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November News - Competition Time

As previously broadcast, I was away until the beginning of the month, and France offered a lovely break just at the right time. As many of our regular customers will know, I started my butchery training at Boucherie Lamartine in Paris, a long time ago. So it is only natural that when I do visit France, I like to browse butchery shop windows, to see what’s going on, and maybe pinch an idea or two. For those who have read ‘Meat London - the Book’ (and if you haven’t, you should) I am on record as saying that the improvement in British shops, and the standard of butchery therein, throughout the last twenty years has been fantastic. I still believe that French butchery is very good, and it’s lovely to see small, family shops faring well in the present economic climate, but we should be very proud in Britain of our position in the world order of butchery, and I bet the French love to look in our shop windows too, when visiting Britain.

October has been a strange month, not quite knowing what to do with itself. Within eight days, the weather forecast changed from days of unseasonal high temperatures, to days of unseasonal low temperatures. Our customers swayed from squeezing the last sausage onto the BBQ, to pulling the Le Creuset stockpot from the back of the cupboard. Happily, meat prices have found some stability, and we can look forward to the autumn and winter season with a little positivity. The Game season is now in full flow. We have had Grouse, Pheasant, Partridge and Venison, to date. The Grouse have been very expensive, but the other birds not so much. If you have not been into Game in the past, it can be a delicious alternative, and has its own health benefits. Why not look up a couple of recipes and pop in to ask the butchers what is in stock this week?

12th November - Stokey Pokey

As Craig highlighted last month, this coming week is all about 'The Stokey Pokey Sausage Competition'. This will be our tenth competition, and we have had some great entries this year. As you read this Newsletter, there are still two or three days left to get an entry to us. For those who don’t know, we run an annual competition for our customers to create a sausage that we can sell throughout the year. The entries are all from our customers, and it is the customers who select the winner, at the tasting and judging event in the Meat N16 Garden. All of the details are on our website, and entry forms can be collected from the three shops. The all important date is Sunday 12th November. We have a lovely afternoon in the garden, where Reuben will be cooking up the top six finalists, for tasting, and Criag will be simmering the season’s first Mulled Wine. At 4pm, when the tasting is done, and the ballot forms are all ticked, the prestigious ‘Stokey Pokey Cup’ will be presented to the winner. We hope to see as many of you as possible on the day.

It's time to think about ... Christmas

Now, it’s time to think about Christmas, and what we might like to eat. With Christmas Day falling on a Monday, it’s going to be a long weekend. Meat London will be open on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th, so no need to rush. Craig tells me that we are going to deliver on the Saturday and the Sunday, if that helps. However, we will have limited delivery slots, so it will be worth booking early.

As always, our fridges will be groaning under the weight of everything good. The turkey and geese farmers tell me that the weather this year has produced good grasses for the birds to eat naturally, and I am advised that we can expect great birds. Toby at ‘John Howe Turkeys’ tells me that the turkeys are walking around with a spring in their step. The hams and bacon are on order, the cheeses are on order and Gessica is busily putting a wine list together to ensure that we will be ready.

As always, please ask for what you want. The Christmas list will be in the shops this week.

While I am on the subject of turkeys, I can report that we will have a full selection of weights and sizes for American ‘Thanks Giving’ – Thursday 23rd November.

Please contact the shops directly for orders.

Winter Wine Promo

And finally this month, we have been trying to compensate for the recent duty increase in alcohol, with specific consideration to our wines. Whilst we can’t circumnavigate the governments unhelpful increase, we have been working with our suppliers to come up with a couple of initiatives.

• The first initiative is to promote two wines on a monthly basis, with a decent discount offered when buying the two wines together. We have come up with a number of compatible pairings to tickle the taste buds.

• Whilst we have always offered ‘case price’ discounts on twelve bottles, our second initiative is to reduce this to a more manageable six bottles. We don’t mind if you want six bottles the same or if it’s more fun to mix and match. All six bottle cases will get a 10% discount.

So there you are, it’s a bit like climate change. We can’t remedy economic hardships all on our own, but if we all do our little bit, it will help.

Have a great month.

Cherry Cola Beef Short Ribs

Liberally cover the Short Ribs with the Cherry Cola rub and leave to marinade overnight.

Using 1/3 of a Chimney Starter (around 8 briquettes), get the BBQ to 140˚. Set the BBQ for indirect cooking, with lit briquettes to one side of the BBQ and add the wood chunks. Smoke penetrates meat when it’s raw. Once a layer of cooked meat forms on the outside, smoking has little effect.
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Lamb Saddle with Caramelised Baby Onions and White Wine Jus

Lamb Saddle

I make no secret of the fact that this is one of my favourite cuts. The saddle is from the middle of the animal and is all soft, tender meat. Rolled properly, it looks so elegant and is a real winner for any dinner party. Adding the soft, sweet baby onions on the side is a bit like putting a silk hanky in your pocket before you leave the house. An unassuming touch of decadence.
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Beef Wellington

With Christmas upon us, I am proposing the always decadent Beef Wellington. ‘Celebrity’ Chefs, and all those weekend glossy mags, will tell you that only a ‘Centre Cut’ Beef Fillet will do the job. That’s all very well if you are running a smart restaurant, and you want every piece to look the same, but the Rump Fillet, Chateaubriand, has all the flavour, is just as tender and will save a few pennies. It’s my cut of choice. As with all good things, your Beef Wellington will need a little investment of money and time, but, as it sets off your festive table, you will decide it is worth the effort. (BTW; this is the Christmas treat destined for my table this year).
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