Food File: The weekly food news round-up
Madigan’s of Kilkenny’s gentle rosé veal; butchery in Avoca; slow-cooking tips
The Madigan family won an award for Compassion in World Farming for their Kilkenny rosé veal
Pat Whelan at James Whelan butcher’s shop in Avoca, Monkstown, Co Dublin. Photograph: Dave Meehan
The joys of a slow cooker: pulled pork
Kilkenny farmers reap rewards of compassion
Producers of rosé veal – the meat of young bulls that are a by-product of the dairy industry – have had to fight hard to make clear the difference between their humanely-raised product and milk-fed veal, which has been the subject of animal cruelty investigations in the past.
Now a Kilkenny farming family have won an award from Compassion in World Farming for their Kilkenny rosé veal, meat from six- to eight-month-old calves that is popular in the Netherlands, Germany, France and Italy. The Good Dairy Award recognises companies that produce and source eggs, meat and dairy produced to higher welfare standards.
The Madigan family have been farmers in Windgap, Co Kilkenny, for more than 300 years. The farm is now in the hands of Bill and Paul Madigan, along with Bill’s son Jack.
They spotted the potential in rosé veal and are now selling it to butchers in Kilkenny and Dublin. It has also featured on the menu in Campagne, Kilkenny city’s Michelin-starred restaurant and The Tannery restaurant in Dungarvan.
Marketing of this new product has just got underway and stockists are growing. For now, it is available in Grogan & Brown and Mullins Family Butchers in Kilkenny, and Lawlor’s Butchers (Rathmines), Fenelon’s Butchers (Stillorgan) and M&K Meats (Rathcoole). See madiganfamilyfarm.com
Time to get the knives out and get stuck in
When Pat Whelan of James Whelan Butchers (right) was designing his shops – they are in Avoca foodmarkets in Monkstown, Rathcoole and Kilmacanogue as well as his family shop in Clonmel – he had drama in mind. Rather than working behind closed doors, he wanted his craftsmen butchers to take centre stage and do their skilful work in full sight of customers, hence the carcasses on display and spotlit butcher counters.
If you’d like to learn more about the art of good butchery, there are demonstration classes at the Avoca, Rathcoole concession on Tuesdays, January 13th, 27th and February 10th, 6.30pm to 10pm. Knife skills, and pork and beef butchery will be demonstrated, and there will be an opportunity to try some of Pat’s famous pulled pork and a glass of wine.
The classes cost €99, which includes a copy of The Irish Beef Book, by Pat Whelan and Katy McGuinness, and a pork joint to practise your new skills on. You can book online at jameswhelanbutchers.com.
Take it slow in new ways
If, like me, you invested in a slow cooker this winter and have been turning out some decent stews and curries, often using very economical cuts of meat, but would like to do more with it, here is the answer. Slow Cooked: Miss South’s easy, thrifty and delicious recipes for slow cookers (published by Ebury, £14.99), is a collection of 200 dishes, some of which you’d never imagine you could produce in a slow cooker.
There are recipes for bread, cakes, puddings, jams and relishes, pulled pork (pictured below) – all cooked in that versatile crockpot that you previously thought only good for the predictable stews, curries and braises.
Miss South is one half of a Belfast-born brother and sister duo now living in London and in Calderdale in the foothills of the Pennines, who write a popular food blog, northsouthfood.com, that gets its name from their respective geographical locations. This is her first book and it’s a cracker.