A Sustainable Life with James Strawbridge - June
PUBLISHED: 16:09 18 May 2011 | UPDATED: 19:24 20 February 2013
In his regular series, eco-celebrity James Strawbridge shows Cornwall Life how to make 'Cornish' chorizo and where to buy other great local produce
In his regular series, eco-celebrity James Strawbridge shows Cornwall Life how to make Cornish chorizo and where to buy other great local produce
When most people think of Cornwall they picture the frame. Relaxing next to the fishing ports and the beaches, enjoying the rugged cliffs and roller-coaster walks, with gorse bushes, lighthouses and a horizon full of sea. I first visited Cornwall years ago on a surfing holiday an experience shared by many fairweather tourists. I spent so long looking towards the waves and checking the tides, that I overlooked what lay inland.
This month I want to write about my village. It is typical of Cornish villages with a thriving community that exists without a sea view. The local area is primarily agricultural and it is a great contrast to the fish and chips, postcard-image of our county.
Support local butchers
Many villages around the county still have a local butcher but sadly, with the rise of supermarkets, the number of traditional suppliers has reduced. Generally, butchers are far more likely to use locally supplied meat rather than importing it great distances. You will also find that a large proportion of them will process various cuts of meat on site. This guarantees quality ingredients and really good tasting food. I live in Tywardreath, and one of the main factors that influenced our family decision to move here six years ago was the fact that there was a local butcher and a pub. We got incredibly lucky because Charles Harris just so happens to make award-winning sausages I think that he still supplies Rick Steins restaurant in Padstow but we dont need that seal of approval to know how tasty they are!
I would class myself as an amateur butcher. I enjoy using the livestock that we keep to select our own favourite cuts of meat and make our own sausages. The great thing about a butcher is that they are always helpful if you have questions about their profession. Chris, at my butchers, is always answering odd questions on everything from hogs casings to the right cut of beef for making pastrami! My eco-advice is to support your local butcher and enjoy good quality meat. Rather than buying cheaper, mass-produced sausages, where the animals may not have had the best living conditions, I prefer eating local meat slightly less often. If youre in the area, rather than stocking up for those summer BBQs in a massive crowded meat factory, why not come and visit a well-kept secret, a traditional, quiet village, with some great produce.
Another aspect of Cornwall that I think speaks wonders for sustainability is the booze. The environmental impact of beer can be huge. Consider the volume of chemicals, fuel emissions, packaging and waste from a giant lager factory on the other side of Europe. The footprint of a bottle of cold beer isnt something to feel bad about but there is the chance to feel good about supporting local business by buying a Cornish pint. My local pub won a sustainability award for running its business with energy efficiency and trying out green technologies. The pub looks completely normal, even better than normal, because Steve, the landlord, takes such pride in its history and keeping it looking smart, but it is using eco-options to reduce the bills. This goes hand-in-hand with selling a range of Cornish drinks. The New Inn, like many other successful pubs in Cornwall, sells locally produced brew, real ales, lagers and excellent cider.
I mentioned my passion for butchery. I rear pigs, ducks, geese, turkeys and chickens and enjoy eating all of them at stages throughout the year. Taking responsibility for your own meat means that food miles are measured in yards and you know all about the animals welfare. Even if you dont have any livestock you can still enjoy producing some culinary delicacies.
I recently made a batch of chorizo sausages with casings and some pork that I bought from the butchers. The process is really fun and the end result is delicious.
8lbs pork meat
2lbs pork fat
4 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp fennel seeds
A bulb of garlic, chopped
I cup of red wine
1 Mince 8lbs of pork meat and roughly chop 2lbs of pork fat into -inch cubes. Then weigh it and add 2% of the total weight in salt.
2 Add 4 tbsp smoked paprika, 1 tbsp fennel seeds, a bulb of chopped garlic and a cup of red wine.
3 Mix thoroughly and then fill the casings with sausage meat. This is really easy to do with a sausage machine but equally as fun with a funnel. Tie the end of the salamis with string and hang in a well-ventilated, dry area for eight weeks.
The salt cures the chorizo, so you can eat it raw, but it is very tasty cooked as a Cornish tapas dish. Heat the chopped chorizo in a dry pan to release the oil and then cook with two-three peeled garlic cloves, 1 tbsp honey and 1 tbsp red wine vinegar.