Mince Pies

Posted on Friday, November 20th, 2015 by Pat Whelan in Beef Dripping Recipes, Christmas Recipes, Recipes | No Comments »

mince-piesBeef dripping makes the best tasting pastry. Try it yourself with this great recipe for mince pies.

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Ingredients for pastry:

To Cook:

To make the pastry: Place butter, cold lard (beef dripping) and sugar in a food processor and blitz until combined add the egg and blitz for a further 30 secs. Add in the flour and pulse for a few secs until just combined, and just starts to come together, add a little water if the dough appears a little dry. Knead the dough gently on a floured surface into a disc and then wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 mins.

Ingredients – Makes 3.2kg (7lb) approx 8-9 pots

Suggested mince meat recipe: Myrtle Allen’s Ballymaloe Homemade Mince meat

  • 2 cooking apples
  • 2 organic lemons
  • 900g (2lbs) Barbados sugar (soft, dark brown sugar)
  • 450g (1lb) beef suet
  • 450 (1lb) sultanas
  • 224 (8oz) currants
  • 110g (4oz) candied citrus peel
  • 70ml (2.5fl oz) Irish whiskey
  • 2 tbsp Seville orange marmalade
  • pinch of salt

To Cook:

Preheat the oven to 180c/350f/gas mark 4
Core and bake whole apples in the preheated oven for 30 minutes approx. Allow to cool. When they are soft, remove the skin and pips and mash the flesh into a pulp.
Grate the rind from the lemons on the finest part of the stainless steel grater, squeeze out the juice and stir into the pulp. Grate the rind from the lemons on the finest part of a stainless steel grater, squeeze out the juice and stir into the pulp. Add the other ingredients one by one, and as they are added, mix everything thoroughly. Put into sterilized jars, cover and leave to mature for two weeks before using. This mincemeat will keep for two to three years in a cool, airy place.

Pork and Cranberry Sausage Rolls

Posted on Thursday, November 19th, 2015 by Pat Whelan in Beef Dripping Recipes, Christmas Recipes, Pork Recipes, Recipes | No Comments »

sausage rolls pork and cranberryThe beef dripping really gives these festive sausage rolls a delicious crunch.

Pork and Cranberry Sausage Rolls – Printer Friendly Download

Ingredients:

For the pastry:

For the filling:

  • 450g free-range pork sausages
  • 30g dried cranberries, chopped
  • 1 orange, finely grated zest
  • 6 sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds

To Cook:

To make the pastry: Place butter, cold lard (beef dripping) and sugar in a food processor and blitz until combined add the egg and blitz for a further 30 secs. Add in the flour and pulse for a few secs until just combined, and just starts to come together, add a little water if the dough appears a little dry. Knead the dough gently on a floured surface into a disc and then wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 mins.

Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas 7. Divide the pastry in half lengthways, so you have 2 long pieces. Make a slit down the length of each sausage and remove their skins. Place the meat in a large mixing bowl with the cranberries, orange zest and sage and mix till well combined. Halve the mixture and, using slightly wet hands, gently form each into a long skinny sausage the same length as the pastry. Place a long sausage in the middle of one of the pastry pieces and brush one of its long edges with some of the egg. Roll into a long cylinder, making sure the pastry overlaps where it meets. Place seam-side down and use a sharp knife to cut into 6 rolls. Gently squeeze the cut ends of each to neaten them if necessary. Repeat with the other half. Transfer the rolls to a large, non-stick baking sheet. Brush with egg and sprinkle with the fennel seeds. Bake for 20 minutes or till cooked and golden brown. Allow to cool before packing.

 

 

Triple-Cooked Chips

Posted on Thursday, November 19th, 2015 by Pat Whelan in Beef Dripping Recipes, Recipes, Side Dishes | No Comments »

triple-cooked-chipsYou can make chips in a saucepan, but a domestic deep fat fryer is not very expensive and makes the whole process much safer.

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Ingredients:

  • 200 g Maris Piper potatoes
  • Beef dripping (enough to half-fill your pan when melted)

To Cook:

Peel the potatoes and cut into chips: 1 cm thick for chunky chips; half that for skinny chips. Rinse well under cold water, then drain. Put the chips into a pan of cold salted water and bring to the boil.

Turn down the heat and simmer until the chips are just soft to the point of a knife. Drain, pat dry, spread out on a flat tray and allow to cool; then put in the fridge until cold.

Heat the fat to 120˚C and add the chips. Don’t overcrowd the pan. Blanch for about five minutes until cooked through but not coloured. Remove, drain, pat dry, spread out on kitchen paper on a flat tray, cool and refrigerate.

When you are ready to eat, heat the fat to 160˚C and add the chips. Cook until crisp and golden, then remove, drain, season and serve immediately.

Beef Dripping Roast Potatoes

Posted on Wednesday, November 18th, 2015 by Pat Whelan in Beef Dripping Recipes, Recipes, Side Dishes | No Comments »

beef-dripping-roast-potatoesThese are in my humble opinion the best roast potatoes you will ever have. Try this recipe for you Christmas roast potatoes and you’ll be converted straight away.

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Ingredients:

  • Allow 2–3 floury potatoes per person

To Cook

Peel the potatoes and cut into roughly equal pieces. The more surface area there is, the more opportunity you have to create a crunchy exterior. Par boil the potatoes in a large saucepan of salted water for about 7 minutes, or until there starts to be a little ‘give’ on the surface when scraped with the tines of a fork. Drain and return to the saucepan, put the lid on and give it a good shake to roughen the potatoes’ surfaces a little. Put a few tablespoons of dripping into a roasting tin and place in the oven with the meat for about 10 minutes. Add the potatoes to the tin, turning to ensure that they are basted in the fat. Sprinkle with fine sea salt. Cook for about an hour or until crisp and golden. You can leave them in after the meat comes out of the oven and turn up the heat if you think they need it.

Sticky roast parsnips, Chantenay carrots, glazed sprouts & apples

Posted on Wednesday, November 18th, 2015 by Pat Whelan in Beef Dripping Recipes, Recipes, Side Dishes | No Comments »

Sticky-parsnipsThis recipe was kindly created for us by Avoca’s head chef Mark McGillicuddy who previously worked in Michelin-starred Mint restaurant in Ranelagh.

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Ingredients:

  • 12 parsnips peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 600g Chantennay carrots
  • 3tbsp James Whelan beef dripping
  • 2tbsp of Irish honey
  • 2 tbsp of pomegranate molasses
  • 2 tsp of coriander seeds crushed
  • 4 red eating apples, cored and quartered
  • 250g of Brussel sprouts, halved and blanched itn salted water for 2 mins, then chilled

To Cook:

Preheat an oven to 180c, add 1 tbsp of beef dripping to the roasting tray and add the parsnips and the carrots, mix the remaining melted dripping with the honey, pomegranate molasses and coriander seeds and seasoning and spoon over the vegetables, coat them in the mixture by turing them in it and then cook for a further 20 mins, then add the blanched sprouts and apples and cook for a further 20 mins until all the veg is browned glazed and tender.

Beef Dripping Onion Rings

Posted on Wednesday, November 18th, 2015 by Pat Whelan in Beef Dripping Recipes, Recipes, Side Dishes | No Comments »

Beef-Dripping-Onion-RingsOur beef dripping really elevates normal onion rings to the next level.

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Ingredients:

To Cook:

Use a fork to steady your onion. Slice the onion into rings about 1cm wide. Remove the skin and separate the rings. Heat the beef dripping to 180C in a heavy-based pan – it should be no more than 1/ 3 full. Meanwhile put the flour and sparkling water in a bowl and season generously. Whisk together to form a batter. Coat a small batch of onion rings in batter. Carefully lower into the hot oil and deep-fry until crisp and golden, about 2 – 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a piece of kitchen towel to drain. Repeat with the remaining onion and batter.

 

James Whelan Butchers: Butcher Apprentice Programme

Posted on Wednesday, November 18th, 2015 by Pat Whelan in Foodie Articles, Good Food | No Comments »

Love meat?  Love people?  You may be the person we’re looking for to join our team.

With a 50 year tradition in producing and retailing the finest meat, James Whelan Butchers is looking to recruit trainee butchers for our retail stores  in Dublin.  We believe in “nose to tail” butchery and have a “farm to fork” philosophy and as an artisan Butcher, we want our customers to enjoy cooking our meat as much as we enjoy breeding rearing & selling our finest produce to them.

We’re looking for happy, enthusiastic people with a great customer service ethos who want to learn butchery skills, both on our shop floor and through structured sponsored training with Fetac (Level 5 qualification).   We need people  with great interpersonal skills who want to commit to a career in butchery with one of Ireland ‘s best butchers .

Do you think you have what it takes?  Please tell us all about yourself and why you want to join our award-winning team by emailing info@jwb.ie by Friday 11th December 2015.

Find out more about what we do at http://www.jameswhelanbutchers.com/

Turkey and Ham Sale – Starts Next Week!

Posted on Wednesday, November 18th, 2015 by Pat Whelan in Foodie Articles, Good Food | No Comments »

November is hurtling by and the swirling, crunchy leaves that play with the wind outside my shop window seem to be an ever present reminder this week that it’s time for all those Christmas plans to swing into action. Perhaps there was a time when being organised was linked to frugality, but I think we’ve all come around to the wisdom that being organised saves us time, money and heartache in the long run. Gathering and planning for December in a calm and orderly manner is always to be desired over panic.

One of the greatest things about maturing is how quickly the materialistic dulls when placed beside the things of real value. Give me family and friends all gathered together in a warm house, enjoying food and company over expensive and exclusive gifts any day. The memories formed are treasures that will last a lifetime, long after goods have tarnished or broken down. All those charity shops, second hand stores and Cash for Clothes/Gold/Phone outlets that have mushroomed in every town in the country are full of ‘stuff’ that was once shiny, new and, no doubt, a dreamed of and lusted after ‘must have’ for someone. This Christmas make it about the people and the memories, and there’s no easier way to do that than with full bellies.

At James Whelan Butchers we’ve created quite a few things to help out. Next week we have our “Black Friday” Turkey and Ham sale which is perfect for anyone with a freezer and more about that later. We have a great range of gifts from creative Beef Bonds to our Books, An Irish Butcher Shop & The Irish Beef Book, plus gift vouchers. These make great practical presents. They are talking points too and come really well presented and wrapped. We have plenty of great artisan sauces, chutneys and preserves that will not only add to your own store cupboard for a little creative leftover cooking over the festive season, but would make a lovely food gift. Over the coming weeks I’ll be explaining a little more about what we have to offer on the gift front, but this week it’s all about the plan. Stick with me and by the start of December you’ll be cruising to Christmas without a care in the world and well within budget.

There is no such thing as the definitive, one plan fits all. Planning is all about the individual. I use to think it was about a checklist and box ticking but everyone is different and so the plan has to work for you.   There is one crucial rule though and that is, ‘Know Your Numbers!’ Money, people, time; once you have figures on these items everything else fits in around it. The numbers for your budget are first. Don’t go into debt for Christmas, it’s a madness and really quite unnecessary. You’ll be glad when January comes and trust me, it always comes! The second number is people. How many are you actually going to have for Christmas? Factor in a little margin for an unexpected one or two, but be realistic. How many of us are still looking at unopened boxes of biscuits and sweets in February? Avoid that costly mistake this year. And finally time is probably something we rarely consider properly. On the wintery November days we may fantasise that this December will be handmade from start to finish. We might aspire to the Nigella/Delia/Rachel way of creating everything from scratch, but we forget that this is all Nigella, Delia and Rachel do. It’s their job, profession and career. If you are holding down a full time or part time job or work full time in the home and don’t have a small army of house staff to help out, then doing everything yourself may not be feasible. Lack of time leads to the worst type of stress mainly because time is the one thing we just can’t make more of.

 

turkey-calculator

 

 

With the numbers sorted out one of the first savings you can make is on the turkey and ham. We started our Christmas Turkey and Ham Sale a number of years ago now as an experiment and we just haven’t stopped because it makes so much sense.  It’s simply this; I use my regular Turkey supplier, but I get the bulk of our fresh Turkeys and Hams in November. This is great for the supplier as it is not during the big rush and so I get a better deal that I pass on to you. I can sell a fresh Turkey and Ham in November (to be frozen for the weeks in between) for €41.50 OFF the cost of the same Turkey and Ham in mid December! It’s a fantastic saving. The supplier also gets ahead with cash flow and orders and therefore everyone is winning. Our turkey and ham sale has become an anticipated date on the calendar for many of our customers as they know they are not compromising on quality or taste in order to save money. The only reason you wouldn’t want to avail of this great offer is if you didn’t have a freezer. The turkey and ham sale starts on Monday 25th November 2015 (only in our Clonmel shop) and is also available online now on our Christmas Hampers page for delivery on Black Friday (November 27th) only. Seriously, don’t miss out.

There is no need to fear the expense of Christmas this year. Just take a deep breath, plan ahead and keep your eyes on James Whelan Butchers as between now and December we’ll have some great offers both in store and online.

We hope you enjoyed reading this post by Pat Whelan of James Whelan Butchers. Pat is a 5th generation butcher, cook book author and the director of  James Whelan Butchers with shops in Clonmel, the Avoca Food Market Monkstown and Avoca Rathcoole. Sign up to our newsletter for more updates from James Whelan Butchers

Dripping on toast with sea salt

Posted on Tuesday, November 17th, 2015 by Pat Whelan in Beef Dripping Recipes, Recipes, Side Dishes | No Comments »

beef-dripping-on-toastOur Beef Dripping is nutrient rich, high in omega-3 acids, clean, pure and carries great flavour. One of my favourite ways to enjoy beef dripping is spread lightly onto hot toast.

Ingredients:

To Cook:

Toast the bread and lightly spread beef dripping on hot sourdough bread with a sprinkle of sea salt.

D’s Skillet Gravy

Posted on Tuesday, November 17th, 2015 by Pat Whelan in Beef Dripping Recipes, Recipes, Side Dishes | No Comments »

ds-skillet-gravyBeef dripping is not only ideal for making pastry or cooking with, it’s also a great way to add flavour to your gravy.

Ds Skillet Gravy – Printer Friendly Download

Ingredients:

To Cook:

Sprinkle flour over the beef drippings in a skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until smooth and brown. Gradually stir in the water so that no lumps form. Boil until thickened, about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Season with salt and pepper.

Fat is Back on BBC Radio 4

Posted on Friday, November 13th, 2015 by Pat Whelan in Foodie Articles, Good Food, Press | No Comments »

Fat is Back on BBC Radio 4I recently spoke to the lovely Ella McSweeney from BBC Radio 4 food programme about the process of making our award-winning Beef Dripping. Our Beef Dripping was recently crowned Supreme Champion at the Great Taste Awards 2015 and as a 5th generation butcher, this product is a real nod to the past.

Listen to the podcast on the BBC Radio 4 website (starts 14mins 15secs.

Our Beef Dripping is available to buy online in small and large pots and is a must have for any kitchen.

Shop Online…

Teach the Children

Posted on Monday, November 9th, 2015 by Pat Whelan in Foodie Articles, Good Food | No Comments »

It never ceases to amaze me the number of teenagers that can’t cook or at least claim they can’t. They certainly won’t starve as they are capable of placing cornflakes in a bowl, pop tarts in a toaster, a ready meal in a microwave or ordering a takeaway, but when it comes to long term sustainable food preparation on a budget, many are clueless. Countless young people are about to strike out on their own, as they do at the start of every college year, and mothers all over the country fret and wonder if they will eat properly. Given that food is something we involve ourselves with every day of our lives we fail to pass on passions and skills and most people have those wilderness years in between their mother’s cooking and developing there own cooking ability later in life. Boys are particularly good at avoiding the challenge altogether and instead put their energies into finding a girl who can cook; a good plan but not the best one.

It makes so much more sense to catch our children young, and I’m talking in the single figure years, and introduce them to food and cooking. It’s not about turning them into professional chefs, but it is about giving them confidence around food and nutrition. It will also give them an appreciation of the work that goes into preparing meals and, long term, the wrench from home when it does inevitably come around, will be one stress less.

peel-potatoCooking and preparing food involves many skills that will help with a child’s general development. There is a maths element, learning to measure and weigh, reading recipes and making notes. You can even learn about where food comes from which sometimes will involve different cultures and places as well as ingredients. These days we have video and digital cameras to record our work and chart our progress in a fun and colourful food diary if we want to. There is also something quite special about sharing time in a kitchen with a child and nothing gives a greater sense of importance that being involved in making a meal for the family. One of my favourite poems by Seamus Heaney is In Memoriam, where he recalls time alone with his mother preparing a meal. “When all the others were away at Mass, I was all hers as we peeled potatoes.” It is a beautiful piece that encapsulates that shared time of productivity. Also cooking together is something you can do and enjoy for the rest of your life.

So where do you start and how young is too young? Personally I think around 4 years old is a good age and there are plenty of books out there to get you started. Naturally you are going to start out with simple things. If you can count to 10 and hold a spoon, as most 4 year olds can, then counting out ingredients is a great help or stirring and mixing is not beyond them. Washing fruit and vegetables or bashing with a pestle is another task easily achievable as is using a cookie cutter. Of course the job of tasting is always a good one. Now before you think that I have lost the run of myself completely I am fully aware of the time needed for this kind of exercise. It is about learning and enjoyment and so if you are pressed for time or under pressure to prepare a dinner then having a three foot helper with poor or under developed motor skills in the kitchen is a recipe for disaster. It does require time and a tolerance for mistakes and a few spills here and there, but in order to make an omelette we have to break a few eggs and trust me in the long run it will be worth it.

avocados-386795_640The other obvious difficulty when you are starting to teach a child about food and cooking is the health and safety element, but there are plenty of things you can cook without the use of an oven or even a knife. Making dips and salad dressings, stuffing peppers, topping crackers with a mixture or even making a sandwich to begin with are all without too much danger. Recently I helped my own little guys make a quick guacamole. The kids really enjoyed mashing and bashing the flesh of the ripe avocado and mixing in the other ingredients that I had measured out for them. Squeezing the lime brought more squeals of joy and there was plenty of discussion about the resulting green, lumpy mixture and how it reminded them of Halloween! The best part though was when we brought the big bowl of dip to the table and turned out a big bag of tortilla chips into another bowl and then we all had a taste and a chat. It was simple, there was very little mess and it was great fun listening to them trying to pronounce ‘guacamole’ and discussing where avocados come from. On one of the sunnier days a few weeks ago I put bowls of ice cream out on the garden table and then little bowls of toppings for them to choose and create their own sundae. My next challenge will be a pizza. I will put all the ingredients into little ramekins and let them make their own edible creation. Obviously I intend to supervise the placing in the oven and the general cooking.

My kids are quite young and our cooking ‘lessons’ are not tightly scheduled or planned. They happen on rainy afternoons or days when I have to do something with an over ripe avocado rather than throw it in the bin or sometimes they suggest a desire to bake some cookies or “make Mammy a surprise”. However I do take every opportunity to discuss food with them. I take them blackberry picking or down to the farm to check on the calves. And occasionally I’ll take them on a trip to visit a supplier. I always do it as a fun adventure, never as a rigid educational event. I want them to love food, for it to be part of the fabric of their memories and something that comes naturally to them. Hopefully by the time they are flying the coop, I will be missing them for the great food they can prepare. That’s the plan anyway.

We hope you enjoyed reading this post by Pat Whelan of James Whelan Butchers. Pat is a 5th generation butcher, cook book author and the director of  James Whelan Butchers with shops in Clonmel, the Avoca Food Market Monkstown and Avoca Rathcoole. Sign up to our newsletter for more updates from James Whelan Butchers

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