So the celebrities on I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here aren't enjoying their food rations? Blimey, they've been sent squirrel, quail and hare all supplied by The Wild Meat Company in Suffolk. That's my idea of a perfect supper. Here's the wild venison from my last online order. Get your Christmas order in now!
So are pork chops on trend? As beef prices rise more restaurants have begun to feature premium cuts of pork on their menus. I enjoyed a very tasty Bertha cooked Blythburgh pork T-bone at The Oaksmere near Brome the other day. Also on the menu a pork chuck for two and some very tempting dry aged beef.
It's going to be hot this weekend so prepare for some al fresco fire cooking. Make yourselves a jar of dry rub ready for your beef. Spice blends, or dry rubs are rubbed into meat before cooking. Some say that salt should not be included in a rub as meat should be dry brined by rubbing in salt a day in advance, in order for the salt to penetrate the meat. The spices in a rub do not tend to penetrate the meat but will help form the delicious spicy crust (or bark). However as we are all so short of time in our busy lives, I make an all in one rub, mixing the salt into the rub and leaving it on the meat overnight in the fridge. Sugar is a matter of taste and needed to help caramelise the crust. I use just a little on beef. Experiment with your own spice blends and store in an airtight jar. Use on a whole joint of rib eye or sirloin for a real treat.
- Cooked on a high heat over the fire creates a good bark but still pink in the middle
- I had a joint of very lean sirloin which I rubbed and left for 24hrs
- Making the rub in a mini blender is easy
This week we've been sampling game sausages, sausage rolls and pies sent to us from new food producer Wild and Game. They are a new not-for profit food business aiming to turn us into a nation of game eaters. I'm not sure if there's much converting to do here in East Anglia, where we eat a lot of wild meat, but the game goodies will be available online to pubs, restaurants, small shops and the general public, so great for those that find it hard to visit a decent butcher. "We're keen to make game more prominent in the UK diet", says Steven Frampton, who runs the business with Michael Cannon. Products are supplied frozen and available all year round. Our box arrived on the hottest day of the year, tightly packed in ice, still frozen solid after an overnight delivery. Best of the products we tasted were the sausages, including the pheasant and pear, pheasant and venison and pheasant and white wine. All were a big hit with Mr SuffolkFoodie and notably very good eaten cold the next day. Keep an eye out for their new products. Pheasant Lasagne anyone?
- beautifully packed in ice, arriving frozen
- enormous pasties
- pheasant meat sausage rolls
- 70% meat content sausages
- pheasant and venison sausages
The place for a fresh local farmhouse breakfast on Saturday September 2nd will be the Heath Farm farm pop-up at Hesset village hall. We went to one last Saturday and had a tasty sausage bap (£3) and home-made sausage rolls (£2.50) cooked on the spot. You can have a full English breakfast with eggs laid that day, and a lamb and tzatziki-slaw bap for brunch too - from a small but tasty menu of locally produced meat which is also for sale on the day.
The Mr Cutlets competition was Meatopia's chance for anyone to cook alongside some of the finest chefs from the UK and around the world to showcase a dish this year. The competition ran from 2nd July 2015 to 2nd August 2015 when the team selected a shortlist of six finalists to be invited to London to cook their dish. Two winners were selected from the finalists to cook at Meatopia 2015. Entry to the competition was open to everyone, from members of the public to aspiring young chefs and contestants who needed to supply details of their dish in advance. Inspector X entered and cooked a dish she created for the occassion - we often cook over a camp fire - Red Poll Shin and Tail, and made dumplings on the day. She wasn't selected - but she was the only girl!
Founded in the USA and brought to the UK by Richard Turner of London butchers Turner and George, Meatopia is a festival of high quality, ethically sourced meat cooked over wood and charcoal in a weekend-long event of meat, drink, fire and music that we covered for SuffolkFoodie last year when we first went to Tobacco Dock for a day out and accidentally found ourselves surrounded by huge hunks of men, throwing huge hunks of meat on huge and hot blazing fires. But this year it was very different! A woman entered the competition to win a chance to cook at the event. And she made a stew. And it was our very own lovely, brave and intrepid Inspector X!! See Mr (or Mrs) Cutlets for the result!
If you get the chance to spend a day or two in Cambridge then here is my mini food tour. Arrive in the afternoon and start with Afternoon Tease in King Street. It is very close to the bus station in Drummer Street and as the name suggests serves tea and cake. You can also get breakfast, brunch and lunch. It stays open until 6pm in the week. I had a big slice of stout Christmas cake with homemade marzipan and icing. The dark molasses flavoured cake had huge juicy chunks of stem ginger and figs which made me go straight out and buy figs, because sometimes you just forget how nice they are.
After a good long walk around the city, a little retail therapy perhaps and working up an appetite, then go for supper at Pint Shop, another new restaurant to the Cambridge scene and just off the market by the Corn Exchange. Meat, bread, beer, about 50 types of gin, 30 whiskies and a very good wine list. The bar was full but I got a glimpse of some scotch eggs and sausage rolls on the bar top as I walked through to the restaurant. I was by myself, but had a good time. Staff are friendly and welcoming and bring a plate of bread to the table once you are seated. I had half a pint of so'hop moor ultra pale keg beer, with triple cooked smoked ox cheek, horseradish gremolata and sprouting broccoli. The side order of mash was perfect to mop up the gravy. The puddings sounded really good and included a sticky figgy pudding, but you can only eat so many figs in a day. And so to bed..... there are loads of places to stay, look at Quality in Tourism for rated properties.
In the morning find your way to Norfolk Street Bakery. it is an easy walk from the Grafton shopping centre. Do not leave Cambridge without visiting this delightful, bijou, Portuguese bakery. Adilia bakes with her cousin Daniel and the window alone just calls you in. It is bang in the middle of a residential part of town and a little terraced property. You can get coffee to drink in or take away. I tried salt cod pie, a meat croquette , a suckling pork rissole and cod fish cake. Yes, I am a pig, but how can you resist, and they were still warm! I brought home a box of cinnamon topped pastel de nata (custard tarts) to eat later.
Goodbye cupcakes, biscuits are back. The cupcake is on the decline and we think the next baking trend will be biscuits, not cookies, but good old butter based, crisp biscuits. Bring on the bourbons!
Icecream is also on the up and together with the biscuit we guess the ice-cream sandwich could be the new dessert craze.
Tea will be trending, not just the current resurgence of the vintage cuppa but in cocktails and as iced teas. Think rooibos, jasmine, hibiscus and green tea in your cocktails. This is our Fresh Red with Mint. Rooibis espresso, apple juice, mint and squeeze of lemon.
Vermouth has been neglected despite being an essential component of the current trend of cocktail making. It is a great aperitif in its own right and you will see the real vermouth action in Spain where it is poured straight from the barrel to the glass. Look out for this Italian vermouth bianco made by chemist Mauro Vergano. It is made from a base of Cortese and Moscato grapes, steeped in citrus and herbs. Subtle aromas of orange blossom over a base of herbs. Delicious! Justin and Jurga Sharpe have it on the menu at Pea Porridge restaurant in Bury St Edmundsl
If 2013 was the year of Quinoa then 2014 will be the year of Buckwheat. Usually referred to as a cereal grain, buckwheat is a superfood and actually a type of fruit. A relative of the rhubarb plant, buckwheat has a mild nutty flavour and a slightly softer texture than other grains. Well known uses for buckwheat are the flour (great for pancakes), soba noodles and kasha. Kasha are the whole buckwheat kernel; you can find them roasted or unroasted at most health food stores. The buckwheat plant's flowers are also used to make a dark, rich honey. Originally from China, the main producer today is Japan, where people eat soba noodles on New Year's Eve as a symbol of longevity. Buckwheat is high in magnesium, good for healthy muscles. One cup of soba noodles has about half the calories of a cup of regular pasta. Buckwheat also contains the antioxidant rutin, known to help lower cholesterol and strengthen small blood vessels. Buckwheat is also a gluten-free food, which makes it a perfect substitute for those who have trouble digesting wheat. The fascination with Asian food will also continue into 2014 with rice playing a big part in the return of the carbs.
Will goat be the new kid in town? We think so. With the increase in goat dairy produce it only makes sense to eat the goat meat itself. A staple in the Caribbean with curried goat being a Suffolkfoodie favourite, we always have some goat meat in the deep freeze. Kid goat is actually very versatile and has a great subtle flavour. Slow roast shoulder or leg grilled over a charcoal fire served Greek style with lemon and herbs, yum
Home brewing could prove to be popular next year How about a Great British Brew Off? Not beer or wine, but VINEGAR. Yes, you heard it. Vinegar is easy to make and we will be starting a brew soon here at Suffolkfoodie HQ. Many years ago a friend with a wine shop kept a barrel for the bottle ends and left overs and brewed wonderful vinegar. We fancy this hand thrown vinaigrier. Drinking vinegars, or shrubs as they were known in the 17th Century are becoming trendy and light vinegar chasers ( yuk?) and savoury cocktails are going to trend soon. Chicken Tikka Martini anyone?
Clucking good chicken restaurants have been appearing throughout 2013 and they will continue to develop out of London. Chicken is still an economical meat and we have also been predicting eggs as a trend for the past year. Scotch eggs are back on the bars in many guises. How about devilled and curried eggs next? New cuts of meat will appear. In 2013 we saw a move towards the American cuts such as the flat iron steak (shoulder blade, known as Butler's Steak in good old Blighty.) Expect the Pork Porterhouse and Ribeye Chops. Out with the lamb shank and in with the lamb short ribs and lamb brisket. Pictured is The Tramshed chicken.
Finally, the last prediction is Wine Bars... Wine bars that really know about the wine and are happy to share their knowledge. Wine bars that are cosy and unpretenious and don't make you feel that you need to swirl, sniff and spit to enjoy a good glass of wine. Our favourite in London is Sager and Wilde. Looking for one in East Anglia please?