PURE BREED BEEF DINNER, November 6th
We ended this year’s dinner series in spectacular fashion with our pure breed beef dinner with The Lost Farm Friday 6th November 2015.
Farmers George Steriopolus and Jeff Clarke along with their wives Diana and Ann-Marie, took a packed restaurant through their story of raising pure breed cattle, sheep and pigs. The farm is only a stone’s throw away (well, OK, a bit further than I could throw the stone!) located in Grandborough Fields, Warwickshire. This is real Middle England, between Coventry and Rugby.
They concentrate on pure breeds and relish the character, strength and flavour of the breeds. They raise the vey old breed Manx Laughtan sheep, which is a very hearty animal from the Isle of Man, whose instincts are almost primeval; they stay in family units, are very slow growing, and can lamb without interference from the farmer. The taste of the lamb is stunning, with only a 5% fat content.
They raise herds of Highland, Hereford and Dexter (from Ireland) cattle. For the evening, we used only two cows for the whole dinner for 80 people: a Hereford steer and a Dexter cow. We used cuts from the whole of each animal which had been aged for 28 days, utilising ribs, rump, sirloin, brisket, bone marrow for the butter, and the marrow bone in the dessert. The flavour of each breed was intense, rich and succulent while the texture of each animal was very different, with the Hereford being a more dense grain.
The Dexter is an Irish breed, known in Ireland for being a family’s cow for personal consumption, being small enough to keep in a yard or very small holding. The Hereford was the breed of cow that helped to settle the American west can be seen in many a John Wayne movie! My grandfather raised pure bred Hereford cattle with their distinctive reddish brown and white hide in northwest Missouri; they were a great breed for thriving on scrubby land and having a good natured character, making them ideal on the long cattle drives across the west.
The joy and unique character of the evening was that, in our dining room, we celebrated the full circle with everyone present who supplies us from farm to fork, with customers able to meet each one: the farmers who raised the Hereford steer and Dexter cow, to our butchers Simon and Alan from Aubrey Allen, and chef Ben and his talented team. It makes it a very personal approach to sourcing.
Slow cooked Jacob’s ladder,
pink fir potatoes, Tunworth cheese
from Hampshire, crispy shallots
Marinated rump carpaccio,
textures of artichoke, watercress
Dry rubbed smoked brisket of beef.
char grilled tiger prawns, seared scallops,
Roasted sirloins of Hereford and Dexter beef,
chuck steak and kidney pudding,
carrots, ceps and sprout tops, beef jus
Devon apples and blueberry ‘marrow’