Results tagged “beef”

Whitmuir Farm

esb.jpgExcerpt from Eat Slow Britain by Alastair Sawday & Anna Colquhoun:

… At first cattle and lambs were trucked four-hundreds miles to a slaughter house in Devon, from where meat travelled to supermarkets across Britain. If supply outstripped demand, orders were reduced or delayed without notice. If animals grew too large, they were rejected as unsuitable for the mechanised processes. “For all we knew our meat ended up on shelves down the road, yet untraceable to Whitmuir. We wanted to take control and know our customers.”

smwhitmuirfarm0001.JPGA gift of two Tamworth sows - Cinnamon and Nutmeg, thought to be sterile yet proving prolific - spurred the move to direct sales. A tiny shop was swapped for a bigger one and now they have a restaurant, too. “We invested everything and have more risk and direct accountability to consumers, but we wouldn’t go back to anonymous wholesale.”

... Whitmuir’s Shorthorn cattle only eat grass. This gives their meat a healthier balance of Omega-6s to Omega-3s, and softer, yellower fat. Calves also wean naturally. An early attempt to hasten the process by luring cows away to a field of tasty kale resulted in disaster when they trashed three electric fences and a gate to reclaim their young …

Whitmuir Farm, Scottish Borders, Scotland

Boeuf bourguignon

I firmly believe that old classics are old classics for a reason - they’re utterly delicious - and therefore should not be overlooked on the assumption they’re either too boring or too fussy and antiquated.  Boeuf bourguignon is the perfect example; you just can’t beat slow cooked beef with the simple additional flavours of red wine, bacon, onions and mushrooms.  For maximum flavour, make this a day in advance.

Smboeufbourguignon0001.JPGWhile staying in Paris at the start of our culinary travels in 2008, I took a class with chef Eric Fraudeau.  On my request, and despite having made them all many times before, we cooked boeuf bourguignon, gratin dauphinois and tarte Tatin.  It’s always fascinating to see how different people approach the classic dishes; there’s always more than one way.  Sometimes they turn out equally delicious but for different reasons; other times you come to realise there’s a reason behind the original recipe.  (That’s assuming you can put your finger on an ‘original’ recipe; such dishes are usually highly contested.)  Boeuf bourguignon is traditionally served with boiled potatoes, but if you’re up for a really rich meal, the gratin dauphinois works a treat.

Eric’s bourguignon was pretty standard, with all the usual suspects for ingredients.  I have only made some slight alterations for the recipe here.  Eric recommends beef cheek - it will cook down to the most unctuous, tender and tasty mouthfuls you can imagine.  However, I was disappointed to find that I cannot get beef cheeks where I live.  In Paris it was easy - Eric took us to a series of wonderful butchers selling all kinds of things, including horse.  In England, my local butcher tells me, EU laws are applied more strictly and due to the additional regulations surrounding carcass heads (think BSE and the rest ...) there are more steps and inspections in the process.  The result is that what should be one of the cheapest cuts becomes too expensive for most butchers to bother with.  

In place of cheek, my butcher recommends chuck steak, which is from the shoulder.  If not that, then any good stewing cut - such as rump, round or shin - would do.  For the wine, the only book I have that actually recommends using a Burgundy is the little ‘recettes bourguignonnes’ cookbook I found in Beaune.  Everyone else recommends something fuller bodied, such as a Côtes du Rhône.  Finally, I can’t tell you what a difference good bacon makes.  Try to avoid those packets of pre-cut ‘lardons’ in supermarkets; they’re full of water and taste of little.  Instead, see if your local butcher sells bacon bits leftover from his own slicing.

And the nominations are ...

burkina faso
Smetreburkinabe.JPGTen minutes into Burkina Faso, and we knew it was going to be a dead cert for that most coveted of awards: Most Friendly Border Guards Anywhere Ever. The Malians will be disappointed, I know, after a very strong showing indeed, but the Burkinabés trumped them from their very first "Bienvenue!". This is the way to welcome new arrivals to your country -- friendly, enthusiastic, helpful, interested and generally very correct. UK Customs and Immigration could certainly stand to learn a thing or two ...

Smsoumbalapounding.JPGAnd now that we've spent a (too too short) while here, that's not the only award it's been nominated for. It's up for the hotly contested Chef Most Generous With His Time prize, is the bookie's favourite for Most Surprising Yoghurt-Offal Combination, has several entries in the extremely competitive Tastiest Street Food category, and is way out in the lead in the (admittedly less competitive) Most Impressive Cross-Town Inter-Generational Search For An Obscure 70s Funk Album.

Let's open those envelopes, and find out just what they won ...

Yiouvetsi - easy beef 'n' pasta stew

This has to be the easiest stew recipe I know.  The laziest cook in the world could make this, and produce something as delicious to eat as it is effortless to make.  I swiped it from Susanna Spiliopoulos of Hotel Pelops in Olympia, Greece, when we stayed with her this spring.
Susanna has her own (very highly regarded) catering business and kindly shared some of her numerous culinary tips with us during our two day cooking spree in her squeaky clean professional kitchen.  For Susanna, good cooking is all about good oil, by which she of course means good Greek extra virgin olive oil, which in her case is pressed from her family’s very own olive grove up the road.

Sensitive balls

Smiclikofteplated0001.JPGIt’s not all tea and candy in Turkey of course, and meat is a very important part of the diet for most Turks.  Of course practically no pork - which was a nice change for us after our pork ‘n’ lard fest in central and eastern Europe. 

Beef and lamb are the most common red meats, with beef overtaking lamb, especially in the west, due to the increase of factory farming and hence smaller price tag.  (Lower price in terms of pennies from the customer’s pocket that is, not cost to their health, the cows’ wellbeing or the environment, of course…) 

And there’s plenty of chicken too, but we found those dishes less interesting.  So I'm not writing about them here.  Instead you can find out about 'sensitive balls'...

Pot stickers

california, japan
OK, this one looks a little long and complicated... BUT you should try it as really it's easy and the results are delicious.  Let me know which option you like best if you try them.  I guess Sainsbury's might not do pot sticker wrappers and you may need visit your local Chinatown, if you have one.  They will be in the refrigerated section.

Pot stickers.JPGThere are hundreds of different recipes for pot stickers.  The Japanese version tends to use thinner wrappers, which I prefer to the more doughy Chinese version.  I was inspired to experiment with different fillings and wrappers by the delicious pot stickers you can get in little dim sum restaurants in San Francisco's Chinatown.  I couldn't decide which of these three fillings I liked best, which is why you're getting them all...


Culinary Anthropologist