Fussy about meat!

There is much excitement abound at the moment. This time next week I will be on the way to the province of Bari in Apulia staying in the town of Pezze Di Grecco at Masseria Montenapoleone. The reason for this trip is a 8 day cooking course on an organic fortified or walled farm. I hope to post some blogs of my attempts at the end of each day if time allows!

My wife of 25+ years is not a fussy eater, but we both share a view (that we have recently proven on numerous occasions), that buying meat from a decent local supplier is both cheaper, and better.  Having tried a range of protein from beef, lamb to chicken and bacon we are really lucky to have found such an excellent supplier in Casey Fields Farm Shop. A trip this weekend after the boss said she fancied something of a treat and the following was the result!

Côte de bœuf

Côte de bœuf for us is THE best cut of meat from the humble cow. A slice of RIB, bone in weighing about 650 Grams is a serious piece of beef, and cooking it right was going to be a challenge. Looking through various books and the trusty (sometimes) Internet there were various methods and timings. We like our beef rare to medium, cooked on the outside, but pink in the middle, so this is what I did.

Switch on your oven and set to 200 Deg C (Ours is a fan oven so would be 220 on gas/electric).

With some butchers string, tie a loop around the longest part of the joint, then, bring the string back round and put a couple of loops over and under. You can see the starting point on the picture above, when the rib is on the top right, with the two loops towards the bottom left.

Heat your frying pain, and add about 125 Grams of unsalted butter, and a good glug of oil (to prevent the butter burning). I fried the Côte de bœuf for two minutes at a high heat (8 on a NEFF Induction Hob). You can see the result below.

Turn the Côte de bœuf over and fry for another 2 minutes. The meat was about 1 1/2 inches thick, and once the frying stage was completed, I added 4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme and the meat then went into the oven for 15 minutes. If you have a double oven, put in a plate and warm to 90 deg, this is used for resting the meat.

After 15 minutes has passed, take out the joint, and put on the warm plate, and into the cooler oven to rest for 10 Minutes. 


Job Done, Côte de bœuf, with a salad garnish.  The result was WoW, not a cheap cut of meat but you don’t need anything to go with it, except maybe some Bearnaise sauce. The meat still pink in the middle, and was really tender due to the resting. When you are told “its the best steak I have ever had”, it made me smile inside 😉

Please go and try to find that local butcher or abattoir and get a real taste of food and at the same time, support the small producers who need that extra bit of help to survive, but bring you the best and usually cheaper produce without the middle man taking an un-necessary cut.

चटणी, ചമ്മന്തി or To Lick!

Firstly a big thank-you to all my visitors, since staring this blog in February I have had over 270 people view these pages, from America, to Russia, Germany and Spain.

Family and friends that I have shared much time with know I have a couple of addictions (of the food variety!), Sausages and Cheese!

As a child, I would regularly scoff down some cheese and biscuits, usually with a large glass of milk, at ridiculous times of the evening. The taste for sausages developed slightly later in life, if you can get good ones that is, the usual suspects still seem to have horrible casings even though quoted as natural!

Now I am a bit(!) older I have become much more fussy about where I get my favourites. In my own mind, there is only one place to buy sausages, I have been using Gardeners of Ludgershall for over 10 years, its a trip worth taking, they have won over 120 national and international awards for their sausages. For Cheese, Greys of Pangborne offer a quality a range unsurpassed for miles around.

With age I think tastes do develop and get refined, the well known Pickles are OK, but for me, having a go at home made makes things more interesting. 

The heading of this entry is about………………….Chutney!

The word “chutney” is derived from the Sanskrit word caṭnī, meaning to lick. When munching a Gardeners Championship Pork sausage, or Lincoln Poacher cheese from Greys a decent chutney or pickle can make a big difference.

Our well loved organic veg box supplier Riverford promoted a Red Onion and Sultana Chutney kit last week, so I ordered one to have a go.

Chop up loads of red onion, my mandolin did that as quick as a flash (with parental assistance), slowly fry to soften, add some of the sugar and continue, then add the vinegar, garlic spices and cook on a low heat to evaporate most of the moisture.

Mine looked like this after a 1 1/2 hours of slow bubbling, it filled the house with lovely smells. So there you have it, a tasty accompaniment to go with your favourite ham, cheese or sausages.  This made 5 jars which should last a few months (hopefully)!

 If you like good cheese, quality ham or sausages, have a go at making some chutney as it’s really easy and the results are fab.

Forme of Cury – Crustardes Of Flessh

So, what is this all about, old language and confusing to say the least!
The weather has been getting warmer, interspersed with rain! With a sudden rise in temperature, the humble salad becomes one of my favourite things to eat. It was a family tradition, every sunday evening after having a roast for lunch, to have a salad in the evening, often served with bread and dripping fresh from the lunchtime roast beef, yumm!
The Forme of Cury (Forms of Cooking, cury being from French cuire) is an extensive recipe collection of the 14th century. Its authors are given as “the chief Master Cooks of King Richard II. Contained within are 205 recipes such as :


Take peiouns, chykens, and smale briddes smyte hem in gobettes.& seeþ hem alle ifere in god broþ wiþ veriaws do þerto safroun, make a crust in a trape. and pynche it. & cowche þe flessh þerinne. & cast þerinne Raisouns coraunce. powdour douce and salt. breke ayrenn and wryng hem thurgh a cloth & swyng þe sewe of þe stewe þerwith and helde it uppon the flessh. couere it & bake it wel. and serue it forth.
You can find the complete book here !
So, I was thinking about salad and what to have with it, and the humble Quiche, actually german in origin sprung to mind. Quiche Lorraine is partly referenced in the ‘Forme of Cury’ Crustardes being pastry or bread lined tarts with an egg custard filling.
I fancied some original Quiche (Bacon, Eggs, Cream), so set about making the pastry ala Rachel Khoo, simplicity itself, soft butter, mixed with flour sugar and salt, mix for as little as possible, chuck in a couple of eggs and a spoonful or two of ice cold water and bring together. Stick it in the fridge and its good to go in an hour!
I was in a well known super market the other day, and they were charging £2.99 for the smallest packet of lardons, which did not look that great. I got mine from my favourite meat supplier Casey Fields Farm Shop in Ashamstead. I got six times the weight for the same price and the quality was awesome. You can see them above, waiting for the egg and double cream mixture.
I followed Rachel’s receipe and you can see the results for yourself, it took about 15 mins to make the Quiche (excluding resting/cooking time) and it tastes fab (its nearly all gone within 24 hours of baking!).
You can see a video how Rachel Khoo makes the quiche herealong with the rest of the receipe. Considering the time taken, size of the finished quiche its quicker to make than go to the supermarket and find a dodgy one on the shelf, and it tastes seriously good if you can find half decent lardons or bacon.
I urge you to  have a go, its simple, quick and well worth it.