Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Marie takes me to Jimmy's Farm

What a week I've had!
A whirlwind would be one way to describe it!
I arrived home from holiday on Saturday and with a quick change of clothes and a repacked suitcase I headed to Marie's, my good foodie friends house. She had been invited to attend a food bloggers day at Jimmy's Farm to promote the 'Put Pork on your Fork' campaign. It was to be held in Ipswich which meant traveling to London by train, a quick nip on the underground and catching another train out to Ipswich, all part of the fun I'd say but Marie was unsure, she has a few mobility issues and mentioned in passing that she didn't think she could go.... WHAT... ARE YOU MAD WOMEN??? This is right up your street, you know you'd love it...go go go go... get back and tell us how fabulous it was!
She still wasn't sure so I offered to assist her, I'd come up to Chester and travel with her, carry her case and help where needed, she would be silly to miss something she would get so much pleasure out of... all her friends agreed!  The offer was there and after a few emails to those kind people at Finn Communications it was agreed that I could go too....

Now I'm not new to blogging, I've been going since 2007, but my blog it's flash, it doesn't have 'give aways', and I don't do that many reviews! It's just a place to keep all my family recipes, to share the love of cooking and to record the things that are special to me. All my regular readers know I'm an avid fan of low carb food, (being wheat intolerant and all)  I'm also a HUGE Pampered Chef fan... and have promoted the products that I love along the way. How would this fit in with my recipe based food blog? Could I come home and give it a good write up....after all 10 of the top food bloggers in the UK had been invited to this event... would I be able to do it justice?

The invite said the day would promote 'One Pig Weekend', 'Put Pork on your Fork' and support the Great British Pig Farmer.... well I'm a huge fan of the British Farmer, I always buy British when I can... so that bit would be easy. Put Pork on my fork?  As a kid I didn't eat much pork, the occasional rolled shoulder of pork on a Sunday but Mum's attempts to cook pork always ended up with a dry piece of white meat with a large chunk of white fat running down the side...blurgh!! The memory of it crushing any desire to cook pork in later life  (sorry Mum!)  So I would be very keen to learn more.... I then visited the  'One Pig Weekend' page.... OK... I'm inspired, you got me!!!  It said I could host my own event, a raucous garden party using their pork recipes... NOW THIS IS MORE LIKE IT.... if they can show me some great ways to cook British pork that I could cook for my friends and promote British meat.... COUNT ME IN... (I'm never one to miss a chance to throw a party!!!) 

We travelled down on the Sunday, talked food and recipes all the way, had a bite to eat and headed to our hotel, had a sleepover and were like a couple of kids sitting up in bed chatting (me taking notes... well you can never miss a chance of getting one of Marie's recipes down!!!)  Breakfast the next morning then off to the farm.... where we were met by Chris.

Marie with Chris (a fellow northerner, so he gets my vote straight away!)

I'm not new to the PR ways of the Food blogger... but let me tell you, these guys were fab! The day was organised to a T, nothing was too much trouble and the content was designed perfectly to make us more knowledgeable about their product and leave feeling passionate and inspired. 

Jimmy is so passionate about his farm!

Jimmy gave us a tour of the farm, now... my first thoughts were, it's going to be a bit smelly, he said he had over 600 pigs on the farm... I had my peg at the ready, but you know, good pig husbandry = happy pigs with no smelly sty's! He is so passionate about pig farming, his rare breed collection and is so knowledgeable that we were all truly interested. There are British farmers up and down the country who are just as passionate, just as knowledgeable and work just as hard to keep our meat British, we are really doing an injustice by buying imported meat.  I am asking you all.... is your meat British, if not why not?

Joe Collier & Jimmy

After the tour we had a butchery masterclass with Joe Collier. Now Joe's shop is a bit too far to travel for most of us but if you  have a butcher on your high street, pop in and see him, chances are his meat is British, if you don't and have to buy your meat in a supermarket, make sure it's British - you will taste the difference, the carbon footprint will be smaller and you will be supporting your farmer and your country...oooh I am a bit passionate about all these issue too.... but I digress...
These two together were a minefield of information. They went through the different cuts of meat, while Joe butchered a whole side of pork Jimmy explained how to cook and serve each one. Did you know the cheaper cuts of meat are usually the tastiest, and with a long slow cooking time you will end up with a dish that beats the more expensive cuts like the loin? I'm going to start asking for the Chump from now on, its so versatile and at £8.95kg much cheaper that the £16.95kg they ask for a top side of pork!  I'm not going to say too much about the other cuts and recipes choices as in the next few posts I'm going to be showing you the recipes I have made since getting home. We were all sent away with a packet of meat and the instructions to come up with a recipe... me and Marie shared ours so they'll be one than one recipe from both of us.... they were all delicious! (see tomorrows post...)

Then... it was time for lunch in the newly converted barn.

Click here for a pork burger recipe

We all opted for the pork burger.  I wanted to see how they should really be cooked, pork burgers can be dry (probably just mine!), this was anything but, moist and cooked to perfection! The onion chutney, pickled gherkin and fresh salad set it off beautifully. The chips, cooked in pork fat were a very tasty accompaniment. While some of us couldn't tell the difference between pork and beef me and Marie agreed, this was definitely one tasty pork burger!!!

I could ramble on all day about the merits of what I have learnt, how nice everyone was and how passionate Jimmy was about his pigs, but I'm going to leave it at that for now and follow it up with a few posts on the other things we tasted and all those lovely pork recipes I made during the week.
I have also got to sort out my 'One Pig Weekend Event'  I'm thinking festival style, tents in the garden, wellies and umbrellas, pork roast and pimms...ooooh, who to invite...


English Mum said...

Fabulous. It was such a great day, wasn't it? So lovely to meet you and Marie. I'll be thinking of you every time I pop into Eastwood's from now on :)

Karen S Booth said...

GREAT post - LOVED it! And I LOVE British pork too!

Marie said...

I couldn't have said it any better Julie! It was a fabulous day, great people, wonderful hosts and you were the best person I could have had as a travelling companion ever! You are a star! xxoo