This week we're celebrating pastured pigs, tucking into warm, rich Cassoulet, relaying a customer's story about how to eat like a Queen on a budget (aka The Food Life of a Sommerlad Chicken) feeling smug about our collection of Malfroys Gold honey and cogitating on food and community.
The last time we made Cassoulet kits, a customer wrote to us saying nice things about the Cassoulet, but she also said this: 'There’s something intangible but rather lovely about the idea that many other households might well be sharing the same meal at the same time.'
Which we loved and it got us thinking about how food can be such a wonderful way of binding and strengthening communities, large and small, the more diverse the better. The more we reclaim knowledge and share ideas, the stronger, more tolerant and open-minded we become. We're no different from the networked communities of microbes, fungi, plants, insects and animals on the farms we work with - the more closely we're connected, the more healthy and resilient we are.
So, in the spirit of sharing knowledge and building community, we've set up a facebook group called Friends of Feather and Bone. We'd love you to post photos of the food you cook, your recipes for eating the whole animal, your successes, your failures, your concerns and anything that you think will improve our collective understanding and make the rest of us weep with laughter. Any useful tips on taming feral children, preferably food-related, are also welcome.
Right, time to coo over pastured piglets and brazenly spruik our wares...
Let's start with a celebration of pasture raised pigs.
Yesterday, Christoph and Annie at Wallendbeen Park sent us these photos of the newest additions to the farm. There are few things cuter than tiny piglets so we'll take any excuse to feature them, but what's really interesting is the nest of Eucalypt branches and twigs that their nursing mum made for the birth, bits of which you can see in the photo below. It's always fascinating to see the nests that sows build when they're given free range to express their instincts, often ignoring the materials that the well-meaning farmer might have provided for the purpose. I'd be very interested to know if the pregnant sows on large, Free Range-certified pig farms are genuinely free to use natural materials to construct their own nests in which to farrow. Certainly these farms don't offer up photos like these and they keep their gates tightly shut to the likes of you and me, so we may never know what really happens on a Free Range farm.
~ Winners take home pasture-raised pork
Congratulations to Rosie and Alba, the July winners of our Year of the Pastured Piggiveaway who will each soon be tucking into some lovely, free pastured pork belly and racks. Will you be one of the August winners?
Serves 4-6 people, usually with left-overs.
A nurturing, one-pot wonder of organic Borlotti beans, confit pastured duck marylands, smoked ham hock, lamb chops, Toulouse sausages, duck stock and herbs. Order your Cassoulet kit
Cassoulet is easy to make but it's one of those dishes that feels a bit overwhelming - who has Dorper lamb chops, Toulouse sausages, pasture-raised duck stock and confit pasture-raised duck legs waiting in the larder? Well, now that you mention it... We’ve put together a DIY kit that makes cooking Cassoulet a doddle and will comfortably feed four to six people. All you have to do is follow the instructions, add a can of tomatoes, some carrots, fresh parsley, plenty of wine (for drinking) and an appreciative audience.
We would all love to see your Cassoulet photos so please post them for us all to drool over on the Friends of Feather and Bone facebook page.
The next story - Eat Like a Queen on a Budget - comes from a Sommerlad chicken fan and is the most wonderful example of celebratory frugality we've seen in ages. We'll be encouraging her to add it to the Friends of Feather and Bone facebook page tout suite...
Poule au pot, image by Moya Brenn
How to eat like a Queen on a budget
The story below was shared by Kerrie, a customer, on our Feather and Bone facebook page and it's an expert example of how to simultaneously support regenerative farming, eat the best-quality food and still balance your domestic food budget. Kerrie's food life of a Sommerlad chook 'You may hesitate to pay $60 for a chook, but what a chook it is! On Friday I pot simmered it. I put the chook in a pot covered with cold water, brought it to the boil, put the lid on, turned off the heat and left it for an hour. The most juicy, delicious chicken meat is tpulled off the bone and then 2.5 litres of very light stock is poured off. Half goes in the freezer, the other half is used for a simple paella.
All the bones & carcass is then put into the remaining light stock, simmered for about 2 hours, strained and then put in a cold fridge where the most beautiful, clean chicken fat collects on the top. This fat is carefully scraped off and kept to use for roasting potatoes. The chicken stock is used with roast tomatoes and basil to make a soup.
So how many meals do we have from the whole chook?
Well, 4 days of chicken meat, 2 days worth of paella, one day of chips, 2 days of tomato soup and another 2 days of pumpkin soup made with the remaining chicken fat in the pan and the remaining chicken stock in the fridge. And there is still the chicken stock in the freezer!'
If Kerrie's post inspires you, order your Sommerlad chicken now!
You might also be interested in the Poule au Pot recipe which yields a fragrant broth for starters, a nutritious main meal and then leaves plenty of stock and left-over meat for chicken salads or sandwiches and soup or risotto.
Smug. Which one first?
Malfroys Gold Wild Honey
I get a distinctly unhealthy sense of desperation when our Malfroys Gold honey stocks run low and it's not just because we use it all the time in our marinades and glaze. At the moment, I'm feeling smug and very happy and calm because we're loaded to the gills with booty and, if you don't buy it all up first, I can have my pick. My current favourites are Post Brood (indescribably rich, creamy and complex) and Red Stringybark (spicy, earthy and toffee-like), but I'm embarrassingly loose with my favours. I'll happily tuck into any of them. Find out more and order your honey.
YEAR OF THE PASTURED PIG ~ PORK GIVEAWAY!
To celebrate The Year of the Pastured Pig, for six months from May to October we're giving away one sixth of a whole, NSW pastured pig. Buy a Feather and Bone box to be in the running to win.
We'll draw the August winners on 1 September.
The more boxes you buy the better your chances. Go for it!
BUTCHERY HOURS Tuesday to Friday: 10.00 am ~ 5.00 pm
Saturday: 8.00 am ~ 4.00 pm Parking
If you're planning to come by car, please park in front of Feather and Bone, Unit 8. If there's no room in front of our place, please park on the street just outside the front gate. We and our neighbours thank you for your consideration.
CHEW THE FAT Read our blog for stories from the farms, produce and event news, ruminations on value and trust, a few dodgy jokes and the occasional rant about food labelling. Sometimes we talk about our pets - chickens, children, dog.