There are moments that I revel in the use and ability that social media plays in business, the connections forged by glancing at an image or 140 character snippets of information. Friend requests and a few hearts and re-tweets later its like you are old acquaintances sharing in each others lives and pinnacle moments.
We met Tabl in that exact way, a company who help people set up their supper clubs, scrap that, they go above beyond putting the pieces of the puzzle together. Having had so much success doing exactly the above in the Brighton area they are now in London, ready to kick the capital in gear. A few exchanges of tweets and emails later we were asked to be at an event they held for food bloggers to mingle, eating and drinking comes naturally to these wonderful people and the room was testament to that.
We lucky enough got to have a mingle and a wander around the room, tried some of the greatest Indian food, tea flavoured popcorn, made some desserts and tasted some delicious wine.Quite something I can tell you!
The space the event took place in was stunning, mood lighting gorgeous mix of wood, glass and metal. Phenomenal! We wanted to get everyone to try something mouth wateringly good, and that they would keep coming back for. Trying to look at different cuts, something you wouldn't connect to the dish served it suddenly became clear...Wagyu Chuck Flap!
Wagyu Chuck Flap is a cut from around around the shoulder, when from a grass-fed cow this cut would be used for long slow cooking as it is very lean and quite robust. People would also use it to ground up for burgers. Luckily for us Wagyu Chuck Flap is completely different! With a delicious bite but tender enough to cut and cook as a steak, with no wastage! Yes you heard correct, no wastage.
We had used it before as an alternative to Striploin steaks, the flavour was phenomenal and had more of a bite, but still that glorious Wagyu flavour. Previously making Tartare we have used the Picanha, but it was time to really test the versatility of the Chuck.
It went down an absolute treat, mixed with the gorgeous flavours of Japanese cooking and served with some delightful spicy mayonnaise for an added kick. The best part it was all gluten free!
The recipe for our Tartare is as follows
- 800g Wagyu Beef Chuck Flap
- 1 inch of Ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 Spring Onions, finely chopped
- 6 Limes, juiced
- 1 tbsp Sesame Oil
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 tbsp Mirin
- 1 tbsp Sake
- Soy Sauce/Tamari to taste
Firstly defrost the Wagyu Beef, the key is to keep the meat as cold as possible. You want to use around 800g of the product.
Our Chuck Flap comes 2 pieces to a packet, so use one piece. Slice the product into half centimetre thick steaks. Then you want to cut into thin strips and then cut the strips down. So you end up with half centimetre cubes roughly.
Have a bowl of ice with another bowl on top ready to put the chopped meat into, this will help keep the temperature of the meat down.
In another bowl add in the ginger, spring onions, juiced limes, oils, mirin and sake. Taste and see what you think, adjust if you want to buy adding more of either the lime or mirin. These will either increase sweetness or sour element. Stir and add into the meat. Mix up the meat and sauce until well combined.
Now you want to taste and add in the Soy sauce or Tamari. Add small amounts and build as it can quite easily become over salty.
We served up our Tartare with a choice of Wasabi Mayonnaise or Sriracha Mayonnaise. You can use this recipe as a great base and add in other ingredients such as fresh chillies into the Tartare, or crispy slithers of garlic on top.
You could even serve the Tartare on Shiso leaves, work great as presentation and you can actually eat them!
A fourth and final pie of Pie week consisted of one of our favourite products, Diced Wagyu Fillet.
As we don't like to waste anything in this place we use the tail ends of the fillet which wouldn't produce nice thick even centre cut steaks and dice it up, the result a delicious morsel of Wagyu which you can use for a variety of things.
With the more traditional pies happening at the beginning of the week it was time to tantalise those taste buds and get everyone thinking, and boy did we do that.
Keeping with the main theme of Wagyu Beef which is obviously the Japanese flavours it gave us a perfect opportunity to play around with the delicious umami tastes.
To create this gorgeous pie we used the following
- 1 x 500g pack of Diced Wagyu Beef
- 3 x Spring Onions
- 50g Ginger
- 2 x Garlic Cloves
- 2 x Birds Eye Chillies
- 2 x sachets of Miso (around 36g)
- 200ml Sake
- 150ml Mirin
- 1tsp Brown Sugar
- Soy Sauce to Taste
- 1tsp Sesame Oil
- Pinch of Maldon Salt
- 6 x Sheets of Spring Roll Pastry or Filo
- 1 x Egg (made into Egg Wash)
Defrost the Diced Wagyu and bring up to room temperature 30 minutes before cooking.
In a bowl mix together the diced wagyu and sesame oil and a pinch of Maldon Salt.
Heat up a deep based saucepan and seal off the diced Wagyu in batches to ensure you don't boil the meat.
Remove the meat into a bowl and cover.
Slice the Spring Onions thinly at an angle and sweat off in the saucepan. Add in finely chopped Garlic and Chillies. Depending on how hot you like food keep the seeds or get rid. I kept one Chillies seeds and there was a warmth to the dish.
When they have all sweated down add in the Sake and boil rapidly until reduced.
Add the Wagyu Beef back in and then add the Mirin, Brown Sugar and Soy Sauce.
Taste it here and see how it tastes, you may need to add in some more Soy Sauce.
Reduce the heat and let simmer for around half an hour.
Let cool, I left it overnight and used it the next day. This develops the flavour of the mix much better.
In a pie dish you want to lay out 4 pieces of the Spring Roll pastry so they over lap in the middle but is a lot of overhang. Using a pastry brush lightly brush each sheet with egg wash.
After putting the pastry and making sure there aren't any gaps on the bottom, add in the Wagyu mix. Using the overhang of the pastry, loosely fold over the top.
Using the other 2 sheets of the pastry brush with egg wash and then tear into strips. Place the strips loosely on top as well ensuring all the meat is incased.
Cook in a preheated oven at 180C for 12 - 14 minutes of until the pastry is golden brown.
Serve and watch your guests go wide eye whilst they enjoy the fantastic flavours wrapped up in crisp pastry.
With the array of different meat we have on the website, it was decided that pie week needed a shake up! Or a kick in this instance, so Kangaroo Pie was the option of the day.
Kangaroo is one of the leanest and healthy meats that we do. Known for being low in fat and high in proteins and minerals we often have the health concious or even those competing for body building competitions calling in for this wonderful meat.
Fear not, as Kangaroo isn't just for those aiming to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 70's! No, this beautiful red meat can be enjoyed by the family over on any night of the week.
Heres what we used for the delicious pie!
- 1 packet Kangaroo Rump (850g)
- 2 Onions
- 2 Garlic Cloves
- 1 Carrot
- 1 Potato
- 1 stick of Celery
- 2 Beef Stock Cubes
- 2 Tbsp Flour
- Oregano (either dried or fresh)
- 2 Bay Leaves
- Basil (either dried or fresh)
- 2 cups Red Wine
- 2 cups Water (optional)
- Salt and Pepper
- Vegetable Oil
- 1 packet Shortcrust Pastry
- 1 packet Puff Pastry
- 1 Egg
First defrost the Kangaroo overnight, do make sure to defrost it in a bowl as sometimes you have blood ooze from the packet. Bring the Kangaroo to room temperature about half an hour before cooking.
Cut the Kangaroo in cubes about 1 inch in size, season the cubes of meat with salt and oil. Heat a large saucepan and sear off the cubed Kangaroo in batches to ensure the meat doesn't boil.
Remove the meat from the pan and place in a bowl, cover and leave until needed later.
Use some of the wine to deglaze the pan and keep all those delicious flavours in the pan.
Dice the onions, and chop the garlic quite finely, sweat them off in the saucepan.
Peel the Carrot, Celery and Potato, slice the carrot and celery and dice the potato. Add into the saucepan, along with the herbs, stir thoroughly.
Add in the Kangaroo and any juices in the bowl. Sprinkle over the flour and stir continuously until the flour has turned brown and the juices have all been soaked up. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pour over the wine and the two stock cubes, now here is where I didn't then add the water which was suggested in recipes I had found online. The office did make reference to there "not being enough wine (oh hahahah) in here". So if you prefer a less alcoholic stew add in 2 cups of water as well.
Bring up to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 2 hours. I then let this cool overnight and used it the next day. During the course of the week I came to the conclusion that it not only fitted well with life, the universe and the washing up, but also to allowing the flavour to really enhance and create a more spectacular filling!
Grease and flour a pie dish, line the dish with the short crust pastry. Trim the pastry with leaving a lip all the way around to ensure the pastry lid has something to stick on. Blind bake the pastry for 10/15 minutes in a preheated oven at 180. Set aside to cool.
Once cooled fill the pastry case with the Kangaroo filling.
Egg wash the lip of the bottom pastry, then lay over the puff pastry. Trim to match the underneath.
Using a fork or your fingers, crimp or pinch the pastry to attach to the bottom layer.
Put two slits in the middle of the pastry top and liberally with egg wash.
Cook in a preheated oven at 180 for 35/45 minutes or until delightfully golden brown.
Serve and enjoy!
Taking this week to a more traditional place, it was time for a Beef, Ale and Mushroom Pie...and gosh was it a good'un!
Using our delicious diced US Grain Fed Beef Brisket, which works perfectly for the low and slow cooking. Mixed with some delicious Black Sheep Ale and a variety of mushrooms we had a strong feeling this was going to be a good day.
- 1 500g Packet US Grain Fed Diced Beef Brisket
- Vegetable Oil
- Dried Porcini Mushrooms
- 2 Onions
- 4 Garlic Cloves
- 3 Large Carrots
- 1tsp Caster Sugar
- 2tbsp Flour
- 1 bottle Dark Ale (We used Black Sheep Ale)
- 2 Beef Stock Pots
- 2 Bay Leaves
- Thyme (Either a few sprigs of Thyme or a scattering of dried)
- 200g Bacon Lardons
- 300g Chestnut Mushrooms
- 2 packets pre rolled Short Crust Pastry
- 1 Egg
Firstly pull the beef out of the freezer the night before you want to cook the pie mix up. Bring the Beef and Bacon to room temperature half an hour before you want to cook as this will give you a better result.
Put the dried Porcini Mushrooms in a deep bowl and cover with boiling water, allow these to soak for 20 minutes.
Whilst the mushrooms are soaking, heat a large saucepan, season the beef with salt and a little oil. Seal off the beef in small batches to ensure it doesn't boil. Put in a bowl and cover with a plate until needed.
Dice the onions and sweat off in the pan, halfway through add in the garlic minced. Add a drop of the Ale to de-glaze the pan and so the onions can soak up all the deliciousness.
Add in the sliced and quartered Carrots and cook for 5 minutes or so to get some colour. Add in the Porcini mushrooms then sprinkle over the sugar and flour. Stir until browned and all the juices have been soaked up.
Tip back in the meat and any juices left in the bowl. Followed by the rest of the bottle of Ale, add in the 2 Beef Stock Pots and the liquor from the mushrooms. Don't pour out all the juices from the mushrooms as there may be grit at the bottom. I left a centimetre or so in the bowl.
Season with salt and pepper, add in the Bay Leaves and Thyme. Give the pot a good stir.
Bring the pan up to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for an hour and a half, covered, stirring occasionally to ensure it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.
In a frying pan brown off the Bacon lardons until crisp and then add in the sliced mushrooms. Remove from the heat and let the mushrooms cook through with the residual heat. Add a splash of water just to get those nuggets of flavour from the lardons up.
After the beef has cooked remove from the heat and add in the bacon and lardon mix. Stir and allow the pot to cool over night to use the next day.
The pie can either be cooked with the mix at room temperature or cold, it doesn't really matter which. I did it from cold.
Liberally butter and flour a pie dish, trim the pastry up leaving a lip on the sides, add in the pie mix with a slotted spoon as you may have more liquid than needed. The meat should pile up just over the top of the pie dish. Pour over enough of the beef mix juice to half way up the pie dish.
Brush the edges of the pie with water and place the other sheet of pastry over the top. Pinch the sides together, make 2 incisions in the middle of the pie to let out steam. Do feel free to decorate the pie.
Mix an egg and cover the top of the pie liberally, this will ensure the pie goes a gorgeous golden brown colour.
Place the pie in a preheated oven at 200c and cook the pie for 40 minutes, or until golden brown.
Serve up with extra gravy and a side of buttery mash potato.
Up next Kangaroo and Red Wine pie...
British Pie Week has got us thoroughly engrossed! Cooking and baking and seeing people enjoy what's been made is fantastic, and namely one of the reason I for one cook. Luckily for me our office is full of 22 hungry people, all the time no matter if they've just eaten a meal or not.
Up first was to cook some Iberico Pork, I scoured high and low for a recipe that might work for this but not be a regular pie. Looking to push the boundaries and blur the idea of "pie" just a touch. I had in my head a vision of those sweet little Empanadas you get in Tapas restaurants.
I found a delicious sounding recipe from a blog called Loves Food, Loves to Eat, so credit to Amber for the bases of what we did!
- 2 packets Iberico Sliced Plumas (240g each)
- 3 Uncooked Iberico Chorizo Sausages
- 1 Onion, Diced
- 3 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
- 1/2 bottle of Dry Cider (we used Henneys)
- 2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 3 Tbsp Tomato Puree
- 1 Tbsp Molasses (we used Pomegranate Molasses)
- 1 Tbsp English Mustard
- 1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
- 1 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 1 Tsp Oregano (we used dry, but you could use a couple of sprigs of fresh)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Monterey Jack Cheese (Optional)
- 2 Rolls of Short Crust Pastry
- 1 Egg
Firstly defrost the Iberico Plumas and Chorizo overnight and bring to room temperature half an hour before wanting to cook them.
Remove the Chorizo from there skins and pull apart so it looks like mince.
Heat a large pan that can go in the oven, and add the Chorizo. Keep breaking it apart with a wooden spatula, very much you like would with mince. Cook until golden brown on all sides. Remove from the pan.
Cut the Iberico Plumas into 3 pieces, season with salt and a touch of oil and sear on either side, just to brown off. Remove these from the pan and put with the small nuggets of Chorizo.
In the same pan reduce the heat, add a touch of oil and sweat down the diced onion. Half way through add in the chopped Garlic. Pour over the Cider, a huge puff of steam will come off the pan, so be careful!
Using the wooden spatula scrape the bottom of the pan to get all the deliciousness from the meat mixed into the cider. This really enhances the final flavour of the dish, the more flavour the better!
After the eruption of steam, and all that scraping of deliciousness, add in Vinegar, Tomato Puree, Molasses, Mustard, Sugar, Cayenne, and Oregano. Stir all together and bring to a simmer. Put a lid on and place in a preheated oven at 180c for 2 hours. Once cooked remove from the oven and using two forks shred the meat, after shredded mix thoroughly and it will soak up all that delicious sauce.
Now, I cooked this first part up the night before it was needed, so used the mixture cold. Although I'm sure it would work just as well if warm.
Using a sheet of Shortcrust Pastry (hold my hands up I used shop brought) cut down the middle length ways, and then cut 6 equal rectangles.
I using the cheese put a thin square on the pastry off centre but leaving an edge (to fix the otherside of the pastry) place a dessertspoon of the pork mixture on top.
Dab water on the clear edge and fold the pastry, corner to corner. Using a fork crimp the sides down and make a small cut on the top to allow steam to release.
Cover liberally with egg wash.
Cook in a preheated oven at 200c for 20 minutes, or until gorgeously golden brown, and probably oozing slightly with cheese! I served them up with Potato Salad and Coleslaw. They would work great served cold as well especially on a picnic with a nice cold bottle of beer or even cider.
I made a total of 12, but had enough mix for about 18 if not 20.
Happy Baking! Up next is the US Grain Fed Beef Brisket, Ale and Mushroom Pie...
A strange title you might feel for the first blog post on Meat Me At Homes very beautiful looking page, but, an apt place to start!
Meat Me At Home, the sister company of Freedown Food. Started life in 1993, overlooking a field on the family farm. Our gorgeous founder, Mr Russell, decided to sell the family Venison. A few years later, needing to expand the companies repertoire he jumped, fittingly, to importing Kangaroo and Crocodile (an understandable link, right?!). Moving in the right direction we get introduced to our other exquisite owner, Mr Bengue.
The two, are a force to be reckoned with, the company continued to expand and go through several years of new products and selling all sorts of interesting "Bush Tucker" treats. Wanting to provide more focus on who Freedown were, and what they did culling season started. In doing so they found a position in the market for the company to make some serious head way. They started importing Wagyu Beef and Duke of Berkshire Pork. Further on from that and nearer to the present day they now import US Grain Fed Beef, Japanese Miyazaki Wagyu Beef, Iberico Pork and Bison to name just a few.
The rest is history as they say, and near to 25 years later the company is going from strength to strength...but they aren't who I'm just here to talk about! Meat Me At Home, or MMAH for short, a concept created in the school playground after the old Freedown consumer site realised how vintage it was looking - not the kind you want to wear either!
Collaborations, photo-shoots, puzzlement, mountains and molehills aside, two years later we are here, growing, striving and surviving. The most wonderful customers we could ask for, a beautiful (yes, you should see the pair of them) purchasing team behind us who source exquisite products, a back office who buffer my frustrations with excel superbly, and the sales team who's fingers are continuously on the pulse in the restaurant scene. A warehouse team who pick and pack the most beautiful parcels. Saving the best till last (obviously) our credit manager, who manages the hell out of all of us and also moonlights as my restaurant critic!
Our plan is simple - to bring exceptional meat with outstanding taste straight to your front door. I'll be using this to talk about our products, recipes -the success and failures, and any topics that you our customers and readers come up with. The places we have eaten, what is going on in the industry and hopefully provide some memorable moments along the way!
And breathe...this is more frightening than producing figures for the bosses. That gives you a background of where we started and a perfect place to start our journey.
As for me, having been with Freedown Food for near on 5 years now, working with MMAH for just over a year of that. My love for food started way before this and landed me training as a chef in London. Now I have access to some of the best meat products the world provides and get to cook, eat, write and socialise.
Who doesn't love talking lunch at breakfast!
I'm off to raise a glass...