Tag Archives: Sheepdrove organic farm

Gut gastronomy beef broth

A bowl of beef broth

Beef broth soothes the digestion and produces easy-to-absorb minerals including calcium. Made with bones, it is a low-cost way of sustaining your health. Bones cost a few pounds.

(Apologies to vegetarians and vegans and please let us know your best tonics.)

“A good broth will resurrect the dead,”

– South American proverb. 

Read more about broth’s healing powers at the Weston Price Foundation and the way broth also delivers easy-to-absorb broken-down material from cartilage and tendons that might help arthritis and joint pain.

I bought the beef rib bones from Sheepdrove Organic Farm for £2.50 per kg. 

Why organic? Because I want to eat meat from an animal which has not been given routine antibiotics, which has chewed fresh grass in the fields as nature intended (not convenience-food grain that gives the beast a belly-ache), and can follow its natural animal behaviour. 

I used a recipe from Gut Gastronomy by nutritional therapist Vicky Edgson and Grayshott spa chef Adam Palmer based on the spa’s health regime. Published by Jacqui Small, this fine book with beautiful images by Lisa Linder is filled with highly nutritious recipes to help increase digestive health, and repair and nourish the body.  

The Gut Gastronomy recipe uses beef marrow bones. 

Here is the recipe (for four) slightly adapted.

Ingredients

3 kg (6lb 10 oz) beef marrow bones – ask the butcher to chop them into manageable chunks, about 3-5 cms (1-2 inches) pieces 

4 carrots, 3 large onions, 4 celery sticks (optional), roughly chopped

5 litres (8 3/4 pints/20 cups) of cold water
(I used my biggest pan, about 5 pints, and this made a lovely, concentrated broth)

2 bay leaves, 10 whole peppercorns

If you have some, add half bunch of thyme. 

I also added dried chilli for extra hotness. 

roasted bones and pan with carrots and onions

Method
Roast the cut bones in a large roasting dish for 30 – 40 minutes at Gas Mark 7. 

Drain 2 teaspoons of the fat from the bones into a large saucepan and sauté the veg.

(There was no fat from my rib bones so I omitted this stage and added the carrots and onions at the next stage, without frying them.)

Add the bay leaves, peppercorns (and dried chilli), sprigs of thyme and roasted bones and cover with 5 litres (8 3/4 pints/ 20 cups) of cold water. Skim any fat as you bring it to a simmer. Gently cook for 5 – 6 hours. 

Broth is served clear, strained of meat and vegetables. Strain to make consommé, and cool before freezing. I shredded the plentiful meat from the bones and made several servings of delicious broth with meat (see top pic). 

I swear I cured my poor inflamed gums thanks to this healing soup.

Fellow blogger, Annie Levy at Kitchen Counter Culture, suggested I used some of the broth for borscht, which I did, using my grandmother’s recipe.

And that is for the next blog post.

Update (January 2016): This recipe cured another bout of gum infection after two days of drinking 5 pints of the above broth (this time made with non-organic bones). It worked its magic.

Sheepdrove organic goose

There is no getting away from it. Eating meat means taking a life.

I understand the horror vegetarians feel. I love vegan cuisine.

But I am a meat eater. Maybe once a week. I can feel the nutritional value it brings to my body.

If I were a hunter – I imagine – I would kill the animal, and lie down and cry because I had killed it. (I saw this on TV once). Then eat it. Hopefully with reverence.

But I could be romanticising.

The fact is I cannot square killing for food.

At least I can make sure the animal was well looked-after while alive.

Which is why I choose organic meat.

On Christmas day, we cooked and ate a goose from Sheepdrove Organic Farm.

Declaration of interest: I work with Sheepdrove Organic Farm. But – you know me – I can only work with a cause or company I believe in.

Check out Sheepdrove Organic Farm. Lots of great info on its website: including the importance of grass-fed creatures and Eating less meat? Eat better meat!

Sheepdrove Organic Farm’s head butcher, Nick Rapps, is passionate about showing people how to eat organic meat in a budget.

For instance, buy cheaper organic cuts (not pre-cut packages) from an actual butcher who can provide the unusual cheaper cuts. Cheaper cuts need slower cooking.

Nick Rapps’s The Organic Butcher’s Blog at Food Magazine is a treasure trove of tips. Here’s Nick on the organic Christmas turkey on a budget.

My sister, Geraldine, cooked our Christmas goose.

Listen-up. True to our ancestors, she is a real food lover.

My sister said: “How did I cook the goose? It was good, wasn’t it? And simple to cook. I rubbed salt and pepper and fresh grated ginger on the skin. Then scrunched wet greaseproof paper, smoothed it out and covered the goose. The formula is 20 minutes per pound on a low heat roughly 150/Gas Mark 2/300  and 20 minutes over. Our goose took about 5 hours. Regularly,  pour fat off the roasting pan (and keep it later for roasting veg) otherwise the goose fat will overfill the pan. Most importantly, let it “rest” a good half-an-hour after taking it out the oven.”

We served the Sheepdrove goose with an array of colourful vegetables, cooked by other members of the family so not one person did all the work.

Red cabbage and apples, squash and coconut, cranberry sauce, roast potatoes, Brussels sprouts, gravy.

PS I lost my ‘phone over Christmas. However – curiously – on the day I lost my ‘phone, I sent a picture of our Christmas meal (above) to myself. Which was lucky as I had not backed up my images since November so the Christmas meal pic would have been lost. Funny, eh?

Christmas 2009 – how was yours?

Christmas lunch. First course: parmesan custard with anchovy toast, recipe from Café Anglais, executed by my niece, Charlotte.

There was a time when my mother, Fay, good Jewish mother that she is, would insist on cooking every morsel of Christmas fare.

Finally we managed to persuade her we were old enough to take over.

Now we share the cooking.

My sister, Geraldine, cooked the goose reared by wise animal welfare expert, Sheepdrove Organic Farm, which has a shop in Bristol.

From top left clockwise:  the goose, then green bean, cranberry sauce, roast potato, roast parsnips, roast carrots, roast sweet potato, apple sauce and bread sauce.

It sounds bloody grand and it was. A local Big Issue vendor ate nothing on Christmas day, he told me today.

Juliette, eldest niece, cooked all of vegetables including her own concoction, green beans with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, mint and a little sugar.

I made the tiramisu. None of my books had a recipe but luckily I found Tiramisu Heaven.

Mine did not look like Tiramisu Heaven pic above.

Mine looked splodgy – see below.

Yet it was delicious, if both bread-puddingy and way-creamy. I used less sugar than recipe (3oz instead of 4oz/ 1/2 cup) and brioche instead of ladyfingers. Lots of strong coffee.

I made the tiramisu late-at-night and last-minute. After carefully separating eggs, I made fatal mistake and did to egg whites what should have been done to yolks.

My mum does not use eggs at all. How sensible is that? Just 8oz mascarpone +brandy +  coffee-soaked ladyfingers, sprinkling each creamy-layer with cocoa powder, and topping with rest of coffee-soaked cake.

Geraldine provided an extra treat: mince pies with homemade pastry.

She homemade the mincemeat too: you assemble the fruit and suet, and warm. “Dead simple,” says mincemeat-demystifier, Delia Smith.

This feast was manageable thanks to six of us cooking. I made my dish in advance while others cooked on Christmas day. So division of labour was not equal.

How did you manage Christmas?

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Roast organic chicken from Sheepdrove farm, half price!

organic Sunday lunch with roast chicken from Sheepdrove

A Merrier World inspired this blog, to raise awareness for chickens. Poor things. Prisoners on a factory-production line, they have turned into commodities. An organic chicken seems expensive in comparison because it gets to lead an ordinary life.

A cheap chicken is cheap because it does not lead a normal existence. Bred to quickly gain weight, it is sometimes too heavy to walk, and, kept indoors in a noisy shed with 40,000 other birds, it is denied its natural behaviour such as feeling the sun on its back, perching or stretching its wings.

“Poor people must have cheap healthy protein,” say the chicken-factory defenders. Hello? Cheap chicken is not exactly healthy – it is full of fat, antibiotics and is a food-poisoning risk, which is why it must be cooked so carefully. A false economy, if I’ve ever heard one.

Here are ways to eat organic chicken on a budget. Buy a whole chicken and serve it as a once-a-week treat. Use its carcass for soup and leftovers for future meals. Serve it with a plateful of other goodies as I did yesterday (see the above pic with its Better Food organic salad leaves, carrots and potatoes, kamut grain and non-organic broccoli) so a little goes a long way.

My chicken came from the Sheepdrove organic farm butcher shop in Bristol, belonging to Sheepdrove organic farm in Berkshire. Master butcher, Graham Symes, picked one out for me. “See its beautiful heart shape?” he said. “That’s the way a chicken should look with the breast falling over the legs (see pic below).”

Instead of £18 for 2.6 kilos, it was half-price because of a current surplus. You can get your half-price beauties here. Hurry while stocks last!

Sheepdrove organic farm is owned and run by the kind and visionary Peter and Juliet Kindersley. Peter has put his publishing profits to a good cause, developing top animal welfare systems. My favourite Sheepdrove fact: their chickens peck at healing herbs to self-medicate. Chickens are clever creatures when allowed to be their natural chicken-selves.

The Kindersleys have recently developed a terrific new safe way of feather-plucking on its on-farm abattoir. Usually the feathers are loosened by dunking the dead birds in a bacteria-infested hot bath. The new Sheepdrove method of steaming could dramatically reduce the number of bacteria for non-organic and organic poultry alike.

Our chicken was delicious. “It tastes like chicken should taste,” said my sister who is a regular Sheepdrove shopper.

Here’s how to roast a (preferably happy) chicken: allow 20 minutes of cooking time for every pound/500 grammes – and then 20 minutes extra. I smeared the breast and legs with olive oil, rubbed in paprika and salt, and slithered slices of garlic under the skin. I simmered the giblets in wine and water for stock, and made gravy with this and the cooking pan’s juices, thickened with my new discovery: an ounce of rolled oats.

A tip for the absent-minded cook: do not put a chicken – in a plastic bag – in the oven to get to room temperature, then forget it’s there and switch the oven on. Getting melted plastic off a hot oven is no fun. Trust me.

Sheepdrove organic chicken