Serves: 6, plus leftovers
Preparation time: 30mins
Cooking time: 1 hour 30mins
Completely encasing a leg of lamb in a herby salty crust locks in the natural juices of the meat, which steam within as it bakes, to keep the meat lovely and tender. This steam dissolves some of the salt and essential oils from the herbs, which then permeate back into the meat to delicately enrich its flavour. A punchy green sauce of parsley, garlic, anchovy and sundried tomato then makes for a delicious accompaniment. So if you fanciy an alternative to the traditional roast, why not give this a go!
With an Autumn feel in the air even though Summer seems to have only glanced upon us we are pleased to bring a few items some of you have been requesting, English Rose Veal and Native Breed Mutton.
As we only source whole carcasses to butcher in-house the veal has been trickier than we originally thought. We always knew it needed to be English Rose but with the added constrictions of natural rearing, high animal welfare and whole bodies only. Most farmers had not actually previously, which just goes to show, yet again that most of our London meat is no longer butchered traditionally in house. We pretty much had to leave our usual requirement for pure bred native breeds at the door as the dairy industry uses crosses to utilise maximum milk production with temperament and disease resistance.
Our first veal shipment is Holstein Friesians from Roger Mason at Heaves Farm in Cumbria
As always, that ever so sensible man Hugh Fearnely-Whittingstall tells us why we should all be eating English Rose veal, a by product of the dairy industry with some tasty recipe ideas thrown in to get you in the mood for Saturdays shopping with us down at Spa Terminus. Fern Verrow have had lovely sage recently, and we heard rumours of spinach, then grab a tasty cured pork product from Ham & Cheese Co if you are looking to go classic Saltimbocca style. Heaves Farm website also has some great recipes.
We did manage to buy a whole veal animal so the counter will have the liver, tail, tongue and all the cuts and bits in between if you want to get your hands on something more fun than the escalope.
Lamb is eating beautifully right now, fattened on the summer pastures and allowed to grow at its natural rate the end of Summer start of Autumn is actually our preferred time for lamb, spring lamb we feel tends to be over rated and a little tasteless. Let us know what you think of our latest batch of Llanwenog.
And we are buying mutton and hogget in as well from the same farmers, which will be a great chance for people to try the meat side by side or have the option for really flavourful long slow cooks. We recently visited one of our favourite lamb farmers Sue Money-Kyrle based in Gloucestershire. Having loved her LLanwenog lambs, farming ethos and spirit since we opened, not to mention the feature in Jamie Magazine, it was great to finally see the farm for ourselves and it didn't disappoint.
Running a small herd ( 67 animals over 40 Hectares when we dropped by) with real love Sue selects and drives her animals to abattoir by hand and she had a few set aside for us to get a quick lesson in carcass selection while the beasts are still alive a little different from how we normally see them but very educational end to a tour of Walkers Fram admiring the meadows, views, ohh and the sheep! Over the 12 years Sue and James have been at Walkers Farm they have slowly built up a pure bred herd suited to Sue's exacting standards of the breed and the conditions of their windy mountain top at the northern tip of The Forest of Dean. Lots of planting along fence lines as part of the Farm Stewardship scheme allows more protection for the animals.
They have also been carefully monitoring the ancient meadows applying minerals to the soil as appropriate to encourage a balance mix of healthy meadow flora meaning the sheep stay naturally healthier in the tough conditions. Some plants help as natural wormers, all help create a balanced diet and impart a depth of flavour to the lamb not found on a single grass or cereal fed system. We nibbled very sweet sorrel and spotted clovers, meadow sweet and lots of stuff I wouldn't be game to mention incase they were identified wrong amongst the grasses.
Great farm, great farmer(ess)! damn fine lamb and mutton. EAT SOME NOW.
Well I still can’t pronounce the name properly so any Welsh speakers please step forward – I believe the “Ll” should sound like a “Thl”. I do know the Welsh names definitely compete well with the Koori names I was surrounded with growing up Yarrahapinni anyone?
But this week in the cabinet we have Llanwenog Lamb again.
One of the farmers I buy from through the Traditional Breeds Market have a small herd of Llanwenog Lambs raised on a hill in Gloucestershire, overlooking 6 counties.
Sue from Walkers Farm explains how they farm their lovely award winning Llanwenog rare breed lambs.
“James and I live on the Welsh borders on a small 50 acre farm perched at the top of a 1000ft hill. The local saying is that you need an extra jumper to live up here… so we wanted a native breed of sheep, which would be able to cope (with added virtues of being very easy to manage, pumps out the twins and has a decent carcase). The Llanwenog was just what we where looking for and positively thrives on our meadows above the Wye Valley. Our lamb is home bred & reared in a small (30 breeding ewes) well-tended flock. I tend not to stuff them full of concentrates but let them mature slowly on our wildflower meadow grass, which helps with flavour.”
Some pictures courtesy of Sue that do tell the story well
This is the type of farmer that I love to use. This is as far from mass production as possible. A commercial breeder that is in it mostly for the money would have a breeding stock of 3000 ewes. I know which sheep would be getting the most love and attention.
Llanwenog are one of those hard to come by breeds that are equally revered for great meat and wool. They lamb well; have hardy mountain genes allowing them to prosper on any pastures. For more info try www.llanwenog-sheep.co.uk and www. rbst.org.uk or come visit me to eat one.
"The llanwenog lamb is a quality lamb regularly praised by rare breed butchers for carcass quality, the meat having a softer grain with good marbling and therefore sweeter texture" - Maggie Wilson.
Here is something I prepared earlier...............
These are the lambs that I will be using for Sundays Learn the Lamb, Love the Lamb Butchery class.
An Australian butcher Nathan Mills and his partner Ruth Siwinski in London, passionate about real meat from great farmers, butchered with respect and eaten with relish. Remember not all meat is created equal.