Monthly Archives: April 2010

Dripping cake

Well,  after my earlier blog about dripping and with a Monday off work, it was time to make something with my delicious dripping …. so dripping cake it was.

It is a old traditional English cake and uses dripping instead of butter and eggs. My thinking is that as dripping obtained from a beef roast, it is therefore a by-product of a roast and much cheaper than butter and eggs and once upon a time more common. So a clever spark one day used it and came up with dripping cake or drippers as sometimes called. The cake recipe is very easy and is lovely. So here goes ….


  • 150g brown sugar
  • 90g dripping
  • 225g wholemeal flour
  • 225g water
  • 1 big handful of raisins
  • half a small handful of flaked almonds
  • 1 pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 0.5 tsp of bicarb soda

Step 1
Melt the sugar, dripping and water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 mins. Preheat the oven to 180.

Step 2
Sieve the flour, make a well add the dried stuff, then add the dripping mixture.

Step 3
Mix well.

Step 4
Line a loaf tin, add the mixture.

Step 5
Bake for 40 mins or until a knife comes out clean. Then allow to cool on a wire rack and enjoy with butter or clotted cream.

Charlie the Butcher.


T bone

The summer is on its way to South East London, the barbecues are being dusted down and B & Q stores are piled high to the ceiling with them. But the question on people’s lips in the butchers shop in the past couple of weeks has been “What’s the best on the bone steak for the BBQ mate ?”.

Well you have a number of on the bone steak options :

  • Sirloin (I have already written about this cut …. click on Beef in my side bar)
  • Dorchester Rib
  • Fillet
  • T bone steak

….. and this time it is the T bone steak that I’m going to do a little research into.

Well, it contains both the sirloin (strip loin …. left hand side of the vertical bone in my photo above) and the fillet (tenderloin …. right hand side of the vertical bone in my photo above). For the preparation of a T bone joint, firstly the butcher will remove the rump with the fillet head left on the rump and the wing rib taken off. Leaving you the T bone joint. It’s at this point that the desired size of steak can be cut.

But why the name T bone you may ask ? It is because the steak is cut across the joint and appears to be two bones, both of which when they are cut through look like the letter  T. The cut itself  is actually just one bone which is called the Lumbar Vertebra which has been cut through.

History shows that the T bone has been around since the early 19th century. One shady story talks about the steak being born at the Porter House Hotel in Massachusetts, USA. Some steak fans can swear that the T bone ticks all of the boxes with the sirloin and fillet both present in a steak and the buttery fat covering on the sirloin.  But my favourite cuts are the rib eye and the rump, but the jury is still out.

I’m going to let you into a little secret of mine, I’ve cut hundreds of T bone steaks in my life but I’ve never actually had one. The reason being I’m waiting for the first days trading of my own butchers shop and as a reward for the hard work that is going to be my celebration meal. Fingers crossed this happens one day, and it is before the comb over hair and beer belly!

Charlie the Butcher.

Beef dripping

I remember years ago telling my old boss that I was leaving my job and heading up to Leeds to train to be a butcher. He was very supportive and helpful about it, but told me a great story about how his Grandma used to make him “dripping on toast.”  This was one of his fondest memories of his Grandma.

I love how people have stories about meat, normally it’s that steak they had on holiday or the famous three bird roast their mate cooked them. But the stories are always told with great excitement.

So with beef dripping normally chucked away by unaware domestic chefs or often overlooked in butchers shops and supermarkets it’s time spread the love for the “dripping.”

So what is beef dripping ?  You may ask ? Well…………

Basically it i the animal fats that has been running off your roasting joint – either pork or beef – which will also have the brownish looking jelly that lurks on the bottom of your roasting tin. When solidified the lovely brown jelly will form a succulent layer on the surface of your dripping.

It is also a key part in a number of great cooking methods. The classic fish and chips are traditionally fried in dripping as the pure refined dripping has a high smoke point of 280.C and a longer frying life then normal frying oils ……. And who can forget ‘dripping cake’ which is really a type of bread with ingredients that include dripping, flour, brown sugar, spices, currents and raisins.

But it is the “mucky fat sandwich” as dripping on toast is called in Yorkshire that I’m particularly interested in. It is easy, cheap and filling. with just three main ingredients ….. dripping, bread and sea salt. Toast the bread, spread the dripping and add a pinch or two of salt. Job done and the results are great. I like to use a thickly cut white bloomer and Maldon sea salt. But some could say that’s taking to the next level, but that’s me.

The most common brand of beef dripping in the UK is called Britannia Dripping and sold in 500g packs. Highgrove Fine Foods also sell a 500g pack or if you are lucky you may just find it at your local butchers or deli.

Keep a close eye out for my home based dripping adventures.

Charlie the Butcher.

Marrow Bone

Well, marrow bone ?

Yes, it is becoming increasingly popular on restaurant menus. It’s the trade mark dish at the great St Johns Restaurant in London which serves “Roast Marrow with Parsley Salad” and at Mark Hix’s Oyster and Chop House they sell a “Hanger Steak (onglet) with Baked Marrow Bone”. Also one of my favourite steak houses, Hawksmoor in London, use it in their burgers.

I love it as it adds small chunks of rich goodness. It adds a rich deep flavour to accompany meaty, hearty dishes and it is cheap –  we sell it at £4 a kilo.

But what is marrow?

Well it’s a flexible tissue found in the interior of bones. We source it from bovines especially calves. It is the marrow from the femur (thigh) bone that is commonly used for eating and prized among gourmets.

But it’s not just trendy London restaurants that use it. Around the globe a wide range of different cooking cultures use it. The Vietnamese prize beef bone as the soup base for their national staple “Pho”.  Indians use slow-cooked marrow as the main ingredient of the “Nalli Nihari”. That’s not forgetting the classic “Osso Bucco”.

But I like to roast a piece of marrow with sea salt, prize it out and serve on crispy white toast. But what about the health part, surely it is packed full of fat ?  Well a study presented at the Indiana University showed “Historically, native American hunters would pass up a thin bison carcass, rather than eat lean muscle… or just eat the fatty bits. This is also one reason why bone marrow is a very popular food among foragers — a great source of lipids & kcal.”

So next time you are at the butchers ask for a marrow bone, roast it and have it on toast or try this recipe at home.

Charlie the Butcher.