Category Archives: Health

Meat Vs Meat, Real Vs Unreal ?

The news has brought two meaty stories that seem to coming from different perspectives … you be the judge.

In one story from this week it is reported that the world’s first hamburger made with a synthetic meat protein derived from bovine stem cells will be publicly consumed this October after being prepared by a celebrity chef, according to the inventor of the artificial mince.

Mmmmm .... looking good

Heston Blumenthal is the favourite to be asked to cook the £207,000 hamburger, which will be made from 3,000 strips of synthetic meat protein grown in fermentation vats. Dr Mark Post, of Maastricht University in the Netherlands, said the anonymous backer of his research project had not yet decided who would get to eat the world’s most expensive hamburger, which will unveiled at a ceremony in Maastricht.

Dr Post told the American Association for the Advancement of Science that a hamburger made from artificial beef protein was a milestone in the development of novel ways to meet the global demand for meat, which is expected to double by 2050.

“In October we’re going to provide a ‘proof of concept’ showing that with in vitro culture methods that are pretty classical we can make a product out of stem cells that looks like, and hopefully taste like, meat,” Dr Post said.

“The target goal is to make a hamburger and for that we need to grow 3,000 pieces of this muscle and a couple of hundred pieces of fat tissue. As long as it’s a patty the size of a regular hamburger, I’m happy with it,” he said.

A handful of researchers has been working for the past six years on the technical problem of extracting stem cells from bovine muscle, culturing them in the laboratory and turning them into strips of muscle fibres that can be minced together with synthetic fat cells into an edible product.

The technical challenges have included giving the meat a pinkish colour and the right texture for cooking and eating, as well as ensuring that it feels and tastes like real meat.

Dr Post admitted to being nervous about the final result. “I am a little worried, but seeing and tasting is believing,” he said.

At the same time, in another story, a prize bull called Fabio has set a world record at auction. The pedigree Limousin was expected to fetch £40,000 at the cattle market in Carlisle, Cumbria but went for £126,000 beating the previuos record by £21,000.


Glyn Vaughan who bred Fabio at his farm in Machynlleth, Powys, said “When it hit £80,000, I hoped it woud reach £100,00. I’m not sure I remember what happened after that. It was unreal.”

The winning bid by Alan Jenkinson of Penrith, set a world record for a Limousin and a British record for a Bull.

Agricultural experts say the new owner will quickly recoup the money for the 17 month old bull through breeding. Mr Vaughan said “He’s a big fellow but very docile.  I’m sorry to see him go, but delighted he made so much money.”

Charlie the butcher


Its that goose time of year

Around this tme last year I was suggesting that you might want to think about having a goose instead of a turkey for your Christmas dinner. Have a peek here to see what I was on about.

It seems that many people are taking the idea more seriously with more people choosing a goose for Christmas – the age-old tradition, natural open-air lifestyle of the goose and succulent flavour are appealing qualities.

Families often choose a goose for the first time – and find that cooking is much easier than they’d realised. There’s also the bonus of goose fat, so cherished by top chefs, for perfect roast potatoes and parsnips.
The British Goose Producers have created a new recipe leaflet available from their producers, farm shops and butchers, or by contacting British Goose Producers.

A recent independent ADAS study on goose meat has found that the real fat content of goose meat today is much lower than the general figures quoted in the traditional nutritional textbooks. Aagain the British Goose Producers have published five helpful hints for cooking and serving goose.

For much more information from the British Goose Producers take a look here.

If all else fails you could follow Gordon Ramsey’s spicey goose recipe.

Charlie the butcher

Game On

The game season is here and your local butcher’s shop should be stocked up with all things gamey.

You can click on my ‘game‘ sidebar to get information on some of my favourite recipes and to see how to skin a rabbit, or click on the ‘game calender‘ to see what is about and when.

As well as the flavour and value for money here’s why we should all go wild for game …..

Venison contains about half the calories of a chicken breast per portion and also a third of that in pork or beef loin. It also has one of the highest iron contents of any meat (2.4mg per 100g) – almost twice that of beef and two and a half times spinach.  One portion of venison would provide more than quarter of the recommended daily iron intake.

Rabbit contains a third more protein than chicken, 30g per 100g compared with 21g per 100g. But be careful out there, survival experts talk about ‘rabbit starvation’ to describe the fate that befell those forced to live on only this wild meat which contains virtually no fat at only 10% compared with pork at 45% and turkey at 20%. Without any fat or carbohydrate the body can’t metabolise the protein properly so make sure that you eat it with some lovely potatoes and greens.  Rabbit is also low in salt, 33% lower than chicken, and conatins 2.6g of phosphorus, a third of the RDA and 17mcg of selenium per 100g serving.

Quail is als a good choice if you are watching your fat intake, and again an all round more nutritious choice than chicken. 5g fat per 100g serving compared to 16g for a chicken breast.  It als has good quantities of niacin, iron, phosphorus, selenium and zinc.

Pheasant is one of the richest sources of protein with 41g per 100g serving compared with chicken or turkey (20-30g).  They are also rich in Vitamin B6 with a serving providing 0.74mg, just over a third of the RDA.  It is higher in iron than other fowl and also provides selenium and tryptophan.

Wood Pigeon is high in iron with one serving giving just over a quarter of the RDA,lean beef would give you arund a fifth.  It is also rich in Vitamin B3, niacin.
Charlie the Butcher

Panko scotch egg

I love scotch eggs. They bring back fond memories of my childhood at mate’s birthdays, motorway service stations and pub gardens in the summer. But it’s a very un-cool food to admit to liking. It is deep fried and not that healthy for you. But as a treat food you can’t beat them, and with the English summer here or around the corner it’s the ideal picnic snack or cricket tea filler.

What is it ?  and who first made them ?  well………………

With my usual detective hat on, my work is complete and my results are :

A scotch egg is simple. A hard-boiled egg with a sausage meat casing covered in breadcrumbs and deep fried.

History. Well it does have a nice little story behind it. Once upon a time at Fortnum and Mason in Picadilly, London they made the first scotch egg to sell in the amazing food hall they have there. For all the record books that was back in 1738.

There are a couple of different ways to make them some people use quail eggs, duck, goose or even an ostrich egg has been used. So get yourself an egg and make a scotch egg.


  • Five free range eggs
  • A pack Panko bread crumbs, the best crumbs to use, trust me.
  • Flour
  • One egg for coating
  • Sausage meat about 1kg
  • Smoked bacon bits 200g
  • Salt and pepper

Step 1
Take a pan of salted cold water and place the eggs in. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 9 minutes.

Step 2
Collect all the ingredients, sausage meat and bacon bits in a mixing bowl, egg wash in another, flour and panko crumbs in the others.

Step 3
Get the oil on, use a deep fat fryer and heat to 180.C

Step 4
Peel the eggs under cold running water.

Step 5
Flour the eggs, you do this so that the sausage meat does not stick to the egg.

Step 6
Wet your hands, it’s easier to control the sausage meat. Place the egg in your hand a work a sausage meat covering all around the egg, make sure you cover it all.

Step 7
Wash the egg with the egg wash.

Step 8
Rub on the panko bread crumbs, make sure you cover all of the egg. This is what gives the egg the crunch.

Step 9
Place into the oil, and cook for 9-10 minutes at 180.C

Step 10
Take out, let them cool down and enjoy with salad cream or bbq sauce.

Panko bread crumbs are available in any good Chinese supermarket. If you can’t find them pulse stale bread in the food mixer for a good homemade style crumb.


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.

Goat meat

Goat – Any of numerous agile, hollow-horned ruminants of the genus Capra, of the family Bovidae, closely related to the sheep, found native in rocky and mountainous regions of the Old World, and widely distributed in domesticated varieties.

Most butchers up and down the country will sell the usual beef, pork, lamb and poultry. A little game if you are lucky. But goat ……… ?

I was talking to a friend the other day over a beer about my travels in Melbourne. I then remembered the amazing curried goat I’d had there. This got me thinking about goat.

I’ve butchered goat a couple of times and it always flies off the block. It’s becoming a popular meat in the London restaurant scene with my favourite restaurant Magdalen using it and it is also not unheard of at St John’s. I’ve done my research about goat and it is believed to make up 80% of the total meat consumption in the world. Well, they are the oldest domesticated species, and can be used for meat, diary (cheese, milk and butter) and wool. A great dual purpose animal. Its flavour, carcase size and shape is commonly compared to lamb and mutton.

I find the flavour full and strong and dark in colour. It’s cheap and makes a wicked curry or stew. It was not easy to track down, I racked my food head and decided to head down to Deptford High Street as it has a wicked range of Caribbean/Asian butchers, fishmongers and veg shops. I picked up my diced leg on the bone from Lobo Butchers in Deptford High Street, London. It cost me £5.25 a kilo, bargain of the week.

So then it was back home and recipe testing a decent curried goat dish. I wanted to make it with common ingredients available in decent food shops and easy way to make, so I came up with this bad boy curry.


  • Cumin seeds
  • Fenugreek seeds
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Ground coriander
  • Cardamon pods
  • Ground ginger
  • Ground cinnamon
  • 1kg diced goat
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tomatoes chopped
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 diced sweet potato
  • 1 small egg plant
  • Corriander leaves
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 scotch bonnet chillies
  • Water

Serves 3 – 4.

Step 1
Get all the ingredients togther. I used 1 teaspoon of each of the spices. Dry fry the cumin seeds and then put all of the spices in a bowl.

Step 2
Season the goat, add the lime juice and half of the spice mix. Leave in the fridge all day.

Step 3
Heat some oil in a pan and brown the goat off.

Step 4
Put all of the browned goat into a curry pot and add all the other ingredients and cover with water.

Step 5
Bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer for 2 hours. Keep a close eye on the pot, more water might be needed.

Step 6
Serve with some rice and enjoy.

Charlie the Butcher.

The steaks are low

As a butcher people sometimes ask about red meat and cholesterol. It’s a important part of our lives staying fit and healthy and red meat can help in this. UK researchers have found eating red meat doesn’t raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol. In the study 1,152 people were tracked for a decade and those who ate 220g of red meat daily had the same cholesterol levels as those who only ate 30g per day. So you can now enjoy that steak even more.

Charlie the Butcher.