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Quality Food, Quality Time: Traditional Sunday Roasts are the Perfect Occasion to Bring Friends and Family Together

We may have been eating roast dinners since the time of Henry VIII, but the humble roast is still the perfect choice for a modern family focal point!

Sunday roasts: tempting now, cherished forever

A regular roast dinner is a great excuse to gather your loved ones together. Whether you’re bringing a moment of calm to lots of busy lives happening under one roof, welcoming home children who’ve flown the coop, or building new traditions with neighbours and friends, the memories made around your table will be the ones looked back on for a lifetime.

The roast also offers an ideal opportunity for little fingers to get involved! Kids and grandkids can be introduced to cooking basics with fun tasks like mashing potatoes, making gravy, and mixing batter for the indispensable Yorkshire puddings.

Traditional food for modern living

As much as may have changed in our four decades in business, the Sunday roast has stood the test of time, and is ideally suited to many of the changed ways we prepare and eat our food.

Looking for the perfect dish to get the most bang from your buck in that shiny new pressure cooker, air fryer or slow cooker? It’s a roast dinner.

Hoping to save time and money by batch cooking at the weekend and enjoying leftovers throughout the week? Allow a few extra portions when creating a roast dinner.

Trying to eat locally sourced fresh beef or stay sustainable with a rotating selection of seasonal veg? You can do all this and more with, you guessed it, a roast dinner!

Top tip from the team:

A family favourite like a roast dinner is a great anchor dish when you are looking to expand your repertoire in the kitchen. Changing just one element in the dish, like a new way with potatoes or a different dressing for the veg, can be a low-stakes way to keep things interesting.

Roast dinners made easy.

We make it easy for you to sit down to a satisfying roast with your nearest and dearest. You can visit us in our shops in Bearsden or Broomhill of course or why not visit our online shop and order one of our Sunday Roast Boxes. They contain everything you need for a delicious dinner: your choice of a full ready to cook chicken (approx. 4lb) or a rolled topside of beef (approx. 1kg). As well as your main, the Sunday Roast Boxes contain a rich chicken or beef gravy and pre-washed potatoes, carrots, and broccoli for a fresh and balanced feast.

Our online store makes ordering your Sunday Roast Box a breeze, with a choice of delivery dates. And don’t forget, when you order online you save 10% on the multi-packs and 15% on the boxes compared to the over-the-counter price.

Our expert butchers will be happy to help with any questions you have on selecting or cooking the ideal cut and making the most of your roast.

Get Your Grill On: Exploring the World of BBQs in Scotland

Hey there, it’s the Butcher’s Mate, and I’ve got something sizzling for you today – a showdown between two of the most popular BBQ technologies out there: charcoal and gas grills. Whether you’re a seasoned grill master or just starting out, choosing the right grill can make all the difference in your BBQ game. In this article, I’m going to give you my two cents on the pros and cons of each type of grill, as well as share some of my personal experiences and tips for getting the most out of your BBQ. So, grab a cold one, and let’s dive into the great debate – charcoal vs. gas!

Davie – The Butcher’s Mate

If you love outdoor cooking, then a BBQ is an essential tool. However, with so many different types, fuels, and shapes of BBQs available, choosing the right one can be overwhelming. In this guide, we’ll explore the various BBQ options available in Scotland, and help you decide which one is right for you.

Types of BBQ

The three most common types of BBQs in the UK are charcoal, gas, and wood. Recently there has been an explosion in BBQ equipment and accessories as well as products such as smokers, rotisseries, ceramic eggs(!) pizza stones – the list is endless. For this article, we’ll examine the 2 most common – gas & charcoal… plus a bonus (new) opinion at the end.

The best bbq in town

Charcoal BBQ

Charcoal BBQs use charcoal briquettes or lump charcoal as a fuel source. They’re popular because they provide an authentic smoky flavour and are relatively affordable. However, they can be messy to use, and maintaining a consistent temperature can be a challenge.

Pros:

  • Charcoal BBQs are relatively inexpensive and widely available.
  • They provide an authentic smoky flavour that many people love.
  • Charcoal BBQs are versatile and can be used for grilling, smoking, and even baking.

Cons:

  • Charcoal BBQs can be more challenging to light and require more time to reach the desired temperature.
  • They produce more smoke and can be messier than gas BBQs.
  • The charcoal ash needs to be disposed of correctly.

Gas BBQs

Gas BBQs, on the other hand, use propane or natural gas as a fuel source. They’re convenient and easy to use, with precise temperature control. They produce less smoke and are less messy than charcoal BBQs. However, they can be more expensive than charcoal, and they don’t provide the same authentic smoky flavour.

Pros:

  • Gas BBQs are easy to use and quick to heat up.
  • They offer precise temperature control, making it easier to cook a wide range of foods.
  • They produce less smoke and are less messy than charcoal BBQs.

Cons:

  • Gas BBQs are more expensive than charcoal BBQs and require a gas line or propane tank.
  • They don’t provide the same authentic smoky flavour as charcoal BBQs.
  • They can be less versatile than charcoal BBQs, with limited smoking capabilities.

Shapes of BBQ

BBQs come in various shapes and sizes, including kettle, barrel, and the traditional gas grill.

Kettle BBQs

Kettle BBQs are the most popular shape of charcoal BBQ in the UK. They have a round or oval shape with a lid that can be opened and closed. They’re relatively affordable and easy to use, with good temperature control. However, they have limited cooking space compared to other types of BBQs.

Pros:

  • Kettle BBQs are easy to use and versatile.
  • They offer good temperature control and are suitable for a wide range of cooking styles.
  • They are relatively affordable and widely available.

Cons:

  • Kettle BBQs have limited cooking space compared to other types of BBQs.
  • They can be more challenging to clean than other types of BBQs.
  • They may struggle to maintain high temperatures for extended periods.

Barrel BBQs

Barrel BBQs are a larger type of charcoal BBQ with a barrel shape. They offer a larger cooking area than kettle BBQs and are suitable for a wide range of cooking styles. However, they can be bulky and challenging to store.

Pros:

  • Barrel BBQs offer a larger cooking area than kettle BBQs.
  • They provide good temperature control and are suitable for a wide range of cooking styles.
  • They can be more affordable than other types of BBQs with a similar cooking area.

Cons:

  • Barrel BBQs can be bulky and challenging to store.
  • They may require more fuel to maintain high temperatures for extended periods.
  • They may take longer to heat up than other types of BBQs.

Gas BBQs

Gas BBQs come in various shapes, including compact tabletop models, larger freestanding units, and outdoor kitchen setups. They’re easy to use and quick to heat up, with precise temperature control. They’re also less messy than charcoal BBQs. However, they can be more expensive than charcoal and require a gas line or propane tank.

Pros:

  • Gas BBQs are easy to use and quick to heat up.
  • They offer precise temperature control and are suitable for a wide range of cooking styles.
  • They produce less smoke and are less messy than charcoal BBQs.

Cons:

  • Gas BBQs can be more expensive than charcoal BBQs.
  • They require a gas line or propane tank, which can be an added expense.
  • They don’t provide the same authentic smoky flavour as charcoal BBQs.

Considerations When Deciding Which BBQ Is For You

There is a huge range of BBQs available – some our ridiculously cheap while some our outrageously expensive. If you are planning on BBQing regularly I would urge you to stay right away from cheap barbeques under £150. Usually, the quality is so poor that it will compromise your ability to cook great food and have an enjoyable experience.

Considerations for charcoal BBQs:
I don’t think there is any requirement to spend a huge sum of money. You want to ensure the grill is thick and can be cleaned easily. Make sure you buy one that allows easy removal of the ash. You DEFINITELY want a lid so you can trap in the smoke. Finally, make sure you can access the coals so you can add more or move them around if required.

Considerations for Gas BBQs:
You can spend crazy money on Gas BBQs. I don’t think you will see a huge difference in the quality of food but your overall experience will be vastly different on higher-quality gas barbeques. First of all, I would highly recommend getting one with a lid, it will change the way you cook forever. A lid allows you to grill, roast, simmer and so much more. Importantly it allows you to keep food warm if you don’t serve it all. A mid-shelf is a must – these are really handy when you need to get cooked items off the heat still have items to cook. Grill palates – always buy a BBQ with thick iron grills – these will retain heat much better when cooking. Finally the number of burners – you will want between 3 & 6 burners as this will give a wide range in heat zones and significantly increase the flexibility of what you can cook. If you plan on hosting BBQs then I recommend avoiding BBQs with only 2 burners.

Covers

A good cover will completely change your BBQ experience. If you have a decent cover, you can leave your BBQ outside (yes, even in Scotland) which means you can simply fire it up when you want to cook – no more phaffing around trying to get it out of the garage/shed.

There is a huge range of covers available but my advice is to spend a little more. You want your BBQ cover to be robust enough to withstand a pounding from the Scottish weather. Not only from the rain but also from the wind.

Inspect your cover regularly and if it is damaged, replace it. A damaged cover is as good as no cover… if the rain is getting through then your BBQ won’t last more than a season.

What Do I Cook On

My motto is “simple food done well.” I have found that when you get the BBQ cooking your meat to perfection, you need very little added to the meat. I do love sauces & salsas to accompany it once it is cooked but I tend to stay away from rubs and additional flavourings. I will often use marinades on chicken but red meat goes on with minimal effort

I cook on a large Weber 57cm kettle bbq. I’ve had it for 11 years, it’s battered and scraped and about as far away from a shiny new bbq as you can get… but I love it with a passion. I have cooked some of the most stunning food I have ever eaten. My favourite red meat is the lamb gigot “smoke roast” (I’ll write a separate blog post on this) and my favourite chicken dish is a chicken thigh tikka kebab (pictured).

I always use briquettes. If I’m doing simple standard food for the family, I’m happy to use cheap briquettes from the supermarket. If I’m hosting and cooking up a storm, I’ll get the more expensive Weber briquettes… they keep a very consistent temp and burn for hours.

I will occasionally use lump would but never instant “light charcoal” where you light the bag. The accelerant added to make the charcoal light, will ruin any food that is cooked over it. You need to let it all but off but by that time there won’t be much charcoal left and you will have a much-reduced cooking time.

I use a charcoal chimney to get the coals going then once the coals are glowing, I’ll pour them into the bbq (watch the sparks) and use a garden trowel to shove them into place. It’s agricultural and not pretty but I don’t care. I usually have the coals on one half of the bbq which allows me to have the food off to the side, so I can put the lid on and let things roast.

Bonus – There’s A New Kid On The Block

So for a while, I’ve had my eye on a hybrid, dual-fuel BBQ that combines the convenience of gas and the amazing flavours of charcoal. A mate has one but it was expensive and it looked like you were paying for a lot of “chrome” and shiny stuff (remember I like to bash my bbq about a bit). Recently however I note that both B&Q, Asda & Argos are selling hybrid fuel BBQs for around the £300 -£400 mark which, in my mind at least, warrants further investigation. They have all received excellent reviews so hopefully, there is something there! I’ll take a look at them and report back once i have made my mind up!

In Summary

Choosing the right BBQ ultimately depends on personal preference, cooking style, and budget. Whether you prefer the authentic smoky flavour of a charcoal BBQ or the convenience of a gas grill, the most important thing is to enjoy the experience of cooking outdoors with friends and family. Happy grilling!

And there you have it, folks – my take on the ultimate BBQ showdown. Whether you’re Team Charcoal or Team Gas, one thing’s for sure – with the right techniques and tools, you can create mouth-watering meals that will have everyone licking their fingers. So, experiment with different flavours and cooking methods, and don’t be afraid to try something new. After all, BBQs are all about having fun and enjoying great company.

Thanks for joining me on this journey, and I’ll catch you at the next grill session!

The Art of Barbecue: Tips and Tricks for Mastering the Grill

The best bbq in town

Hey there, it’s the Butcher’s Mate, and I’m fired up to share my tips on how to get the very best results from your BBQ. Trust me, I’ve seen it all – from undercooked chicken to burnt sausages – but fear not, because with my help, you’ll be the ultimate BBQ hero. So, grab a cold one, get your grill ready, and let’s get cooking!

Davie – The Butcher’s Mate

Hints & Tips for Getting the VERY best From Your BBQ:

Barbecuing is one of the most popular outdoor activities in Scotland and for good reason! It’s a great way to enjoy delicious food while spending time with friends and family. However, achieving great results when barbecuing can be challenging, especially if you’re new to it.

That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you get the most out of your grill.

  • If you are trying to decide which BBQ is best for you then see see our article Get Your Grill On: Exploring the World of BBQs in Scotland

My Top Tip: Don’t cook on the flames

This is the most important of them all – if you take only one thing away from this make sure it is this.

Cook on heat, not on flames!!

It’s important to note that you should never cook your food directly on the flames. Flames can cause your food to burn quickly, resulting in an unpleasant taste and texture. Instead, move your food to the cooler part of the grill or use a raised grill rack to prevent direct contact with the flames.

This will help ensure that your food is cooked evenly and has a delicious smoky flavour. If you’re using charcoal, make sure you spread the coals evenly and create a two-zone fire by piling them on one side of the grill. This will create a hot zone for searing and a cooler zone for slower cooking.

By moving your food away from the flames and utilising different cooking zones, you’ll be able to achieve perfectly cooked and delicious food on the grill every time.

Tip: If you are using a gas bbq, have a cold beverage in a bottle in one hand. If the flames kick up put your thumb over the top of the bottle and spray the flames to extinguish them. This also creates an amazing flavoured steam that helps to keep your food moist while cooking.

Start with a clean grill

Before you start cooking, make sure your grill is clean. Remove any leftover food, grease or debris that might have accumulated from previous grilling sessions. Use a grill brush to scrub the grates and then wipe them down with a damp cloth. This will help prevent any unwanted flavours from affecting your food.

I like “agricultural” barbecuing. I like to bash the grill and the coals. I never use anything but a wire brush and heat to clean the grill… there’s nothing shiny about my bbq and that’s the way I like it. To get it clean, I get the bbq hotter than the centre of the sun, let everything burn on the grill then attack it with a wire brush. It is so effective but it sure isn’t pretty.

A word of Caution: If you have a fancy nonstick grill, a wire brush will likely destroy the coating. If you want to preserve the coatings on your BBQ then you may need to take a gentler approach.

Be aware, if your coating starts to flake off you should either replace your grill or scrub the coating off completely. You don’t want flakes of the coating sticking to your food.

Preheat the grill

Preheating the grill is crucial to getting great results. Turn on your grill and let it heat up for at least 15 minutes before adding any food. This will ensure that the grates are hot enough to sear the meat, which will help lock in the juices and flavour.

Tip: There is no such thing as a too-hot grill. You want the grill to be as hot as you can get it… this will create a delicious char on the good as it sizzles on the grill. HOWEVER, you can have a bbq that is too hot. Make sure you have cooler zones so you can balance the cooking temperatures.

Use the right fuel

Whether you use charcoal, wood or gas, make sure you’re using the right fuel for your grill. Charcoal and wood provide a smoky flavour that many people love, while gas is convenient and easy to use. Whatever you choose, make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions for lighting and using the grill.

Tip 1: If you are using fast-lighting charcoal be aware that it is soaked in a flammable additive to assist with easy lighting. Please PLEASE make sure this all burned off before your food goes anywhere near the grill. Nothing ruins a sausage faster than the taste of lighter fluid.

Tip 2: If you are using gas, did you know that Propane can go off? If you have used your bbq for a while and you are struggling to get it hot, then chances are your propane has gone stale.

Don’t overcrowd the grill

When grilling, it’s important not to overcrowd the grill. If there are too many items on the grill, it can be difficult to maintain a consistent temperature, and some of the food may not cook evenly. Leave some space between the items to allow for air circulation and prevent sticking.

Be aware that certain vegetables with a lot of water in them (like aubergine) will absorb a huge amount of heat and dramatically affect cooking times. Be aware of this if you have a lot of items coming off at the same time.

Use a meat thermometer

Using a meat thermometer is the best way to ensure your meat is cooked to the correct temperature. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat and make sure it reaches the recommended temperature for your meat.

Tip: If you don’t have a meat thermometer then you must create an incision in the meat so you can see the middle of it. Choose the thickest part of the meat and make sure it is cooked to perfection.

Let the meat rest

After you’ve finished grilling, let the meat rest for a few minutes before cutting it. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a juicier and more flavorful piece of meat.

Mistakes to Avoid:

  • Flipping the meat too often: Flipping the meat too often can cause it to lose its juices and become dry. As a general rule, flip the meat only once halfway through the cooking process.Not Preheating the Grill: Preheating the grill is crucial to achieving even cooking temperatures and avoiding sticking.
  • Lifting the Lid Too Often: Lifting the grill lid frequently can cause heat loss, prolong cooking times, and result in dry or tough food.
  • Using Lighter Fluid or Accelerants: Using lighter fluid or accelerants can affect the taste of the food and increase the risk of flare-ups and accidents.
  • Not Monitoring the Grill Temperature: Failing to monitor the grill temperature can result in uneven cooking and undercooked or overcooked food.
  • Not Using the Right Tools: Using the right tools, such as tongs and spatulas, can make grilling easier and safer, while also ensuring that the food is not damaged during cooking.
  • Overcooking the Meat: Overcooking meat can result in dry and tough food, while undercooking can increase the risk of foodborne illness.
  • Not Experimenting with Seasonings and Marinades: Experimenting with different seasonings and marinades can help enhance the flavour of the food and take your grilling to the next level.

Perfect Practice makes perfect Food!

Thanks for joining me on this BBQ journey! I hope you’ve learned some valuable tips and tricks that will help you take your grilling game to the next level. BBQs aren’t just about the food – they’re about creating a fun, relaxed atmosphere where everyone can enjoy good company and great eats. So, keep experimenting with new flavours and techniques, and don’t forget to have some fun along the way!

Remember – Perfect Practice Makes Perfect Food. If you enjoy it, do it often. You don’t have to have friends round… just get the bbq lit and experiment with different techniques, meat/vegetables, and styles of food.

And as always, stay tuned for more updates from your favourite Butcher’s Mate. Cheers!

Introducing the Butcher’s Mate

We’re thrilled to introduce Davie – “The Butcher’s Mate!” This cheeky chappy is the undisputed bbq champion of the world and we’re absolutely delighted to have him share his hints and tips.

Our Butcher’s Mate is a master of the grill, and he knows that the perfect BBQ starts with the right equipment. In his section, he’ll share his thoughts on the pros and cons of gas vs charcoal BBQs, and provide insights on which type of grill is best suited to your cooking style.

He’ll also delve into the latest BBQ technologies, from temperature control systems to rotisserie attachments, smokers and offer advice on which ones are worth investing in. Whether you’re a traditionalist or a gadget enthusiast, our Butcher’s Mate has got you covered.

The Enjoyment of Cooking

But it’s not just about the equipment – our Butcher’s Mate believes that the key to a great BBQ is in the ingredients.

He’ll share his tips on how to select the best meats, from marbling and tenderness to flavour profiles and cooking times.

He’ll also provide advice on selecting the perfect vegetables, herbs, and spices to create mouth-watering sides and salads.

Our Butcher’s Mate’s section is all about making the most of your hosting experience. He’ll share his secrets on how to create the perfect marinades, rubs, and sauces, and how to achieve the perfect sear and char on your meats. He’ll also provide guidance on how to carve and serve your dishes, and how to make the most of leftovers.

But most of all, our Butcher’s Mate is all about creating a fun, relaxed atmosphere where everyone can enjoy great food and good company.

So, whether you’re a seasoned BBQ pro or a newbie, our Butcher’s Mate has something for everyone. Join us on this fun journey and learn how to become the ultimate party host and BBQ king. Stay tuned for more exciting updates from our Butcher’s Mate, and don’t forget to grab a cold one!

So join us on this delicious journey and learn how to become the ultimate BBQ and roast master. Stay tuned for more updates from our Butcher’s Mate, and get ready to grill and roast like a pro!

Harrisa Lamb Shoulder

Utterly delicious, super-simple, fall-off-the-bone tender lamb dish covered with the richness of Harissa Paste

If you like Harissa and lamb, then you will love this recipe. It is super easy with little fuss, and the best bit about it is you just leave it in the oven and when you take it out, the meat just falls off the bone, delicious! You can serve it with whatever you fancy: a salad; potatoes; vegetables, or as I do, with peta bread and side dish. It’s also a bit like pulled pork and is perfect the day after on a sandwich. Enjoy!

Linda, The Butcher’s Wife

Ingredients

  • 2kg whole lamb shoulder on the bone
  • 10 large shallots, cut in half
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 1 jar of Harrisa paste
  • 3 tins of chickpeas
  • 2 tbs tomato puree
  • 1 red paper chopped
  • a handful of chopped coriander

Step 1

Cover the lamb leg with Harissa paste and leave to rest over night in fridge
Reserve 1 tbsp of the harissa paste,
Scatter the onions into a large roasting tin and sit the lamb on top.
Add 150ml of chicken stock.

Step 2

Heat the oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 2. Roast the lamb for 4-5 hrs until the meat is fork-tender.

Take meat out of oven at 4 hours and add the tinned chickpeas, mixed with tomato puree and chopped red pepper. The shallots and juice can be mixed through the chickpeas too at this stage.

Place back in the oven for another hour. Add remaining stock.

After 1 hour, scrape up any browned bits at the bottom of the lamb and mix with the chickpeas.

It should be thick, rich and sticky.

Stir in the reserved harissa and the chopped coriander. Serve the lamb with the chickpeas.

Serve with pita bread and homemade tzatziki.

Chump Chops with Coriander Pesto

Delicious marinaded Lamb (chump) chops with a coriander pesto

It’s actually one of our favourites and tastes amazing ! The pesto can also be adapted to use mint and different nuts but the coriander one is a favourite in our house with roast chicken!

Linda – The Butcher’s Wife

You can see this being prepared on our Instagram (be sure to follow us)

Ingredients:

For the marinade:

  • 2 tbsp soft light brown sugar;
  • the leaves of three or four sprigs of thyme;
  • 3 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • juice of a lime
  • juice of half an orange

For the pesto:

  • 2 oz coriander
  • 3/4 oz toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 3/4 oz cashew nuts
  • 2 chopped garlic cloves
  • juice of one and a half limes
  • 4fl oz extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 oz finely crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 red chilli halved, deseeded and finely chopped

Method:

Place the lamb chops in a shallow dish, mix the marinade ingredients together and pour them over the chops, leaving them to marinate for a few hours, or even better overnight, in the fridge.

Blend all the pesto ingredients together, with the exception of the feta and chilli, in a food processor until you have a purée. Add the feta and give it a quick further blend, but not so the feta doesn’t maintain some ‘crumbliness’. Add in the chopped chilli with a quick stir.

We’ve used chump chops here, so we’d roast them in the oven at 200C for fifteen minutes or so basting or turning once, but this recipe is incredibly versatile: you could as easily use loin or gigot chops; a leg or loin roast or even a pulled shoulder, adjusting cooking times and temperatures as appropriate. It also works incredibly well with chicken or pork.

Whatever you choose, serve with some pesto and enjoy.

Introducing “The Butcher’s Wife”

Photo Credit: The Daily Record

We are thrilled to introduce you to “The Butcher’s Wife” section of our website!

If you’ve ever been to our shop, you’ll know that our family is passionate about great food and cooking. That’s why we are excited to share some of our favourite recipes, cooking tips, and suggestions with you, straight from the kitchen of our very own Butcher’s Wife.

Linda is a true food lover and has been experimenting in the kitchen for years, perfecting her techniques and creating some truly amazing dishes. Her knowledge and passion for food are truly contagious, and we are excited to share her expertise with you. From easy weeknight dinners to show-stopping holiday meals, she has tips and tricks to take your cooking game to the next level.

So whether you’re an experienced cook or just starting out, we invite you to explore “The Butcher’s Wife” section and join us on this culinary journey. We hope her recipes and tips inspire you to create delicious meals and make lasting memories with your loved ones.

You can read more about Linda’s journey in this Daily Record article

Lamb for Easter – a Christie Favourite

Spring has – just about – sprung

The days are getting longer, the weather is getting better – this is all relative, of course – and so Easter is nearly upon us.

Lamb is now the meat of choice for Easter Sunday meals, but it wasn’t always so. Turkey used to be a firm favourite, especially when Christmas wasn’t quite the meal celebration it has now become and beef is a perennial favourite for family events, so what to eat? Let’s look at lamb first.

Lamb Gigot

The traditional option is a lamb gigot, oven roasted with seasonal vegetables – British cabbage and asparagus are in the perfect season for Easter this year. The downside is that it’s a sod to carve, cutting along the line of the bone and so with the grain of the meat and not against it – but help is at hand! We’re happy to tunnel-bone your gigot for you.

This means we slacken the bone from the meat but leave it in place so that after you’ve roasted and have all the taste benefits of roasting on the bone, you just pop the bone out and carve across the grain. It really makes all the difference. We can also butterfly your gigot for you.

This is great for marinating and makes cooking quicker. It’s also great on a BBQ.

Lamb Racks

Lamb racks, of any size from two to seven chops look and taste great. We can French trim them for extra presentational appeal, or put two together as a guard of honour for a stuffing to be placed between them. Equally, we can make the racks into a crown to allow the centre to be stuffed. This really does make you look like a Masterchef contender, and yet it’s really easy to do.

The Christie Lamb Favourite

Or why not choose the Christie family favourite: a partially boned lamb shoulder marinated in olive oil and crushed olives and studded with rosemary and garlic. Slow-roasted in the oven this is sensational, especially with homemade pesto. We offer these (uncooked of course and you’ll have to make your own pesto, but we’re happy to give you the recipe) for £30 and at around 2.5k they’ll easily feed 8-10. Oven ready you just let them come to room temperature for an hour before roasting at 150C for three to four hours.

Our Favourite Marmalade Recipe

Our favourite marmalade recipe for when oranges are in season

‘Bitters’ as they are known – and trust me, having made the once in a lifetime mistake of trying one, they’re named that for a good reason – are the essential component of good marmalade. Eating oranges just don’t work the same. Marmalade is really easy to make, is a great way to spend a cold and rainy afternoon with the kids or grandkids and makes a great gift. Here’s our recipe. We like it, but if you’ve ever inherited a cookbook of any kind of vintage then have a look and there’s a good chance it’ll have a marmalade recipe in it.

What you’ll need:

  •  2lbs/900g marmalade bitters
  •  4lb/1.8kg preserving sugar
  •  1 Lemon
  •  4 pints/2 litres of water
  •  Some sterilised jars with lids or wax papers, film and bands

What to do:

 Wash the oranges and the lemon. Cut them in half and squeeze out the juice, making sure to remove the pips. Set the pips aside. Cut the orange peel. You can decide here whether you want a thick, thin or shredded cut – it’s your marmalade so it’s up to you. Put the pips you set aside in a small muslin and tie up to form a little bag.

Put the peel, water, juice and pips in a pan and bring through the boil and simmer for two hours or until the peel is tender. Remove the bag of pips and allow the mixture to cool a little. Add the sugar and stir over a low heat to dissolve.

Once the sugar has fully dissolved, bring to the boil and squeeze over the contents of the bag of pips. Boil the mixture for another fifteen minutes or so until the setting point is reached – you’ll tell this by taking a spoonful and putting on a cool plate and tilting. If a skin forms and wrinkles – it’s done. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Your jars will need to be sterilised. Wash them thoroughly and put them in a warm oven for fifteen minutes. Take them out – carefully – and let cool. If you fill the jars with warm marmalade (NOT HOT)

Let us know in in the comments below about your marmalade!!

Let’s Talk Turkey

Scottish Free Range Bronze Turkey

Let’s talk Turkey – as in the bird, not the country… or the poem by Benjamin Zephaniah for that matter! Our turkeys are Kelly Bronze turkeys which are bred slowly and are over twice the age of a standard intensive turkey. Maturity has the biggest single impact on flavour. A Kelly Bronze has well marbled meat and award winning flavour.

We’ve recently starting  selling them and they’re really, really good. What makes them so good? In this blog, we discuss what makes a good turkey and what you should look for when purchasing.

What is the difference?

The reason our turkeys taste so good is the taste and the texture, and that’s down to the environment in which they’re reared and length of time they’re grown.

Environment

The poults (that’s what wee turkeys are called) are hatched in late June and early July and spend their first few weeks in their poly-tunnel homes toughening up for a free-range life. After that, the sides are taken off their poly-tunnels and they’re free to roam. Fair weather or foul they spend the time with only a poly roof for protection and bales of straw to roost on. This is about as similar as it’s possible to get to their native American environment and is truly free range, with the stimulation necessary for high animal welfare standards.

Length of Time they grow

Slow-growing gives plenty time to develop flavour and meat.

Secondly, the length of time they’re grown. The turkeys we sell for Christmas have enjoyed twenty-two weeks of sun, rain, pecking about in the soil, pecking each other (stag turkeys can be really bad-tempered) and doing what turkeys do in the environment they prefer to do it. Slow-growing gives plenty time to develop flavour and meat. Pound for pound a free-range turkey has more meat to bone than the equivalent weight barn-reared supermarket bird.

So what of barn reared birds? They are hatched in early September (September!) and grown for a target weight. There is some variation in breeds, but not much, so birds hatched earlier grow more than birds hatched later. The problem is that the frame of the smaller birds can hold much more meat, rather like putting a Mini engine in a Jaguar, so while the price per kilo of turkey is lower, the price per kilo of turkey meat isn’t really that different. If it’s value you’re after, and who isn’t, then it’s a free-range turkey that makes sense.

Pound for pound a free-range turkey has more meat to bone than the equivalent weight barn-reared supermarket bird.

White or Bronze turkey?

The most commonly asked question at Christmas is?……….What’s the difference between a white and a bronze turkey? This has nothing to do with the colour of the meat – both turkeys have white breast meat and brown leg meat, but perhaps unsurprisingly white turkeys have white feathers and bronze turkeys have feathers ranging from black to a brown copper colour and everywhere in between.

White turkeys increased massively in popularity as turkey replaced goose as the traditional festive bird; with white feathers, and so white quills, any birds that weren’t plucked cleanly didn’t look so bad. As the market changed away from frozen butterball turkeys (remember them?) the easiest way to demonstrate a difference with what went before was to leave a few quills in. Is there a difference in taste? Perhaps a little, with bronze birds having a slightly more ‘gamey’ flavour, but any difference is more pronounced in the brown meat. That’s why we’ve introduced our full boneless bronze turkeys, as we think there’s little point in having a bronze bird if you’re only going to eat the breast meat.

How much do you need?

Once you’ve realised that free range is the way to go, decided between white and bronze turkeys – and whether they’re boneless or not, how much do you need to buy? If you want leftovers, and who wouldn’t, then reckon on 500g of bone-in turkey per person. If you’re buying a boneless breast roast or a boneless bronze turkey then we reckon you need 250g per person. Turkeys are best suited for larger gatherings of at least six-plus. If there’s only two or three of you then you’re best with a boneless roast, or why not try a free-range chicken?

What next?

If you are looking for suggestions then try our festive boxes that contain all your Christmas meat in one great value package. Head over to our Christmas Order form now.

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