Well, that was great fun. The Easter painting competition never lets’ us down, or more accurately, the children of North London never let us down. Something like 200 entries adorned the walls, across the shops, and there was enough chocolate given out to spoilmany an appetite. The twelve winners have all collected their prizes, and a huge ‘Thank You’ to everyone who took part.
Sorry mum’s and dad’s for the teas and dinners that likely went uneaten, but it is only once a year.
A quick mention for the judges too. It would be suicide for us to judge our own competitions, so we invite different, local, people every year. We know they enjoy judging, and again, ‘Thank You’ for giving your time.
Who is Paddy?
This month we have decided to highlight ‘Pulled Pork’ as our recipe of the month. The Pork at Meat London mostly comes from Plantation Pigs. The business is based on the South Downs, at Steyning, in West Sussex. In 1987, Hugh Norris became possibly the first farmer in Britain to rear his pigs commercially on a totally Free Range basis. By the early 90’s his pork was fast growing support from butchers and chefs as far as they could deliver. The business today is run by his nephew, Paddy*. The welfare of the animals is paramount to the business. Regular visits from consultant vets, a diet produced from high welfare, traceable raw materials and the use of a local abattoir so as to ensure minimal stress on the animals during transportation, all ensure a high welfare animal full of flavour. Even if I say so myself, the Pork at Meat London is always delicious.
*Now, I have to declare that I have known Paddy for around thirty years, and in all that time I have never known his surname. I think I did ask him once! Much like ‘Shakespeare’ ‘Pele’ and ‘Popeye’, just the mention of ‘Paddy’ in the industry is all that is needed. The girls tell me he’s a handsome chap. Many a weak knee as he parades through the shop with a side on his shoulder. Paddy is a lovely, placid man, who has time for everyone, a constant smile and an enthusiastic love for what he does.
In our crazy, high octane, time for nothing lives, it’s sometimes worth forcing ourselves to make time, and wait. This month I have been considering meat cuts that just love to be left alone in the oven, or on the BBQ, for periods between three and eight hours. Long, slow cooking will break down the sinews and muscles in the meat and reduce fats, for a soft, succulent end product.
Meat for this type of cooking would often be from the perceived ‘cheaper’ cuts. The Pork Neck (Boston Butt), Pork Belly, Beef Brisket, Beef Short Ribs, Beef Shin and Lamb Shoulder all jump out as certain winners, but the list goes on. Craig even has a method for cooking the Christmas Turkey. The addition of herbs, spices, wines, beers or fizzy drinks bring new flavours, and today every good shop has shelves with a plethora of dry rubs and marinades. At Meat London we work with our friends from ‘Angus and Oink’ and ‘Tubby Tom’s’, who produce a fantastic array of dry rub, marinades and hot sauces. There is definitely something for everybody. Having considered what you would like to cook, speak to our butchers as to the best cut.
Don’t be afraid to ask about methods and cooking times, our Teams know enough to help you. Bring a recipe, if you prefer, and then get the meat in the oven and sit back with a beer, a large glass of wine or a chilled fruit cocktail, for those who are pacing themselves. This could be a long wait.
It is all but impossible to turn on the TV news, or pick up a newspaper without seeing something about food prices, and ongoing issues with the cost of living and the economy. At Meat London, we can’t pretend it is not happening to us too. However, we have done our best to minimise increases, we have tried to absorb as much as we can and we continue to work with our suppliers to ensure a continuity of supply and service. We are seeing a slowdown in price increases, and we believe that we have found a level that helps us all. At times like this, there is an opportunity to remember why we pay that little bit more for our food, and the benefits of getting value for money.