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Serves: 6, plus leftovers

Preparation time: 20 mins

Cooking time: Up to 5 hrs for low and slow, or 1 hr 30mins for high and fast

There are few things that beat great British roast beef. Fore rib is the perfect cut for the ultimate roast, and makes a fabulous Christmas centrepiece. This recipe can be done ‘low and slow’ if you’ve got the time to pop it in the oven and forget about it for a few hours. Alternatively you can do a more traditional ‘high and fast’ in a fraction of the time – either way, you can achieve great results with minimal faff!


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Ingredients
2-rib forerib, well aged native breed beef (we alloow 1 rib for 2 greedy people)
3 red onions, unpeeled, roughly chopped
2 bulbs of garlic, sliced in half through the cloves
2 stalks of celery, roughly chopped
150 ml water
50ml balsamic vinegar
3 bay leaves
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
300ml red wine
150ml port
300ml good quality beef stock (fresh often in stock at The Butchery Ltd or order)
100g butter (approx)
1 tbsp flour (heaped)
25ml mild olive oil
1 tbsp sea salt
1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper

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Low and slow method

1.      Take the beef out of the fridge about a couple hours before you plan to cook, to allow it to come up to room temperature. Season the meat generously with the sea salt and black pepper.

2.      Preheat the oven to 75C.

3.      Pat any excess moisture from the beef with kitchen paper, and lightly lubricate the surface of the meat with some mild olive oil. Place a heavy bottomed pan large enough to hold the beef over a high heat. Once smoking hot, sear the beef on all sides until a deep golden crust has formed. As you sear the fat, a lot of this will render out into the pan. Note: reserve this for your roast potatoes or Yorkshire puddings!

4.      Scatter the vegetables in a roasting tin, along with the bay leaves, rosemary, water and balsamic vinegar. Place a wire rack over, then place the seared beef on the rack, fat side up. Insert an ovenproof meat thermometer into the centre of the meat, taking care not to ensure it is not in contact with any bone. 

5.      Slow roast for around 4 to 5 hours or until the internal temperature reads 55C for rare, 60C for medium rare, or 65C for medium. Note: the internal temperature of the meat will continue to rise by a few degrees while resting.

6.      Once at temperature, remove the beef from the oven and transfer to a plate. Cover with foil and a few tea towels to keep warm. Rest the meat for at least 30 mins before carving. 

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7.      Meanwhile, make the gravy. Skim any excess fat from the roasting tin and place over a high heat. Reduce any remaining liquid, mixing well to ensure the contents do not catch. Once all the liquid has evaporated, and the vegetables are nicely caramelised push them over to one side of the pan. Add a good knob of butter to the other side of the pan and once melted add the flour and mix to form a roux. Cook out the flour until it takes a golden brown colour. Mix in the vegetables and then deglaze the tin with the red wine and port. Scrape the bottom and sides of the tin with a wooden spoon to release any caramelised bits of flavour. Once the alcohol has evaporated, add the beef stock and reduce by half. Pass the gravy through a sieve, pressing the vegetables with the back of a spoon or ladle to extract all their goodness. Transfer to a saucepan and over a medium heat, and continue to reduce to sauce consistency. Add any resting juices from the meat. Check seasoning. Just before serving, monté the sauce with a knob of butter to add extra richness and shine. 

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8.      To carve the beef, start by removing chine and feather bones (the bones on the base of the joint as it ‘stands’ upright). Your butcher will have made this easy for you by sawing through the rib and chine bones, and slicing most of the way through the feather bones so all you need to do is fold it over and cut through the end. Next, from the top of the ribs run a sharp knife against the rib bones to carefully separate the meat from the bones. (Note: the bones and any trimmings can be saved for stock) Now you can slice the meat lengthways against the grain.

9.      Serve slices of the beef alongside golden roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, honey and thyme roast carrots, buttered kale and a few spoons of the gravy. Enjoy with a glass of your favourite red!


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High and fast alternative

Follow the same steps as above except in step 2, preheat oven to 190C. Then in step 5, roast the beef for around 1hr 30mins or to the internal temperatures as above – 55C for rare, 60C for medium rare, or 65C for medium.

BUTCHERS TIP : If you haven't tried it before a wing rib is also a delicious standing rib roast with a little less fat, its effectively the sirloin on the bone whilst the forerib is the ribeye on the bone. 

Recipe and photos by Mike Heywood, South London resident, regular customer, pork devotee, home chef and instagrammer extraordinaire. To see more stay tuned to this blog or follow Mike on Instagram @4TELIER
Meat cut and dry aged by The Butchery Ltd and farmed by David Powell, Ledbury

 
 
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Serves: 6

Preparation time: 30mins

Cooking time: 2.5 hours

One of the perks of the Christmas meal has to be the leftovers. Whilst slicing cold meat into tasty sandwiches are a ubiquitous favourite, there’s just something wonderful and comforting about pie. Using the reserved cockerel dripping to make a hot water crust pastry, your leftovers can be simply chopped and thrown in; and once encased in the rich, crumbly crust, they can be enjoyed over the next few days – if they happen to last that long of course!

A little leftover gammon or ham diced would be a perfect additon
Time Cheats: buy the stock and the pastry!

Ingredients


For the filling
Leftover cockerel meat from Christmas Day, picked from the carcass and chopped
Leftover stuffing log, chopped
Leftover carrots, chopped

For the pastry
500g plain flour
200ml water
100g lard
100g reserved cockerel dripping
1tsp salt






For the cockerel stock

Cockerel carcass
Cockerel neck
1 large white onion, peeled and halved
2 sticks celery, chopped
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
2 carrots, roughly chopped
Handful parsley stalks
1 bay leaf
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1.      Make the cockerel stock. Place all ingredients into a large pot, along with cold water to ¾ full. Bring to the boil then reduce heat to simmer for 1.5 hours. Pass the stock through a sieve and return the liquid to the pot. Discard the remaining contents. Continue to boil the liquid until reduced to about 150ml. Transfer to a measuring jug and allow to cool.

2.      To make the hot water crust pastry, place the flour in large bowl and make a well. Place the lard, dripping, salt and water into a saucepan over a medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once the fat has melted, pour the liquid into the flour and combine with a wooden spoon. Once cool enough to handle, transfer to a lightly floured work surface and knead for 2 mins. Flatten into a rectangle, about 2cm thick. Fold into thirds, then flatten out again and repeat the folding process once more. Wrap the pastry in cling film and place in the fridge for 30mins to firm up.

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3.      For the pie filling, combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Take the pastry from the fridge, separate a third and reserve to be used later for the lid. Roll the remaining two thirds out to around 1cm thick and line a loaf or cake tin with the pastry, pressing firmly into the base and sides of the tin. Allow at least 1cm of the pastry to drape over the sides of the tin. Fill the pie with the cockerel, stuffing and carrot mixture. Roll out the remaining pastry to 1cm thick. Place over the pie and press the edges to seal. Trim off excess with a knife, and crimp edges. Decorate the top with some of the remaining pastry if desired, and egg wash. Using a small knife, make three equally spaced holes through the top of pie to allow steam to escape when baking. Chill the pie in the fridge for 20mins to firm up.

4.      Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180C. Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for around 50mins or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10mins. Remove the pie from the tin and transfer to a wire rack to continue to cool to room temperature. While cooling, pour the reduced cockerel stock through the holes in the pie. This should fill any gaps in the pie and will set when chilled. Transfer the pie to the fridge to chill completely.

5.      Cut into slices and serve with a dollop of caramelised red onion chutney.

Recipe and photos by Mike Heywood, South London resident, regular customer, pork devotee, home chef and instagrammer extraordinaire. To see more stay tuned to this blog or follow Mike on Instagram @4TELIER
Meat by The Butchery Ltd and Nick and Jacob at Fosse Meadows Farm
 
 
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Ingredients 
1 Properly Free Range Slow Grown Fosse Meadows Cockerel (allow between 300 to 350gm of raw bone in poultry per person for a regular serve, this does not allow for seasonal gluttony, leftovers or just how delish the bird will be)

Generous tablespoon of sea salt 

Optional extras 
a lemon or other citrus
fresh thyme 
stuffing 
any of the added extras above and your own choice of side dishes


Method

1. pre - heat oven to 160celsius


2. Ensure you know the weight of your bird - then calculate cooking time 
A meat thermometer does help take out the guess work/worry. Allow approx 15mins per 500gm of meat and at least 20mins in total resting time. 
So if I am feeding 6 people generously (allowing 400gm p/p) and want enough leftovers (200gm p/p) to make pie for everyone I am going to choose a bird of approx 3.6kg and this will need approx 110 mins/1 hr 50min  cooking time and 20mins resting time.

3. Slather the bird in seasalt, if using citrus cut it in half and place up the bottom of the cockerel with the fresh thyme if using.

4. place bird breast side down in baking tray, leave well alone and prepare your sides and gravy, about 25mins before cooking time is finished, turn your oven upto 220 celsius, pull out bird and turn it carefully, so the breast side is up, place back in the oven to crisp up the skin. if you are using stuffing make small balls and p ut them in the oven now. If the juices of the thigh run clear or your thermometer reads between 65 and 70 celsius or over pull out the bird, rest, gently covered and get cracking with the rest of your meals preparations as it will be ready after 20mins resting, though if behind schedule don't worry resting a little longer won't hurt.

Recipe : Ruth & Nathan The Butchery Ltd
Photo : Mike Heywood
Cockerel : Nick & Jacob Fo

 
 
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Serves: 6, plus leftovers for pie
Preparation time: 1 hour, plus overnight dry brine
Cooking time: 2.5 hours

With its rich, meaty and slightly gamey flavour, cockerel makes a delicious alternative to turkey at the Christmas table. Paired with a superb stuffing made in-house by The Butchery Ltd, and an earthy morel cream sauce for a little hit of luxury, this flavoursome bird is sure to impress.

This is by no means a quick, everyday recipe. But if there was one time of the year where you wanted to go all out and fancied pulling together something a little special, this could be one for you.

Ingredients

1 x 4kg Fosse Meadows free-range Cotswold Gold or White cockerel

Herb butter (from below)

6 fresh sage leaves

2tbsp sea salt

For the herb butter 

200g butter, softened

1 tbsp fennel seeds

Zest of 1 orange

10 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped

2 tsp smoked garlic powder

2 tsp fresh ground pepper

Salt, to taste
For the stuffing log

500g pork, black pudding and prune stuffing (freshly made by The Butchery Ltd) if you don't fancy black pudding we there are others options or make your own.

Cockerel giblets, finely chopped (Note: do not use the neck)
12 rashers smoked streaky bacon
For the morel cream sauce

30g dried morel mushrooms, rehydrated in 200ml boiling water, rubbed to remove any grit, 

Note: if you can’t find dried morels, dried porcini or shiitake also works well. Also, do not discard the water used to rehydrate the mushrooms as this contains precious flavour!

1 tbsp butter 

2 shallots, finely chopped

150ml marsala

300ml good quality chicken stock (fresh often in stock at The Butchery Ltd or order)

150ml double cream

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
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Method

The first 3 steps of this recipe are jobs that can and should be done in advance – because, let’s face it, the last thing you want is to be stuck in the kitchen slaving away for hours on Christmas Day!

1.      Dry the skin of the bird with kitchen paper. Season well with sea salt inside and out making sure to work the salt into every nook and cranny. Place the seasoned bird on a tray and leave uncovered in the fridge for 12-24 hours. This process is called dry brining. As well as allowing time for the salt to penetrate and season the meat, this aids to intensify the natural flavour of the bird as well as keeping it juicy and succulent whilst cooking.

2. To make the stuffing log, combine the stuffing mix with the chopped giblets. (Note: if you prefer not to use the giblets, it will still taste great if you leave them out). Lay out about 30cm of cling film onto a work surface. Place the streaky rashers on the cling film, overlapping each one with the next. Leave about 5cm clear on each side. Place the stuffing mixture across the centre of the bacon sheet in a log shape. Wrap the bacon around the stuffing, and tightly wrap the cling film around. Pinch and twist the ends to seal, trying to remove as much air as possible. Tightly wrap the stuffing log lengthways with another layer of cling film to make it watertight. In a pot large enough to fit the stuffing log, half fill with water and bring to a simmer. Place the stuffing log in the water and simmer for 20mins. Remove from water, allow to cool, then place in the fridge until required.

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3.     Next, make the herb butter. Place all ingredients into a small bowl and mix until well combined. Take the cockerel from the fridge. Starting from the top, separate the skin from the breast meat carefully, trying as best you can not to tear the skin. Evenly spread the herb butter between the breast and skin of the bird. (Here’s a short how-to video). Tip: for a professional looking presentation, place the extra whole sage leaves between the butter and skin, 3 on each breast equally spaced. The bird can now go in the fridge until required.

4.      When you’re ready to roast, take the cockerel from the fridge, place on a roasting tin and allow to come up to room temperature. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 220C. Lightly oil the skin of the bird with some mild olive oil. Place an ovenproof meat thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh meat, taking care to ensure it is not touching any bone. Put the bird in the preheated oven and after 10mins turn the temperature of the oven down to 170C. Roast until the internal temperature reads 65C, basting the bird with its own juices every 20-25mins. Take the bird from the oven, place on a plate and allow to rest in a warm place, uncovered, for at least 25mins. As it rests the temperature of the bird will continue to rise to a perfectly moist and succulent 75C. This is known as carry-over cooking. Note: If you don’t have a meat thermometer, roast for approximately 30mins per kilo or until the juices run clear from the thigh when pierced with a skewer or knife. 

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5.      About 20 mins before the cockerel comes out of the oven, take the stuffing log from the fridge and remove the cling film. Place on a baking tray lined with some greaseproof paper and oil lightly with a mild olive oil. Put the stuffing log in the oven alongside the cockerel and roast until the bacon is golden, about 20 mins. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 mins, or until required.

6.      To make the morel cream sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until translucent. If there are any large morels, cut them in half lengthways. Turn up the heat, and add all of the mushrooms to the pan, and sauté for 2 mins. Next, add the reserved morel water taking care not to add any of the grit which will have settled at the bottom of the bowl. Meanwhile, take the cockerel roasting tin and skim off the excess fat. (Tip: Reserve fat for Leftovers Pie). Place the roasting pan over a high heat and once hot, deglaze the pan with the marsala. Once the alcohol has boiled away, add the chicken stock and any resting juices from the cockerel. After boiling for 2 mins, transfer the contents of the roasting tin to the pan with the morels and shallots. Reduce by half. Finally, add the cream and allow to boil for 2-3 mins or until the sauce has reduced to a consistency that coats the back of a spoon. If the sauce becomes too thick, simply add a splash of hot water to rehydrate. Check seasoning – add salt and pepper to taste. Turn the heat to lowest setting and keep warm until required.  

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7.      When ready to serve, carve the cockerel. Unless anyone feels particularly adverse to the idea, it’s nice to allow for a piece of white meat and a piece of dark meat per portion, along with a 2cm slice of the stuffing log. Serve alongside traditional goose fat roast potatoes, brussel sprouts, carrots, a dollop of cranberry sauce and a few spoons of the morel sauce and some cracking wine.


Simpler version and Leftovers Pie recipe next......

Recipe and photos by Mike Heywood, South London resident, regular customer, pork devotee, home chef and instagrammer extraordinaire. To see more stay tuned to this blog or follow Mike on Instagram @4TELIER
Meat by The Butchery Ltd and Nick and Jacob at Fosse Meadows Farm

 
 
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Serves: 8

Preparation time: 40mins, plus overnight brine

Cooking time: 5 hours

This recipe takes time, but rest assured the results are well worth it. It begins with an overnight brine, followed by a gentle low and slow roast, then a final blast to produce a wonderfully bronzed exterior.  Brining adds moisture and highlights the natural flavour and subtle sweetness of the pork. Low temperature cooking slowly brings the meat up to a perfect 65C internally, and then holds it there to gently tenderize the meat by maximising the “fibre-bursting activities” of the natural enzymes within. Or so Harold McGee would say.

You’ll need an ovenproof meat thermometer, this is essential. They’re an extremely useful kitchen tool for cooking meat safely and accurately. Here’s a link to the one I use, but any similar will do the job like the ones they sell at The Butchery Ltd for £6.50

Not enough time for low and slow? Skip to the bottom for a high and fast alternative.


 
 
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 
 
 
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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_

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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
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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.