Friday, 28 April 2017

Meat Glorious Meat

We moved to Highgate in October and I've been loving getting the know the area. 

We are pretty well versed on the pubs in Highgate Village, which we started getting to know as soon as we moved in and in the last 2 months I've enjoyed getting to know Muswell Hill a lot better. 

Highgate is for drinking and eating in the fantastic selection of pubs and coffee shops and then walking it off round the post card village. Where as Muswell Hill is for your shopping. It's inundated with a wide variety of shops from well known high street shops to little boutiques and it is the best place to do your food shop. 

One thing I always felt it was missing was a butchers. It has a fantastic fish mongers which I mentioned in this recipe and the big supermarkets M&S, Planet Organic, Sainsburys (Unfortunately to my dismay only a tiny Waitrose Local !DEVASTATED!) I mourn the loss of my huge St Katherines Dock Waitrose daily.

But NO butchers (the supermarket meat selections are super basic), and then I heard, on the Muswell Hill grapevine (being Tilly mainly) that one was coming... 

It arrived in all its glory!! Doesn't that window of well hung meat just made you go all tingly??!! 
(If you are a vegan/vegetarian perhaps not) 

All too soon it was open and we could feast our eyes (and stomachs) on its delights!! I had already been buying copious amounts of meat when I was invited to the official opening! 

An evening of wine, canapés and perusing the shop. Lots of Muswell Hill locals seemed to be there so it was a pleasure to meet people in the community, be them blogging mums, twitter aficionados or people who were involved in the making of the new shop. 

Dan and I helped ourselves to the delicious canapés made at the shop. Showcasing their famous sausage rolls which they sell every weekend. We had already heard about these so were very excited to try them and they very much lived up to their reputation! 

(I do apologize for the terrible photo)

Selections of their charcuterie and cheese 

and fabulous dips! 

There was a vast platter or smoked slow cooked brisket making the rounds too as well as wines from the in-house selection. We left with 2 bottles of the Cote de Provence Rose. 

It was a delight to meet Phillip, the man behind it all. With a background in the hospitality industry, when Phil moved to Hampstead he felt there was something missing in the Village. When a space opened up the original Hampstead Butcher was born in 2010. West Hampstead followed and now finally Muswell Hill can enjoy its delights. 

There isn't any doubt as to why the shops are so successful. They are beautifully designed, well lit and present their goods so well. Plus you can almost do your entire shop in here. 

As Phillip explained, everything in the shop is deigned to compliment the main event of the shop. The meat. 

As you may suspect you can get any cut of meat from here. From any animal and all at the most amazing quality. You can taste the difference I promise you.

There is a huge selection of 'ready to go' meat in homemade marinades and a BBQ selection to die for. I have had the lamb kebabs and I can't recommend them enough. 

I've got my eye on the ribs next (inserts drooling face)

Like I say all the shop is beautifully designed and well lit to show off all the produce in its best light. From the lambs hanging in the fridge at the back 

To the charcuterie 

and the concise but broad selections of wines and craft beers. 
This truly is a dinner party one stop shop! 

The wide range of cheeses, pates and hams  

to the chiller section which houses fresh veg, all sorts of cured meat, a VAST sausage selection, foie gras, fresh pastas and sauces. The list goes on. Really you have to just go see for yourselves. 

There is a fabulous chocolate selection and all sorts of dry goods to round out your table.

The shop, like the others holds wine tastings and is just about to start butchery classes. If you ever needed a good dad/husband present, who are always so notoriously hard to buy for, this is probably it! 

Head to the website for all the information on events and classes they hold. 

This post is something a little different to what I usually do but I feel it's pretty important. Like I said at the end of my previous post I do believe it is so important to support our high street and independent traders. Plus, I can't tell you how much I like feeling part of something, even living in the notoriously unfriendly London.

I use supermarkets a lot, of course but there is nothing I like more than going into this shop. It's so much nicer to say Hello Vince! and have a bit of a chat. The quality of the meat as well just shines through. It is fresh, well handled and you can get the most unusual cuts (which quite often are much cheaper!) The proof is in the pudding as they say! Plus if there is anything you are unsure of the guys are always on hand for tips or preparing meat the way you need it.

Stay tuned for Ox and Pig Cheek recipes and next time, opt for a butchers. Get a piece of Bavette steak (I got two huge pieces for £8!) or try something new for a dinner party.  

Thursday, 6 April 2017

One Pan Wonder

Home alone for supper. This means indulging in my vacuous american TV show habit, and having whatever I want for dinner. Usually that would be a big oozy pile of mac and cheese but as I'm trying to be better I wanted something equally as simple but delicious. 

So I turned to my next true love, a pork chop. Now, some of you may have seen from my instagram that a new butcher has opened in Muswell Hill. Making it's way from over the heath The Hampstead Butcher and Providore is a very welcome addition. It's all Tilly, who is a born and breed Muswell Hill lady, and I have been able to talk about and I have it on firm authority from her the bacon is to die for.

Not only is the shop beautiful, it is rammed full of amazing goodies from wine and cheese to baked goods and fresh pasta, bbq packs with homemade marinades and, of course, pretty much any cut of meat from any animal you can think of. Safe to say I'm already on first name terms. If they don't have it, they will get it for you. What more could you want?

So, back to my dinner. I never want to spend time on elaborate meals when I'm alone, there is too much washing up and faffing. Plus I want to keep one eye on the telly whilst I cook. So here is the easiest a one pan wonder, minimum effort, maximum satisfaction.

Roasted Pork Chop with a Sweetcorn, Red Pepper, Pesto Salsa*. 

You will need:

One beautiful pork chop
1 Red Pepper
6 Cherry tomatoes 
1 Fresh Sweetcorn 
Pesto (homemade or from that jar that's been lurking in the back of the fridge)
1 glass of white wine

*I dont know if technically this is a salsa, but thats what I've called it

Now this literally all happened to be hanging around in my fridge. A great way to use up tomatoes that are a bit past their best, or that bottle of wine thats been open just a touch too long (surprising that's in my fridge I know)

Turn on your oven to 200 degrees. Season your pork chop, a thing of beauty, all over and put a frying pan on the heat. This pan is going to go in the oven so use a metal handed one or perhaps a skillet.

Whilst your oven and pan are heating. Chop your pepper into slices, cut the corn off the cob and your tomatoes into quarters. If you are using big tomatoes then perhaps cut them into eight. Keep one eye on the Kardashians. 

Now your pan should be really ready to go, sear that beautiful chop really well on both sides and down the rind. Scatter your veg around to make a pan full of sunshine. 

Now throw the whole lot in the pan, in the hot oven for 10 minutes and go back to the sofa. 

*Please only do this if you have a metal handle pan! Plastic and hot ovens don't mesh well*

It should come out all nicely roasted, a slight caramelisation on the corn, the peppers beginning to soften and the tomatoes making the base of a sauce.

Now remove your pork chop onto your plate you are going to eat off. Remember we are keeping washing up to a minimum. So far you should only have one dirty knife, chopping board, the frying pan and tongs, and to be honest you had time to wash up that knife and board whilst the chop was searing, didn't you? Yes, you did. 

Turn off the oven, and turn the heat back on under the pan and pour in your wine. Now you don't have to go and get a whole bottle, unless you want to drink the rest (which is totally legit), just get one of those mini ones in the fridge section.  
It should bubble up straight away! We need to get rid of that harsh alcohol favour so reduce it down to a nice sticky sauce. I moved my veg to one side and tilted the pan slightly just to leave my peppers with a bit of crunch. 

After a couple of minutes it should be perfectly reduced so add a teaspoon or so of pesto. Turn off the heat and give it a good stir. Check the seasoning.

That's it! All done!! 

Put your pork chop back in the pan briefly to line your plate with spinach, scoop out all that sticky wonderful salsa and place your pork chop, like a marvellous meaty crown on top. 

Hey presto. Dinner is served. You didn't even miss anything because of the stupidly long adverts we have to suffer. 

Look at that plate of colours!! 

Here's a close up. 

The best thing? When you have finished eating, all you have to did is wash up a frying pan and that just takes up another ad break. Genius. 

This would also be easy enough to do for 2 people, and actually I guess if you go a big enough tray, and didn't mind some extra washing up, you could turn it into a tray bake for larger numbers. You can always put metal dishes on the hob to make the wine and pesto sauce. 

If you have a butcher near you, go and make friends! Supermarkets are all well and convenient but nothing beats the taste of proper, well reared and looked after meat. Plus, you are supporting independent traders, what's better than that!  Go on, treat yo'self.