Wednesday, 30 May 2012

'young british foodie..'

Last night was the Awards evening for the Young British Foodie Award. Aspiring chefs, food experimentalists, baristas, mixologists, charcutiers and people with a passion for food generally took part in this new and exciting competition. I thought I would take a punt in the meat category.

I have been experimenting with a black pudding recipe since my journey into butchery began really and I thought this might be a fun way of show casing my idea, and also to receive some harsh and realistic criticism. Rather than giving it to mates who would tell me it tasted awesome even if it was rubbish. (I refer back to the Black Pudding prototype of the early days...). However after several nightmare attempts I sorted the recipe for Girl Butcher's Pepper Pudding. And it went down well. Thank God.

The judging took place in the quirky venue of Meat Liquor I was the second of three finalists. I got to meet the lovely Mark who runs Monty's Deli and he did this incredible pastrami, which he does with brisket - superb. The other was Matt who is a very fine charcutier - this man knows his stuff. After we had been judged we all stayed around for a beer (..or two) and we chatted for a long time about the meat industry and various cooking methods. It felt fantastic to be a meat geek and be surrounded by people with equal geek-i-ness.

This was then well and truly re-endorsed last night, so many people just so passionate about food. It was incredible. It was also a pleasure to meet many people from Twitter, who have supported and helped me so far too. I feel like a very lucky girl indeed.

Buzzing, still.


Wednesday, 23 May 2012

'a pig's head can cause a spectacle..'

Should meat look like a dead animal or should it be lined up neatly fully trimmed? Yesterday I was standing on Holland Park Avenue wearing a straw boater and a boat tie - had I not been wearing chain mail too I think people would have thought I was about to crack out a tap dance - I was also holding a large cleaver and a Gloucester Old Spot's head. Yes. A pig's head. This was not, I might add, for general amusement this was actually for an article for a newspaper. However I found myself to appear a bit of a spectacle. People stopped to make comments and ask questions, tourists were even taking photos! I also tried to hide said head whenever children went by, mainly because it can make for unpleasant question asking to parents. 'Mummy who killed Peppa?' etc. etc. But do we try and conceal the fact that meat is dead animals? They were once a cute spring time lamb, majestic cattle, or curious snuffling piglet. I think, even for me, when I see it on the block at work I still see meat, substantially bigger of course - I don't see it as a dead animal. Due to health and hygiene we only get it in after it has been skinned and beheaded (apart from the pigs clearly). I think we probably should face facts. We are eating dead animals, we have to be honest with ourselves. But we also have to remember that no one loves animals more than farmers - because it is their livelihood. And these animals would most likely be extinct if we did not eat them, because that is what they are bred for. 
Maybe if we'd eaten it, the dodo might have stood a chance..


Monday, 7 May 2012

'even I love my local butcher..'

If I were to buy meat from a supermarket it would be definitive hypocrisy. Like worthy of dictionary, or at the very least Wikipedia definition. I do like to utilise my local shops and businesses, so that they remain in business. Whilst the High Street in general is struggling to survive, it is essential we use the products and services around us. Now as a butcher it has taken a lot for me not to buy from where I work, since I know just how fantastic the quality is. And believe me the meat I have the privilege of working with is phenomenal.

But just to prove a point I have started buying my meat from my local butcher. I am very lucky indeed to have a quality butcher just around the corner, and of course not everyone is this lucky. The butcher is another Q Guild butcher. As you know I work for Lidgate's which is also part of the Guild and I've worked for George Payne in Newcastle which (you've guessed it) is also Q Guild. I have also worked in other butcheries which are not Q, and that is certainly not to say that they haven't been fantastic businesses, offering me some valid teaching and experience. What the Q does offer however is the certainty that if you visit a Q shop you will undoubtedly receive quality meat and the very best service. Definitely check out the website

I currently buy from HG Walter by Baron's Court tube station - they have no idea that I'm a butcher.
Maybe it's time I 'fessed up..