Food Safari

Food Safari
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Thursday, 30 April 2009

BBC Radio Suffolk Interview

Yesterday I made a rare trip to Ipswich to pay a visit to the studios of BBC Radio Suffolk. I was 'on the sofa' doing an interivew about Food Safari and all the great local food producers we have in Suffolk.

You can listen my interview with Georgina Wroe (standing in for Lesley Dolphin here.
Scroll 2 hours and 23 minutes into the programme to hear my bit.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Meet and eat Blythburgh Free Range Pork

In January Jamie Oliver challenged the British public to take more notice of the conditions in which pigs are kept, but very few pork farmers will let the public onto their farm to see conditions for themselves. But, one Suffolk farmer is so confident of the standards of his free range pigs that he has agreed to do just that on Food Safari’s Free Range Pork in a Day on Saturday May 16th.

Food Safari is a new venture which offers field to fork experiences and Free Range Pork in a Day will take attendees on a pork journey starting from a farm walk at Blythburgh Free Range Pork, to a butchery demonstration and hands-on sausage and charcuterie workshop and feast at The Anchor, Walberswick.

At Blythburgh Free Range Pork on the Suffolk coast near Southwold, attendees will see for themselves the high welfare standards of led by award-winning farmers, Jimmy and Alastair Butler, who are passionate about producing great tasting pork. Blythburgh pigs are free to roam in large paddocks giving them the space to display natural behaviours like rooting in the soil and playing. Not only does this improve their welfare but it also means they grow at a slower more natural rate and this in turn results in flavoursome, succulent meat.

Alastair Butler says: “We are firm believers that the future of British pork lies in the public understanding more about where their food comes from and then people can make informed decisions about what they eat. think Food Safari is a wonderful way to show people our farm and make the connection between farming and flavour. Remember a free range pig is a happy pig and a happy pig surely tastes better!”

Back at Food Safari’s base, The Anchor at Walberswick, traditional Suffolk butcher Ray Kent will who’ll show attendees how to tackle a pork carcass. Recent reports have suggested that there is a resurgence of interest in the forgotten cheaper cuts, like shoulder and belly, and Ray will show us all of these as well as suggesting their uses in the kitchen.

Following the butchery demonstration, Mike Keen, The Anchor’s Head Chef, will show attendees how to create their own sausage recipes which will be barbequed for lunch. Mike will also show participants how to create charcuterie and ham in your own kitchen. The day will wrap up with a relaxed pork lunch with beer and wine expertly selected by The Anchor’s own Mark Dorber.

Saturday May 16th , 10am-5pm

Cost: £150 per person, £250 per couple to include a pork lunch, drinks and your own butchery to take home.

**Book by Friday 24 April and get 20% off** email

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Event report: Wild Meat in a Day

Sunday saw Food Safari's inaugural game day play to a packed house at The Anchor, Walberswick on the Suffolk coast, using the specially converted learning space as our base. After coffee and some gamey canapes we started the day by learning the nitty gritty of venison butchery from Ray Kent, a professional butcher with a lifetime's experience of getting the most out of a prime carcass. At least one of the group thought Ray was the "star of the show" as he deftly demonstrated how to tackle this amazing meat.

Ray showed of a stunning fillet which would have sold for £65-70 but there are more inexpensive cuts (venison burgers are are fantastic alternative to beef). The venison was supplied by our good friends at The Wild Meat Company who specialise in fine, humanely killed game, prepared to the highest standards. Robert Gooch, MD of the Wild Meat Company was on hand to provide his expert insights into the world of game.

The group was quickly up to speed and preparing joints of their own like pros. With a little basic tuition and some very sharp knives (German are best apparently but get them professionally sharpened from time to time to keep them in prime condition) it is perfectly possible to learn the craft of butchery at home.

Following the butchery demonstration, Mike Keen, head chef, demonstrated some
delicious game recipes including my favourite - a spiced partridge dish with fenugreek and coconut milk providing a nod to the Eastern origins of this bird as well as a stunningly rich jugged hare. The Anchor's outdoor grill was put to unseasonally early good use and the wafts of grilling game drew quite a lot of attention from Walberswick passers-by. The group got stuck in to stuffing and chopping and by this time we were all getting pretty hungry.

The day concluded with a communal game feast around a huge table. Mark Dorber the charismatic proprietor of the Anchor and globe-trotting beer expert matched each dish with either a beer or a wine. There was a lot of smacking of lips when Mike served pheasant simply roasted with a stuffing of local Wonmill cheese and redcurrant jelly under the skin to keep the breast moist while allowing the skin to crisp to a succulent juiciness. By combining with the classic Belgian ale Duvel the dish was lifted even further. The fenugreek partridge met its match with unusual and very intense barrel fermented release from San Francisco's award-winning Anchor Brewing Company. The barrels had previously contained spirit (we couldn't agree whether gin or rum) that lent the beer increased gravity (strength) and flavour. This beer is pretty secret stuff - Mark had been sent a bottle to review for potential release to the UK market and it was the kind of one-off foodie moment that I love!

Thanks from the Food Safari team to all concerned for making this such a fantastic event. The game season returns in the autumn when we'll be exploring game birds as. Meanwhile we're back at The Anchor and nearby at Blythburgh Pork on 16 May with our very special take on Pork -Pig in a Day. See the Food Safari website for booking details.