of the grazing process a very promising sign as it is a clear indication of the animals being rotated through the paddocks, so the beasts get a great diet, developing depth of flavour in the meat and the flora, fauna and soil have a chance to regenerate. This rotation of animals is a key aspect of conservation grazing and one whole heartedly endorsed by Graham Harvey in his excellent book, Carbon Fields.
Red Poll are a local dual purpose (Milk and beef) breed for those based in East Anglia, previous Red Poll meat we have eaten could be describe as “buttery” and is beautifully succulent and tender. Technically this difference in taste and exceptional succulence comes down to the size of capillaries apparently, though as always, it needs to be well fed and raised animal or all the breeding in the world wont save it.
With bloodlines of a right royal pedigree including beasts from The Queen’s Sandringham Estate
and a prize winning bull we hope you will get a chance to pop in over the next few weeks to try some Carleton Herd Red Poll. As we were lucky enough to get two steers killed on 4th July 2012 they have been aging nicely in The Butchery’s meat locker. With only 25 cattle killed a year they are a rare and tasty treat. Last week we had some very juicy, tender, sweet flavoured steak, this week with a little more age we think the beefiness will start to show depending on the cut you choose. If you’re a regular, a great chance to taste the same beef over a few weeks of aging and also think about the terroir of meat, a lot of our beef currently comes from Dorset, Devon and Herefordshire, how do these East Anglian raised beasts differ ? We talk about it in grapes and wine, is it not just as appropriate for properly raised meat ?
Clarissa Dickinson Wright of Two Fat Ladies fame had this to say about Red Poll beef “An exquisite and unique flavour from mature meat of a very individualistic old breed. Try it! "
What do you think ?
This seems as good a chance as any to introduce you to Compassion In World Farming
an organisation we have been following for quite a while now and especially their latest report
on the advantages, other than taste (we will let you be the judge of that as it is so individual) of eating this type of meat.
In a departure from our usual style of bringing pure bred English native breeds to you via The Butchery’s counter, this week we have a cross breed of Austrian Hungarian heritage! The Mangalitza
. Though in our defence when starting The Butchery one of our main aims was to bring to London, and generally make more available special animals that weren't otherwise easily available. And Ruth really is a sucker for any sort of tasty pork.
Some of you may recognise the Mangalitza as the curly haired pig sometimes mistaken for a sheep. In the UK purebreds are very, very rare, numbers seem to be inaccurate, but happy to be enlightened, anyone ? Ours is crossed with a Berkshire
Mangalitza Blondes which ours is are thought to be similar to the now extinct Lincolnshire Curly Coated pig
A large framed breed with excellent quality fat often used for Lardo and with wild boar heritage a great rich piggy flavour.
We had chops tonight and they were very tasty, looking forward to what everyone else thinks if they get a chance to try some of this rare occurrence, though fingers crossed we can get our hands and knives on some more.
Our Mangalitza was slowly raised to 11 months (seems young but UK average age for pork animals is 6 months and even the native breeds we noramlly have are 9 months at slaughter) in a free range environment, rooting around and munching on many an apple, on a very small holding near Chipping Norton. This beast arrived special delivery by Max the small holder himself.
Also in the counter this week lovely Llanwenog lamb
, Fosse Meadows Farm' s Cotswold White and Gold Chicken
both as featured in the latest Jamie Magazine
and Belted Galloway beef
Talking about what is going to be in the counter I am rather pleased with my current beef rail line up, all aging nicely ready to go into the counter at Spa Terminus on Saturdays we have coming up over the next few weeks Whitepark, Belted Galloway, Longhorn & Dexter. I can also say those of you with Beef Cartel
tickets are in for treat as the beef is also in my coolroom and is covered in unctuous yellow fat.
A short but tasty second instalment for my Cheeky Butchers Cuts, find the first instalment here or below.Check back soon for some pork and lamb ones.Teres Major This cut gets its name from the scientific muscle name. Found deep within the shoulder sitting just under the scapular bone or the under blade as it is known by those in the meat trade. This muscle is discarded by many as they don’t even know it exists. A long strip that tapers at each end, usually about 6-9 inches, depending on the beast you started with. Made of fine tight fibres running the whole length of the muscle this helps contain moisture when cooking. This is a quick frying, grilling or BBQ cut that is ideal to cook rare to medium. Cut the muscle across the grain when serving for a very tender steak cut that has the flavour and tenderness of a flat iron steak. Think fab steak sandwich. A whole animal would yield approx 250grms to 320grms of teres major
Teres major from a 35 day dry aged Hereford
Teres major on top, chuck tender or Jews Fillet underneath, if you look closely you can see the different directions of connective tissue within the muslce
Goose NeckNamed because shock horror it is shaped like a gooses neck ! It is the Achilles tendon of the rear legs only, seamed out of the heel muscle in a particular way allowing you to get a very unique cut for long slow cooks. A ‘cut’ made up of 2 parts, the tendon and the muscle. This is a bit of meat that has a lot of connective fibres running though it that break down to gelatinous goodness when cooking low and slow, for this you can use the muscle of the goose neck but for best results include the tendon. If you want to use the pieces separately, the top half of the goose neck is all tendon, cook it low and slow in any dish or sauce to add thickness, dehydrate and quickly deep fry to give you puffed tendons with a similar texture to pork scratchings, or prepare by slow cooking and thinly slicing to add to broth's or in a warm beef tendon salad, if Momofuku is doing it it must be cool. A whole animal would yield 180grms to 280grms of tasty goose neck.
And lastly if your interested in all meat cuts I thought I might leave you with a little more meat porn courtesy of a little project I have been working on with the very talented and food passionate Toby Allen
. Though i am sure he will tell you the piece hasn't been finished properly yet I like it !
Anatomy of a Cow - Courtesy of Toby Allen Photography - better file coming soon
Well we were warned, but new babies really do take over your life and our first born has also truly taken over our hearts, so this is a very lazy and self promoting blog entry so we can go spend more time with our daughter.
This is what everyone else has been saying about Nathan and The Butchery Ltd recently.
First up the strictly no nonsense How Not to do a Food Blog
brought to you by @Nonsensepipe
aka Paul Hart Not So New Kid on the Block
via London Confidential
, being called the next generation makes me feel youngThe Next Generation The Next Generation
If you read Italian ? Maybe you can translate for me.......from Mirtilli di Londra @londonjamfactorMaltby St
And the following about The Butchery Ltd butchery classes
Time Out - Now Here This @SwedishMike
on his very eventful, jealousy inducing Freestyle Cookery
on the very elegant collaborative Create, Eat, Love
Come visit again soon for the next instalment of Cheeky Butchers Cuts and here is a sneak preview of what I have aging ready to serve over the next few weeks, including Dexter
, Belted Galloway and Hereford.