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Winner of Channel 4's 'Come Dine With Me' (West London) 'Bronze' winner in professionally judged 'AA Home Cooking Competition 2009' Appointed resident cookery columnist for Foodepedia

Japanese Rice Risotto with Miso, Lemongrass and Scallops

Japanese Rice Risotto with Miso, Lemongrass and Scallops

Seasonal Penne Mediterraneo

Seasonal Penne Mediterraneo

Persian Split Pea, Dried Lime and Lamb Stew

Persian Split Pea, Dried Lime and Lamb Stew

Saturday, 12 September 2009


Very few supermarkets these days can be credited, in my humble opinion, with offering good quality, reasonably priced, honest and humble meat. Although there are still some good exceptions, by and large the majority are unable to deliver to anything other than your average cheap “Kill it and grill it” beef steak, which has not been aged, grass fed or taken care of in anyway. I, for one, am not the kind of person to plump for a steak that is fire engine red, sweating profusely in its plastic packaging and sitting it a pool of its own blood for days on end until some poor desperate soul decides to buy it. If you think its only cuts of meat that can be a problem, then you are wrong. Think about water logged cheap bacon and dodgy sausages that contain only 30% meat (what the hell is the other 70% made of???) not to mention burgers, chicken and so many other things that just make my skin crawl.

Enough lecturing now, because it really boils down to a choice that each one of us decide to make based on what suits ourselves and our household. Should we be trying to eat smaller quantities or cheaper (or ‘forgotten’) cuts of better quality meat instead or are we going to stick to cheaper, but lesser quality, processed meat produce? This is one of those arguments that divides the nation and will always do so. People argue that cost is a problem, but as “Oranges are not the only fruit” nor is Fillet steak the only meat! The decision is yours.

When was the last time you went to your local butcher? These days the butcher shop, unable to compete with supermarket ‘2 for 1’ deals and slashed prices, is being forced into virtual extinction. BUT the good news is that as we are becoming more aware of poor quality food, the demand for good quality is on the increase and butcher shops are coming back. Local butchers are still the best but some butcher shops, like the illustrious “Lidgates” of Notting Hill (what I like to call a ‘Boutique Butchery’) charge astronomical prices, although do provide top quality meat.

My favourite butcher shop in London for the last 7 years is located conveniently near my office and they do not overcharge at all. “Porterfords” butcher shop is tucked away on Watling Street EC4, right by Bow Church Lane. They are a good, old school butcher shop offering every cut of meat to satisfy your inner carnivore, with thoughtfully selected cuts of meat that have been either stuffed, marinated or trussed to make life easier for us all as well as some superb hot food that is ready to eat and attracts hoards of City traders and bankers every lunchtime. Offering everything from pies to kebabs and wonderfully traditional as well as the more exotic variety of sausages, no wonder it's one of the busiest places in the area at lunch time.

I popped in to Porterford’s on Friday last week, as ever, not knowing what on earth I was gonna come out with. After my usual 10 minute chat and catch up with the wonderfully charming and lovely chaps that work there, my eyes spied a sight that literally took my breath away. The most wonderfully bountiful array of sausages I had seen for quite some time, beckoned for me to take them home… Like puppies in a pet shop, one look and my heart melted. I knew I just had to take them home with me, although these little puppies were gonna end up in my tummy, with a healthy side of good old Colman’s English mustard. Opting for some of each variety, they carefully wrapped them individually for me, taking the time to label each little parcel of porky goodness especially for me. If that's not top notch customer service, then i don't know what is!

In the above image, clockwise from the top left, we have: Smoked chicken and shallot, Italian Salamini, Spicy Italian, Chicken with Lemon and Coriander, Duck and Orange, Lamb and Mint and Honey Roast Pork. Nothing but nothing reads as orgasmicly as this list for me. It’s what I like to call “Gastro-Porn”. I love sausages. They are so versatile and now with so many different varieties available, not only using classic pork, but game, poultry and more exotic beasts like Wild Boar, Venison, Ostrich etc, there is something to suit everyone so there really is no excuse not to be a bit adventurous and try something new.

I think we should be supporting our butchers and not just going in there and grabbing the usual cuts and leaving. Butchers are greatly overlooked these days, because most supermarkets stick a spotty teenager on the meat counter with next-to-no experience or knowledge of the stale produce he is selling. Real butchers, like my “Fabulous Butcher Boys” at Porterfords, are skilled, trained and experienced individuals who are masters in butchery and not just knowledge of the meat itself, but also what to do with it, which cuts are best for certain methods of cooking, as well as being able to recommend different cuts that are classed as “Forgotten” cuts, such as skirt steak, lamb neck, pigs cheeks and so much more beside. So I encourage you to stop and chat for a bit and ask these ‘Maestros of Meat’ for some advice on tips for saving money by choosing different cuts, learning which cooking method suits them best, but also listening to their Pearls of wisdom, when it comes to meat and all the wonderful produce that is available at your butchers shop today, that you may not know about. Just because it isn’t in the window, doesn’t mean it isn’t available. Ask your butcher, if you don’t see what you are looking for. Now is especially a great time for meat, with us being in the prime of Game season and the more robust Autumn meats like Venison coming forth, your regular trip to the supermarket should be preceded with a quick stop at the butchers.

Don’t have a good butcher near you? Why don’t you come and see mine? They are reasonably priced, experienced and friendly and offer lots of lovely produce to suit everyone. Visit the boys at:

Porterfords – 72 Watling Street, The City, London EC4M 9BJ (1 minute from Mansion House tube station) Tel: 020 7248 1396

Tell them Sabrina sent you!


  1. oh i love butchers and bakers, these sausages look great

  2. So true, given the ease of just tossing a couple pre-packaged meet trays in the trolley while at Marks & Spencer or Waitrose, one just forgets even the existence of butchers. And they are so good. I checked out your "fabulous porteford boys" yesterday while I was in the City. Very friendly folk. And good banter too. I came home with 2 partridges (and some sausages) after we had had a discussion on the merits of partridge versus grouse and how the latter's gaminess is not to everyone's taste. We ate them today after Mikayo cooked them with watercress and parsnips using a Daily Telegraph recipe she found on line. They were delicious. So I am going to go back and get the grouse and ask THEM for a recipe.  Meanwhile we still have the sausages to try. Looking forward to the guinea fowl ones!!