Foodies Heaven

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Welcome to Foodies Heaven.

My love of food started at an early age, cooking with my Grandmother baking cakes.  My grandparents had a large garden that my uncle grew many kinds of vegetables in along with the green house where I used to go and sit with the salt from the kitchen happily eating the tomatoes.  That is how I remember vegetables tasting fresh from the garden with meat fresh from the local butchers, belly pork slow roasted a breast of lamb with roast potatoes braised liver and onions all now fashionable but were then the cheaper cuts of meat.

When I left school i went on a YTS learning catering while i waited to join the Army as an apprentice chef, I never liked the army but loved cooking so i left and worked in various restaurants.  I left the industry many years ago but have continued to enjoy cooking and food.

In the last few years I have become increasingly interested in free range and organic food, shopping at the local farmers markets and farm shops, the tastes and smells reminding me of how meat and veg was when a child.  We should all support our local producers and buy as much as we can from them rather than the multi national supermarkets whose only concern is profit not quality, for those that say they have to use a supermarket through cost this again is not true, my local butcher does 2 free range chickens for under £7 you will not get these prices and quality in any supermarket.

On this site I will try to bring you information on all things food form book reviews to recipes and guides.  If you have any ideas or are looking for something in particular drop me a mail or message and I will try my best to help.

 

 

Charity BBQ

bbqd

 

So as the season for cooking outdoors comes to an end for the majority of people and as Summer drifts in to Autumn I decided that I was going to have a bit of an end of season party in the garden.  As most people who know me are aware when I cook in the garden i don’t just throw a few burgers on the BBQ in the past it has been whole shoulders of pork with various sides for about 75 people while having a live band in the garden, another time turning out about 50 12″ pizzas when I got the new wood oven.  I decided that I would make it a charity BBQ and raise some funds for worthwhile causes.  We will be raising money for 3 great charities that have personal meaning to myself but that also do amazing work.

They are:

Talking2Minds

Talking2Minds was established in 2008 with the sole purpose of helping those suffering from PTSD or other severe stress related conditions.

Pilgrim Bandits 

The Pilgrim Bandits was established by a small group of Special Forces veterans in 2007 with the sole aim of using our unique training and experience to help and inspire wounded soldiers to live life to the full.

Hope GB Hope GB is a voluntary support group which provides practical help and encouragement for people affected by autism.

I then wondered how best to raise funds for the charities other than donations from guests attending the BBQ for the feast of fine food that I would be serving up.  I started messaging people on twitter and facebook and began getting donations of raffle prizes and even of meat for me to actually use at the event. Within a few days I had donations and prizes from the people listed below.

Pork for the pulled pork and other pork goodies is being supplied by

Quiet Waters Farm    We are a small, family run, mixed farm in Atherington, in the heart of North Devon.

The Welsh Pig Company   Happy pigs are stress-free, looked after with care and given everything they need to live how pigs live best: outdoors, free-range, with plenty of sunshine and stimulation.

Sausages not your average BBQ bangers, all from award winning producers.

Native Breeds  Native Breeds are a small Charcuterie based on the Lydney Park Estate in Gloucestershire.

Trealy Farm  Local award winning charcuterie based in Penperlleni Monmouthshire.

Bread

All BBQ’s need bread in some form but this will not be stodgy white buns this is bread from a world champion Artisan baker.

Alex Gooch  Local artisan baker using only the finest ingredients.

Raffle and Auction prizes

Ioshen Knives  Without doubt the best knives I have ever used.

Ian Mckend Mac’s BBQ  Suppliers of all good things BBQ from smokers to wood chips.

Higgledy Garden  grow traditional annual flowers in a Cornish paddock. They are grown without the use of any chemicals and are available to buy online and from a select few Cornish shops.

Bev Reed  Award winning pâtissier who has worked at  Claridges in London and Michelin starred restaurants at Château de Montreuil in France, Stuckis and Der Walserhof in Switzerland and L’Ortolan near Reading.

Liz Knight  We make flavours and special seasonal treats inspired by the food that grows around us – here in the beautiful Herefordshire countryside.

One Mile Bakery  The One Mile Bakery delivers handmade bread, soups and preserves within a one-mile radius of its kitchen in Cardiff.

Trish Maccurrach  stock includes tripods, enamel hanging Kotlich/Bograc and colourful enamel cookware. Everything is suitable for camping and use on an open fire.If you have not discovered outdoor cooking yet, now is the time…

Illtud Llyr Dunsford  Charcutier Ltd is an artisan charcuterie company which brings together British, South European and North American methods of curing.

Cwrtau Bach Farm grows greenhouse produce and creates award-winning homemade, artisan foods in the heart of West Wales.

Vivien Lloyd  enthusiastic about the use of selected varieties of home grown ingredients to achieve the best possible flavours in high quality preserves.

Roadii  Open fire cooking and campfire chat….the self contained firecooking system that beats a barbie anyday.

Blaenafon Cheddar Company  are a specialist cheddar cheese company based in the World Heritage site of Blaenafon, South Wales. At present we produce fifteen very distinctive cheddars and four varieties of goat’s cheese.

Smokewood Shack   Quality Smoking Wood, Charcoal & Grilling Planks for your Barbecue & Smoker.

Team Smoking Penguin  The Smokin’ Penguins are are a BBQ team, competing in the UK

Luke Bawdon Polymath Products Survival and camping equipment

Marcus Bawdon  BBQ guru and a great inspiration.

Alan Low ETI Thermapen thermometers are used worldwide in restaurants, hotels and kitchens – anywhere that perfectly cooked food is served.

As I get more gifts etc i shall add them to the list.

If you are a company that could give a raffle prize or food for the event please get in touch with me.

 

Pulled Beef Brisket

It is not every day that you do food for your step daughters wedding, most people go to weddings to eat food and party.  I spent 16 hrs the day before and a few hours on the actual day of the wedding cooking, not your standard wedding buffet of chicken drumsticks and sausage rolls but 16 hr Pulled Beef Brisket, a four chill mixed bean vegetarian chill along with 13 litres of coleslaw, tomato and basil salad, roast root vegetables and peppers with rosemary then throw in sage and lemon thyme pan-fried chicken and as you see I had my work cut out.

As with 99% of my beef cooking I get it direct from the farm shop in Raglan, 3 large rolled beef brisket weighing in at around 12kg in total was to go in the ProQ otherwise known as old smokey.

Rolled Beef Brisket

Rolled Beef Brisket

 

Rolled Beef Brisket

Rolled Beef Brisket

Four Chillies Chilli

Having a large amount of the shin of beef left from yesterdays Sunday dinner there was an easy decision made for me I adore chilli and chillies in general, it is said that they have an addictive property, chillies are addictive. peppers contain capsaicin, a natural chemical that sends a burning sensation from the nerve endings in the mouth to the brain. the body defends itself against this pain sensation by secreting endorphins, natural painkillers that cause a physical “rush” – a high that keeps us coming back for more. so indulge your pepper cravings, and rest assured that you will soon build a tolerance.

I love to use left over beef in chilli, I also use cuts like shin when I do a slow cooked chilli along with the minced beef.  The difference in textures just adds that something extra.

Four Chilis Chilli
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
My take on chilli
Ingredients
  • 500g minced beef
  • 500g of either left over beef or stewing beef
  • 2 Large onions
  • 1 tbs Olive oil
  • 1 dry ancho chilli
  • 2 dry chipotle
  • 4 Jalapenos
  • 1 tsp smoked hot paprika
  • Beef stock
  • 1 tin tomatoes
  • Salt & Pepper for seasoning
Instructions
  1. Place the dried chillies in hot water to re constitute. finely chop the onions, in a heavy based pan heat the oil and add the onions, saute until soft but not coloured. Chop the chillies including the ones that have been soaking(retain the juice), add to the softened onions. Remove the onions and chillies and place to one side in the same pan brown off the minced beef then remove to one side, if using stewing beef add this to the pan and brown off add the retained mince, onions and chillies.
  2. Add the tin of tomatoes and the smoked hot paprika and stir together, add enough stock to cover, transfer to a casserole and place in the oven at 140c and cook for 3-4 hrs check the level of sauce during cooking though at these low temperatures the sauce should only reduce and thicken slightly.

As I am doing whole 30 and not eating wheat, rice etc this was served with cauliflower rice which is so simple to make and so versatile.

Take 1 cauliflower cut into florets and blitz lightly in a food processor not to fine or you will get a puree you want it to look like grains of rice.

Heat a heavy frying pan and add a glug of olive oil, you can season the oil with garlic or spices and herbs, add the blitzed cauliflower and fry off for 3 minutes it will still have a bite to it and takes on flavours really well, also makes great egg fried “rice”

Slow Cooked Shin of Beef

On the way to collect my little girl from school yesterday I decided to pop into the local farm shop as it is only 2 minutes from the school and I was early for her, I buy my bacon from the shop and generally 99% of my beef, they breed Devon Reds which produce fantastic beef.  I had intended on getting some bacon and a few steaks for tea.  As soon as i looked in the first display cabinet I saw a whole shin of beef reduced from almost £19 down to £9, as often is the case there was nobody in the shop so I went around to the cabinet and picked out the shin of beef a couple of packs of bacon and some sirloin steaks.  The grand total for 4 large sirloin steaks, 2 packs of bacon with 8 rashers in each and these are not skinny shrink in the pan rashers, plus the shin of beef was just over £30, you could easily pay that just for the steaks in a supermarket not that you would get the quality of meat in many supermarkets.

Sirloin Steak

Sirloin Steak

 

Shin of Beef

Shin of Beef

 

I never mess around with good steaks and simply season with salt as I find if you add pepper before frying it burns in the heat of the smoking hot skillet.  

The shin is a cut of meat that is often forgot and requires slow cooking, to me the easiest form of cooking as you can put it on and carry on with your day, this joint will get about 8 hours cooking in its marinade.  This can either be cooked stove top on a heat that just lets the liquid create bubbles that just break the surface, in a slow cooker on low for 8-10 hrs or in a crock pot in the oven at 130c for 8-10 hours.  The marinade is a bottle of red wine, black and white peppercorns, cinnamon stick and star anise, when it comes to cooking time i will add salt and 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, this gives the final sauce something extra.  Once the meat is cooked and resting the liquid it has been cooking in along with juices from the meat will be reduced to make a sauce, serve with seasonal roasted root vegetables.

Shin of beef marinading

Shin of beef marinading

What is the Paleo Diet

When i post pictures to Facebook or twitter friends often say how the hell is what you are eating a diet, first I tell them it is not a diet.  Diets do not and never will work they are in general short-term with short results, how many know people who have been on weightwatcher’s etc for years on end or go back every year, the methods the diets use are simply not sustainable.  Our Grandmothers never followed fad diets, then again they were not bombarded by food advertising and huge supermarkets with aisle upon aisle of packaged, tinned and processed food’s, if you walk around the perimeter of your local supermarket you will generally find the vegetable aisle, the butchery department, the fish monger this is due to it being easier to get the power to these areas and to chill and keep “natural” foods.  As you delve deeper into the store you get to all the processed foods, the foods created in factories and laboratories.  Growing up I remember my mother cooking fresh food every day, making a trip to the local shops to buy produce, the same at my grandparents with the addition that my uncle grew veg year round in the garden so that was merely a walk into the garden and collecting that days veg.

Our generation has been told by various “health” and government agencies what is and what’s not healthy.  Our hunter gatherer ancestors were not told what was and what was not healthy, they ate what they hunted, picked and foraged, this is the simplest way to explain it if you can not pick it, kill it or gather it then it is not a whole food, anything that has changed from its original appearance to be packaged into a box, a packet or a tin is not how nature intended us to eat it.  This sadly now includes the way meat is “grown” the methods being used by the multinationals to grow our animals for meat is nothing short of Frankenstein methods, how many knew that the largest buyer of antibiotics from the major pharmaceutical corporations were the farming industry, the US figure is over 80% of all antibiotics produced go to agriculture then we wonder why the prevalence of superbugs and strains immune to antibiotics is on the increase, when our food is fed on mass with them to promote growth, to limit fat production and to retain fluid within the growing animal along with hiding all the nasty illness that prevails in these huge animal factories I will not call them farms as they are far from being a farm in any sense of the word.  For more on the “factory farming” I can not recommend Pig Business video on this highly enough.

There are far better resources online than my brief explanation of what paleo is.  The people I have learnt from include Robb Wolf , Chris Kresser, Mark Sisson’s there are many more online and as with everything else google is your friend.

In a nutshell 

paleo diet

Paleo diet