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26 February 2015

Venison & Pork Chorizo with fennel and potatoes

Photo: © childsdesign
A nice simple recipe using Great Glen Charcuterie's Venison & Pork Chorizo which would make an ideal midweek meal.
The chorizo is wonderfully meaty, smokey and savoury with a good amount of spicing (though not hot) that mixes with the aniseed-tasting fennel and juicy tomatoes for a delicious meal.

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 8 small new/salad potatoes
  • olive oil
  • 75g (approx) Venison & Pork Chorizo                                   (available from Great Glen Charcuterie here)
  • ½ onion
  • ½ fennel bulb
  • 12 (approx) cherry tomatoes
  • juice ½ lemon
  • sprigs dill
  • mixed salad leaves (such as rocket, watercress and baby spinach)

Halve the potatoes and boil them until they're just done. Drain and set aside.

Slice the chorizo into 1cm rounds.

Heat a couple of teaspoons of olive oil in a large frying pan and add the chorizo and fry gently until very lightly browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Slice the onion lengthways and add to the pan. Fry gently, stirring occasionally, until softened. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the potatoes to the pan, adding a little more if required and fry for a couple of minutes, turning occasionally, until they take on a little colour. Be careful not to burn them.

Thinly slice the fennel bulb lengthways add to the potatoes and fry until the fennel softens.
Put the onions and and chorizo back in the pan, stir to mix. Slice the tomatoes in half and add to the mixture and stir in.

Squeeze over the lemon juice, season with salt and pepper. Roughly chop the dill and add to the pan and mix in.

Arrange some salad leaves on to plates and then spoon over the chorizo mixture and any remaining juices.

25 February 2015

Beef Ragu

Photo: © childsdesign

The flavours of a slow-cooked ragu are soft and mellow, quite different from a typical quick bolognese sauce. It is important to use good quality beef mince which has plenty of fat as this all adds to the flavour and the smoothness of the sauce.
The slow cooking creates a melt in the mouth texture as the meat becomes very soft and very delicious.
The ragu is best served stirred through tagliatelle pasta.

Photo: © childsdesign
Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 100g smoked bacon, chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, finely diced
  • 2 carrots, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 500g minced beef
  • 2 bay leaves (fresh or dried)
  • 125 ml milk
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/3 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 125 ml white wine
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan. Add the bacon and fry gently for 1-2 minutes until slightly browned. Add the onions, celery, carrots, garlic and bay leaves and fry gently on a medium heat for about 7 minutes until soft and the onions become translucent.

Add the minced beef and stir until the beef no longer looks raw and pink.

Add the milk, and simmer gently for about 10 minutes, until the meat has absorbed the milk. Season with a good pinch of salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Add the nutmeg and dried oregano.

Add the tomato puree, pour in the wine, then add the tomatoes with their juice, and stir thoroughly.

Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and cook, uncovered, on a very low simmer (there should only be the occasional bubble) for 3 hours or more.

Serve stirred through pasta and sprinkled with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Photo: © childsdesign

24 February 2015

Venison and pork perfect chorizo partners

Photo: © childsdesign
Last month we announced a new product from Great Glen Charcuterie – Venison & Pork Chorizo.
Eager to get the word out and our opinion on their recent addition, Anja Baak made sure we received a pack to be put to the test.

As with all their charcuterie, the Venison & Pork Chorizo is an ambient product and comes vacuum packed which means it survived the postal journey all the way from Scotland.

The substantial sausage is a good colour, vibrant with paprika and flecked with little pieces of fat. We liked the texture as it has a degree of softness which makes it easy to cut. It is perfect as a ready to eat product and ideal for cooking too.

As it comes, the texture is just right, not being too chewy and the flavour is
rich and deeply savoury with a slight spicy bite – just what you want in a
good chorizo.

The meat combination works very well and for those that perhaps find the
pure venison products a little on the gamey side, the pork tempers the stronger flavours of the venison.

The chorizo is ideal for cooking as it has just the right amount of fat to keep it moist. We made a simple dish (view recipe) combining it with fennel and potatoes which was delicious.

Great Glen Charcuterie works closely with Scottish farmers to source the best possible pork and this paired with wild Scottish venison produces the highest quality handmade product.

We are pleased to award Great Glen Charcuterie our 'Artisan Food Trail Approved' status for their Venison & Pork Chorizo.

To find out more about Great Glen Charcuterie visit their page on The Artisan Food Trail here.

Watch the video about Great Glen Charcuterie

6 February 2015

Get cosy with an alpaca

So with the cold weather upon us we have teamed up with our friends Yew Tree Alpacas for our latest competition.
Although The Artisan Food Trail is all about food, these alpacas are definitely not for eating! However we do also appreciate those people who rear animals for their other benefits too and alpacas are famed for their super soft and warm fleeces. These are spun into yarn to make beautiful wearable items.

Yew Tree Alpacas in Anstey, near Buntingford in Hertfordshire is a small but growing herd of alpacas based in the picturesque village of Anstey near Buntingford. The herd was formed in May 2009 from a base of four girls, Barbara, Joyce, Jessica and Manette. Now, nearly 6 years later (January 2015) the herd consists of 29 alpacas, most of which have been bred at Yew Tree. Both the girls and boys are reared for their fleece which is beautifully soft and warm, a totally natural and ethical product.

Alpaca socks and other items knitted in alpaca yarn are very soft and warm, with excellent wicking properties to keep you pleasantly warm and dry. Alpaca is also hypoallergenic, many people who are allergic to lamb’s wool can wear alpaca. Yew Tree Alpacas sell a range of alpaca accessories, activities and gifts which also includes a range of ivory and chocolate alpaca yarns spun from the best fleeces in their herd.

The majority of their range of alpaca accessories, most are hand knitted from their own natural alpaca yarn; hats, gloves, scarves and shawls although other coloured alpaca yarns are also used to provide customers with a wider colour range. Yew Tree Alpacas also sells a range of alpaca socks from day socks for wear in every day shoes to the thicker walking socks, long country socks and bed socks. All are completely natural and ethically produced products knitted in the UK.

Visit the Yew Tree Alpacas website to find out more here

Win a £30 voucher to spend with Yew Tree Alpacas
Yew Tree Alpacas have kindly given The Artisan Food Trail a £30 gift voucher to use on any of their products - including their Alpaca Adoption Package.
Sorry this competition has closed

1 February 2015

Braised Pork with Prunes and a Potato Top

Photo: childsdesign
Choose good quality British pork for this dish and with several great producers on The Artisan Food Trail to choose from, you can’t go wrong.

It doesn't need to be an expensive cut either and we used shoulder as this seems to work best. The slow cooking makes the meat very tender and almost melting in texture.

Inspired by all things English, this recipe uses old traditional flavours that complement each other so well. Cider and apples for sharpness, prunes for sweetness and a dash of mace, thyme and juniper for warmth and fragrance.

Although optional, we can highly recommend adding Alan Coxon’s Ale-Gar
to give a nice depth to the finished flavour. To us, it just seemed very appropriate to add it as the rest of the ingredients echo the time which inspired the Ale-Gar’s recipe.

Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 700g pork shoulder, cut into large cubes
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 6 juniper berries, well crushed
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • half tsp ground mace
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 225g onions, peeled and sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • 4 tsp Alan Coxon’s Ale-Gar (optional)
  • 100g pitted prunes, halved
  • 1 large cooking apple, peeled, cored and sliced
  • a little caster sugar
  • a little butter
  • 150ml dry cider

Preheat the oven to 160C / Gas 3.
Place a frying pan on the hob and add the oil. Turn the heat to medium-high until the oil is hot, then add the pork. Fry the meat, turning occasionally, until it is nicely browned all over. Remove from the frying pan and transfer to a shallow, fairly wide flame-proof casserole dish.

Season the meat with salt and pepper and sprinkle over the crushed juniper berries, thyme and ground mace.

Add the onions and garlic to the pan, that the pork was in. Gently fry the onions until they become softened.
Tip the onions into the casserole dish with the pork and add the Ale-Gar (optional) and mix gently, so everything is well combined.
Tuck the pieces of prune in here and there and then arrange the apple slices over, giving them a very light sprinkling of caster sugar.

Arrange the potato slices on top so that they overlap each other.
Season again, then dot with a few small pieces of butter and pour over the cider.

Cover the dish, place in the oven and cook for an hour and half. When this time is up, increase the oven temperature to 230C / Gas 8. Remove the lid from the casserole and cook for a further 20 minutes or so until the potatoes take on a nice golden brown colour. This can also be done under a hot grill.

Photo: childsdesign