Monday, 28 November 2011

'burger monday with Blanch & Shock'

I am sat in Andrew's Cafe awaiting Daniel Young's acclaimed 'Burger Monday' event and I'm looking at the menu before me.

This particular BM is being hosted by Blanch and Shock  who came to the shop a few weeks back on the hunt for a consultation. With me. I was rather taken aback as it is usually me seeking the advice. However they indulged me slightly and we talked in depth about beef.

They were wanting to know what exactly to put in their burger. They wanted to push the boundaries of cooking and cross the line of normality. So we tried to come up with something pretty odd...

Which is now glaring at me on the menu. Panic sets in, the sweat starts to prickle and the bottle of Italian red going down a little too if this goes wrong it may well be on my head! I decided then and there that if it were to go wrong I'd put my hands up boldly and ward off the madness telling them 'we knew it was madness but it was important that we tried! However I also put great faith in the chefs that were cooking it, so I left this chaotic scene to the recesses of my mind...

Josh comes over and shows me the raw burger which consists of ox cheek, short rib and the end piece of 40 day aged rump (i.e the blackest bit) and it a burger! The pockets of aged meat do look good, hopefully to give off a gamy flavour. But what will it taste like when cooked...

While sat here, chatting away, I look at the caff. And it really is a caff - ad I love it. This is perfect. On my table are young, fun and lovely software developers Ben & Dan - BM veterans. These guys knows their burgers..

So the plate arrives and it looks sensational. The hay bun is superb and retains all the juices from the met perfectly. Not too much cheese and a hint of pickle. Lovely touch indeed with the chicken skin. The consistency is smooth and very agreeable and the whole thing is perfectly accompanied by the beef fat fries.


I chatted to the chefs afterwards about their feelings on the evening. We both shared in the relief tht the burgers went down well. As to those hamburger connoisseurs who said you can not make a burger without the use of 'chuck' in the ingredients. Well myself and Blanch & Shock say 'f*ck chuck - there are better cuts to be had.


Tuesday, 22 November 2011

'how not to poison your Granny..'

Is in web terms an 'FAQ'. We get asked this so very often at the shop and I usually say, 'how do you like it?' Paramount when cooking beef, but essential with other meat too. Some may prefer their lamb more pink. And there is research taking place at present regarding how rare we can stomach pork.

My advice to all of you is this: purchase a meat thermometer immediately if not sooner. These are wonderful inventions, when plunged deep into the heart of the meat (or the meatiest part) and they will give you an accurate reading as to how hot or cold your meat is. This is ideal for roasting joints. Some, even have special settings which emit an irritating beeping sound when at the optimum point i.e your 'taste requirement'. These very helpful and inexpensive bits of kitchen kit render you less stressed, satisfied and totally avoiding poisoning your Granny.

If only all areas in life were served so conscientiously on the basis of your personal preferences..


Monday, 7 November 2011

'does size matter?'

When poised behind the counter we invariably get asked, 'how much do I need?' This could be with mince, leg of lamb or calves liver. We technically don't need that much meat but it may be nice to have a little extra? The recommended amount is roughly 200g each. However some people are perfectly happy with 75g-100g of meat. In our household it's far higher! But trying to ascertain how much a total stranger will need can be impossible. And it can be quite amusing, for instance if a lady comes in wanting to buy two rib eye steaks and she asks me how big I can hardly say, 'Well Madam, is your husband a big eater? greedy? or large?' o we often just the knife on the meat and ask the customer if it is adequate, it also means that you know your steak was cut just for you. 
The other interesting point is that meat looks far larger when you get it home. Okay, so this may well just be another random theory of mine. When in the butcher's shop surrounded by full loins and ribs of beef, shoulders of lamb and legs of pork, 500g of diced chuck/beef looks so tiny it hardly looks worth it. This happens to me all the time and I end up bringing home far more than we need! So I find it easier if I weigh it. But this could just be me. The point is I guess does the size matter? Does it depend entirely on how you're cooking the meat and what you're serving it with? Or should we just be grateful for the food experience? Portion control: it's all up to you. But at times, the last thing customers need is choice.