Sunday, 26 June 2011

'which cut's the right cut?'

To be honest, there is no right cut. Wow, that was easy.
However, there is the right way to cook and prepare something. For instance using fillet of beef (particularly rare breed stuff) would be well and truly wasted if we were to mince it and create a standard spag bol.

People are forever exhausting the question, not 'how?' or 'why?' but 'which?'
I try and gently encourage people to go for something they have never gone for, perhaps brisket or shin of beef, or pork tenderloin - if cooked properly these cuts can be exquisate. Naturally these lend themselves to slow cooking. Just leaving it to fester for hours so that all the flavouring from the fat and muscle can soak in.

I stumbled across a fantastic recipe for Ukranian stew ('borscht' which is predominantly shin, beetroot, shallots and paprika) and it was fantastic with crusty bread for dipping. There are umpteen recipes for all sorts of different cuts. And quite often, these cuts are the least expensive! Although you may have to go to your local butcher to source them - which he/she will with pleasure.

I charge you with this. Try something weird. It will enrich your life.


Wednesday, 1 June 2011


Butchery in England is one of the few occupations that is still very much reliant on good old fashioned skill. It demands a thorough knowledge of carcasses and an ability to cut well. But is it stuck in the past?

For instance, why even hand tie string knots for joints of meat? Surely in this day and age there''s a machine or at the very least elastic we can use? But it just is not the done thing - and why bother, this way has suited us for years now. And it looks far more impressive.

The other day, a butcher got a dishwasher installed in his shop, it's hardly cutting edge technology, and another butcher I spoke to could not believe it! But this is how it goes.
On the other hand a new butcher's block was bought and it will outlive all of the shop staff put together.
'Built to last or stuck in the past' is the question. I say that is part of what 'tradition' is.

Getting back to the knots..I actually very much enjoy tying, so hope that particular method remains. Just hope I can improve!