I love suet. I know it’s as unfashionable as lard these days, but I love the stuff. A fluffy suet dumpling on top of a rich stew is such a winter treat that I will bear a lot of cold grey days just to have the excuse to embrace this most British of dishes. I also love the rich stickiness of Christmas dishes filled with fruit and suet and welcome sweet suet dishes that are a stunning vehicle for custard. But despite this love, I have never made a proper steamed suet pudding before. The sticky soft texture that is so dinky as dumplings, scares me in larger quantities. I have visions of sheer stodge, something you could kill someone with if handled incorrectly. Add in the traditional filling of kidneys and I feel a moment of blind panic. So it makes perfect sense that I offered to cook one for several friends on Friday night… Read more
Mister North and I have been talking about taking a weekend trip along the Northumbrian coast for several years now, but with an uncharacteristic flurry of organisation from both of us, we managed to arrange this long awaited adventure for the weekend of Halloween. After some deliberation we decided to stay in the picturesque market town of Alnwick and use it as a base to explore the wilds and wonders of this historic coast. We also hoped we get the chance to sample some local food and drink as we went…
My regular Sunday morning trip to Brixton Farmers’ Market always involves fresh soft pretzels from Luca’s Bakery, but I managed to branch out from just baked goods this week and I couldn’t resist picking up a few seasonal goodies in the shape of some British asparagus, fresh garlic and buffalo steak for the rest of the week.
The buffalo steaks came from the amazing Alham Wood Cheeses stall which is so low key in the market I’m not sure it even has a sign. Only my finely honed mozzarella radar meant I noticed it…but it has some superb well matured cheeses as well as a small selection of buffalo meat each week. This stall is not to be missed if you are a serious cheese lover. They supply the succulent mozzarella for the top class pizzas at Brixton institution Franco Manca and it is a treat to be able to add this exceptional product to dishes at home.
My eye was drawn to the juicy looking organic buffalo frying steak. Two well sized thin cut steaks weighing in around 180g cost an incredibly reasonable £2.34, reminding me that it is possible to eat ethically raised higher welfare meat even on my limited budget. The fact that buffalo meat is also very low in fat and cholesterol was simply a bonus. I was definitely looking forward to trying buffalo meat for the first time! Read more
As part of Miss South’s trip north at the end of March I wanted to ensure we could enjoy what is rapidly becoming a prerequisite for our family gatherings: excellent beef steak. As usual the wonderful Stansfield’s of Tod market was able to supply the required cuts, in this case two glorious Yorkshire sirloins. Once I’d bought these I picked up a brace of oh-so-fresh wet garlic bulbs from Alex Med – the first of the year – and decided that this, alongside a few rogue shallots which were crying out to be used, could provide the basis of a very pleasant main course. With a starter of Woodcock and a dessert of Buckfast sorbet this was shaping up to a helluva meal… Read more
Keeping it fresh and local with a rather decadent mid-week dish: boar steak, wilted wild garlic, and a Jerusalem artichoke mash.
My wonderful local butcher in Todmorden market normally has a range of interesting game in stock, but boar caught my eye on the blackboard last Saturday. I wasn’t sure which cut to buy, so after taking his advice I opted for a chunky leg steak and then mused how best to cook it when I got home. This is local boar, raised a couple of miles from Tod centre: always good to know there aren’t many food miles on my dinner plate. In the dim and distant past this part of the Pennines would’ve been home to wild boar, rooting around the Kingdom of Elmet trying to find goodies to eat. Including (allegedly) wild garlic…