Open House, one of the best opportunities to be a sticky-beak without being caught out, is on this weekend. If you have left it late you may of missed out on the many of the bookable ‘hot tickets’ of this years line up but there are still some that are open to the public and worth going to see.
Our lovely friends at Tropolis have put together the “must-see” list for this year, which you can see here, and they also have a great summary of last years hits here if you fancy living vicariously.
Alternatively you can come up to COPPA, pretend you are here for the architecture, have a chat with the lovely architects who originally designed the huts and have a drink. Our bar will be open for all Architecture nerds and early thirsty folk.
Don’t forget that Saturday night is our last night at COPPA this year, so stick around and partake in the party…
.. and one of my darling favourites.
The awesome folks at Native Breeds are looking for a trainee charcutier to work with them at their headquarters in Gloucestershire.
Overall, Native Breeds are looking for someone who is very interested and committed to learning about making Charcuterie and interested in the values of the company, and are very willing to train and invest in someone who is able to acquire the skills needed. These guys are the best in the trade and working with them in their small team, you will soon learn the ancient skills of curing and preserving. This is a fantastic opportunity to get valuable in the artisanal making rather than the industrial scale of charcuterie.
If you are interested in the job, you can get in touch with them by contacting Graham by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by getting in touch with us.
It is an exciting time for our resident charcutier Matt Bedell, as he prepares for battle at the Young British Foodies final today.
The YBF’s :
“They’re the men and women using lost arts and new skills to bring craft back to the kitchen” HELL YES!
If ever there was an award for Matt’s passion for meat, then this would be the one.
I take this opportunity to wish Matt the very best of luck.
Break a leg x
Intended to be our last night with Pops, we organised for a delivery of crabs. Not having ordered crabs here before, I asked the lovely Marky Market to deliver 10 large or 2o medium crabs. Totally misunderstanding the scale of these brown little monsters, the delivery of 20 medium crabs which had claws the size of Yen’s hand arrived. Never have I had 32 kilos of live crabs in my lounge room, and I probably won’t again. Mark kindly retrieved half of them and we still had enough to send 15 of us crab crazed.
Crabs are a messy business. Both cleaning them and then later trying to extract the meat out from the shells isn’t for the faint hearted. And you need the right tools. We didn’t, so we used a small sherry bottle (with said sherry still within), a knife, a bottle opener, and a screwdriver – all to no real effective success.
The sherry bottle ended up being the best tool, and any attempt to maintain the mess to one small area was in vain. The following days were spent trying to find the source of the lingering sea pong.
Saying that, it was so worth it, and we almost regretted giving back the other 10. Almost.
For the last month I have had the pleasure of having my father stay. He travelled many thousands of miles to help us build our oven.
This would be his 4th oven. They tend to be a relatively common sight from where I am from, and one very famous pizzeria in particular in Willunga has even a book about it. Although you can buy them in kit form online from various Italian outlets and through Jamie Oliver, they are simple enough and can be made yourself if you know what you are doing. When Dad said he could come over to build mine, I was over the moon.
The premise of making the oven is a simple and primitive one. Using bricks, fire or otherwise, to create a dome, the bricks hold themselves into position, and retain the heat from the fire within. The idea is to maintain the heat within the oven as much as possible so you are able to utilise the energy and heat throughout the day so this is done by creating an additional skin and insulating within it. Once we will be cooking throughout the day, the heat generated will be able to cook breads in the morning, pizzas throughout the day and evening and then we can slow braise overnight.
Wanting to make as economical oven as possible, we sourced some kiln bricks from Coventry which we used for the majority of the first skin. These bricks weighed as much as marble, and it took me a full 2 days to cut through the 200 that we bought. Although we had planned to use them for the entire first skin, the sheer weight of them couldn’t withstand gravity once we got past a certain point.
Once the all important first skin was done we seemed to speed up somewhat. The second skin is critical if we wish to make bread. Those wedges you can see above are all important, which allows us to go around in a relatively tight circle using half bricks. They are used to create tension between the bricks allowing you to use cement only on the outside, and maintaining a clean, cement free internal wall.
I’m going to wait for a bit to show you the final oven, fully completed. These photo’s are of the first skin and the second skin partly done.. But below is the great moment of pulling down the roof..
We arrived at St.Briavels Castle in Lydney on Thursday, through the sunny hills of the Forest of Dean to be part of the launch of Native Breeds.
Graham & Ruth Waddington have been working tirelessly on building their new business, and after much success it was time to celebrate.
Guests included the lovely Kate Humble, and Kevin Gratton of Hix. I met with the jersey farmers of Saint Hill and The charming Maurice Trumper who supplies the Saddlebacks.
We ate a feast of meat that highlighted what such amazing makers they are – We are all in for a treat.
You can now buy monthly charcuterie boxes from them. Contact them on the link below.
Chen Chen is a product designer. That is about all there is to know about Chen on the website. But the thing that got my attention is the brilliantly poppy Cold-Cuts coasters.
As soon as I have a drink to coast, I am going to get myself a joint of meat..
You can buy them here, or here..
Carl Warners book Food Landscapes is a delicious look into the world of food, but not in the plated variety – More Willy Wonka on meat acid. I can’t help but feel this one is a little ‘red riding hood’ but it could just be the tones..