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Real Food Festival 2011 – What not to miss

This year’s show seemed much smaller and quieter than before. There are a lot less stalls and not very many people visiting. Maybe the weekend will be busier for them. If you are bringing kids they will like the baby buffaloes and also the baby lambs just behind their stall.

This is just a quick run down of which stalls and products I thought were interesting and not to miss. I didn’t include the stalls of people who were unfriendly and uninformed.

  • Cold pressed virgin Argan Oil for salad dressings. If you ask, they have the cosmetic version behind the counter for your face and is anti ageing.

This year are were 3 proper, 100% grass fed beef producers -

  • My friends at Hardiesmill were there with some new products, a beef sausage made with their own 100% pedigree Aberdeen Angus, which tastes very much like a pork one and scotch pie. They have also been commissioned by Scottish Lamb to make a product for this year’s Bocuse D’or, to encourage the consumption of lamb and they came up with “Lamb Wisps” which is a cured and smoked lamb.

Real Food Festival Hardiesmill

  • The two other farms with 100% grass fed beef are The Traditional Beef Company whose beef are processed at Laverstoke Farm and also the The Peradon Organic Farm from Devon. They have 50% Aberdeen Angus and some other breeds too. Jonathan’s family runs their farm and I was given a couple of their grass fed steaks to try. They had lovely marbling and the tell tale yellow fat that you get with grass fed beef. All these farms sell their beef from their online shops.
Real Food Festival Peradon Organic Farm

Jonathan of Peradon

 

  • Along the theme of meat, the Allens and Mayfair stall has butchery masterclasses 3 times a day.

At 1pm, there was a tweetup at Gower Cottage’s stand. It was more like a Tweet Mob but met a lot of other new tweet friends. Don’t miss their stand, say hi to Kate and make sure you taste her Brownies, very moist and delicious.

Real Food Festival Gower Cottage Brownies

The Tweetmob at Gower Cottage

  • At the Bordeaux Wines sponsored theatre, there are some other cooking masterclasses and we watched Richard Bertinet of Bertinet Kitchen make “French Pizza” and it was looked really easy. Richard is a very engaging and hilarious speaker. He needs to have his own TV show. (Video to come)

Real Food Festival Richard Bertinet of Bertinet Kitchen

  • To fuel my new bread making obession, I bought lots of stoneground flour from Marriage and also Dove’s Farm. Dove’s farm has a new wheat called Einkorn which is one of the original ancient wheats, developed during the neolithic stone age in the Fertile Crescent. This is an heirloom wheat grows in tall stalk with a two row seed head of very small grain. The heritage flour is a blend of spring wheat varieties which are over 100 years old.
  • Savoury Cheese Macarons – The ladies at Cafe On has an amazing selection of Macarons both sweet and savoury. @TheBoyWhoBakes pointed them out to me and was raving about their combinations of savoury macaron like fennel, champagne, szechuan peppercorn, paprika, charcoal, tomato, sakura. Pick a flavour and a cheese and try a new taste sensation.

Real Food Festival Savoury Macarons

  • The Pork Pie Wedding Cake

Real Food Festival Pork Pie Wedding Cake

 

 

 

 

In Search of Grass Fed Beef

Ever since I read these books about healthy eating (not the grass chomping sandal wearing type) and they all suggest that having more Omega 3 in your diet has loads of positive effects on your health including being anti inflammatory, which means it’s anti-ageing too.

Why do you need high levels of Omega 3 in your diet? Omega 3 oils are polyunsaturated fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). A diet high in Omega 3 oils has been shown to prevent and reduce cancerous tumours. You can get omega 3 from fish too but if you have to eat beef, by choosing grass fed, you will increase your Omega 3 intake and reduce Omega 6. Other foodstuff that has high Omega 3 is cold pressed rapeseed oil (not canola oil which is usually a GM crop) so I have swapped my cooking oils as well.

I have been slowly switching over to produce which is supposed to be healthier or higher in Omega 3. With a couple of close friends having cancer scares prompted me to read up more on the subject on how food is medicine too. This is very much inline with the Eastern Medicinal training that I’ve done. The books that most influenced me were:

Anticancer: A New Way of Life

Omega Rx Zone: The Miracle of the New High-dose Fish Oil

Why Grassfed Is Best!

Grass Fed Beef has a  Higher Omega 3 Content

I do like a nice hunk of rare meat.

Since I’ve learnt about grass fed beef, I have been looking out for them in supermarkets, food shows and butcher shops. Waitrose sells Aberdeen Angus meat at their meat counter and they have a nice little book that tells you who the farmers are. However, it doesn’t tell you what the animals were fed on. Recently, I asked the butcher who didn’t know and he called the buyer at head office and they had no clue either. A really poor show if you ask me. So I now buy meat from butchers who state very clearly whether the meat is grass fed or not.

Here is how to identify Grass Fed Beef, a few things to look out for

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=soMlXqKdkvI

Grass fed beef is more dense and it won’t fall over when it’s cut.

The marbling and fat should be ivory and not white

Grass fed beef will get gamey if it’s been hung for longer than28 days, 21 days is perfect.

Where to find grass fed beef producers in the UK

Hardiesmill is a farm in the Scotish Borders who produces top quality Aberdeen Angus Grass Fed only beef. Their herd is fed on grass only and they don’t fatten up their beef with grain like some producers, which takes about 6 months longer and results in meat that is more tender. Beef fed with grain will end up having higher levels of Omega 6, the colour of the fat will be white and will have a completely different flavour.

I met Robin Tuke at the Real Food Festival a few months ago. I was looking for a grass fed beef producers at the show and had a nice chat with Robin and his wife Alison. They won the SCOTLAND Food & Drink Excellence Awards 2008 & exhibited for Scotch Beef at Bocuse d’Or in Lyon 2009 and supplies the Orient Express.

Hardiesmill Grassfed Beef

I am off to visit the farm soon for the 10 Steak Experience where we get introduced the farm and get to taste 10 different cuts of steak. They do this once a month and details are on their website where you can buy their meat and pies too.

There are quite a grass fed producers who don’t finish their beef off with grain and I will add to the list here.

If you are a producer or know of any, do leave a comment below.

Updates: Some comments from readers:

Prunella_de_P

@SlowFoodKitchen Your site is very enjoyable (so much to explore). Re grass fed beef, find Wild Beef stall at Borough Market – excellent.