<![CDATA[THE BUTCHERY LTD - BLOG]]>Fri, 14 Apr 2017 05:23:24 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Easter lamb with a "spring" in it's step]]>Thu, 06 Apr 2017 07:13:20 GMThttp://thebutcheryltd.com/blog1/easter-lamb-with-a-spring-in-its-stepPicture
We love sheep, at all ages – love lamb, love hogget, love mutton. We would even go far as to say that traditionally raised lamb is the ideal year-round British meat: it is hardy for farmers, often grazes on land not suitable for anything else, always popular in our counter, and versatile for home cooks. 
Yet, the idea of spring lamb is a tricky one for us, as butchers who specialise in traditional and native breeds from small farmers with high ethical values.
It is traditional in this country – and many others – to eat lamb at Easter. And, because Easter falls in the spring, people often talk of eating "spring lamb" at this time. But spring lamb can be a confusing term – thanks to marketing from supermarkets. It actually means lambs that have been raised on spring pastures.

Lambs are generally considered ready to eat anytime after three to five months old, so the lambs we eat at spring are not "spring lambs".  Commercial demand has pushed the breeding cycle out of sync with nature. Traditional and native breed sheep raised in a traditional way, the kind we sell, don’t usually lamb until the weather gets warmer, when it is safe to birth outdoors and there is plenty of food to support the mother and her lamb in the pasture. Once they’ve weaned, lambs can graze on all the new grasses and flowers in the pasture. (That’s why if you ask a butcher when they think lamb is at its most delicious, they’ll tell you late summer.)
To meet the commercial and marketing demand for spring lamb, sheep are artificially inseminated then birth in late autumn or winter, in sheds. Sheep would be hardy enough to winter outside if they didn’t have lambs to care for. However, conditions indoors can be cramped which stresses the sheep, and animals are fed on concentrated feed – not pasture or silage. These aren’t the kind of animals that we like to buy, or eat.
We will, of course, have lamb in the counters at The Butchery Ltd for Easter: they won’t be spring lambs; they’ll be a little older, but full of flavour. We are lucky enough to have them from two of our longtime farmers: Clifford Freeman has sent lovely Ryelands, one of England's oldest sheep breeds. Sue Money-Kyrle will be supplying the black-faced Llanwenog; these are older animals who have already grazed for a spring and a summer on the hilltop pastures of her beautiful farm in Gloucestershire.

If you want to read more about lamb, here is an excellent Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall article from the Guardian.

If you want to wait for actual spring lamb later in the year, we recommend ham or cockerel to feed a large family at Easter. But make sure you order in person at the shops, or online here. That also applies if you want some of our delicious, real lamb.
<![CDATA[Sweet soy roast chicken with a grilled leek, aubergine, chicory & tomato Thai dressed salad]]>Mon, 13 Mar 2017 12:49:44 GMThttp://thebutcheryltd.com/blog1/march-13th-2017Picture
Serves: 4-6

Preparation time: 20 mins, plus 2 hr minimum marinade time

Cooking time: approx. 1.5 hrs

An Asian twist on the classic roast chicken, served alongside a vegetable salad with a punchy thai dressing.
You will need to begin this recipe at least 2 hours ahead of when you want it, to allow for marinating time. 

1 whole free range chicken, as large as you need to feed your crowd

For the marinade 
2 tbsp kicap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce)
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp each of garlic powder, ginger powder, ground turmeric, ground coriander, ground cumin, Chinese 5 spice, chilli flakes
1/2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
Zest from 1/2 a lemon
For the salad
1 medium aubergine, sliced into approx. 1/4 inch pieces
1 medium leek, tough green leaves removed, and sliced into approx. 1/4 inch rings
1 small chicory heart, leaves separated and sliced lengthways into approx. 1/2 inch strips
3 medium vine tomatoes, quartered
Good handful each of fresh mint and coriander, roughly torn, plus a few extra leaves for garnishing
For the dressing
Juice of 3 limes
2 tbsp palm sugar (light brown sugar works too)
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp crispy roast chilli in chilli oil (available in most asian supermarkets, but if you're unable to get your hands on some you can substitute with 1/2 tbsp each of chilli flakes and sesame oil)
To begin, combine all of the marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Place the chicken in a dish and pour 2/3 of the marinade over the chicken. Rub the marinade over the skin of the bird, working it into all areas well. Pour the remaining marinade into the cavity of the bird. Truss the chicken with some butchers string - this video shows a really great technique. Cover the chicken with cling film and place in the fridge to marinate for at least two hours, or overnight.

When ready to cook, take the bird from the fridge and preheat the oven to 200C. Remove the cling film and transfer the bird to an oven safe non-stick pan. If you don't have one of these, a roasting tin lined with greaseproof paper will do the trick. When the oven is at temperature, place the chicken on the middle shelf of the oven to roast.

After 30 minutes, take the bird out and baste with the roasting juices, which should be starting to caramelise from the sugars in the marinade. Turn the oven down to 170C and return the chicken to the oven. Continue to roast for another 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on the size of the bird, basting every 15-20 minutes.

Whilst the bird is roasting, place a couple of large frying pans on the hob over a medium heat. Place the sliced leeks in one pan to dry toast until lightly caramelised. In the other pan heat 2 tbsp of rapeseed or vegetable oil and once the oil is hot, gently fry the aubergine on both sides until lightly golden. Once cooked, transfer both the leeks and aubergines to a plate lined with kitchen roll and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt.

Remove the chicken from the oven when an instant read thermometer registers an internal temperature of 70C in the thickest part of the thigh without touching the bone. If you don't have one of these, the old ‘juices run clear’ method will do. Allow the bird to rest for 20 minutes. The internal temperature will continue to rise to at least 75C during this time.
Whilst the bird rests, combine the salad dressing ingredients in a large bowl, whisking together until the sugar has dissolved. Add the grilled leeks, aubergine, chicory, tomatoes and herbs and toss well.

Carve the chicken, and place on a serving dish spooning over all of the delicious caramelised roasting juices. Serve alongside the warm vegetable salad, garnished with the remaining herbs, and steamed jasmine rice. 

Recipe and photos by Mike Heywood, South London resident, regular customer, home chef and Instagrammer extraordinaire. 

To see more, stay tuned to this blog or follow Mike on Instagram @4TELIER

Fosse Meadows free-range chickens are properly free range, at least 80 days old, and available from The Butchery Ltd.

<![CDATA[Cattle cover stars & sweet bitters news]]>Wed, 22 Feb 2017 09:49:35 GMThttp://thebutcheryltd.com/blog1/cattle-cover-stars-sweet-bitters-newsAn exciting week in the news for good meat and things we stock Picture

​On Sunday (19th February), the Observer Food Monthly published their 5th annual "OFM 50" - the 50 things they love most in the world of food right now. (here)

It's a great list of delicious things to eat, and interesting/ethical producers. 

Very excitingly, John Lean's White Park beef was on the cover.


White Park is a traditional native UK breed, and we think John Lean farms some of the best. We're proud to be named in the article, but even prouder to be the exclusive stockists of this remarkable, deeply tasty beef, slow-grown and pasture fed. 

We have some in the cool room at the moment. Follow Nathan on Twitter and Instagram (@naththebutcher for both) to find out when it will be in the counter. 

Also in the list was Asterley Bros Dispense Amaro, an excitingly complex and fragrant bitter that is made in SE London, with lots of English ingredients, including Kentish hops, dandelion, hyssop and vermouth made with Kentish pinot noir grapes. We stock it in the Forest Hill shop, as we love it - brilliant on its own, in a spritz, or in a G&T. 

There's an interesting piece in the OFM 50 about mob grazing, which is a practice a lot of our farmers use. It's a nice insight into the kind of ethical farming we're interested in supporting and how happy, healthy animals are raised.

There's also love in the OFM 50 for black garlic, a deliciously caramelised preserved garlic, great in cooking. Which we also stock - although not the brand mentioned, we'll have to look into that!

And, on the Saturday, the fabulous Thomasina Miers recommended using Fosse Meadows chickens in her recipes, here. Obviously, we love Fosse Meadows chickens. They were our first choice when we started The Butchery, way back in 2011. We tasted a LOT of chickens, and these came out ahead by a mile. They're still the only ones we've ever had. 

These Costwold White and Cotswold Gold birds are genuinely, truly free-range, slow-grown to 80 days, which gives them a richer, deeper flavour than other birds. From a full roast to the stock you make from the carcass the next day, we think you can absolutely tell the difference. 

<![CDATA[How to cook the best pork chops]]>Mon, 23 Jan 2017 14:14:15 GMThttp://thebutcheryltd.com/blog1/january-23rd-2017Picture

​For porky perfection (with crackling!),
​get yourself a pair of native breed chops,
​cut about an inch thick each, and follow these steps... 

Remove the skin and trim off any excess fat - if you leave a couple of centimetres on the chops, that will be plenty. (Keep the trimmed fat to render for roast potatoes!)
​Score the fat on the chops in a diamond pattern to help it to render when cooking. Do not cut all the way into the meat, a few millimetres will do the trick. (Note: it's much easier to do this step when the meat is cool i.e. at fridge temp and firm.) You can ask your butcher to do this if you prefer.
Prepare a quick salt cure with some sea salt and some flavourful aromats of your choice. Combinations that work well include:
- fennel seed, lemon zest, chipotle & garlic
- rosemary, garlic, black pepper & bay
- Sichuan pepper, chipotle, coriander seed & cumin seed

Use about a tablespoon of salt to a tablespoon of aromats for two pork chops. Combine the ingredients and rub into the pork. Leave to cure for at least an hour, and up to 3. Once cured, brush off any excess cure and pat the pork chops well with kitchen paper. The surface of the meat should be dry before cooking.

While the pork chops are curing, place the pork skin in a pan half full with salted water and bring to the boil. Cook for 15 mins, and then drain. Transfer the pork skin to some kitchen paper and dry well. Rub a few pinches of sea salt onto both sides of the skin, before laying flat on some greaseproof paper, just large enough to fold over the skin. Fold the paper over and place between two flat baking sheets. Place on the top shelf of an oven preheated to 230C and cook for about 15-20 mins or until the skin is golden and crackly. Check a couple times towards the end of the cooking time to make sure it doesn't burn. Remove from oven, and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Reserve until required. 

​When ready to cook the pork, place a heavy based frying pan on the hob over a medium high heat. After 2-3 mins of preheating, place the chops in the pan standing upright on their fat side. You can lean the chops on each other to keep them balanced. Render the fat for about 3 mins. By this point there should be a couple of tablespoons of fat in the pan. Turn the heat up to high, then start to cook the chops on each side for about 2 mins per side. You're looking to colour each side well with a nice initial golden crust.
Next, turn the heat down to low and add a good knob of butter to the pan. Begin to baste the chops with the browning butter using a metal spoon and by tilting the pan. Do this for about 4 mins, flipping every minute. This will help to develop the crust to a deeper golden brown. (Note: these timings will yield pork that is slightly pink in the middle i.e. medium. If you prefer it more done, continue to baste for an extra 2 mins for medium well, or 4 mins for well done.) Transfer to a dish to rest for 5 mins.

For the ultimate fried bread, toast some thick slices in the pan you've just cooked the pork in, turning so both sides go golden. Rest the pork on top as you're cooking, so any resting juices soak into the bread. 

Serve the rested chops with the crackling and sides of your choice. 

Recipe and photos by Mike Heywood, South London resident,
regular customer and Instagrammer extraordinaire.
Follow Mike on Instagram 

Native breed pork chops available from The Butchery Ltd shop
​in Forest Hill.

<![CDATA[Turkey tips!]]>Mon, 19 Dec 2016 10:24:59 GMThttp://thebutcheryltd.com/blog1/turkey-tipsPicture
Got the jitters about your Christmas roast? 
Have a read of these tips from some turkey roasting veterans.

Easiest Roast Turkey

We get our turkeys from Nick & Jacob at Fosse Meadows. As well as raising the best poultry in the land, they are dab hands in the kitchen and have a range of recipes on their site for making the most of their tasty birds. 

To roast a turkey, they recommend the following method:

Preheat oven to 230C/Gas Mark 8. Remove turkey giblets and reserve. Place the turkey in a large roasting pan, brush the turkey generously with rapeseed oil and season with sea salt and black pepper and cover with foil. Place the turkey in the pre-heated oven and cook at this temperature for the first 30 minutes. Then, lower the oven temperature to 180°C/Gas Mark 4 and cook for approximately 30 minutes per kilo, basting every hour. Remove the foil for the last half hour, then rest for half an hour after cooking. 

See the full method on their site,​ here

Mike's Turkey Tips

We asked our favourite local Instagrammer, Mike Heywood, to give us his best turkey tips. We ate his Thanksgiving turkey, so can testify to the deliciousness of the method!

3 easy steps for a perfect Christmas bird

1. Dry brine. Brining in its traditional sense (submerging the whole bird in a solution of salt, sugar, water & spices) is a proven method for locking in moisture, tenderising and seasoning the bird from outside-in and inside-out. Dry brining has the same effect, minus the water. The key ingredient is the salt, which once rubbed all over the bird initially draws surface moisture from the meat, then dissolves into this moisture before getting reabsorbed back into the bird taking along with it any flavourings and seasonings of your choice. (We used about 1.5 cups of sea salt mixed well with 2 tbsp each of ground coriander seed, fennel seed, black pepper & Sichuan peppercorns). It's important to also season the cavity of the bird well to enable the 'inside out' bit of the process to work. The bird can then be left on a tray, uncovered on the lowest shelf of your fridge, happily for 2-3 days. Dry brining also means you can do away with trying to find a vessel large enough to contain the bird plus a huge amount of water sitting precariously in the fridge! When ready to cook, just remember to brush off any excess salt from the surface, and wipe out the cavity with some kitchen paper as the bird will have taken all it needs by this point. 

2. Trussing.
This video shows a really great technique (on a chicken but works just as well for other birds) and explains why it's important to truss the bird well (protect the breast meat from drying out, encourages better air circulation and maximises crispy skin). Just ask your butcher for a bit of extra string when picking up your bird, and follow the easy steps in the video.

3. 2 stage cooking - low and slow, then high and fast.
​Cooking the bird first gently in a low oven for a long time enables even cooking, and helps to retain moisture. Holding the bird at its target internal temperature of 72-75C for as long as possible will also maximise tenderness as the natural enzymes in the meat get to work breaking down the fibres. A digital meat thermometer is the safest and most accurate way of achieving this. These are generally inexpensive and easy to find in most kitchen shops or online. Just insert the probe into the thickest part of the thigh, as close to the bone as you can get without touching it. Place the bird initially into a 100C oven, then once it gets to around 65C internal temp, turn the oven to 75C. In terms of timings if you can set aside a minimum of 5-6 hours, or even better up to 9 the effect only gets better. Finally, the high and fast stage. About 1.5 hours before you plan to eat, take the bird out of the oven. Turn the oven up to its highest setting and once super hot, return the bird to the oven and blast it for about 20 mins or until the skin is perfectly golden all over. Remove the bird from the oven and allow to rest uncovered for an hour, in which time your oven is free to finish off the other trimmings as required.  

A note about stuffing

Food safety guidelines recommend that stuffing is cooked separately to the bird – no, in fact, stuffed! We roll ours into a log, or cook in a baking dish like a meatloaf; or sometimes, we roll it into balls and cook it around the bird or vegetables for the last 30 minutes of roasting. 

In the cavity of the bird, we place a couple of sliced lemons or oranges and a good handgul of bay and thyme or sage. 
<![CDATA[Lamb keema curry with marrow bones & peas]]>Mon, 28 Nov 2016 15:08:00 GMThttp://thebutcheryltd.com/blog1/-lamb-keema-curry-with-marrow-bones-peasPicture
​Serves: 4

Preparation time: 15 mins

Cooking time: about 2.5 hours minimum, or up to 7 hours if desired

Traditionally made with goat meat, this preparation works equally well with lamb or mutton. Lots of slow cooked onions add a sweet savouriness, and the toasted spices give a warming and smokey background to the dish. The use of saffron, although a little unconventional, brings a deep richness, which alongside the fatty marrow, makes this a pretty perfect winter warmer. 

1 kg native breed lamb or mutton mince
500g lamb marrow bones (beef works too)
3 tbsp ghee (clarified butter – can be substituted with coconut, rapeseed or vegetable oil)
​3 good size onions, finely sliced
1/2 tbsp sea salt

1/2 tbsp coriander seeds
1/2 tbsp cumin seeds
1/2 tbsp whole black peppercorns
1/2 nutmeg
1 star anise
8 whole cloves
Seeds from 12 green cardamom pods
1 heaped tsp ground cumin
1 heaped tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tbsp ginger powder

6 good size garlic cloves, peeled & roughly chopped
3 red chillies, de-seeded if desired, finely chopped
2 tbsp double concentrate tomato paste
300g vine tomatoes, quartered

​Good pinch of saffron, optional
1 cup frozen petis pois (or garden peas)

500ml water, approx

2-3 tbsp fish sauce, to taste

Handful of fresh coriander leaves, to garnish

​In a large oven safe saucepan or casserole dish, heat 2 tbsp of the ghee on the hob over a medium heat. Add the sliced onions and the sea salt and begin to soften. Cook slowly until brown and smelling sweet, approx 20 mins.

Meanwhile, place a large frying pan over a high heat and add 1 tbsp of the ghee. Brown the lamb mince in batches taking care not to overcrowd the pan. This will help to avoid the meat from steaming and will develop a good deep colour. Once well browned transfer to a sieve or colander placed over a bowl to drain off any excess fat. Repeat until all mince is browned.

While the onions are cooking and the mince is browning, take a small frying pan and place over a medium heat. Once hot, add the whole spices (except the saffron), turn the heat down to low and dry roast until fragrant, approx 5 mins, shaking the pan occasionally. Once toasted transfer the spices to a mortar and pestle and grind to a fine powder. Combine with the other powdered spices and reserve.

Once the onions have browned, turn the heat up and add the garlic and chillies. Sauté for 3 mins, then add the spice powder, reserving a few teaspoons for later. Stir for about 20 seconds and then add a splash of water so the spices don't burn. Then add the tomato paste and keep stirring for 1 minute to cook off slightly. Next add the tomatoes. Continue to sauté for 2 minutes, then add the water and saffron. Stir to combine and once boiling add the browned lamb mince, again stirring well to combine. Once the mixture returns to the boil, turn the heat down to a simmer. Nestle the marrow bones standing upright around the curry. Cover with a lid and transfer to an oven preheated to 120C.
Slow cook for a minimum of 2 hours. The dish can be cooked for much longer if desired to really develop a deep rich flavour - up to around 7 hours or so. More water will need to be added and stirred in periodically to prevent it from drying out.

About 5 mins before serving, remove the curry from the oven and place over a medium heat on the hob. Check the consistency, stirring in a bit more water to loosen if required. Season with the fish sauce to taste. Mix in the frozen peas, cover and cook for 2 mins, or until the peas are defrosted and the curry is steaming hot.
Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with the coriander leaves and a few pinches of the reserved spice powder. Serve with steamed jasmine rice, and roti prata or naan bread.

If you’re lucky enough to have any leftovers they can be used to make a spiced shepherds pie. Simply top with some buttery mashed potatoes, laced with leeks sautéed with a teaspoon of the spice mix from this recipe. Place in a hot oven until warmed through then under a grill to brown the top. 

Recipe and photos by Mike Heywood, South London resident, regular customer and Instagrammer extraordinaire. Follow Mike on Instagram @4TELIER

Native breed lamb and mutton available from The Butchery Ltd shop in Forest Hill.

<![CDATA[Pork belly salad with watermelon, chicory, Thai herbs & pickled chillies]]>Mon, 21 Nov 2016 12:21:08 GMThttp://thebutcheryltd.com/blog1/pork-belly-salad-with-watermelon-chicory-thai-herbs-pickled-chilliesPicture
Serves: 4
Preparation time: 15 mins, plus overnight stage
Cooking time: about 2 hours total

A Thai inspired preparation that balances sour, salty and sweet flavours to complement the fatty richness of top quality pork. Let this unassuming combination of ingredients bring freshness and zing to those cool autumnal evenings.
You do need to start the recipe the night before.

1 kg of native breed boneless pork belly

2 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tbsp sea salt
1/2 tbsp Chinese 5 spice powder

For the salad

1 small chicory heart, leaves separated and sliced
lengthways in approx. 1/2 inch strips

1/2 small watermelon, outer skin removed and cut into
approx. 1 inch chunks

Handful each of fresh mint, coriander and basil, roughly torn. Plus a few extra leaves for garnishing.

For the pickled chillies
2-3 medium red chillies, sliced (discard seeds if you prefer it less spicy)
50ml rice wine vinegar (white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar works too)
100ml water
2 tbsp light brown sugar

For the dressing
Juice of 3 limes
2 tbsp palm sugar (light brown sugar works too)
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp  roast chillies in oil (such as the Eat The Bits chilli oil available at The Butchery, or others available in most Asian supermarkets, but if you're unable to get your hands on some you can substitute with 1/2 tbsp each of chilli flakes and sesame oil)

Place the pork belly in a saucepan with the sugar, salt and 5 spice powder. Add enough water to cover and place over a medium heat with the lid on. Once boiling, turn the heat down to a gentle simmer and leave to cook for an hour. Turn the heat off and allow to cool in the liquid.

​Once cooled to room temperature, remove the pork and discard the liquid. Pat the meat dry and place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Place another sheet of greaseproof paper on top of the meat and another baking tray. Place some weighty items on top to flatten the pork and transfer to the fridge to cool and set, about 4 hours or overnight.

Next, make the pickled chillies. In a small saucepan, bring the vinegar, water and sugar to a boil. Once boiling, add the sliced chillies, stirring briefly before turning off the heat. Allow to cool to room temperature before transferring to a clean jar or other sealable container. Place in the fridge to cool and reserve until required.

About 45 mins before you want to eat, preheat your oven to 200C, and place an oven safe pan on the hob over a medium-high heat. Take the pork from the fridge and transfer the meat to a cutting board. Cut the pork into approx. 1.5 inch cubes, and place skin-side down in the pan. After crisping the skin slightly on the hob for 5 mins, transfer the pan to the oven and cook for about 15-20 mins or until crisp and golden.

While the pork is crisping in the oven, make the dressing by combining all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl, whisking until the sugar has dissolved. Reserve until required.

Remove the pork from the oven and transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper to cool it slightly.
In a large mixing bowl bring together the salad ingredients, pork belly and two thirds of the dressing.

​Toss the salad gently and then arrange on a serving dish. Drizzle over the remaining dressing, scatter the remaining herbs and a few pickled chillies. Serve with steamy hot jasmine rice.

Recipe and photos by Mike Heywood, South London resident, regular customer and Instagrammer extraordinaire. Follow Mike on Instagram @4TELIER

Native breed pork available from The Butchery Ltd shop in Forest Hill.

<![CDATA[The Butchery Ltd’s Guide to Christmas Ham & Gammon]]>Mon, 14 Nov 2016 14:50:02 GMThttp://thebutcheryltd.com/blog1/the-butchery-ltds-guide-to-christmas-ham-gammonPicture
The best Christmas food is ham. Fact.
Here's our explanation of all things hammy. 

Gammon or ham – what’s the difference?

Broadly speaking, gammon is a pork joint that has been cured but is still raw. 
Once it is cooked, we call it ham.

What cut is a gammon, or ham?
We cure and sell the pork leg. We use the same pure bred, native, traditional breed pigs that we butcher for chops, shoulders, belly and sausages. 

What's "green" gammon?
Green means it has been cured but not smoked. We cure our pork legs in a salt and spice brine that we make ourselves. Whether you get a green or smoked gammon/ham is a matter of taste. Smoked gammon has been cured then smoked.

Should I get gammon or ham? 
Hard to say. It's nice to cook your own ham from a gammon; you get to choose how to do it, and the spices you use. It's also the most cost effective - but it does take time and a big pot, often in short supply at Christmas. We can cook you a ham, and you can glaze it yourself at home, or you can buy a glazed ham from us, all sticky and ready to go. 

At The Butchery Ltd, over Christmas, we sell the following:
Green bone-in gammon, £8.50kg
Green boneless gammon, £11
Smoked bone-in gammon, £9kg
Smoked boneless gammon, £11.50kg
Cooked ham, £16.50kg
Spiced marmalade glazed ham, £18.50kg

We don't sell bone-in joints that weigh less than 3.5kg. They would just be one weird big slice. If you want a whole leg, we can do that too.

How much do I need?
It depends what you want to do with it.
If you’re serving roast ham as a main course, we recommend you allow 300g per person of uncooked weight, plus more for extra hungry people and leftovers. 
If you want a Christmas ham for slicing for sandwiches and such, you will need to think about how many people you have, how much fridge space you have, how long you want to be eating ham for...

I bought a green gammon from you. Do I need to soak it? 
Generally, yes.
Here’s a useful way to test. 
Cut a thin piece of gammon off the end and fry it till cooked through. Leave to cool, then taste it. If it’s too salty, give the gammon a soak for a good few hours or overnight in cold water. If you are in a rush you can bring to the boil, then change the water and start the chosen cooking method, though not as effective.

I have a gammon, how do I make a glazed ham?
To start, always use a meat thermometer. 
Very briefly: Soak it, simmer it, skin it, glaze it, bake it quickly; internal temp should be 65C.
More details, still easy: Soak the ham as needed. Place the ham in a saucepan large enough to hold it, and cover with cold water. Add a few bay leaves, a scant handful each of fennel seeds, coriander seeds and allspice berries, halved oranges if you like. Turn on the heat and bring to a boil, then immediately turn down to a bare simmer, until the internal temperature reaches 60C (65C if you're not going to glaze until later), this can take a couple of hours.
Preheat the oven to 200C. 
Lift the ham out of the water, and set aside. Take off the skin with a sharp knife, leaving a good layer of fat. Score the fat into a diamond pattern. Put in the oven for 5 minutes while you make the glaze (with marmalade, honey, brown sugar, apricot jam, cranberry sauce, any sweetish chutneys in the fridge, maple syrup, golden syrup etc - whatever you like!). Pour/spread over the glaze and return the ham to the oven and cook till the glaze is sticky and burnished. Baste as necessary. You want the ham to have an internal temperature of 65C.
You can do the glazing stage later, on a cooled ham, in which case, simmer the gammon until 65C.

What other ways of cooking would you recommend?
Perhaps even more than a glazed ham, we like roast ham as a main meal. Soak as needed, then remove the skin, and slather the gammon with a dark glaze of spices, brown sugars and treacle, maybe some ale. Roast slowly in an oven preheated to 160C, basting with extra glaze as required, and cook so it’s sticky and really dark and 65C inside. 

Fan of crackling?
​We’ve used this recipe for crackling ham from Delicious magazine and had great success.

I need more recipe help!
There isn't a shortage of ham recipes out there. 
​Felicity Cloake’s perfect Christmas ham is a nice recipe and has some links to other recipes in the article.
Nigella likes to simmer it in cola or ginger ale .

How do I keep my ham?
We use a ham bag. That’s a soft cotton bag with a drawstring, or you can use an old, clean pillowcase or a tea towel. We mix a little vinegar with cold water, soak the bag, then wring it out really well. Then pop the ham in it, and keep it in the fridge. It helps it keep longer. Wash and then re-soak the bag in the vinegar solution every couple of days. 

TOP TIP for leftovers
Cheese and ham toasties are the best food probably ever, and the best use for Christmas ham and the Christmas cheeseboard post Christmas day. And we never get sick of having the Christmas ham about. But, if you're experiencing ham fatigue, slice or shred it into small pieces, portion it up in small bags and freeze it. Now you'll have emergency handfuls of ham to chuck into pea soup, chicken pies, spaghetti carbonara, on pizzas, in omelettes, etc..! Every freezer needs emergency ham. 

<![CDATA[Seared lamb hearts, mint oil, fennel & orange slaw]]>Mon, 07 Nov 2016 17:15:58 GMThttp://thebutcheryltd.com/blog1/seared-lamb-hearts-mint-oil-fennel-orange-slawPicture
Serves: 4 as a starter
Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 5 mins

Most lamb heart recipes out there call for slow braising, often with stuffing and wrapping with bacon to keep them from drying out during their long cooking process. This can be delicious when done well. But if you consider the heart as the lean, hardworking muscle that it is, then it follows that a high and fast quick cook between rare to medium rare to keep the meat tender and juicy should yield great results too. This recipe pairs the heats with a refreshing fennel and orange slaw with a spicy kick, and a mint oil for that familiar lamb pairing. 

2 lamb hearts, trimmed of excess fat, tubes and gristle

1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp red chilli flakes
1 tsp orange zest 
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp sea salt, or to taste
A drizzle of rapeseed oil

For the mint oil
8-12 fresh mint leaves
2-3 tbsp rapeseed oil
Pinch of sea salt

For the slaw
1 medium size fennel bulb, finely sliced
1/2 a medium sized white onion, finely sliced. Tops kept for garnish
Zest and segments from
1 orange
1 tsp red chilli flakes
1 tbsp mayonaise
1/2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
1/2 tbsp cider or white wine vinegar
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
​1 tsp sea salt, or to taste

Cut each of the lamb hearts into about 4 equal size
and thickness portions. In a small bowl, combine with
the fennel seeds, chill flakes, orange zest, salt, pepper
​and rapeseed oil. Keep aside to marinate for 10 mins.

Next combine all of the slaw ingredients in a bowl,
mix well and set aside. Garnish with the fennel tops
before serving.

To make the mint oil, place the mint leaves in
a pestle and mortar with a pinch of salt and grind
​into a fine pulp. Add the oil and mix well until well combined.

  1. Warm a heavy skillet over a high heat. If you have any rendered
    pork fat handy (we always seem to) add a dollop of this to
    the pan. Otherwise a tablespoon of rapeseed oil will do.
    Once the fat is scorching hot, carefully lay the hearts into the
    pan dropping away from you. Safety first remember! Cook them
    ​for a minute a side before taking out to rest for a couple minutes. 


After resting, slice the hearts on a slight angle with
a very sharp knife. Season the cut faces with a little
sea salt. Serve along side a spoonful of the fennel
​and orange slaw and a drizzle of the mint oil.

Recipe and photos by Mike Heywood, South London resident, regular customer and Instagrammer extraordinaire. Follow Mike on Instagram @4TELIER

Lamb hearts are available at The Butchery Ltd when we get fresh offal with our lambs. Please call the shops for availability.

<![CDATA[ Sausage pizza ]]>Tue, 23 Aug 2016 18:30:19 GMThttp://thebutcheryltd.com/blog1/-sausage-pizzaPicture
Serves: 4-6
Preparation time: 20 mins, plus 4 hours proving time
Cooking time: 10 mins
This pizza arose because we had some spare Butchery Ltd sausages from The Butchery Ltd kicking about. We used the Spanish ones, but you can use whatever you like, or have. If you don’t have all the ingredients, don’t worry – less is always more, they say. Especially when it comes to pizza. Enjoy!

For the dough starter
1 -1.5 cups all purpose flour
1.5 tsp yeast
4 tsp light brown sugar
2 tsp salt
250ml water
For the pizza dough
1-1.5 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting

250g sausage meat, removed from casing
8 tbsp tomato passata
1/2 a white onion, finely sliced
1-2 good tomatoes, finely sliced
1 mozzarella ball, drained and torn into small pieces
1 tbsp dried oregano
Sea salt, to taste
1 tbsp approx. freshly ground black pepper
Chilli flakes, to taste
4 tbsp approx olive oil
​1 Combine the starter ingredients in a medium size bowl. Mix well, but don't worry if there are a few lumps. It'll all sort itself out. Cover with cling film. If making on the day, leave in a reasonably warm place for 2-3 hours to prove. If making the following day, pop into the fridge overnight for a slow rise.
2 After proving, the starter will have risen anywhere between 2-3 times its original volume. Add the same amount of flour to the mixture as you did at the start, folding into the starter mixture. Bring the mixture together. At this point it should look thick and sticky. Tip out as much of the mixture as possible onto a clean, floured work surface scraping the bowl as necessary, and begin to knead for about 5-10 mins. If the mixture feels too sticky add a little more flour at a time, but only as little as possible to keep it workable. To test whether it's had enough kneading press a finger gently into the ball of dough. If it springs back, it's ready. If not, keep going for a couple more minutes and test again.
3 Pour a little olive oil into the original mixing bowl and place the dough back in. Flip it over so that it's well coated in the oil. Cover again with cling film and leave to rise for 30-45 mins, or up to an hour if you have time.
4 After the first rise, knock back the dough by pressing it down with a fist to literally knock it down flat. Fold over a couple of times and re-cover with the cling film and allow to rise for the second time for another 30-45 mins, again, or up to an hour if you have time. 

5 About 20 mins before you want to make the pizza, preheat your oven to its highest setting. Place a heavy bottomed oven-safe pan on the hob over a medium heat. Split the dough into 2 (if you like a thicker base) or 4 (if you prefer thin). Pour a little olive oil onto your work surface and take a portion of dough and flatten it out with your hands, as evenly as you can to the size of your pan.
6 At this point it's good to make sure you have all your topping ingredients lined up and ready to go, as you'll need to work fairly quick once the dough hits the pan. Place the pizza dough onto the hot pan and carefully spread out flat. Spread a couple of tablespoons of the pasatta evenly over the dough, leaving about half an inch clear from the edge. Next take a quarter of the sausage meat (or half if you're doing two pizzas) and spread thinly over the pasatta, pressing down into the dough. Dot the mozzarella (again a quarter or half depending) in 5 or 6 lumps around the pizza, followed by a sprinkling of the finely sliced onion. Place a few of the thinly sliced tomatoes over the top. Season with a little sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, chili flakes and some dried oregano. Drizzle with a little olive oil before placing in the preheated oven, on the top shelf. 

7 Cook for about 8 minutes or until the crust is golden and the cheese nice and oozy. Carefully remove from the pan and cut up into slices in the size of your choosing. Enjoy with your favourite glass of pizza friendly wine.
Repeat for the next pizza, or three! of course if you have multiple pans you can do a couple at a time.

Recipe and photos by Mike Heywood, South London resident, regular customer and Instagrammer extraordinaire. Follow Mike on Instagram @4TELIER

Traditional and native breed pork sausages are available at The Butchery Ltd, in a variety of flavours. We also stock some excellent Italian wines.