Japanese Knotweed Is Threatening Our Beef Supply!

Have you ever wondered how an innocent plant could stop a steak from reaching a happy customer?

Well such a thing is happening today all over the country. Beef farm from all over the UK are currently under threat from a new siege threatening to halt their processes and significantly reduce the value of their land. But what is Japanese knotweed and how is one plant having such an impact on our agriculture industry? To answer these questions we have to travel all the way back to the Victorian era, when adventurous horticulturists were setting forth across the globe to discover all manner of plant life and put them to work in any way possible.

If we want to blame one man for bringing Japanese knotweed to UK shores, then the blame rests on a German horticulturist Philipp von Siebold. Siebold owned a nursery in Holland which sent an unsolicited box of plants to Botanical Gardens Kew in 1850, four years later the plant surfaced at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh, albeit under the guise of another name (Polygonum sieboldii). Botanists and amateur gardeners alike marvelled at this plant’s fast growing nature and soon nurseries all over England were selling this exotic new plant. Gardeners, being a friendly bunch, happily shared cuttings and those who began struggling with the plant’s unwieldy root system simply dug it out and discarded it. Thus Japanese knotweed was dispersed throughout the UK, but it wasn’t until the late 20th century that the government clocked onto how damaging the it could be to the ecosystem.

Left to it’s own devices, Japanese knotweed will happily multiply, creating huge swathes of dense foliage during the summer which stretch over 6 foot tall. The broad shield-shaped leaves that are typical for the plant are more than capable at their job, sucking up valuable sunshine that would otherwise make its way down to the ground. River banks, roadsides and gardens which harbour the plant are soon overgrown with the stuff simply because the organism is so ruthlessly greedy. Compound this greed with an alarming rate of growth (10 cm a day) and its persistent ‘rhizome’ root system (which has a nasty knack of sinking its teeth up to 4 metres into the ground) and you have a particularly aggressive plant that is best dealt with as soon as it is discovered.

The government has taken great lengths to outlaw Japanese knotweed, but regardless of the legal implications of Japanese knotweed cultivation, the plant continues to thrive and hamper the good work of farmers up and down the country.

Despite it being illegal to transport any soil containing a fragment of knotweed, gardeners regularly attempt to do so, often choosing to fly-tip their unwanted plant matter on farmland where it finds new roots and creates an expensive problem for honest working men who already have too much on their plate. Which brings us to the issues that are facing Cornish beef farmers today.

Farmers from all over the county are now reporting unprecedented amount of knotweed infestations which are costing them money and stopping them from producing the beef that we need to put on our plates.

A True Winter Warmer: British Beef Slow-Cooker Stew

Get this Winter classic in your belly!

In the grip of yet another brisk Winter, we thought we’d dig out a firecracker of a Winter Warmer which has been specifically designed to fill your belly with a wholesome feeling of utter contentment.

St. Ives Beef is at the heart of this classic British dish which also makes use of seasonal vegetables and herbs, making for a nutritious Brexit-proof meal that is guaranteed to put a smile on the face of even the most staunch Remain campaigner.

Our recommendation for the cut of Beef is largely dependent on your budget. If you’re cooking for a large crowd then we recommend buying in a large brisket joint, you’ll be able to get a massive amount of meat without breaking the bank, but the meal will take longer to cook. If you’ve got cash to burn then you can splash out on a premium roasting joint which will cook much quicker and provide you with moist tender meat. Buying Cornish St. Ives beef guarantees you high-quality meat that has been treated well during it’s life, you’ll get a better flavour and you’ll also be supporting independent farmers!

The key to making this meal a crowd-pleaser is to give it as much time as possible to stew away in the pot. Most of these ingredients can be picked up from a local farmer’s markets, so you can make a wholesome meal that completely supports Britain’s farmers:

Ingredients:

1 onion, chopped
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
3 carrots, halved and cut into chunks
2 bay leaves
1/2 pack thyme
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 beef stock cubes
900g St. Ives braising beef
2 tsp cornflour
1/2 bunch parsley

Method:

Heat a tbsp of oil in large pan over a low heat and soften the onion and celery for 5 mins. Then add the carrot, bay and thyme, fry for 2 mins before stirring in the puree, Worcestershire sauce and 600ml boiling. Give this a good stir before tipping into your slow cooker. Crumble over your stock cubes and stir them in.

Give your pan a wipe and then brown off your beef in a tbsp of oil, you may need to do this in batches. Once your beef is well browned you can add this to your slow cooker, making sure the meat is well coated in the sauce before leaving to slow cook on low for 8-10 hours.

Before you finish off your Stew you’ll want to prepare any accoutrements that you’ll be serving it with, so now is the time to do your potatoes or boil your greens. When you’re good to go mix the corn flour with a few splashes of water to make a paste and then mix in to your stew to thicken up the gravy. Stir in the parsley, season to taste and then serve with your sides!…

Five Food & Drink Festivals in Cornwall

The Food and Drink Festival is well and truly coming it’s own these days…

Although the majority of the big Food Festivals might well have already passed us by…

The warm Indian Summers that we regularly receive here in Cornwall mean that we still have a packed slate to guide us through September and October.

So, don’t think that Summer is a thing of the past; take a trip down to Cornwall for one of these major foodie events and extend your summer for that extra bit longer!

The 12th Duloe Ale & Cider Festival – Saturday 16th September 2017 – Duloe, nr Looe

A local festival that welcomes people from across the country; all proceeds from this event will be donated to charities, large and small. 18 real ales will be present for thirsty punters to enjoy, as well as very local cider from Cornish Orchards and even Prosecco for those who fancy some! Live music will be provided by Tez & The Suits, The Wireless and more. The £5 ticket will get you entry, a pint glass and your first pint.

Universal Cookery and Food Festival 2017 – Wednesday 20th September 2017 – Padstow

Established in 2012 by three members of the Craft Guild of Chefs, this Festival is as much an opportunity to try new food as it is a glimpse into the future of the food industry. There’s a healthy mix of things to do at this roaming festival which this year makes it’s home at the nearby town of Padstow. Paying tribute to our county’s speciality in fish, the festival’s speakers this year will be showing off their takes on the classic surf’n’turf combination. Tickets do come at a high price – £120 on the door.

Great Cornish Food Festival – Friday 22nd-24th September 2017 – Lemon Quay, Truro

Truro once more hosts one of Cornwall’s most popular food festivals at the end of this month. Over 70 food and drink exhibitors will be crowding Lemon Quay this year which will feature a Cornish drinks bar, live cooking challenges and a street market selling handheld food that is sure to get your taste buds singing! There really is no excuse to miss this year’s festival as, once more, it’s absolutely free to explore the entire festival site – the only thing you’ll need money for is parking and the food…

Oktoberfest Truro – Friday 6th-7th October 2017 – Lemon Quay, Truro

There have been many attempts to bring the Oktoberfest phenomenon from Germany over to the UK, but few have done it as successfully as the people behind Truro’s premier German food and drink festival. The Lemon Quay will play host this year to loads of excellent beers and food, expect to see lederhosen a-plenty and a veritable army of students making the most of the 2-pint steins. Entry is strictly for over 18s only and tickets cost a very reasonable £13.20 in advance.

Falmouth Oyster Festival – Thursday 12th-15th October – Events Square, Falmouth

Although they say that Oysters are an acquired taste, that hasn’t stopped this very niche festival going from strength to strength. The festivities take place at the start of the oyster dredging season, bringing hundreds of people from across the country to taste the freshest of produce. Each year is kicked off by a masterclass from a celebrity chef, followed by demonstrations from some of the finest chefs in the county. In addition to cracking food there’s also live music and real ale. The festival is free to enter and not to be missed.…

Scottish Cattle: Cornish Beef

Here in St. Ives we are passionate about our beef – come visit us and you’ll soon find out!

There may be some excellent varieties of cattle that are indigenous to Cornwall, but we all know that the very best beef always has its origins in Scotland.

That’s why many farmers from the region make the long trip up to the other end of the country, to source the very best of cattle for their ever growing herds. In many ways the polar ends of the British mainland, Scotland’s Highlands and St. Ives, share a lot in common. Both are held in high esteem thanks to the naturally beautiful landscapes that surround them and completely unique takes on cuisine that can’t be found anywhere else in the United Kingdom.

There has been a long standing tradition for Cornish Farmers, when selecting Cattle in Scotland, to stay in the area for a few days. With plenty of luxury lodges in Scotland to choose from, who can blame them? So when it comes time for the farmers and the cattle hands to take holidays of their own, they always know that they’ll be welcome in the guesthouses and B’n’Bs of Cornwall.

Millions of people visit Cornwall every year and thousands of those people choose St. Ives as their destination. Other than being famed for its award-winning attractions, gorgeous coastline and traditionally excellent hospitality; St. Ives is also a great place to find excellent food.

Thanks to a steady year round tourist season, restaurants for every taste have been popping up for the last 10 years, the result? A thriving culinary scene with some of the best food – and the best beef – on offer.

When you’re on holiday in Cornwall, there’s no time to think about your waist line – indulgence is the aim of the game. Head to these renowned eateries to try the very best of Scottish origin, Cornish bred beef:

Pengenna Pasties

No trip to Cornwall is complete without munching on the favoured lunchtime snack of the tin miners of yore and Pengenna Pasties is the place to buy them from. Pengenna have been producing home-made traditional pasties from original family recipes for the last 30 years. They pride themselves on hiring young people from the community, making it a truly local business.

Take a perch on the iconic harbour and hang your legs over the undulating waves whilst you chow down on sumptuous chuck steak, seasoned and cooked to perfection with a medley of vegetables and butter pastry.

Gurnard’s Head

A winner of multiple awards in The Good Pub Guide, this rustic Gastro pub is an Instagrammers delight. Fresh, seasonal food is prepared to an extremely high standard in the pub’s quirky red and blue restaurant with one of the highlights being the excellent Rump of Beef, served with hispi cabbage, salsa verde and baba ganoush.

Set halfway between St. Ives and the neighbouring town of St. Just, you can either take the car or enjoy a stunning coastal walk to build up your appetite (and your thirst!).

The Cornish Deli

If you find yourself enjoying what Cornish Beef has to offer, then take some back home with you! The aptly names Cornish Deli sells award-winning locally sourced charcuterie in addition to doubling as an excellent cafe/bar. If its early in the day, grab a cuppa and a scone to power you through to lunch.

If you’re looking for something with a bit more heft, try their excellent Thin-Sliced Beef Sandwich with a cool glass of Tribute, a classic Cornish-brewed ale.

Tips and Tricks On Turning Your Beef Into Wellington

Treat Your Beef With The Respect It Deserves.

A classic British recipe, named after the first Duke of Wellington, who triumphed over the famous War General, Napoleon Bonaparte. Although Arthur Wellesley, as he was known before he received his title, was not particularly interested in food (much to his chef’s despair) – the dish was created for him in his honour at some point during the 19th Century to celebrate his great victory over the French. 

free-range-whole-beef-fillet-335-pAlthough historical recipes may vary greatly, there is a uniformly traditional way of forming the dish – which is now deemed to be one of the Great British Classics. Adopted around the world as a culinary speciality, it may seem like a tricky meal to create, but with the right techniques (and the best Cornish ingredients!) you can easily whip up this show stopper and impress your friends at your next big dinner party.

Before you even consider whipping up your pastry, press that little rewind button and have a think about where you’re getting your meat from.

happy-cowsBeef Wellington, at it’s heart, is British Cuisine at it’s most indulgent and explosive. The marriage of rich gravy, Madeira and duxelles is one made in heaven, but it’s still possible to make a hash of it.

The first error that most would-be chefs make, is investing in an inferior piece of meat. Of course, you could head to your nearest TESCO, you can pick up a kilo of decent quality beef fillet. This would normally put you back around £30 and would give you enough meat to feed 6, (along with sides to serve it with). But the age old adage with beef tends to be true: ‘You get what you pay for’.

This dish is a celebration meal, something that elevates a normal dinner party to banquet status. What’s the point in presenting a gorgeously baked Wellington, that only disappoints the diner when they take a bite?

This is your chance to really push the boat out. A decent butcher that sources his meat locally will cost you more dollar, but will almost certainly raise your Wellington’s fame. Fork out £40-50 for your beef and it will virtually cook itself.

A good quality Wellington only needs a handful of techniques to achieve success.

beef-wellington_13514Although purists will insist that all pastry should be hand-made, you can buy the pre-made stuff. It takes off one worrying chore for you and will leave you with more time to get the important stuff right; namely the duxelles and the wrapping process.

Your duxelles is the finely chopped mixture of mushroom, breadcrumbs and herbs that lines your steak and protects it from the heat of the oven. Recipes vary, but I would always recommend Rosemary with Beef. Using a mixture of mushrooms (grab some dried Porcini if you can) will also lend your Wellington a greater depth of flavour. If you’re really looking to plumb the depths of decadence then you can grab some truffle oil from a high-end delicatessen, pushing the cost up, but the flavour through the stratosphere.

Once everything’s wrapped up and put in the oven, you can make a start on whatever sides you care to serve. A sharp, but sweet, red cabbage always goes well, just make sure that your Wellington remains the star of the show and you don’t try and overcrowd the plate. 

Respect your Beef: Make Wellington.

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Put Your Beef In The Oven

I’m a well travelled man. I think I know a lot of stuff that there is to know about a lot of things, I’m not often made to look the fool when I get into conversation and most of the time people learn something when I talk to them because I’m very knowledgeable about things. It is about things that I doth know a lot. But sometimes you get very surprised by a thing that you didn’t know and that happened very recently when I watched the above video and found out that Italians also have beef.

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I know! It wasn’t so much that I thought that Italians didn’t have beef, it is more that I didn’t explicitly know that they did have beef so as you could imagine, I was pretty shocked and surprised by what had happened. It’s always surprising when your whole life is turned upside down by a new piece of information. That is, I’m sure you’ll agree. always surprising.
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But there we go. And they cook it just like us! Personally, I prefer to cook my beef in the oven. ‘Oven every time’ I always say, if it makes sense in the context of the conversation I’m having. I cook a lot using my oven and though it was beautiful when it first got installed it gets pretty filthy, and I cook with such juicy juiciness that the juices can really jam the whole thing up (hence my current employment of an oven cleaning service, which my darling wife thinks is insane) but I say there’s a bright side to all of this…

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I remember being an impoverished student type person in a house where no-one ever cleaned anything, the pots and pans ended up thick with cooking remnants. It meant that it was impossible to cook something tasteless. Impossible! And I reckon the same happens with my oven now. What do you reckon?…

Keeping The Cows Warm

Cows are just like humans with bigger heads and like us they want to keep warm! Cows hate the cold, they really really hate it they do. If you go up to a cold cow and try and have some fun with her you’ll find that she won’t be nearly as receptive to your approaches as normal, and sometimes will reject you all together with a stamp of her hoof and a flick of her tail!Emma-Moody-MAIN_1762693a

That’s an angry cow!

Cows get very cold in the winter and you need to heat them if they are going to survive! So on farms across the land farmers are working to try to keep those cows nice and comfy warm. This can be a very expensive process. If you imagine how much you might spend on heating your home in the winter, and then take into consideration just how much bigger a cow is than a person, and then consider that a cow farmer probably has far more cows in his cow farm than you have people in your people farm (or ‘family’) and then consider that you can’t just tell a cow to put more layers on, you’re looking at a lot of heat needed for a lot of cows!

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Here at St Ives Beef we recommend using some sort of wood pellet burning system. Wood pellets can be bought at a very cheap price or on some farms could potentially be made out of waste from other processes on the farm. Wood pellets are a waste material of many agricultural and wood production processes, some of which may take place on many of the cow farms up and down the country. Through using wood pellets you could heat your poor cows all winter at a snip of the expense that you may be paying now and could have been paying for many years. So why not get working on it now? Wood Pellets are the future for warm cows my friends, that’s a St Ives Beef guarantee!…

Cook Beef

Despite many complaints from many people a lot of us beef eaters like to cook our beef. ‘What?!’ people say ‘Cooking it! What the helling frick! Why the gosh would you cook all the good stuff out of the beef pile! I like my beef to still be walking around so that I can go and rip chunks out of it with my teeth’ and you have to be like ‘Alright! Don’t ruin another Sunday mum!’.

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MUMS RIGHT? I mean, what are they on about? We all love of our mums of course, of course we love our mums, of course we love them, our mums, you pretty much have to! You’re a bad person if you don’t love you’re mum. Because they’re your mum and they matter because they are, well, they’re your mum. What if the mum was cruel? Or what if, more likely, she never really loved you apart from as an extension to herself, as a thing that needed her and wanted her and validated her feeling and experiences by virtue of caring about them. What ever happens, are you allowed to just not love them?

Any way, beef. I’ve been thinking a lot about how to cook beef and I have very good reason ok so shut up and listen. I’ve just gone and got myself new kitchen, I started out with new appliances, quite an amazing oven, quite a beautiful kitchen sofa:

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We picked up some great kitchen wall unit carcasses on the cheap to set us on the way for some fantastic kitchen units and cupboards and things. And now we are ready, oh we are ready, oh we are ready to cook beef! So the real question that I have is simple: what’s the best way to cook beef? I mean, what’s your favourite? Send your answers on some sort of internet post card.

 

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St La

Saint la of Cornwall, so the legend goes, travelled to the shore of her native Island with the plan to depart with many other saints to travel to England by way of Cornwall. Upon reaching the shore however she found the other saints had left her. Distraught, as she feared that she would be far too young to make such a perilous journey alone, she fell to her knees and began to pray. She pray’d as we all do in such a situation: she prayed hard. As she was praying she gazed into the water, into the water she now feared she would not be able to cross, and she saw a leaf floating in the water. In a moment of inquisitive brilliance, she poked it with a stick. That’s what counted for inquisitive brilliance those days: ‘What’s that? I’m going to poke it with a stick…’ Give that girl a saint hood! 

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‘And Jesus said: “Blessed be the curious, those who wish to understand. To those I say: go forth, and poke things with sticks, poke everything with a stick. Poke, Poke, Poke away. Pokey, pokey, poke and poke. Oh look, a dead dog, come everyone let us go and poke it with a stick then”‘ 

The Bible

Upon poking the stick the wise St la said ‘oh look, it floats!’ Then she looked at the leaf, and watched as it started to grow. It grew bigger, and bigger, and then bigger again! It got so big that she could step out onto it and float across the sea. This was a gift from god! A message from god! A miricle from god! St la looked to the heavens and called ‘God!’ God smiled and looked down on St la ‘Yes La’ he bellowed ‘My pokey stick is wet!’ ‘hmmmm?’ ‘My pokey stick got wet and no ones here’ ‘Yes St la, but, ummmm, what about that leaf’ ‘yes the leaf of course!’ ‘Yes St la, the leaf!’ ‘God! Through the divine wisdom you have blessed me with I can tell you this: This leaf is different to the other ones!’ Eventually, realising that this wasn’t going to be as easy as he had hoped, God pushed St la on to the leaf boat, and she floated to Cornwall…

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She came to Cornwall, arriving before the other saints, here she died on on her burial spot was built the church of St la, which makes the centre piece of our town: St Ives. We remember her today, as we remember her everyday: Here’s to you, St La.…