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2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,600 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 6 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Mutton for sale – Great New Recipe

This is a Classic with a  Michelin twist.

We are back in the grove after selling out at Christmas and now have mutton ready for sale on the farm.

What I like about these Mutton Rennaisance recipes is that they encourage people to explore lots of different cuts and highlight the versatility of the meat.

POACHED LEG OF MUTTON WITH A CAPER CREAM SAUCE

This is one of the classic ways to cook mutton; the gentle poaching enables the meat to reach optimum tenderness. Wow your friends by serving it at a dinner party with some red cabbage and baby root veg.

SERVES: 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 2kg (4lb,6oz) 1/2 leg of mutton (bone-in)
  • 4 large Spanish onions, peeled and sliced
  • 2 generous tsp sea salt
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 5ml (1tsp) whole black peppercorns
  • 1/4 stick cinnamon
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 2 litres (3 1/2 pints) light chicken stock
  • 1 bottle (750ml) dry white wine
  • 350g (12oz) unsalted butter
  • 60 ml (4tbsp) finely chopped shallots
  • 60 ml (4 tbsp) capers
  • 600ml (1pt) double cream.

METHOD

  1. Place the mutton into a large saucepan and bury it in the sliced onions. Add the salt. Tie the bay leaves, peppercorns, cinnamon and orange zest in a piece of muslin and add this to the pan with half of the wine.
  2. Cover with the chicken stock and bring to a gentle simmer. Skim off the crust that forms on the surface with a spoon.
  3. Simmer gently for approximately 2 hours or until tender.
  4. After 1 hour, take a saucepan and melt 150g (6oz) of the butter, add the shallots and capers and cook gently until softened then turn up the heat to lightly colour the shallots.
  5. Add the rest of the wine and cook briskly until the liquid reduces by half. Draw off approximately 1 litre (2 pints) of the poaching liquor from the mutton pan and add it to the capers and shallots. Bring this to the boil and reduce by half. Add the double cream and bring back to the boil. Reduce the mixture further until you achieve a glossy cream gravy. Adjust seasoning and keep warm.
  6. When the mutton is ready, transfer to a serving dish, cover and keep warm. Strain the poaching liquid from the onions but retain.
  7. Heat a large frying pan and melt the remaining butter until foaming. Add the drained onions and fry briskly until they turn golden and have begun to caramelise.
  8. Place some of the golden onions onto a plate and slice the mutton finely on top of it. Garnish with a ladling of the caper cream sauce. Note: The retained poaching liquid can be used to make a delicious soup.

MDAL.

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You get out what you put in

You would have thought that since I produce the finest quality mutton and lamb that I would be pretty familiar with the above rule of thumb. You would have thought…

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With all the snow things are Hectic

 

Even when things are crazy and your system is compromised by something like the snow It’s reasuring to recognise that the focus on quality pays off even now.

With all the snow all the sheep have come inside so they are not grazing the wildflower pastures at present. However, because all my conserved forage (hay and haylage) is from wildflower grasslands they are still getting great nutrition and their meat is still infused with the wild herb flavour. Sticking to a positive system seems to always lead to a positive feedback.

MDAL.

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X-mas update

 

Been bloggin light for a few months with a new baby girl (Erin Grace) arrived, the BBC good food show (where we sold out of mutton) and the rest.

Expect more regular updates from now on.

MDAL

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Butchery versus Flavour

Lamb CutletsI’ve just come back from a very helpful “meet the Cheff” event run by HEFF.

Part of the event was a butchery demonstration by a master butcher. I’ve cut up plenty of meat but this guy was really good.

The thing is he was cutting up half a lamb that was bought at a livestock market – so it was a commercial lamb, bred for production not for flavour.

We used to produce commercial lamb and were part of the EBLEX better returns programme. Basically we were producing lean meat as cheaply as possible that tasted like cardboard.

Part of this agricultural revolution also did for the rare breeds as they had a higher fat content for finished beasts. But as we know the fat is where the flavour and the nutrition is.

Something the butcher said really struck with me: “new regulations meant we had to pay to dispose of the fat we trimmed off the joints so we worked with EBLEX to design animals with less fat on”

When the motivation for producing food is not nutrition or flavour but fat disposal regulations quantity and shape the result is not good food.

With food you reap what you sow!

MDAL.

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Worcester Feast 2

farmers marketHaving just attended our first food festival it’s good to reflect on the show.

 

We had loads of helpers from the family from my 7 and a half month pregnant wife to my mum and dad. 

Friday was really quiet for all the stall holders, with many complaining about a lack of coverage in the press leading up to the event. Saturday and Sunday saved us really and, being local, it was a great shop window for us. I’ve already had several enquiries and orders.

If anything it underlined my belief in producer integrity over organised branding. Everyone who bought from us could ask us anything they wanted about our products, and we also encourage people to visit the farm if they can. What better recommendation is there than that?

We were next to Top Barn in the food tent. They are pioneering Care Farming and show how local businesses can make a real difference in the community. Why not visit their harvest shop.

 

MDAL.

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