June 27, 2006

Hay Festival

You've heard about the Hay Literary Festival. But have you heard of the Hay food festival? Probably not. Slightly lower profile. When I was in Hay last weekend it happened to be on, so I popped down to have a look and found some delicious stuff.

First purchase: some local pork and cider sausages, which went on the barbecue and were very fine.

Second purchase: some gravadlax from a local smokery, which was quite good but could have been better

Third purchase: some mutton, yes mutton! I've been meaning to try this for ages 'cos all the foody types go on and on about how great it is. Sure enough, it was really good. Fantastic flavour and really tender after being slow cooked. I used the recipe for "Fricasse of Mutton with Glazed Vegetables" on this page. Quite an interesting recipe. You brown the meat with sugar, which caramelises and makes the sauce a very rich, deep brown. Then you sweat a mirepoix (which turns out to be finely chopped vegetables; onion, garlic, leek, carrot and fennel), add some tomatoes and stock and cook for a couple of hours. You take out the meat and sieve the remainder to make a thick, smooth gravy, put the meat back with some vegetables cooked separately (carrots, broad beans, french beans and button onions). Very rich.

Fourth purchase: 'Elephant garlic' – the stem's about the size of a leek, the bulb about the size of a large apple. I'm gonna roast it with a chicken. Should be good.

- 2 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Well done on the mutton discovery. Dunno why us British don’t use it more often. Used to, in the “olden days” (!) Of course if you ever go to an Indian Restaurant and order lamb curry what you are eating is probably mutton. They always use it as it marinades well. Our local sheep farmer told us there is a whole criminal underworld of sheep rustling in the West Midlands – steal an old sheep from a field to sell to an Indian retaurant for a few quid. Strange what some people will do! Personally I don’t ever eat lamb now – unless I can guarantee where it comes from…

    01 Aug 2006, 09:53

  2. Yes it’s very perverse. It’s kind of like the way that chicken breasts cost almost as much as a whole chicken, but the tastier legs and thighs cost next to nothing.

    01 Aug 2006, 16:28

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