Archive for May, 2012

Christ on a Pork Butt

I love a good pork butt, cooked low’n’slow for a good 7 or 8 hours, I used some Smoking guns rub I was given by Steve Heyes a BBQ legend and founder/chief cook of the Royal Q Pit Crew, so I knew it was going to be good.

I smoked a pork butt (bone in pork shoulder) for 6 hours at 240 deg F in cherry and maple smoke, which had been rubbed generously with the rub until it reached 180 deg F, I then wrapped the pork in foil and poured in a cup of apple juice and sealed, I put this back onto the smoker until it was 200 deg F. I rested it for half an hour, at this point it was so juicy and falling apart, I pulled it and dosed with some homemade vinegar sauce, popped it in a roll, with some homemade slaw, and a good dose of The Ribman Holy Fcuk “Christ on a bike” chilli sauce, perfection served with an ice cold beer.

Flowers & Smoke a great combination

I was asked by my friend and near neighbour, Jan Billington from Maddocks Farm to help out with a demo she was doing for Darts Farm at the Devon County Show yesterday.

It has always been a dream of mine to cook in front of a crowd, some might think this a bit of an ego trip, but I genuinely am so passionate about food that I love to share with others.

We demoed the hosta leaves wrapped in proscuitto that I posted about recently, and these went down a treat, the smoked butter with flowers handed out on slithers of home made bread received a lot of praise, and the wonderful flower jelly shots and flower salad displays, that Jan created were simply stunning.

I loved being a part of this, and hope one day to be asked to do some more.

The photos here were all taken by Jan’s daughter Imogen, who I think has a real flair, thank you for letting me use the pictures  here.

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IPA braised shin of beef with wet garlic

Bones make a massive difference when you cook with them, it seems such a waste to trim them off and throw them away without getting every ounce of taste out of them, they thicken up the sauce with their gorgeous marrow, and add an unbelievable richness to sauces, so when making a lovely braise such as with this wonderful Pipers Farm shin of beef, ask the butcher to give you some bones, and add them to the braising meat while it cooks. Just look at the amazing colour of that beef. Also great at this time of year, and a real “hungry gap” staple is “wet” garlic, the immature garlic bulb that is a lot milder and really fresh tasting, if you haven’t tried it, then next year grow some bulbs to pull early. IPA braised shin of beef with wet garlic 

A kilo of good quality shin of beef cut into 2″ chunks with a couple of good sized bones

2 wet garlic bulbs chopped, save the green top for garnishing

A large onion, a carrot and a stick of celery finely diced

A bottle of IPA beer

2 bay leaves,  and a sprig of thyme

Brown off the beef in batches in a casserole or pressure cooker in batches in a little rapeseed oil, and set the meat aside. Soften the vegetables in some more oil add the herbs, and beef  and bones back in. Pour in the beer and bring to the boil.  Either cook in the pressure cooker for 30-40 minutes or slow cook at a low to moderate temperature with the lid on for 4 hours until the meat is tender, take the lid off and allow to reduce for another 30 minutes until the sauce starts to thicken. Season to taste.

Remove the bones, the meat should be falling apart soft. Serve with a spoonful of the rich gravy, some new potatoes and some seasonal spring greens, garnish with the wet garlic top, sliced.

Enjoy with a bottle of IPA and some crusty bread to mop up the rich marrow gravy.

Time to dig in the Green Manure

 

If you leave the soil on your vegetable patch bare over winter, you can let some of the minerals leach away, however if you were to plant a green manure, such as these lovely Field Beans, not only would you help the soil hold onto the minerals, you would benefit the fertility by the nitrogen that the bean roots add.

These beans are known as nitrogen fixers, and help turn nitrogen into the air into a source available for plants to use, so you don’t need to any from a packet.

At this time of year you can cut the plants back to ground level and add the tops to your compost heap, leaving the  soil rich in goodness and ready to plant. They keep weeds at bay too.

The best bonus of all is you can use the pretty flowers and tips to pep up a spring salad.

Smoky Cuba Libre

I’m really into my cocktails, especially rum based ones, and have tried one or 2 types of rum in my time, mojitos are my out and out favourite, but a firm second has to be the Cuba Libre.

While on my way back from work last time I spotted the bottles of Bacardi Oakheart in Duty free, Rum, Spice and Smoke….that’ll be me then. It is matured in charred white oak barrels and this gives it a wonderful smoky, spicy, vanilla smoothness. I have to admit they sold me on smoky.

So I did a little experimentation…all in a good cause I must add, and the Smoky Cubra Libre was a real success. Probably the easiest among cocktails, but I make no apologies for this. Simply a generous shot of Bacardi Oakheart, topped up with coke in a HiBall glass with ice, a good squeeze of lime. A lime wedge to garnish, sit back and enjoy!

Smoky Bacon Beans 2 ways

I got really excited when I was given some Pipers Farm oak smoked streaky to try, as it had the most seductively smoky aroma, the first thing I thought was smoky beans. So I used one and a half slices, they were very thick, cut into lardons.

The lardons were fried off in a little olive oil until crispy, I used my pressure cooker with the lid off. The lardons were set aside, and I slowly fried a sliced large onion in the smoky fat until softened and caramelised. Added a clove of finely chopped garlic, a diced carrot and a diced stick of celery.

A couple of handfuls of pre soaked cannelini beans were then added along with the smoky crispy bacon. A jar of passata, a teaspoon of mustard powder, 2 tbsp molasses, a tsp of smoked paprika and a good grind of black pepper were all stirred in. I cooked mine in my pressure cooker for around 20 minutes at maximum pressure, or you could cook in a casserole dish for a few hours in the oven, until the beans are soft and the sauce thick.

Season and serve with something from the BBQ, I served mine with some wonderful sticky BBQ chicken wings from Pipers farm, and some homemade slaw. This just goes to show how you can take a small amount of a great product and make the absolute most of it, without spending a huge amount of money.

Smoky Bacon Beans

I also did a Spanish version with Butterbeans, Smoked Bacon and chorizo which made for a wonderful lunch on some toasted ciabatta with an olive oil fried duck egg on top.

Smoky Spanish Beans with oozy duck egg

Pipers Farm visit

Pipers Farm Oak Smoked Bacon

I was very fortunate to be able to spend a morning with Peter Grieg from Pipers Farm in Devon last week, I was invited to learn more about how they produce their award winning meat. As someone who is so passionate about the meat my family eats, I saw this as a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the process, and I have to be honest I was really blown away with his dedication and enthusiasm, not just for his own products, but for the production of ethically produced quality meat.

I didn’t eat meat for 13 years up until a few years ago, the quality of meat available just wasn’t particularly appealing, but there have been giant strides taken in recent years, and it’s thanks to people like Peter and Henri at Pipers Farm. I’ve regularly bought meat from their shop in Exeter, but wanted to see for myself.  It was something I promised myself when I started to eat meat again, that I would become more involved in my meat and understand more where it came from.

What I valued most was being able to see for myself the difference that care and attention to detail makes on the end product. The breeding of the animals, the correct slaughter and dry aging of the carcass for the optimum time. This Devon Ruby Red Beef shows the process that intensifies and matures the flavour, and is a world away from the mass produced “wet aged” meat you often see. It’s dark and mature  with wonderful cream coloured fat. The picture on top has only been aged for a week the lower picture has been dry aged for 4 weeks.

Dry aged 1 week Devon Ruby Red Beef

28 Day Dry aged Devon Ruby Red beef

This is the best meat to cook with, you get so much more taste and depth of flavour into your meals, and you know the animals have been treated with respect. It’s certainly a great step forward even than a lot of “organic” meat out there.

Have a taste for yourself to see what you think, Pipers Farm are currently giving new customers 10% off their first order. They have a local delivery service, but also deliver countrywide.

I’ve got some great recipes to post over the Bank Holiday weekend using the wonderful meats I was given to try.

NB. I was given a selection of frugal cuts of meat to come up with some hearty family meals, I have been free to review and give you my honest opinions.

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Jack Knight Cooks

From My Kitchen to Yours

Whisked Away Bakery

Blue sky baking

BUTTER WOULDN'T MELT

Stories from the hearth

The BBQ World of mrdodd

Making simple food great, and great food right.

Bathrooms, Kitchens and Bedrooms

Devon based bathroom installations

UK BBQ Review

UK BBQ Review site

The Munch and Tattle

A Blog About Food (Mostly BBQ and Grill): Trying everything once and telling you all about it. Good or bad! Blogging from areas around Newport and Cardiff, South Wales.

bake affairs

Bridget`s Bakery Blog

Cornelius Veakins

Outdoor BBQ Chef

CountryWoodSmoke UK BBQ

British BBQ- All the best of UK BBQ, Cooking outdoors whatever the weather.

Country Skills for Modern Life

Some of the cool and useful food, craft and sustainability skills that your grandparents knew, but probably didn't teach you!

GourmetGloucestershireGirl

An exploration of all things foodie in Gloucestershire!

theshotgunchef.wordpress.com/

Hunting chef William Alldis shows you how to live off the land and create mouthwatering recipes for peanuts! Grow it, forage it, kill it, cook it and enjoy it.

Running Buffet

One man's quest to exercise enough so that he can eat all of the good things that exist in the world

The Knight of the Round Table

Musings and recipes from my kitchen to yours

Jack Knight Cooks

From My Kitchen to Yours

Whisked Away Bakery

Blue sky baking

BUTTER WOULDN'T MELT

Stories from the hearth

The BBQ World of mrdodd

Making simple food great, and great food right.

Bathrooms, Kitchens and Bedrooms

Devon based bathroom installations

UK BBQ Review

UK BBQ Review site

The Munch and Tattle

A Blog About Food (Mostly BBQ and Grill): Trying everything once and telling you all about it. Good or bad! Blogging from areas around Newport and Cardiff, South Wales.

bake affairs

Bridget`s Bakery Blog

Cornelius Veakins

Outdoor BBQ Chef

CountryWoodSmoke UK BBQ

British BBQ- All the best of UK BBQ, Cooking outdoors whatever the weather.

Country Skills for Modern Life

Some of the cool and useful food, craft and sustainability skills that your grandparents knew, but probably didn't teach you!

GourmetGloucestershireGirl

An exploration of all things foodie in Gloucestershire!

theshotgunchef.wordpress.com/

Hunting chef William Alldis shows you how to live off the land and create mouthwatering recipes for peanuts! Grow it, forage it, kill it, cook it and enjoy it.

Running Buffet

One man's quest to exercise enough so that he can eat all of the good things that exist in the world

The Knight of the Round Table

Musings and recipes from my kitchen to yours