Mid Terms on your Terms Newsletter February 2023

Posted on Monday, February 20th, 2023 by Mandy in Foodie Articles, Good Food | No Comments »

Mid-term on your terms

Make mid-term easy on yourself. Here are five gorgeous James Whelan Butchers selects to order and collect, or better still have delivered. Our Master Butchers have done the prep. You already have a lot on your plate, we only want to add something delicious.

 

The Salt-Aged Showstopper

SHOP HERE

Prime Irish Striploin. Slow aged in a salt chamber for over 35 days. In salt from the Himalayas. In a craft of time which intensifies succulence and tenderness. Bring this feast of flavour home.

 

Take time for Heritage Bacon

SHOP HERE

Home cooked bacon is wonderful. It’s also simple as. It just takes a little time, that’s all. Our artisan Irish bacon loin has a wonderful, signature smoked hickory cure.  You’ll be delighted            with the results.

 

Chicken Cushion

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Bacon, stuffing and cheese all packed into a plump, Irish chicken cushion. A really lovely flavour sensation, crafted freshly for you by our Master Butchers.

 

Bigger, built burgers

Our dry-aged burgers are built chunky to deliver a juicy, generous, oversized quarter pounder burger. Handcrafted with chuck and brisket to punch out juicy flavours.

 

Brilliant Bacon and Cabbage Recipe

VIEW RECIPE

Now you’ve ordered the Heritage Bacon Loin, here’s a sweet, creamy, mustardy joy of a dish to celebrate it. Bacon and cabbage, you’re back in the good books.

James Whelan Butchers: Traditional Bacon & Cabbage

 

 

Some Valentine Dining at Home Ideas

Posted on Thursday, February 8th, 2024 by Pat Whelan in Foodie Articles, Good Food | No Comments »

Beef Wellington, Alternative Christmas Day Dinner, Ready to Cook Christmas Dinner, Oven Ready Christmas Dinner, Easy Cook Christmas Dinner

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, couples everywhere are wondering how best to celebrate this special day. For some, restaurants may be out of the question or too restrictive, and for others even the thought of cooking an elaborate meal from scratch at home is exhausting.

We can solve this problem with a simple solution with a very special signature dish of ours – Beef Wellington. The perfect Valentine’s Dine at Home Dinner for Two.

This limited edition Beef Wellington is hand prepared and comes oven ready, needing the minimum of preparation time. Ideal for people who are time poor, or who are culinary challenged, but who would like to create a wonderful restaurant quality meal for their loved one in the comfort of their own home to celebrate their love on this special day.

The dish serves two people generously, made with prime aged Irish beef fillet, wrapped in a mushroom duxelles, buttery puff pastry with fresh herbs and sea salt. The cooking instructions couldn’t be simpler – just pop it into a preheated oven at 200° C, for 45-50 minutes to achieve medium/ rare or 55-60 minutes for medium/ medium well – and rest for about 15 minutes before serving.

All that is left to do is to set the scene with some candles, soft chilling music and a table set for two.

Like all of the Dine at Home dishes, this signature dish is honest, simple, handmade from scratch using the freshest of ingredients, where you can taste the flavour and goodness that has gone into every single bite.

Available to order online from Tuesday 18th January through the Click and Collect Service and available for collection at any of the 12 James Whelan Butcher shops across the country.

 

Say it with Steak!

Another option to bring a little romance to the dinner table this Valentines, is a Sharing Steak. Simply cooked on a pan, it’s perfect for Valentines, bringing it to the table to share together with some delicious sides.

Romantic meal for two, Sharing Steak, Romantic Dinner Idea

Our Salt Aged Sharing Steaks are wonderful cuts of meat of exceptional quality with a truly special flavour. All are exclusive to James Whelan Butchers and are part of a unique partnership with one of the great pioneers of the Irish Meat trade, Peter Hannan and Hannan Meats.

Matured over 35 days in Peter’s Salt Chamber, a 12ft solid wall of Hand cut Himalayan Rock Salt Bricks. This results in only one thing – beef of exceptional quality with a truly unique flavour.

Just chat to one of our butchers and they can hand cut to order the perfect Salt Aged Strip Loin for two, or one of our 100% Angus T- Bone, one of the most prized cuts of beef and known as the King of Steaks.

 

Warm Black Pudding & Bacon Salad

Starters Anyone?

One of our favourite starters, that is simple to prepare and works a treat, is a Warm Black Pudding & Bacon Salad. It is a wonderful start to a romantic meal, with the minimum of fuss and tastes delicious.

 

Tipperary Food Producers Network, Cashel Farmhouse Cheesemakers

Savoury Dessert

We just love all things savoury, so naturally enough we love to finish a good meal with some wonderful cheese. Also keeping with the sharing theme, sharing a delightful cheeseboard is a lovely way to finish a romantic meal. For this we would recommend cheese from some of our good friends from the Tipperary Food Producers Network. The world famous Cashel Blue, Cooleeney Cheese from the farm of the same name, using milk from their pedigree.

No matter what you choose to prepare for a romantic Valentine’s dinner at home, our last piece of advice is keep it simple, buy the best products you can afford and don’t spend hours slaving over a hot stove. Valentines is meant to be spent with the one you love, not inside a recipe book or tied to the cooker.

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James Whelan Butchers: Lighter Days

Posted on Tuesday, May 16th, 2023 by Pat Whelan in Foodie Articles, Good Food | No Comments »

Regardless of the weather I always find that I just enjoy lighter food in the summer months. It may be simple conditioning or it could be my body wanting to shed all that was packed into it in the cold winter. For me this time of year always calls for lighter meals and with the abundance of salad vegetables around there is plenty to choose from. However as a meat and fish eater I have no intention of eating like a rabbit and sometimes find it hard to get my head around making salads exciting. Warm Chicken Salad with Cashew Nut and Mango Dressing

Like everything it is only a matter of application. Once you take the time to think about it a myriad of possibilities enter the picture. You will find yourself looking forward to dinner and not just putting up with a little limp lettuce and a hard half of tomato with lashings of mayonnaise and fooling your brain into thinking you are eating something healthy and tasty. Ireland has really grown up when it comes to salad. No longer are we confined to potato salad with slices of cold corned beef, ham or chicken always accompanied by that limp lettuce and the hard halved tomato as mentioned above. Today we have great choice and taste. Crunchy romaine lettuce, soft lambs leaf lettuce, rocket and spinach leaves are all tasty alternatives in the green department. I am currently addicted to rocket leaves, and not just rocket, but a mixture of rocket and fresh coriander; it is nothing short of a revelation. You no longer have to put up with those un-ripened tomatoes that ricocheted around the plate when you tried to stab them with a fork; today the choice is immense. Choose from tiny baby tomatoes, delicious tomatoes on the vine, ordinary tomatoes or even sun dried are all readily available. Avocados, celery, red, white and green onions, peppers of every hue and an abundance of nuts and seeds have all transformed the humble salad into a plate of natural goodness that can be enjoyed rather than endured.  James Whelan Butchers Pork Belly

When it comes to meat I really want to encourage you to try cuts of hot meat with a decent salad and not just as a side dish; actually replace the spuds and cooked vegetables with something lighter. For a handy weekday meal try grilled pork chops with avocado and melon. Warm chicken salad couldn’t be easier and chicken works particularly well in the classic Caesar Salad, warm or cold. You can also try topping the meat with salad and this works particularly well with steak and rocket leaves. Indeed a good steak, rocket, homemade salsa and a baguette gives you the chance to create a hearty steak sandwich. Topping cuts of meat with salad is seen as particularly ‘chefy’ looking and it’s a style that is quite popular at the minute in food magazines and restaurants. Make sure you let grilled meats stand for about five minutes before topping with any salad mixture and serving.

Skewers of grilled meat and fish also work really well on a bed of leaves and salad vegetables. You can add a Mediterranean feel by incorporating some fruit such as slices of orange or lemon. Don’t forget the old combination of apples, raisins and celery is still tasty today. There are also plenty of pickles and chutneys you can make ahead and add for taste value such as pickled cucumber which I eat with just about everything at this time of year or beetroot.

Cheese is another great addition to a salad. Greek feta cheese, grated parmesan or some grated cheddar can elevate the taste. Some people like to add a little knob of butter to a steak but why not substitute it for a little knob of cream cheese and lettuce leaves or the classic stilton cheese with a little rocket on the top. Indeed a goat’s cheese, tomato and ham tartlet topped with rocket and coriander is a terrific starter.

Try my delicious Beetroot, Jerusalem Artichoke and Skirt Steak Salad with Toasted Hazelnuts and Mixed Leaves, Tarragon Dressing

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The JWB Wagyu Journey

Posted on Friday, April 21st, 2023 by Mandy in Foodie Articles, Good Food | No Comments »

Mother Nature is a great teacher. When it comes to growing and rearing food, the laws of sowing and reaping, of getting your hands dirty, adding time, waiting, and then waiting some more for a successful outcome, is a good analogy for life in general. Despite our love of instant gratification, Nature refuses to bow down and, regardless of how fast we want something, remains beautifully consistent.

If we want real and authentic over artificial and synthetic, there can be no compromise a lesson brought home to me as I consider my herd of Wagyu. What started as a project has become a passion.

The story started when I discovered Wagyu beef on a visit to Japan in 2008.The trip was organized by Bord Bia, whose staff have always been a huge help to me. They encourage innovation and have created an environment that helps food producers to step outside their comfort zone. They have encouraged me to look at my business and consider ways in which I can add value in unexpected areas. Their innovation programme gets Irish farmers and food producers behind the scenes and connects them with owner-managers and producers around the world. The level of access that they can facilitate is very impressive.

The term ‘Wagyu’ refers to several different breeds of cattle, some of which are like Angus in that they were also bred for working.Wa means ‘Japan’, and gyu means ‘cow’ –so Wagyu means ‘cow of Japan’. Kobe is the region of Japan where some of the specific bloodlines of Wagyu are bred; it’s the equivalent of Tipperary in Ireland. The terms Wagyu and Kobe are often used interchangeably.

In Japan, I was very taken with how the Japanese eat meat; their attitude is reverential. They buy meat by the gram and eat it boiled in oil rather than fried. Meat with a high fat score is greatly sought after – the higher the fat content, the better the meat. Wagyu cattle have a natural capacity to develop concentrated intramuscular marbling, a tendency that can be exaggerated with diet and husbandry. Because of the marbling, Wagyu meat is incredibly succulent. It has a buttery, more generous taste than other beef, and the fat melts at room temperature. Wagyu beef is sometimes referred to as the foie gras of beef and is much sought after as a culinary delicacy. The fat is mono-unsaturated and has the capacity to break down bad HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol – another of the reasons why it is so revered by the Japanese.

Having had the Wagyu experience in Japan, I returned home to Clonmel wanting to bring Wagyu to my shop and my customers. However, the idea of importing beef from Japan didn’t sit easily with my home-grown, local food ethos, which I believe in as strongly today as I always have. Our family business has been in existence for over forty years, and this ethos is without doubt one of the reasons for our longevity. What doesn’t come from my own farm comes from farmers I know personally. Being able to visit their farms and build relationships with them is an important pillar of what I do and who I am, and it enables me to stand over everything we sell. This would not be possible if we used a supplier from Japan – and that was before we even considered the financial cost. I had to find another way.

The prospect of starting a Wagyu herd in Ireland seemed like a bridge too far, but my interest had been piqued, and I joined the World Wagyu Association online. I discovered that some farmers in Australia were breeding Wagyu out to Angus (i.e. crossing them), with positive results. Given that I already had an intimate knowledge of the Angus, I began to feel that this was something I should explore further.

First, I studied the genetic structure and gene pool of both the Angus and the Wagyu, which are aesthetically very similar. It was quite exciting to think that by crossing the two breeds I would be able to grow on the Wagyu a little bigger to get the fat score right. In Japan, the cattle are reared indoors, massaged, and fed a by-product of sake manufacture; the alcohol enhances their appetite. I didn’t quite see how that would work in Garrentemple. But I discovered that in Australia they were using parallel farming methods to those that we use with the Angus cattle at home in Tipperary.

Then I went to Australia, where I saw Wagyu reared outdoors on grass, with an adjusted diet to encourage the development of intramuscular marbling. I could see that this could work in Ireland,where we have even better growing conditions, and I was excited by the prospect of trying to establish a foundation herd of Wagyu cattle at home. I think it was the potential to innovate, to create something new that would add value to the farm for generations, that really got me thinking.

Back in Ireland, I set about making the dream a reality. The first step was to cross the Wagyu with our own Angus. I deliberately sought out gene pools that promised a docile temperament, and animals that were naturally polled (without horns) and came to beef quickly. Our vet performed artificial insemination, using imported straws of Wagyu semen and our own female breeding stock, and we waited with bated breath for the first calves to be born nine months later.

The frame of the Angus is small, but Wagyu typically have a low birth weight and there were no calving problems. When they are born, the Wagyu look tiny, but they are very robust, come into their own quickly and grow fast. It was a very proud moment for me to see the first calves being born.

The next step was to breed full-blood Wagyu. We imported fertilised embryos from Japan, carefully chosen to avoid inbreeding, which is crucial in the foundation of a herd. The embryos were implanted into surrogates and 75% of that first batch took a very high rate. The foundations of the full-blood family that derives from those embryos comprise eleven different strains of blood in the pure Wagyu. It gives me a great sense of achievement when I see the names of their Japanese parents on the ear tags of Wagyu cattle born in Tipperary. As far as possible, I have tried to recreate the Wagyu’s natural environment at Garrentemple. The farm and the environment in which an animal is reared are as important as its breeding when it comes to producing quality beef. The pasture that the Wagyu graze in the shadow of the Comeragh Mountains, and the fact that the farm is eight hundred feet above sea level, simulates their natural habitat in Japan. We are still in the process of developing a foundation herd that will bring a regular supply of Wagyu beef to the Irish market. There is plenty of trial and error involved, but it’s exciting to be in at the start of something that I believe is truly special. Having visited many vineyards on my travels, I can compare the process to that of making a new, unique wine. For me, it’s an opportunity to develop something recognised as a world-class product in an Irish context, and to make a lasting contribution  something that will be sustainable for future generations.

The Wagyu represent a great deal to me, not least the lesson about time and patience. They are also a personal achievement and a testament to how ideals and values can be preserved without compromising progress.
 

Check out the full range of our premium Wagyu Beef

 

Our Top Tips for Barbecuing

Posted on Thursday, April 20th, 2023 by Pat Whelan in Foodie Articles, Good Food | No Comments »

Nothing says summer more than the sights and smells of people cooking and enjoying great food outdoors. We just love dusting off the BBQ and garden furniture – inviting friends and family round, creating great times in the back garden! Heaven!

We asked some of our team for their barbequing tips, from cooking the perfect steak on the barbeque to taking the hassle out of summer entertaining. We thought it would be nice to share some of these with you.

Use a Meat Thermometer

Cooking on a BBQ can be unpredictable and with cooking meat you can’t rely on appearance alone. A meat thermometer is a simple to use, low cost tool to keep you and your loved ones safe and is a fool proof way of cooking to perfection on the BBQ.

 

Then the next question – is how long do you cook meat for on the BBQ? For grilling times, depending on how you like your steak cooked, or what type of meat you are cooking, we found this useful BBQ guide on the Weber website.

For other tips on cooking meat safely, safefood has some great tips on their website.

Preparation

When barbequing you are also entertaining so try and get as much prep work out of the way as possible, so you have time to spend with your guests. Marinating food in advance, the night before is preferable. Prepare salads or even better pop into your local deli or supermarket which will take the fuss and extra work out of the BBQ. Stock up the night before, get your drinks trolley ready – or how about going with the latest trend, getting your pallet bar stocked – and don’t forget to fill the ice trays in the freezer!

Avoid Fridge Chill

Another great tip when cooking meat – take raw meat out of the fridge at least 20 minutes before barbecuing until it reaches room temperature. If the meat is too cold when it hits the grill it could burn on the outside before it’s cooked through. This is especially important with sausages, burgers, and chicken. It’s also important with steaks to ensure it’s cooked as you like it.

 

Use the Skills of Your Butcher

BBQing should be enjoyable, not something that creates extra work, so consider using the skills of your local butcher and leave the meat prep to the expert – often it can be better value as well! Think of the time you will save on chopping, threading skewers, making burgers from scratch or marinating chicken.

Also when people prepare BBQ food from scratch there is a tendency to over-purchase and most butchers, including our good selves have a wide range of delicious meats made especially for the BBQ. All of our BBQ Collection is available in our shops including our online shop, with delivery right to your door.

 

Take Your Time

Allow plenty of time for the food to cook. Traditionally barbecuing is not meant to be as fast as grilling, it is a slower, more leisurely process although gas barbecues are faster than conventional ones. When executed properly this is what gives it that great, unique taste. It is also quite a healthy option as most of the fat drips off and into the flames during cooking. If you think about it barbecues are the original health grills as little is added to create the flavour.

 

Final Piece of Advice

Our final piece of advice is to always, always, always go for the best ingredients you can afford. Top quality burgers will always taste better than cheap, poor quality steak. Buy the best you can afford, forget the barbecue snobbery that abounds and just enjoy having your family and friends around, to break bread together – something we have all been missing.

At the end of the day it really is one of life’s simplest but greatest pleasures.

 

Easter – A Time of Celebration & Change

Posted on Friday, April 7th, 2023 by Pat Whelan in Foodie Articles, Good Food, Occasions | No Comments »

Now that the days are getting longer and thankfully brighter, it’s a time of change. Those of us who are organised enough, might begin to resurrect summer wardrobes; we might bring fresh life to our gardens with new plants and flowers, and those of us passionate about great food might be looking for fresh inspiration with our food.

Easter is usually the time that we welcome lighter meals and seasonal favourites like fresh Spring Lamb.

Regular visitors to our blog know that we have lots of delicious Lamb recipes to choose from – and if you click here you will find a selection of our favourites – many of them so perfect for Springtime dining and entertaining.

 

Shoulder of Spring Lamb

Shoulder of Spring Lamb, a lesser known, but truly wonderful alternative to Leg of Lamb

There are so many ways to enjoy this seasonal treat. While traditionalists will already have a succulent Leg of Lamb on their Easter Shopping List, a lesser known, but truly wonderful alternative to this is Shoulder of Lamb. Cooked long and slow, it results in the most tender and juicy meat, perfect for a really special Easter get together.

 

Rack of Spring Lamb

Rack of Lamb, an Easter Classic, perfect to impress dinner party guests, yet so simple to prepare and serve

An Easter Classic and perfect for creating an impressive dinner party main course for friends and family is Rack of Lamb. Might look challenging to prepare, but we promise that a good butcher will do the hard work to make you look good! Chat to your local butcher who will prepare this beautiful piece of meat for you. All you have to do is sprinkle on some rosemary, salt and black pepper and pop into the oven.

 

Butterfly Leg of Lamb

Butterfly Leg of Lamb, one of our favourite ways to cook Lamb – either in the oven, or on the barbeque

Some people give their Barbeque its first outing of the year at Easter – and again, Spring Lamb is perfect meat for an Easter BBQ. Click here for one of our favourite Butterfly Leg of Lamb recipes which includes a delicious Tomato and Cucumber Salad. Our recipe gives instructions for cooking the lamb in the oven, but if you are firing up your barbeque, our friends in Bordbia recommend placing the lamb on a hot barbecue and cooking for 20/25 minutes approx. on each side over a medium heat.

 

Freerange Turkey Crown

Freerange Turkey Crown, perfect for Easter lunch or dinner, ready to pop into the oven

A firm favourite in our home on Easter Sunday is a succulent fresh Turkey Breast Roast. To spend more time with your family and friends, rather than in the kitchen, especially if the weather is nice – we suggest asking your butcher to roll and tie the meat, so it’s ready to pop into the oven. This way it’s much quicker to cook and even easier to carve.

With all of these very special meats, which are perfect for Spring or Easter roasts when you are entertaining friends and family, whether you are going with lamb, chicken or ham, here is a handy Roasting Guide that we have put together that might be of use.

 

Restaurant Quality Beef Wellington

A perfect Easter treat for two: JWB Beef Wellington – Handmade with prime aged Irish beef fillet, a restaurant quality meal at home with the minimum of fuss

At Easter some people treat themselves and their loved ones with Chocolate, our favourite treat for a special meal with a loved one is our signature Beef Wellington. This special hand prepared meal for two, is available exclusively to order online and collect at your nearest James Whelan Butchers shop. It serves two people generously and is made with prime aged Irish beef fillet, wrapped in a mushroom duxelles, buttery puff pastry with fresh herbs and sea salt.

The final piece of advice for entertaining or preparing a special meal for friends and family this Easter, is something you will have heard from us before. Keep things simple. For vegetables go with some seasonal favourites, like courgettes, asparagus, carrots, perhaps roasting in the oven towards the end of cooking time for the meat. Like everything we love at James Whelan Butchers – so simple, yet so full of flavour and goodness.

Happy Easter Everyone!

 

Bringing Home the Bacon this St Patrick’s Day

Posted on Friday, March 10th, 2023 by Pat Whelan in Good Food | No Comments »

St Patrick’s Day, a day when the world over celebrates Ireland and the Irish. Our politicians cleverly use the day as a great excuse to hop on a plane and connect in person with world leaders. In more recent years, it’s used as a platform to promote Irish tourism with Tourism Ireland organising some of the most iconic buildings in the world so go green for the day. And for the Irish at home and abroad, as well as the millions of people globally who love everything Irish, the day is a great excuse for parties and parades.

The day is also synonymous with Ireland’s traditional dish of Bacon & Cabbage. It’s just what we like at James Whelan Butchers, as it is honest, wholesome and hearty. It’s also so easy to prepare.

Our good friends in Bord Bia carried out a survey and found that 64% of Irish adults chose bacon and cabbage as the meal most synonymous with Ireland, with over 50% of those questions saying that they planned to tuck into some Bacon as part of their St Patrick’s Day celebrations.

We carried out our own survey with the JWB team, and wanted to share with you some produce that we love and that we love recommending to customers at this time of year.

 

Easy to Cook Bacon, Award Winning, Sunday Lunch Idea, Roast Bacon, Rack of Bacon

Number one most definitely would be our award winning Rack of Heritage Bacon. It’s cured on the bone with a distinctive flavour with a hint of smoky hickory undertones, with the bone bringing a certain sweetness to the meat. It’s ideal for a special St Patrick’s dinner for friends and family, looks delicious to carve at the table. It is so easy to cut and the meat is so soft and succulent.

Served simply with some flowery potatoes and cabbage. It’s a dish that will be remembered. No need for a sauce, but if you fancy pushing the boat out, in the link here we have a simple recipe for a delicious Mustard Sauce which is part of a recipe for Traditional Bacon and Cabbage, that we often share with customers.

 

Restaurant Quality Meal for Two, Dine at Home, Fresh Ingredients, Irish Bacon & Cabbage, Easy to Cook Bacon & Cabbage

For those who are time poor, but looking for something special to eat at home on St Patrick’s Day, we are getting really great feedback from our customers on our Pulled Sugar Pit Bacon Shank & Cabbage Pie, which is available in store or through our Local Delivery Service. The bacon comes slow cooked and served in a roasted garlic cream, Savoy cabbage and topped with the most delicious wholegrain mustard mash. The dish is part of our Dine at Home Collection, hand prepared in our kitchens and offering restaurant quality meals at home. Definitely one for people who have less time in the kitchen on St Patrick’s Day. It can be baked in its packaging which is 100% compostable – so even more green for the day that’s in it!!

 

Traditional Irish Breakfast, Breakfast Pack, Delicious Full Irish Breakfast

And to complete our Top Three of bacon ideas for Paddy’s Day, we always recommend a hearty traditional Irish breakfast. With our James Whelan Butchers Box, we make it nice and handy for our customers by putting some of our favourite breakfast produce together in a special box with Dry Cured Rashers, succulent Homemade Pork Sausages and of course our Black and White pudding. Just the perfect start to a perfect St Paddy’s Day.

 

Restaurant Quality Beef Wellington, Hand Prepared Easy to Cook Beef Wellington, Signature Dish, Prime Fillet Steak

And of course it would be remiss of us not to add another favourite of ours as a very special treat this St Patrick’s Long Weekend. Our handmade Beef Wellington, which only makes an appearance on very special occasions is now available to order through our Click & Collect Service. Originally introduced as a special Christmas Day Treat – the feedback was so strong that the team decided to introduce it as a special treat this Bank Holiday weekend. It comes oven ready in 100% compostable packaging and is Ideal for people who are time poor but who would like to create a wonderful restaurant quality meal for two in the comfort of their own home.

Bon Appetit – and from our family to yours – have a really great St Patrick’s Day, wherever you are!

James Whelan Butchers: A Fresh Start

Posted on Monday, January 23rd, 2023 by Pat Whelan in Foodie Articles | No Comments »

 

Every year I moot the idea of moving the New Year celebration to the start of spring which just seems a more natural home for new beginnings, rather than this no man’s land of the deep midwinter. Those fine resolutions we make don’t stand a proper chance in a bleak January and only the fittest and most well thought out will survive. By the middle of the first month most good intentions are lying frayed and shattered around our ankles while we wear that uneasy and very uncomfortable mantle of failure.

For me January is not about leaping off into a New Year with gusto and high aspirations. January is instead a time of thoughtful reflection, careful planning and looking forward to the start of the new upcoming season of rebirth; the spring, then I will really take action. January is about preparation, baby steps and trying out a few things that I might like to change in the coming year without a big noisy declaration of change. I also think that small adjustments and changes that perhaps don’t come with the fanfare of the bigger resolutions will get you further in the long run.

Lamb Hot Pot

Lamb Hot Pot

To that end I want to encourage everyone to change things up a little this month and cook with fresh and, where possible, local ingredients; real fruit and vegetables, raw meat, local cheeses and breads, homemade pickles and preserves. We have become slaves to convenience and have largely forgotten the simple therapeutic value of standing and peeling a carrot for the pot. The joy of cooking and preparing a simple home cooked meal has been lost in the fug of celebrity cooking shows. They often subliminally suggest that unless you have a state of the art kitchen, access to the Queen’s greengrocer and loads of friends that are continuously coming around to your house for food, then there’s not much point in doing anything other than bunging something in the microwave because it’s easy or opening another jar of ‘Hot Something Tonight’ sauce to pour over the dried up meat you’ve begrudgingly cooked.

I also think the New Year as it is calls for simplicity. The over indulgence and frothy frills of calorie laden Christmas delights always leave me hankering after stews and mash, bacon and cabbage or even light fish dishes. Just because they are considered ordinary doesn’t mean that we can’t elevate them to the extraordinary. Great quality beef, fresh vegetables, good quality stock and a homemade bouquet garni can make a simple casserole or stew into a dish fit for any established restaurant. Take any recipe and substitute in local, fresh ingredients and you will be quite surprised at the difference in the end result.

With the year and the weather quite fresh and the stale Christmas decorations down and giving way to a mini spring clean in most houses, it is a great time to dust off the cookery books and add some new recipes to the repertoire. I also think it is a good time for a store cupboard clearout. My family often enjoy the exotic around this time of year as I try to use up various herbs and spices that would otherwise spoil.

With sales everywhere it is a great time to invest in any kitchen equipment or tools that have been on your list. The slow cooker seems to be the gadget of the moment. The old fashioned crock pot or electric pot seems to be enjoying a renaissance this year. Obviously you need to be an organised soul to get the best out of a slow cooker, but once you get the hang of preparing a meal the night before or early in the morning you might enjoy the ease of work come dinner time. Slow cooking is also considered very healthy. Speaking of trying new ways of cooking another small change would be to try steaming rather than boiling or roasting vegetables.

Pressure Cooker

Pressure Cooker

Staying with a fresh theme is also about staying as closely as possible within the season. While we might be packing a few extra pounds after the festive excess, it is still winter and our food should be nourishing, warming and restorative. Chicken and beef broths with carrots, onions and celery served with chunks of warmed or toasted door steps of bread or hearty roasts of all kinds are always welcome. Sausages, pates, baked hams and smoked fish are good and make delightful additions and quick meals. Dried fruits and nuts are always in abundance at this time of year and it’s a great time for making your own marmalade with the influx of citrus fruits from Spain. There are still some fresh cranberries kicking around also, so grab them while you can for preserving and juicing.

Using fresh ingredients does not have to mean hardship or labour. Drop by the James Whelan Butchers website where there are videos, recipes and other sources of inspiration to get 2023 off to a great fresh start. Happy New Year.

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,  Avoca Rathcoole and Kilmacanogue, Dunnes Stores Cornelscourt, Rathmines, Swords, Leopardstown, Blanchardstown Naas, Tralee, Bandon Road, Cork, Jetland, Limerick . Sign up to our newsletter for more updates from James Whelan Butchers

Beef Wellington – The Perfect Alternative Christmas Day Dinner

Posted on Tuesday, November 22nd, 2022 by Pat Whelan in Foodie Articles, Good Food | No Comments »

Beef Wellington, Alternative Christmas Day Dinner, Ready to Cook Christmas Dinner, Oven Ready Christmas Dinner, Easy Cook Christmas Dinner

For people considering an alternative to the seasonal Turkey and Ham on Christmas Day, James Whelan Butchers are introducing a very special signature dish, Beef Wellington, which will be part of the now award winning Dine at Home Collection of restaurant quality meals for two.

Named after the man who crushed Napoleon at Waterloo, the very notion of preparing Beef Wellington casts fear into the hearts of the most competent of home cooks. However, this limited edition Beef Wellington is hand prepared and comes oven ready, needing the minimum of preparation time. Ideal for people looking for an easier approach to the most important meal of the year, simply pop it into a preheated oven at 200° C, for 25-35 minutes to achieve medium/rare – and rest for about 10 minutes before serving.

It serves two people generously, made with prime aged Irish beef fillet, wrapped in a mushroom duxelles, buttery puff pastry with fresh herbs and sea salt.

Like all of the Dine at Home dishes, it’s honest, simple, handmade from scratch using the freshest of ingredients, where you can taste the flavour and goodness that has gone into every single bite.

Available to order in one of our 12 stores nationwide or online through James Whelan Butchers seasonal Click & Collect service

James Whelan Butchers: Christmas Hampers

Posted on Tuesday, November 15th, 2022 by Pat Whelan in Good Food | No Comments »

Memorable Corporate Gifts with the Gift of Great Food

Giving the gift of great food we believe is the most thoughtful Corporate Gift.

At James Whelan Butchers we have so many ideas for corporate gifts, especially our collection of  Salt Aged Hampers, especially for the meat connoisseur featuring a variety of exceptional cuts of meat including Salt Aged Cote de Boeuf, Sharing T-bone Steak, Fillet Steak and new to James Whelan Butchers, Salt Aged 8 bone Rack of Lamb and Hannon’s famous and much sought after Sugar Pit Bacon Rack.

The reason these hampers make such great corporate gifts, for colleagues or clients is of course they are full to the brim of the most flavoursome artisan meat products, but they take the delivery hassle from you as all of the hampers can be delivered door to door with the minimum of fuss for you.

Here are some suggestions from us on really great corporate gift ideas.

 

The Works, featuring every Salt Aged Cut imaginable including the lesser known Guanciale, which is full of flavour and goodness. This hamper is for a perfect Christmas corporate gift for that really special client, friend or colleague who you know appreciates really great food – and who you would like to give the gift of an unforgettable Christmas present.

 

The Salt Aged Variety Box, which is a selection of our favourite cuts is another perfect Corporate Christmas gift – and guaranteed to give the receiver lots of memorable Christmas meals and well into the New Year.

 

Our Salt Aged Steak Box – is exactly what it says on the box! Packed full of Salt Aged Beef Steaks including T Bone, Sirloin, the much loved Rib Eye and the lesser known Picanha. Every single piece will be a joy to cook and enjoy! Christmas corporate gifting at it’s very best!

 

Another great favourite for corporate gifting is our Salt Aged Rack Box. A collection of mouthwatering sharing racks of meat. This Christmas may be different to all others, but it will still involve sharing great food with loved ones and this collection is perfect for just that.

 

Last Minute Corporate Gifts

 

We have the solution here as well for last minute corporate gifts.

Take our Beef Bonds for example.

A Beef Bond is a Certificate that entitles the holder to a share in one of our acclaimed Hereford or Angus Cattle. On maturity, you’re guaranteed a superb return on your investment – a selection of delicious cuts of prime Tipperary Beef. It can be ordered online on our website.

Each bondholder will receive a beautiful gift certificate as their guarantee, referencing the details of the specific animal it is linked to. On maturity, a variety box of beautiful cuts of meat including a selection of roast joints, steak cuts, braise/ slow cook cuts, and a selection of steak mince and steak burgers, all of which will be prepared by James Whelan’s artisan craft butchers and delivered to the bondholder anywhere in Ireland or the UK.

Final piece of advice about Corporate Gifts – try and place your order as soon as possible. Christmas is always a busy time, but this year it’s going to be even busier, as people want to make the festive season even more special. Remember you can order online on our website – or for multiple orders, please feel free to call us on (052) 618 2477 or email at info@jameswhelanbutchers.com – we can take the details, and get all of your corporate gifts of great meat delivered in time for Christmas.

 

World Steak Challenge

Posted on Wednesday, October 19th, 2022 by Pat Whelan in Foodie Articles, Good Food | No Comments »

       

Tipperary Butcher strikes Gold at The World Steak Challenge

James Whelan Butchers certainly lived up to their ‘world class’ ambitions on Wednesday night, achieving both Gold and Silver at the World Steak Challenge. Blind tested and tasted against 300 steaks, from 25 different countries, spreading across four continents, their Tipperary home grown beef excelled in its field!

Pat Whelan, CEO is immensely proud of the JWB team. Pat says ‘not only does it show our Artisan Butchers are skilled craftspeople around meat, they are also a good judge of livestock. The animal was selected by our Head Butcher, David Culley in Clonmel, ably assisted by our farm manager Tony based on its outstanding confirmation. The animal was born, reared and slaughtered on our farm in Garrentemple, Clonmel. We are delighted both David and Tony have been recognised on the world stage, as best in their craft‘.

James Whelan Butchers award winning steaks are available at James Whelan Butchers shops in Oakville Shopping Centre Clonmel, Dunnes Stores Cornelscourt, Swan Rathmines, Blanchardstown, Swords Pavillions, Bishopstown Court, Tralee, Leopardstown, and Avoca Rathcoole and Kilmacanogue along with the online shop www.jameswhelanbutchers.com

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