Get out and celebrate your local butcher today


The meat counter at Dickies, my local butcher


Today marks the end of National Butchers Week and, given that it’s Sunday, then perhaps it’s time to visit your local butcher and get the Sunday roast in.

If you’re lucky enough to have a butcher then they are something to treasure and make the most of. My best choice of local butchers is Dickies at Plungar, which has been a great addition to the local area.

Like any great butchers, Rich knows where the meat came from, how it lived, and how it died. Beef is well aged, and about as far away from supermarket beef as you can get. I love that he has the more unusual cuts, so things like picanha steaks, onglet and skirt.


Picanha steak from Dickies


If you don’t know how to cook it, then ask and he’ll give you a good idea. If you don’t know what something is, then ask. If you know what you want to cook then Rich will let you know what he recommends. And if you only want to spend so much, then he’ll let you know what’s best value for your money.

That to me makes the perfect butchers. The fact that they serve great bacon and sausage rolls, make a very decent cup of coffee and have great bread and pastries from Hambleton Bakery.

If you have a butchers, then please do what you can to support them. They are treasures that you need to make the most of, not just this week, but in every week. I’m a great believer in eating less meat, but better quality, with great provenance, and your butcher will hopefully provide you with that.

I forgot, the other thing Rich also provides is a great line in chat. Don’t go in if you want to not interact with a human. Go to the supermarket for that. Stay and chat a while, you’ll be amazed what you might learn.


Time to get busy on the pie front


Celebrate British Pie week by getting making your own at home

This is one of our favourite weeks, British Pie Week. The British Pie awards were judged yesterday just up the road from us in Melton Mowbray, and there’ll be a chicken and mushroom pie featuring soon on the menu here.

Are you all set for pie making? These would be my essentials.

Silicone mat for pastry rolling out

Professional silicone pastry mat

Ok, until I had one of these I never thought this was an essential. Now I have one, I wouldn’t give it up. It makes it easy in terms of not sticking, but also for rolling out to the right size. It doesn’t take up much space, can also be used for things like chocolate and tuiles, so I think it makes a good addition to any kitchen.

An adjustable rolling pin


Adjustable rolling pin from Joseph Joseph

So, once you’ve made getting the right size of pastry sorted, then there’s also the thickness. I’ve often still worked with a pound coin at the side to check, but this clever rolling pin definitely takes a lot of the guesswork out of it. I love that Joseph Joseph continue to think about how to make things just that little bit easier.

A conversation-stopper of a pie funnel


Rooster pie funnel for pie perfection


There’s nothing like the sight of a fabulous, steaming pie heading to the table, and especially when there’s an interesting pie funnel in the middle of it. I’d like a set of these animal ones for different kinds of pie, so rooster for our immediate plans, but there are cows and lambs as well, not to mention apples and other fruit.

A great set of tins


Simple Simon Pie Moulds

Who says that it has to be all about one big pie? Although that is never a bad thing, I really love this set of tins from Simple Simon for making a set of small raised pies. It’s a clever adaptable bit of kit in terms of size, and definitely useful for if everyone likes a different filling, or for making pies for a fabulous buffet spread.

A beautiful pie dish


Fluted stoneware deep pie dish


I’ve always been in two minds about ceramic dishes. You certainly need to work a bit harder to avoid a soggy bottom, but when you’ve got that cracked then there are so many beautiful dishes around. I really like this fluted stoneware one from Nom Living. A beautiful dish for a wonderful pie.

Five things to make at home pie making a little easier, or a little more stylish. Although if I don’t get round to making a pie, then maybe it’s time for another order from Bray’s Cottage. Still our favourite pork pie maker bar none.