Friday, 24 February 2012

'a not so splendid idea..'

I have decided to give up meat for Lent. What the actual hell. We are on day 2 and I'm already deeply regretting it. I have given up meat at work and at home at any rate. I have given myself 2 loop holes. Number 1 is I plan on going to J Baker's (a restaurant in York which I could never afford when I was a student - and I had already booked the table before coming up with this mental idea) and the other is a Sausage competition for London Farmers Market #loveyourlocalsausage - but that's it! For 6 weeks. And obviously I'm around meat all day so actually this is a bit bloody tough (no pun intended..)

So why? Why would I put myself through this? Well It's a few things really but I always give something up for Lent, since I am a theology graduate (last year it was booze but my friends refused to talk to me for 6 weeks...). But lately, I have been aware that I have taken for granted just how readily available meat is for me. Often in a day I will have sampled (I emphasise sample) beef, pork, lamb, poultry, game...or at least 3 of the 5.. it shouldn't be this easy right? At the end of the day if you have decent, fresh ingredients - that's all right? Well we'll see, not sure how interesting posts on a butcher blog will be with another 5 posts meat free still to come...

We'll see...maybe I shall be inebriated for the duration instead..


Thursday, 16 February 2012

'a ducking good birthday..'

On Sunday we ventured to Manson on the Fulham Road to celebrate my birthday. We chose this restaurant after being told fantastic things about Alan Stewart, the head chef. I had beef tar tar which was superb and massive - but I could eat that tar tar all day.. Then I chose to have the hake which was cooked beautifully with green leaves and citrus to accompany it.. Mr H had celeriac soup and pork which was cooked to perfection.

Alan also treated us to a melody of duck too which included the heart, a terrine, a duck breast, a duck egg and toast fried in duck fat - this was rich but delicate and the flavours worked really well. I also loved how he was displaying how much variety you could get off one carcass. Afterwards he came over to say hello but he was also able to tell me exactly where his meat was coming from, that his vegetables were being grown in the 'Manson Allotment' - this I loved. He was, however unable to tell me the breed of pork he was using - but I appreciated that he didn't make it up, he admitted he had no idea. This honesty is uncommon for a chef in a kitchen. It is even less common in a butchery. So I say, many thanks to Manson and Alan for making my birthday memorable but also good, honest, English food.


Wednesday, 8 February 2012

'FT used to stand for the Financial Times..'

I have now celebrated 1 year of butchery. It has gone so fast but also, can not believe it's just a year. A day in the life of a  butcher speeds past because your day is sectioned. Open up, deliveries, set up, orders, deliver, shop keep, tidy up, clean up, cash up. You barely have time to turn around. It is bonkers. And manic.

It's like a different way of living. I remember before I started FT (French trimmed) stood for The Financial Times. Let me tell you -  I knew more about the pink newspaper... These days I even have an opinion about French trimmed. Naturally it looks most appealing when bits of the bone are exposed and dainty to pick up, but what about the meat that we recklessly abandon when we trim and discard? Oh, and what's that? It actually works out cheaper if you don't get it trimmed - sometimes looks aren't everything..

Speaking of looks...PPE once upon a time stood for Politics, Philosophy & Economics - not Personal Protective Equipment. People think women are put off by the meat, blood and the dead animal stuff (technical term). Nope. The thing that has put women off butchery in the past is without a doubt..the shoes. You have to protect your feet - but why do the shoes have to be too damn practical? I have learnt as with most things in life: you have to work with what you've got.

Here's to another year of butchery...think I might treat myself to some new boots..