Blogs

Write new blog
somersetchef

Band Wagons

by somersetchef published on
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Band Wagons.




 




The trouble with them is every one gets on, leaving little room for individual personality. Like fashion..........




 




And Trends.




 




BIG Hospitality ran a feature recently where highly admired Chefs gave their predictions as to what will be gastronomically En Vogue in 2011, which will no doubt have others searching amidst their area for supplies and recipes to keep them 'hip' and happening.




 




Certain Things I get, and fully follow. Like utilising locally produced, reared and grown produce, and the recent sustainability surge with regards to fish (and other produce). But these aren't trends, they are Revolutions spurred on through the gaining of knowledge and the attainment of Ethics.




 




When the call for buying local erupted forth from legendary proclaimed chefs shouting from the rooftops of their Restaurants and Hotels I stuck my thumb out and hitched that lift. However, after time I realised that although Local is a very important part of our current Ethos, the one thing we were seriously overlooking was the quality aspect.




 




As a Chef, I take pride in utilising the best ingredients I can get and that means not all that comes from within a given radius of supply will necessarily meet my needs. For example, the weather and soil further up the Isle, I.E. Norfolk, may aid the production of a better quality Carrot as opposed to the Somerset Levels. The grazing land may be better in Yorkshire nurturing better Milk, as opposed to the wilds of Cornwall.




 




And it's not just product for product. It is also product within product. Consider the Potato. With approximately 4000 varieties grown throughout the world and around 80 farmed in the United Kingdom, there is plenty to choose from. Chefs have their favourites depending on what task the humble spud is for and a lot of the attraction will be due to the quality of local crop.  




 




I do still buy locally, don't misunderstand. I get these amazing Jerusalem Artichokes, and Shallots from just down the road albeit from a very annoying (overly passionate) grower. I get my Fish from two 'as local as land-locked Somerset can be' suppliers. and all my meat is raised within the Borders of Somerset, Dorset, Devon & Wiltshire. I get very ratty & p***ed off if ever I have found out a supplier has bought any produce that has travelled more air miles than I have because it was a good deal and have not told me before purchase. I would rather pay more, charge more and enable myself to sleep safe in the knowledge that Britain is growing and rearing fine foods for me and my Diners.




 




The main hub of this post is to heavily endorse and promote a fantastic Local (yet not....sort of) product that I am very fortunate to be allowed to utilise.




 




At the bottom of the Village, there is a hidden farm reached via a 'Southfork' style track with white fences adorning the sides and wide open level fields of grass beyond. Occasionally you catch a glimpse of Bovine herds in the distance roaming free, grazing and lazing under mighty Oak trees. Eventually you arrive into the large and clean complex typical of any aged Farm in the UK. There are signs pointing the directions that one may need to take including the Butchers shop. 




 




The Farm is called Lower Oakley Farm and as afore mentioned, looks similar to other Beef Farms yet there is one slight difference..............




 




They are not Cows.




 




The placid Beasts that roam this idyllic Somerset countryside are Water Buffalo.




 




Similar in appearance to your average breed of Cows there is only three features that make them notably different in species. They are all a rich chocolate brown in colour, their 'Blade' (the ridge after the neck) is highly defined, and they have magnificently carved and curved Horns.




 




These mighty animals are just as inquisitive as Cows tend to be and often wander over to the fences for a nuzzle and a sniff which is when you notice their deep, searching eyes, often shaded beneath toupees of hair.




 




The farm started out with a Herd of 22 which were imported from Romania, and to date they have increased to a steady 200 strong. Their diet consists of grass for most of the year and then during the freezing Winter months they are fed natural Winter Forage which the Farmer grows on his own land. At no point do the Buffalo eat any form of added concentrates, ensuring that they maintain a traceable Organic lineage.




 




When the animal has been killed, it is then matured for 21 days on site before Barry expertly Butchers the meat into various cuts to sell at Farmers markets and within their own shop. As this is a small concern, the produce is only for public retail, and there are no plans to breed enough for Catering outlets. However! I am lucky enough to have gained the good grace and blessing of both Tony the Farmer and Barry the Butcher to feature their wonderful meat within my place of work. 




 




On my Classic Pub Menu I have created a mouth watering and flavoursome Buffalo Burger, using high quality Mince, and seasoned with blended Onions, Cracked Pepper & Sea Salt. These have become highly regarded as one of the best Burgers available in the area. We also sell their beautiful topside, Slow Roasted for 3 ½ - 4 hours on Sundays as opposed to the usual Beef, which is always sold out by 2:30pm. And I have just created a new Pie of Slow cooked Buffalo, Somerset Cider, & Caramelised Shallots with a delicate Blue Cheese Pastry, which again has been given plenty of compliments.




 




All three dishes come highly praised and we would probably sell even more (especially the Roast) but, just as the Farmer insists on keeping a small, sustainable herd, I too keep an eye on the amount that I require to enable us to maintain an equilibrium in supply and demand. 




 




This has had a knock on effect, which due to the guests enjoying our food Buffalo dishes, they purchase their own from the farm to enjoy at home. Business has certainly increased for both parties, giving a symbiotic relationship here in the fields and hills of rural Somerset.




 




If you have never tried this Bovine alternative, I urge you to find some and try it. It has approximately 40% less Cholesterol & 70% less Fat than normal Beef, it is rich in Iron and other vital Minerals, has a slightly more open Texture, a terrific fresh flavour that melts over your palate, and is a very tender and pure meat.

1 reply
Replied on

You lost me before you hit the salient point,
Cut your post by 70% .

To leave a response to the post you will need to be a registered user. Sign-up here or Login here
@rivercottage
  • RT @RCChefsSchool: Happy Friday! Create a cooking video this weekend and you could be our next star chef. How about a BBQ vid? link
  • Hi @alt_J we read your recent interview in @guardian - if you did want to literally read aloud from our books, we'd love to send you some!
  • RT @axcanteen: Have a lazy morning, leave the cooking to us and we'll whip you up a hearty breakfast link
  • WATCH: Meet @samjlomas, our winner from last year's #RisingStar comp. Thinking of entering? link link
  • RT @SoilAssociation: 'City of Fremantle in #Australia bans plastic bags and imposes fines of up to $2,500' via @Guardian link
  • RT @plymouthcanteen: We have a fab selection of fresh, locally sourced deli items - if you're enjoying a stroll around @royalwilliamyd pop …
  • Are you creating avoidable waste with your lunchtime sarnies? RT @wwwfoecouk Homemade sandwiches for lunch? link
  • @thepamthejam @pipcourtney All details can be found here: link Should be a fantastic day!
  • RT @jamieoliver: SO EXCITING! @DrinksTube's #CocktailRequest Week starts on Monday. Watch this vid & then send them some inspiration! http:…
  • Bottle up your raspberries for a little #summer goodness in winter. Learn with @thepamthejam link link
  • @_Hugh_Chapman we just gave you a shout out :o) Hope that helps!
  • Based in Cambridge? Can you help? RT @_Hugh_Chapman I'm looking for a landshare-type opportunity for organic veg growing near Cambridge ...
  • RT @WinCanteen: We are at the #Winchester Guildhall NOW until 5pm today... come on down and find out about jobs at our new canteen! http://…
  • Coming up later on #foodtube our @thepamthejam shows how to bottle raspberries with a little sloe gin #delicious #preserving @JamiesFoodTube
  • @_Hugh_Chapman Hello. I'm afraid there is no further funding for this project. Should the situation change, we will let you know. Sorry!
  • RT @RCHQEvents: Great photo blog from @LibertyLndnGirl about her visit to our farm. Check it out here: link
  • Let’ see them! RT @madamchebly: @rivercottage : I'm trying to persuade my son in law to enter but he's way too modest about his talents
  • RT @CityandGuildsPR: Do you have what it takes to be the next Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall? Apply to be @rivercottage's #RisingStar 2014 - h…
  • We're delivering 1920 bottles of our fine EPA beer to @ocado tomorrow - exciting!
  • RT @RCHQEvents: Got your tickets yet for Hugh's Late Summer Party? We'll be launching a new book + hosting the Rising Star final: http://t.…
  • RT @samjlomas: River Cottage Rising Star 2014 is open again! link @CityandGuildsAC @Springboard_UK @Seachangeagency
  • RT @veeeenr: Foodtube fun & sneak peak into the life of an apprentice at amazing @rivercottage with my little duck @freyjaceleste http://t.…
  • RT @DavinaLovegreen: @rivercottage This is brilliant. I started as a YTS..Now I have my own company. Producing all meat from own farm,makin…
  • @GBPoultry yup!
  • RT @TheFlexitarian: Intermarché fights #foodwaste “Inglorious Fruits & Vegetables” ugly made beautiful link link
  • Could you impress the judges + be the face of Rising Star? There's only one way to find out... link link
  • RT @CampBestival: Feast Collective addition! @rivercottage head chef & @JamiesFoodTube presenter @GillMeller! link http:/…
  • RT @RCChefsSchool: Was it @samjlomas's great tshirt, two week dish or chargrilled pizza that won him the #RisingStar champion title? http:/…
  • Rising Star is back - could you be the face of our apprenticeship scheme, moving into it's second year? link
  • Three words: Apricot daiquiri cocktail. Learn how to make it here! https://t.co/y2yQzN4kyB @DrinksTube -you will love this! @JamiesFoodTube
  • RT @JamiesFoodTube: Want to be part of the @rivercottage family? Apply for their Young Chefs' Apprenticeship Scheme. link
  • Last year's winner says: MT @samjlomas: #risingstar if you love what @RCHQEvents is about then you've got to enter the competition!
  • RT @freyjaceleste: ROLL UP ROLL UP, #risingstar2014 hopefuls, get filming link 🎥 it'll be the best decision of your life!…
  • RT @freyjaceleste: Strewth, it's that time again! I'm going to have to start planning my next @rivercottage #risingstar video to relive the…
  • RT @FareShareCymru: Two days left to vote for us to win Best #Environment Project in the #NLAwards @rivercottage link htt…
  • Rising Star is back! We are looking for the UK’s most ambitious + inspiring young chef! Do you have what it takes? link
  • RT @RCHQGardens: Lovely crop of onions this year, drying in the sun. #growyourown #RCsummer link
  • Join Sir David Attenborough & take part in the Big #ButterflyCount. Let's make 2014 the biggest count ever! link
  • What are you having for lunch? Wish it was this Cider poached mackerel? NEW video from #foodtube link @JamiesFoodTube
  • Check out Hugh rustling up Pollock ceviche with Paul West + @lambposts @JamiesFoodTube link link
  • Now on @4seven - it's River Cottage Veg. Tune in and be inspired, then come and take part on our Veg Cookery course! link
  • RT @SoilAssociation: '#Organic is different' - @rivercottage's Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's take on the @UniofNewcastle #organicstudy http…
  • RT @WinCanteen: WANTED: talented, hardworking people to join our new team. Find out more at our @WInchesterCity Guildhall open days: http:…
  • We just supported the Big #ButterflyCount on @ThunderclapIt to help @savebutterflies. Will you add your voice? link
  • NEW: Hugh rustles up Pollock ceviche with special guests Paul West and @lambposts - enjoy! link @JamiesFoodTube #foodtube
  • . @DrinksTube Good for you! Our recommendation? Why, River Cottage EPA of course from @skinnersbrewery #biased #butreallygood
  • RT @SoilAssociation: .@georgemonbiot: 'Ban neonicotinoids now – to avert another silent spring' link via @guardian
  • Exciting video later today from Hugh and @RiverCottageAus Paul West - you lucky people! @JamiesFoodTube #foodtube link
  • RT @plymouthcanteen: HRH started the day @rivercottage and ended it @plymouthcanteen what a day for River Cottage! #TRHDEVON link
  • RT @RCHQEvents: Follow in the #royal footsteps and join us at our River Cottage Cookery School! link link
Login or Sign-up

Login & Sign-up

Forgotten your password? Retrieve it here
Or connect via Facebook
Connect with Facebook
Join River Cottage
Close
Shopping basket: 0 items £0.00