In a rather excellent blog post CHOW put into words something I have thought for a long time. The use of words gets corrupted by marketeers without any thought for the original meaning. For pretty much most of this, I agree with what they say. There are a few realities that need checking here though:


Local should mean just that. Not from the same country not from within 200 miles but SOURCED on your doorstep. Sourcing does not mean buying, its about where the food comes from. We can track most of our ingredients to within a dozen miles or just over from us. Some come from the coast, but we BUY those locally from our fish guy.

Hand whatever

Here the focus is on various claims about hand made, hand produced etc. I can get into the frustration of home-cooked or hand prepared to indicate that the food was not made on on site, just cooked and unpacked. Hand made should be made by hand.


This is one term that gets abused not in use but from interpretation. Organic does not indicate a better product or better sourcing, but tends to show this. We buy in fish from trawlers and game from shooters, so organic cannot evn enter the vocabulary we would use on our labelling. When we hand cure, hand smoke and hand package our smoked pigeon we cannot say it’s organic. The wood pigeon in question has probably been on several farmers land before shot, so know one would know if organic crops were being munched on.

When large brands use words without discrimination, do the words lose their meaning or are the producers who try and do the right thing get their point across? How can the “cream” be described as natural when it has multiple ingredients and only two of them are dairy.


This was the runner up entry in the recipe competition that Brown and Green ran over the summer.

Adam Whittaker’s Staffordshire Huntsman’s Pie uses premium quality Staffordshire ingredients to make a rich pie which certainly has the ‘wow factor’ – perfect for a family special occasion, and ideal when the preparation is also shared and enjoyed together.

Prep time: 1 hour plus. Cooking: 1.5-2 hours. Serves 6-8

For the filling:
250g smoked venison
250g smoked pigeon breast
1 bottle of beer
250g washed potatoes
250g parsnips
250g carrots
2 table spoons beetroot chutney

For the water pastry crust:
450g plain flour
2 table spoons caster sugar
1 free range egg. lightly beaten
100g cheddar style cheese, grated
200ml water
60g butter
100g lard

For the bacon jam:
500g smoked bacon
4 cloves garlic
tabasco, to taste
1 medium onion
3 table spoons brown sugar
1 cup freshly brewed coffee
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup honey

To make the bacon jam:
1. Fry the bacon in batches until lightly browned, cut into small peices
2. Fry chopped onion and garlic in the bacon fat on medium heat
3. Transfer bacon, garlic and onion to a heavy based pan, and add remaining ingredients
4. simmer for approx 1.5 hours, adding a cup of water every 20 mins
5. Cool slightly, then blend till finely textured

To make the filling:
1. In a little oil fry chopped venison and pigeon till browned
2. Add chutney to the pan and simmer
3. Boil all vegetables and mash together
4. Add 3/4 bottle of beer to the meat and chutney mixture, simmer until alcohol cooks off
5. Remove meat mixture from pan, and deglaze with remaining beer
6. Allow to rest

To make the pastry:
1. Mix flour and sugar together
2. In a well in the centre pour egg
3. Put lard, water and butter in a pan, heat gently till fat has melted and water boils
4. Pour mixture into the flour, stirring, till it forms a dough. Add grated cheese.
5. Knead until smooth, then roll.
6. Line a buttered baking tin/pie dish with the pastry, reserving enough for the lid

Putting the pie together:
1. Alternate a layer of meat mixture, and a layer of mash – 2 layers of each in the dish
2. Top with a thin layer of bacon jam
3. Pour over remaining liquid from deglazing pan
4. Top with pastry lid
5. Brush lid with beaten egg, and pierce several hols in the pastry lid
6. Bake at 180 degress celsius for 1.5 – 2 hours
7. Test if done by using a knife inserted into the centre, blade should be hot, pastry should be golden brown
8. Serve hot or cold, with a choice of salad or vegetables

Adam recommends….

…the following Staffordshire ingredients for his recipe, all available from Brown and Green at Trentham Estate

Staffordshire Fine Foods smoked venison and smoked pigeon, Lymestone Brewery beer, Kitchen’s at Horsley Beetroot and Cracked Black Pepper chutney, Hasbean Indonesian Java coffee, Staffordshire honey, Bertelin Staffordshire cheese.

Many thanks to Susie at the team at Brown and Green for running the competition and for allowing us to reprint the recipe.




Brown snd Green


Those lovely folks at Brown and Green have invited us along to showcase our smoked range.

Fresh out this month are 3 new items to the product line:

Cold smoked hake
Hot smoked pigeon breast
Hot smoked duck breast

This  is on top of the smoked salmon and venison that we have made since opening.

If you are in or around Derby Garden Centre, please come along and say hello.


Coffee as compost


I have to admit to being partial to coffee, a strong espresso usually starts my day. After all the grinding and steaming, there is are the grounds left behind in the machine. These get knocked out into a drawer underneath and left there until it gets full. The question is what to do with these next? Most of the time, this is left until bin day and treated as refuse.  There is good news, which even the big coffee shops are taking action on, it can be recycled.

Apparently worms also enjoy coffee and adding a cup a week to your wormery is supposed to be good for the output. You can also use it directly in your compost heap as a green. The daughter in law of one of the old boys in the village collects bags of grounds from her local coffee shop and fertilises her lawn with it. I got to thinking about how we could use our coffee waste and this morning all the herbs outside the house got a top dressing. This is rich in nitrogen, so should produce some good results. (Green) Fingers crossed.


We will be doing a tasting session on our hot pie range from 11 – 4. Featured will be the steak and stilton pie and the chicken, chorizo and sweet pepper pie. As well, we are launching three new smoked products and they will be at both Brown and Green sites. On top of our smoked salmon and venison, we will be producing duck breast, pigeon breast and hake.

If you are at Trentham Gardens on Saturday, come in and say hello

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