RECIPES OF THE MONTH

JULY 2024

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

JULY 2024

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES JULY 2024

After considerable and painstaking research we have unearthed the truth of the golden rule about restaurant food in Greece. Which is that if you order a pork chop it is always, but always, going to be bigger than the plate.

There is, indeed, no such thing as a small pork chop for the Greeks – a nation who delight in the consumption of hearty, well-flavoured food. Far from it: what we might regard here as a large pork chop to them represents a mere snack.

They need something further up the Beaufort scale. Their chops are thick cut and often – to use an appropriate phrase – go the whole hog, comprising a semi-circle of meat cut through the animal from the loin right round to the midpoint of the belly. Which is a lot.

As to what they are served on it is inevitable, by the time the chips and a token salad are added, that it is not going to be big enough so the meat will overhang the edge of your plate. And if they bring you your chop on what would pass here for a meat dish it will still be inadequate: the chop will merely be bigger in order to exceed the amount of space available.

If you can get past the barrier of food designed merely for tourists and served in waterfront restaurants you will find Greece possesses a great gastronomic heritage and a meat cookery repertoire which makes frequent yet subtle use of spices as a nod towards its Asia influences.

Sometimes there are surprises – one of them being that such hearty things as stifado should be served in summer at all. But they are never overpoweringly heavy and are just as enjoyable on a summer evening as on a chilly winter day.

Then there are the unusual and exciting flavour combinations, such as that of grilled meat and tzatziki which you’ll find in our first recipe. But plunge a chunk of perfectly-grilled chicken or pork into the yogurt-rich dip and you will discover how well they can work.

JANUARY 2023

JANUARY 2023

JANUARY 2023

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

JUNE 2024

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

JUNE 2024

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES JUNE 2024

Nothing quite sums up summer like the smell of food cooking on a barbecue – or the sound of rain hammering down and frantic footsteps as everyone retreats indoors.

But let us not be pessimistic. Let us not fret if the barbecue has been sitting in the garage rusting slowly for months.  Fine, warm weather is bound to arrive at some point and all the wind, the rain and the unseasonal temperatures that spring brought will be forgotten.

As regular customers will know we carry our own, extensive range of ready-prepared barbecue delights. Equally they will know that on occasions they prove so popular they nearly sell out.

But it’s always fun to experiment with new flavours and doing so when you have friends and family round to act as tasters is a good plan.

This month we are bringing a flavour of North Africa to the barbecue with a recipe for kebabs offering more than a hint of the way Moroccans grill their food. As in so many dishes from this region the seasonings may at first sight appear an odd combination. Indeed cinnamon and mint do appear to be unlikely companions but the Moroccans know what they are doing: they have been cooking with combinations such as this for centuries. The secret is in getting the balance right.

In fact cinnamon pops up in all kinds of meat dishes right around the Mediterranean fringes and on into Asia Minor and, of course, India. It was one of the most highly-prized of all the early traded spices precisely because of its versatility. For this recipe use the freshest you can find.

We’re also suggesting focaccia as an accompaniment to your kebabs: a ridiculously easy-to-make Italian bread whose high oil content not merely gives it a distinctive flavour but improves its keeping quality.

And for no real reason other than that it is a much-neglected, traditional food there’s a recipe, too, for lardy cake. Originally made in the pig-producing zones of southern Britain and the southwest but somewhat – and unjustly- out of fashion these days. The use of lard, you will discover, gives a particularly light texture.

JANUARY 2023

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

MAY 2024

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

MAY 2024

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES  MAY 2024

We were going to steer you towards some barbecue recipes this month but as the weather still hasn’t made up its mind if it’s February or November, we thought that might be rather inappropriate – though of course you will always find plenty of barbecue goodies on sale in the shop.

So instead for May we are turning our sights towards salmon, one of those foods our grandparents would have classed as a luxury but which, thanks to modern production methods, has been brought within everyone’s grasp.

More affordable though it is, however, a lot of people are still nervous -perhaps through unfamiliarity – about cooking it. So perhaps we can offer a reassuring word to the effect that salmon is not difficult either to prepare or to cook and in fact is one of the most versatile of all fish.

Perhaps that’s all down to its flavour, which puts it in a slightly higher league than a lot of its competitors. A distinct flavour, moreover, which means it will sing through all kinds of other ingredients which you may fancy placing with it – as this month’s recipes illustrate so well.

Its versatility also opens the doors to all kinds of treatments whether you grill it, cure it or tuck it into a quiche with some gently-steamed asparagus spears. But to celebrate this special, all-purpose fish here are ways of cooking it with ingredients you may never have considered using.

Any spare tapenade (named after the Provencal word for caper) can be kept in a jar in the fridge for a couple of weeks and is delicious spread on toasted slices of baguette.

JANUARY 2023

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

APRIL 2024

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

APRIL 2024

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES APRIL 2024

The word ‘iconic’ is getting to be one of the most overused in the language, to the point where it has lost much of its original impact.

But in the world of food there is at least one case where it can still be justified as a description, and that’s with the classic British pork pie.

Here’s an impressive, truly magnificent creation which has adorned supper tables for generations and earned its rightful place as a star in the country’s gastronomic repertoire.

Pork pies are closely associated with the Leicestershire town of Melton  Mowbray, where their production enjoys geographical protection. It’s thought they originated there  because from the 1700s onwards the area supported a large cheese-making industry (Melton Mowbray is the home of Stilton as well) yielding huge volumes of whey which could be fed to pigs.

It was also prime hunting country – and an enterprising butcher discovered that cooking pork in a durable (hot water) pastry crust yielded a  nourishing and portable lunch which would stand up to a day’s transporting across field, hedge and ditch without collapsing.

Certainly by the time Maria Rundell came to publish her New System of Domestic Cookery in 1807 the pork pie had become a kitchen staple – her readers were advised to make it with ‘bits of pork cut off when a hog is killed’.

On the basis that pork pies are every bit as delicious as they were more than two centuries ago and that the enjoyment in eating them more than rewards the effort involved in making them here’s a recipe which uses pork shoulder. It will result in either a centrepiece of a cold lunch when you have family around; as an unbeatable picnic ingredient; or just something to indulge yourself with, perhaps accompanied by some home-made chutney.

Pork shoulder is often looked on as the poor relation of pork leg but is possibly even more flavoursome and certainly very versatile, as these ideas demonstrate.

JANUARY 2023

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

MARCH 2024

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

MARCH 2024

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES MARCH 2024

With Easter in sight a lot of people’s minds will already be turning to lamb – a meat still firmly associated with this season of the year.

The good news is that there is, despite the weather, a fine crop of spring lambs this year with the eating quality well up to what you might expect with animals reared on some of the best grassland in Europe.

Certainly a better bet than what many Greeks will be sitting down to at Easter given that so much of their livestock, particularly on the islands, is raised on scrubby pasture which may be looking green and relatively lush at the moment but which within a few weeks will be parched and turning yellow-brown in the heat.

Yet lamb – while stringier and much leaner than that which our farmers produce – is never in short supply anywhere around the Mediterranean fringes.

And of course other cultures can teach us a thing or two about cooking it, whether serving it in stews or tagines or marrying it with flavours such as cinnamon which, used sparingly, adds a whole new dimension to it.

So just to prove that there’s a lot more to lamb than the shoulder or leg you’ll be feeding the family at Easter we thought we’d offer a Mediterranean tour this month.

None of the recipes is difficult – this is not high-end cooking but peasant food after all. But the results are spectacular.  So we’ll start with a Moroccan tagine, pay a brief visit to Greece for the giouvetsi and then hook back across the sea to Algeria for the chaouia, much favoured by nomadic families. Hard Greek cheese which would traditionally be used to top the giouvetsi is hard to find but you can use either a good strong cheddar or Comté.

JANUARY 2023

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

FEBRUARY 2024

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

FEBRUARY 2024

Given the amount of food that is spoiled on February 14th St Valentine should really be the patron saint of bad cooks. There must be a measurable blip in the food waste statistics given how much of what were once excellent ingredients is thrown away by aspiring but unskilled spouses or partners eager to impress their other halves with something really special in the culinary line.

In fact the whole St Valentine business has descended to little more than a vehicle for the greetings card industry to rake in even more by way of profits.

We once asked a local restaurateur how busy he expected to be on Valentine’s Day and whether he didn’t look forward to it as a useful source of funds at a traditionally quiet time of the year.

Not a bit of it, he said: he dreaded it. At least half the couples who came in would end up rowing with at least one partner storming out with the meal half-eaten, while the other half would get drunk and start arguing about the quality of the food or the size of the bill. Nightmare.

But of course, cooking at home, even cooking something special, is not difficult as long as you follow the instructions closely. Which a lot of people fail to do. They either miss out a vital ingredient or don’t look over the page – then wonder why what appeared to be an exquisite dish has turned out to be a disaster.

We have a couple of ideas for Valentine’s suppers for two, neither challenging but both delicious. Plus a simple way of cooking vegetables which will accompany either.

JANUARY 2023

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

JANUARY 2024

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

JANUARY 2024

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES JANUARY 2024

Not that many years ago if you’d asked anyone to carry out a word association test and given them the word ‘Danish’ their most likely response would have been ‘bacon’.

Because for years Danish farmers had pretty well cornered the market in a product which was by tradition a cornerstone of British home cooking.

At one time most country families kept a pig or two and after the animal had been killed in the autumn the joints destined for bacon would have been salt-cured and hung up in the chimney to acquire a rich golden tan from weeks of exposure to wood smoke.

Then the whole process became industrialised and what had once been a true delicacy was progressively debased with the faster-acting chemicals to hasten the curing process resulting in pale, flabby bacon which left an unpleasant residue when cooked.

But the Danes were keen to grab a share of the British bacon trade and began exporting in a big way. And because road transport was much slower in those days and journeys took far longer than today Danish bacon arrived here with quite a few miles on the flavour clock as a result of undergoing a few extra days of maturation in transit.

And became the bacon of choice for tens of thousands of families as a result. What with Danish imports and industrial scale production here the number of craft bacon producers shrank progressively until the great British food revival attracted newcomers to the sector.

There is a world of difference between factory bacon and the traditionally produced kind we sell – as we think these recipes will prove.

JANUARY 2023

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

DECEMBER 2023

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

DECEMBER 2023

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES DECEMBER 2023

The great trick with preparing Christmas food is to start out with top-quality ingredients. That will not only guarantee you success with your food but it will take a lot of the stress out of the preparation.

It is, after all, quite a challenge to create tasty and palatable food from something second-rate whereas even an unskilled cook can serve up stunning results if they start out with the right quality of components.

Supermarkets may well offer the prospect of an easy Christmas in the kitchen with all the ingredients ready-prepared, pre-cooked and requiring nothing more than a few minutes in the microwave.

But everything we have been hearing recently about the potential health risks of eating highly-processed food should be enough to send anyone running back to basic home cookery. None of which need be difficult or time-consuming.

Most people, for instance, swear they haven’t got time to make bread. But bread-making is not a time-hungry activity. You don’t, for instance, have to stand and watch the bread as it proves. You can go off and do other things. You can speed up or slow down the process as it suits you.

And after all what would you rather be feeding your family: a still-warm crusty loaf made from  nothing more than flour, yeast, salt and water – or a spongy commercial bread which may be several days old but still feels fresh thanks to additives (up to 21 in many cases) ?

Regular customers will know the quality of our meat because we have built our reputation on it and if we were going to steer you gently away from turkey this year we would suggest some of our locally-raised beef because rarely have we come across finer than what is on offer at the moment.

But there are other, quick, easy and delicious Christmas treats for which we can provide the main ingredients. The gravlax will bring a touch of luxury to your table; the stuffed pork chine makes a wonderful supper dish for Christmas Eve; and the final suggestion celebrates the fact that after years of being an expensive rarity venison is freely available and affordable.

JANUARY 2023

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

NOVEMBER 2023

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

NOVEMBER 2023

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES NOVEMBER 2023

If ever there was a bird which has come down in the world it’s the pheasant. Pheasants were once the exclusive food of the landowning classes and were jealously guarded and protected.

Poaching – the most popular method was to lay bait of whisky-soaked corn and simply pick up the drunken birds – was frowned on. Being caught in flagrante would render you liable to a blast from the gamekeeper’s gun or, worse, arrest. Followed in most cases by an appearance in court where – the members of the bench probably being of the landowning classes themselves – justice would be merciless.

A sentence of hard labour was the usual remedy applied to a repeat offender and until 1850 many poachers even found themselves one a one-way trip to an Australian penal colony.

Which seems unnecessary harsh and hardly proportionate with the quality of the stolen bird. For whatever they used to say, however many myths the landowning classes would spread about eating pheasant – such as they were only fit to consume when rotting and maggot-ridden – there is not that much really exotic about pheasant meat.

As thousands of people have discovered since the advent of large-scale commercial shoots have brought pheasants within their budget. They have found that pheasant is not excessively gamey but has a mild flavour – a cross between chicken and guinea fowl is the best description – and neither do you need to be a Michelin-starred chef to cook one. The birds do tend to leanness, however, which is why if you are roasting pheasant it’s an idea either to loosen the breast skin and rub some butter into the flesh or (or preferred method) pierce the breast with the tip of a sharp knife, rub it with olive oil and drape seven or eight rashers of bacon over it.

Let’s see if we can encourage you now the game season has arrived.

JANUARY 2023

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

OCTOBER 2023

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

OCTOBER 2023

PYNES OF SOMERSET RECIPES OCTOBER 2023

There is more – much more – to prunes than serving them with custard, delicious though that much-underrated combination might be.

At this time of the year when we’re all looking for food that is a little more robust and comforting then it’s time to discover the amazing properties of prunes when used as an ingredient with meat dishes.

Serving meat cooked with fruit is a North African tradition which spread to Europe once the Moors colonized Spain and eventually bequeathed us our traditional mince pies. These were – as the name suggests – originally made with meat but that was gradually omitted during the 19th century as mince pies progressed down the menu to become something served as a dessert.

In fact if you want to taste a true mince pie these days you’ll have to travel down to Pezenas in southwest France where they are still made with lamb and have become a registered local delicacy, the recipe having been passed to the town’s bakers by mince pie addict Lord Clive when he took up residence in the former Roman spa town in the late 18th century.

The French have quite a range of richly-flavoured traditional dishes featuring pork, ham or goose all depending on prunes to give them depth and body. But we thought venison – now plentiful and really good value – would also benefit from the same treatment.

After that we’re popping across the Mediterranean for a taste of Morocco before heading east to Greece for another idea for serving lamb neck fillets.

JANUARY 2023

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

SEPTEMBER 2023

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

SEPTEMBER 2023

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES SEPTEMBER 23

To most people in this country cider is a clear, fizzy drink which comes out of a bottle. Which is about as far as it is possible to get from the cider our grandparents would have known: cloudy, drawn from a barrel and of alarmingly variable quality.

Which only illustrates what huge strides the Somerset cider industry has made in the last 40 years modernising and improving a drink which was probably introduced to the county by the Romans.

But for all that the craft of the cider maker remains at the heart of the industry – an industry which delivers huge environmental benefits as the thousands of acres of orchard remain largely undisturbed for much of the year providing wonderful havens for wildlife.

Cider apples – and there are more than 80 recognised Somerset-grown varieties – fall into four self-explanatory flavour categories:  sweet, sharp bitter-sweet and bitter-sharp, the ‘bitter’ denoting the presence of tannins which contribute so much to cider’s legendary thirst-quenching properties.

Very few yield a good cider in their own right – what winemakers refer to as a ‘monocepage’. Generally they have to be blended and that is where that cider-making craft comes into play, balancing out disparate flavours to produce a rounded, quaffable blend.

We are delighted to provide shelf space for Rich’s cider: locally-produced and with a pedigree stretching back several generations. And if you’ve never cooked with cider (something the French do far more commonly than us) here are a couple of recipes to inspire you together with one using Kingston Black: a blend of cider brandy and the juice from one of the most sought-after cider apple varieties – and Somerset’s answer to the pommeau aperitif so widely drunk in Normandy and Brittany.

 

JANUARY 2023

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

AUGUST 2023

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

AUGUST 2023

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES AUGUST 2023

It’s amazing how many people never think of cooking pork tenderloin, which must be one of the most convenient as well as versatile cuts of meat around.

It has, of course, a certain reputation for dryness if simply roasted. That’s down to the almost total absence of fat, another consequence of which is that it doesn’t have enormous amounts of flavour, either.

But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth cooking. In fact, its low flavour profile makes it an ideal fit for all kinds of sauces and treatments. And since there is rarely anything more than a few tiny scraps of adhering fat to trim away there is almost zero waste with a tenderloin: what you see is what you get and what you eat.

So, this month we’re offering a couple of ideas for serving tenderloin with some really interesting sauces: one a delicate blend of mushrooms and tangy crème fraiche, the other a somewhat more complex affair with a sauce featuring turnip – a much undervalued ingredient whose slightly bitter note is here tempered with the addition of sugar – and the sharp note of Roquefort, the cave-aged sheep’s cheese from the Aveyron in southern central France.

Not that you even have to cook your tenderloin this month: here’s a no-cook idea for curing one where the only really important ingredient is patience. Thin slices of the mild-cured meat are just the thing to hand round with those pre-supper drinks when you have friends over. And won’t they be impressed that they are all your own work?

JANUARY 2023

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

JULY 2023

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

JULY 2023

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES JULY 2023

There are fashions in food as much as there are in the world of clothing. But there can be few items which have been in and out of vogue quite so much as belly pork.

It crops up everywhere in western countries where it is cured in any number of ways: the Poles are the masters when it comes to that. And all over Europe you will find it traditionally cooked with beans and other flavourings in cassoulets and other hearty dishes which bring a glow to the cheeks in winter.

The Chinese go mad for it and, typically, have devised ways of using every last scrap of this particularly tasty cut, bequeathing the world not merely delicacies such as gunpowder pork but even finding a use for the ribs – and we have yet to be served a helping of Chinese spare ribs that didn’t leave us wanting more. Lots more.

Here, in the past, belly pork often did duty as the Sunday roast in households where money was perhaps too tight to afford any cut above the pig’s Plimsoll line. And in the days before production was intensified and chicken was a once or twice a year treat a piece of belly pork was often roasted with it to make the meat go further. A thick end of belly is still a classic choice for a roast, particularly with plenty of halved onions added to the pan to ensure a flavoursome gravy.

Meanwhile top-notch chefs have ‘rediscovered’ a once-neglected, humble cut and are featuring it on their menus – though often with price tags that are anything but humble.

One of our favourite ways of using it is boned and rolled with a good layer of fresh summer herbs inside. But the great virtue of belly pork is that though it will happily sit with any number of seasonings it has such terrific flavour that even a plainer treatment will deliver great results.

Rillons are one of the charcuterie staples of western France, historically a great pork-producing area. They are a store cupboard favourite: fish them out of their storage jars, heat them in a hot oven for a few minutes and serve as nibbles. Delicious.

JANUARY 2023

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

JUNE 2023

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

JUNE 2023

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES JUNE 2023

Anyone who tells you there is no good food to be had in Greece has probably never ventured beyond one of the tourist hotspots where the eateries offer a depressing menu of chips with everything, relieved only by the inevitable bowl of Greek salad.

To really appreciate Greek food you have to adopt the same tactic as you do in any unfamiliar country: find out where the locals are eating and follow them through the door.

That door will lead you to a fabulous (and healthy) national diet where grilled meats figure highly but where you will also find chicken, beef and lamb cooked in dark, tomatoey sauces fragrant with cinnamon, crispy fried courgette balls flavoured with that wonderful combination of mint and dill and all manner of cakes and puddings featuring honey – the honey that the Greeks simply pour over yogurt for the best breakfast on the face of the planet.

Greek cookery depends heavily on olives, capers, pungent oregano and lemons to build up the flavours – and once you’ve eaten a dish of potatoes gently braised in olive oil, lemon juice and a pinch of oregano you’ll never want to try them any other way.

On the other hand there is nothing fancy or complicated about preparing and cooking Greek food which is why these dishes are ideal for the summer: they won’t detain you long the kitchen, so leaving you more time to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air.

The tzatziki – a superb accompaniment to any barbecue food – must, however, be made using genuine Greek yogurt. Most British yogurt, even when labelled ‘Greek-style’ and even when marketed by some of the more reputable makers, is bulked out with potato or tapioca starch or some other kind of bulking agent. Avoid at all costs. And don’t be nervous about the Greek pitas: they are utterly simple to make.

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

MAY 2023

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

MAY 2023

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES MAY 2023

The world of food preparation is peppered (excuse the pun) with myths, some old, some new. Such as the one which would have you believe the English first began eating curry because the spices would disguise the taste of bad meat.

Absolute nonsense. When spices first arrived here in the 15th century they were hideously expensive – even today saffron costs roughly the same as gold – and only the wealthy could afford to buy them. And if the wealthy could afford spices then they could certainly afford decent meat.

Much the same suggestion has been levelled at sauces traditionally served with meat. Equally fallacious. The great chefs of the 19th century laboured long and hard in their vast and fearsomely hot kitchens to devise and perfect classic sauces which actually complemented the meat they were served with; which enhanced rather than masked its flavour.

Which is why while we are steering you towards some really succulent ribeye steak as a treat for yourself in May (rub lightly with oil and season generously just before dropping into a hot, dry pan) we are also offering some ideas for simple sauces to accompany it.

Taking the idea one step further we’re offering a recipe for a gratin which elevates the dish to a whole new level and is perfect to serve with steak.

And finally a chicken recipe which really brings out the flavour of the leg meat.

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

APRIL 2023

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

APRIL 2023

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES APRIL 2023

So it’s goodbye to the stews and hearty, rib-sticking soups because April is here. Or not, as the case may be.

Because if you have kept a careful eye on the weather patterns these last few years – if you are a gardener, perhaps – you will  be aware that sunny, warm spring days have been in somewhat short supply, thanks to the jet stream bequeathing us slightly less balmy conditions.

This year we can only hope: we have certainly had more damp days than the last couple of springs have brought. But we thought we should include at least a slight nod to the world of casseroles for this month just in case.

Lamb is the main ingredient: a good choice because it is still very good value at the moment and likely to remain so. This slow-braised dish will bring out all the fantastic flavour of pasture-reared meat and will make an excellent Easter week-end treat.

We’re also offering an eastern Mediterranean lamb dish in recognition of the fact that we aren’t the only country where lamb is celebrated and eaten at Easter. Cinnamon married with lamb is a combination which crops up in recipes from Greece to Morocco – and here provides a great counterpoint to the houmous. This is best served with torn pieces of pitta for dipping.

You’ll find a recipe for pittas in the directory – and don’t forget any dough you don’t use right away can be kept in a lightly oiled plastic bag in the fridge for a week or more. The pittas will also come in handy for the pork – a dual-purpose dish in that you can either cook it outdoors on a barbecue if we get a fine bank holiday weekend – or indoors if we don’t.

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

MARCH 2023

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

MARCH 2023

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES MARCH 2023

We are often asked why lamb prices appear to be so high and for that there is a simple answer: everyone else wants British lamb and that demand is what drives the market.

No other country in Europe produces either the quantity or quality of lamb that our farmers do, with a national flock nearing 15 million. Certainly no other country has same the diversity of local breeds or can offer the same acreage of fine grazing pasture.

Lamb is highly prized right across the continent and given the way huge areas of southern Europe are already under water restrictions and enduring drought conditions it looks as though UK lamb supplies are going to be even more sought-after in future.

With Easter coming up next month and lamb having such a religious significance for so many communities there will be the usual seasonal sales peak.

So we thought we’d offer a few ideas for making the most of lamb without breaking the bank: recipes which pack huge amounts of flavour in return for little outlay or kitchen time.

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

FEBRUARY 2023

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

FEBRUARY 2023

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES FEBRUARY 2023

We may be looking forward to Valentine’s Day and even Pancake Day (on February 21) but with the weather we have been having lately it’s clearly not the moment yet to give up on those warming winter dishes.

Particularly at a time when we are all striving to stay warm at home while keeping our energy bills within reasonable limits.

This month we’re going with lamb and pork as our main ingredients. Both are extremely good value at the moment and both very versatile in terms of preparation and cooking – as the slightly unusual fusion treatment of pork we are suggesting demonstrates.

Both our lamb dishes lend themselves well to being scaled up for batch cooking – one of the several ways it is being suggested we can reduce energy consumption in the kitchen.

Another is by investing in new, energy-saving equipment such as air fryers and slow cookers – and if you’ve already bought one of the latter then both lamb dishes can be left to finish on a low and slow heat once the initial sealing, browning and mixing has been completed.

And don’t forget that invaluable bit of kit, the microwave. It’s not only cheaper to microwave vegetables for the Sunday roast; the results are far tastier than those achieved with boiling or steaming. Simply prepare the vegetables and place in microwave-safe dishes with a little water, cover with film and cook for four to five minutes.

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

JANUARY 2023

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

JANUARY 2023

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES JANUARY 2023

If you are regretting any over-indulgence over Christmas and New Year console yourself with the thought that you aren’t the only one. But let us help you get back on the straight and narrow with the best cure of all: home-made soup.

There has been a huge improvement in both the range and quality of commercially-made soups in recent years but there’s still nothing to beat the ones you prepare yourself.

Soups are simple to cook, they are cheap to make and they are nourishing, as well as often providing a home for odd ingredients that may be lying around in the fridge or the larder.

If you have invested in a slow cooker to help you cut down on energy bills so much the better. Most soups lend themselves to the long, gentle simmering you can achieve with one, after any necessary initial searing or sweating of the ingredients has been completed.

All these recipes will feed four or five people generously and any leftovers can be frozen for up to three months.

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

DECEMBER 2022

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

DECEMBER 2022

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES DECEMBER 2022

Most of us will be doing some entertaining at this end of the year and although there is always a temptation to stock up on commercially-made party food making your own is neither expensive nor time-consuming.

And your guests will almost certainly appreciate being offered healthy, home-made alternatives to bought-in products, many of which seem to contain worryingly high levels of fat.

Avian flu is having a tremendously adverse effect on the poultry market this Christmas so we are suggesting sticking with beef, pork and lamb for your ingredients.

We’re offering one recipe for each this month with the accent very much on exciting flavour combinations. None of these recipes take long to prepare and nor do they require any exotic ingredients. But we would always recommend refrigerating the end result for at least a couple of hours before cooking to allow the flavours to develop fully. You will notice the difference immediately.

We’re also giving you a non-meat recipe which we think you will find invaluable for party food. It’s for socca, a Mediterranean street food with obvious North African influences, generally sold in the form of pancakes in towns along the French and Italian coasts. Here, however, we are suggesting cooking mini versions as a tastier alternative to blinis which you can then top with slivers of smoked fish, pâtés, (fish or meat) or with hummus or tapenade.

For the burgers and koftas, fry and taste a tiny piece of the mix to make a final check on seasoning before you cook them.

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

NOVEMBER 2022

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

NOVEMBER 2022

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES NOVEMBER 2022

Many of you, no doubt, can cast your mind back to the days when chicken was considered a treat – and a rare one at that – while the arrival yet again of beef at the Sunday lunch table was a cue for long faces to be pulled.

The arrival of more efficient commercial chicken farming changed all that, though arguably for the worst because intensively-reared chickens became so cheap that eventually they were undervalued. On the other hand many were so devoid of taste and texture that perhaps that undervaluing was accurate.

That too, has changed. Most of us nowadays appreciate the superior quality of a properly-raised chicken, and a correctly-cooked one with all the right accompaniments – roasted vegetables, a brassica or two and some real, home-made stuffing – can still hit the mark, as well as being a highly economical offering, what with all the opportunities for cold chicken and soup-making with the carcass.

Then again as we move into winter what more of a treat could there be than a succulent beef joint? And this month we are suggesting beef rib as the star of the show.

It’s an often-neglected cut which has been put somewhat in the shade by the fashion for topside and silverside but which really delivers when it comes to flavour – and you only need to season it well and introduce it to a barbecue to understand that.

However, barbecuing really being off the menu for a few months (despite the mild weather) here are three other treatments to provide a succulent and tasty Sunday roast.

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

OCTOBER 2022

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

OCTOBER 2022

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES OCTOBER 2022

Of all the traditional British food products whose reputation has been nearly ruined by industrial-scale production bacon must come pretty near the top.

Bacon probably enjoys a more respectable pedigree than any other meat product because since the days when early man decided it might not be a bad idea to stop chasing after wild animals and domesticate some of them instead pork has always been hung up in the smoke of the wood fire to cure and provide winter food.

For centuries October was always the month when country families would kill and process the pig, first eating those bits that wouldn’t keep and preserving the rest.

British bacon has always had an international reputation – John Harris established the first large-scale curing business in Wiltshire in 1770 – but one that has not always been deserved since massive factory-scale production led to the processing being speeded up by injecting the meat with cure instead of allowing it a leisurely brine bath.

And if you’ve ever wondered about the white ooze that is left in the pan after you have tried to fry supermarket bacon there’s the answer: it was the residual liquid that was pumped into the meat.

Post-war two generations of Brits grew up buying and eating little else than Danish bacon – at the time if you gave most people a word association test ‘bacon’ was more likely to follow ‘Danish’ than was ‘pastry’. 

Interestingly enough what led to Denmark enjoying a dominant position in the British market was the fact that at a time of slower road transport the several days the consignments used to take to reach these shores allowed the product to mature and develop a little extra flavour.

And so to our bacon, about which we are always receiving favourable comments from our customers. It’s traditionally-produced and delivers a huge amount of flavour as a result. And at a time of the year when the nights are drawing in and we’re thinking about the clocks going back we thought we’d offer ideas for inexpensive, nourishing comfort food where bacon is very much the star.

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

SEPTEMBER 2022

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

SEPTEMBER 2022

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES SEPTEMBER 2022

Belts, it is becoming clear, are going to have to be increasingly tightened in the months ahead, particularly as farmers’ higher feed and energy costs start to impact on meat prices. But there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to continue to eat well and healthily.

There are plenty of ways to reduce cooking costs, from using a steamer stack to cook several vegetables at once, to batch-cooking and freezing individual meals, and certainly by making more use of that must-have kitchen gadget, the microwave.

Even professional chefs are now realising its advantages: microwave cooking costs are a tenth of those of a conventional oven and, of course, a microwave offers the quickest way of defrosting and reheating frozen meals.

But this month we’re also looking at ingredients costs and recommending meals based on our sausages. Sausages which we always make with precisely the same meat that you see displayed as cuts and joints – which is why we have won so many awards for them over the years.

They are lean, tasty and nourishing – and, of course, can be turned very simply into meatballs which, served with a variety of sauces, represent one sure-fire way of making a little meat go a long way.

We’re starting with a simple, Mediterranean-style sauce using garden vegetables which are in plentiful supply at the moment.

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

AUGUST 2022

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

AUGUST 2022

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES AUGUST 2022

The Americans are very fond of what they call ‘picnic ham’ – actually a cut from the lower part of the pork shoulder and usually sold cured, smoked and cooked.

It’s not to be found among the list of traditional British foods and although Victorian writers sometimes referred to a ham as an essential ingredient of the new fashion for al fresco eating (a result of the newly-arrived railways offering them the chance of excursions to seaside and country) they were probably referring to a genuine, hind-quarter ham.

Of course ham only becomes ham once it’s cooked: in its uncooked form it’s known as gammon – and gammon is what we are concentrating on this month. Because not only can gammon provide the centrepiece of a family Sunday lunch: what isn’t eaten on Sunday offers all kinds of meal opportunities.

Including – and here comes the connection – some outstanding picnic foods. All guaranteed to offer a refreshing alternative to tired sandwiches and soggy rolls and – perhaps more to the point – completely weather-proof because if your picnic plans are rained off you can stay home and eat them warmed up.

The first, stage, however, is to cook the gammon and we’re suggesting a traditional honey and mustard glaze simply because it’s never been bettered.

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

JULY 2022

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

JULY 2022

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES JULY 2022

If there’s one line in our shop that customers constantly congratulate us for it’s our chicken.

Our supplier is a free-range specialist: Beech Ridge Farm in Hockworthy, on the Devon/Somerset border, an enterprise which sets the very highest welfare standards for its birds. And it shows.

Of course free-range birds cost more than intensively-reared ones but that extra cost is reflected in the superior flavour and eating quality – and the fact that our customers can buy with a clear conscience in the knowledge that the chicken has had room to roam and has been allowed to grow naturally to maturity.

Not that we should only consider the cost of a chicken in terms of a roast lunch. Such a versatile meat has plenty of other uses for creating further meals in the week – an art well known to our grandparents, in whose time chicken was a real luxury food so that every possible use was made of every last scrap.

So if you divide the price of a bird by the number of servings to give you a per portion cost even a slightly more expensive, free-range bird looks like exceptional value. Here are a few ideas for making your chicken go further.

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

JUNE 2022

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

JUNE 2022

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES JUNE 2022

June is definitely the barbecue season though, as always, everything will depend on the weather – which can play some unpleasant tricks at any time even as we approach midsummer.

But most of us will have at least one opportunity to indulge in some al fresco cooking at some point and while steering you towards our extensive range of barbecue-ready specialities in the shop we’ve also got one or two ideas if you choose to prepare your own.

We would argue that our steaks can hardly be improved on and that their flavour is too special to be spoiled by heavy-handed seasoning and spicing. But the two recipes we are suggesting here have been created so that they will enhance rather than disguise that flavour: the meat, in other words, will remain very much the star of the show.

Early summer is also the time to enjoy lamb at its finest: slightly more mature animals are now becoming available and a rack is not only an easy joint to cook (we do most of the preparation for you) but an ideal choice if you are entertaining. Pair it with the lemon-flavoured Greek potatoes and you will have a stunning centrepiece for supper with friends.

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

MAY 2022

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

MAY 2022

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES MAY 2022

Barbecue season: the time of the year when more good meat is ruined than bears thinking about. 

Because barbecuing is not a matter to be taken lightly. There is an art to ensuring that any meat is properly cooked – but not overcooked – and that the heat is used to enhance, rather than ruin its flavour. 

And don’t forget the basic food hygiene rules. Don’t prepare meat and vegetables on the same board or using the same tools, and after handling meat ensure you wash your hands before you touch anything else.

As to the heat source charcoal burns hottest but a combination of charcoal and well-seasoned wood (chopped small – you want it to burn rather than smoulder and smoke) will give you the best flavour.

And don’t be impatient. Let your barbecue get up to temperature (have another drink or two to while away the time) before you even think about starting to cook. Do that and the process will be quick and the results satisfyingly tasty.

As to what to cook, rump steak remains very good value indeed and will always deliver a fabulous result, however you cook it. But belly pork is another economical option and we’ve got a suggestion which will bring out the finest Chinese flavours. But, like the chicken recipe, both these are best cooked away from the very hottest part of the barbecue grill because too high a heat will wreck the delicate flavour of the sauces they are prepared in.

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

APRIL 2022

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

APRIL 2022

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES APRIL 2022

April, Easter: it has to be lamb, a meat as firmly associated with this time of the year as turkey is with Christmas. And English lamb unfailingly delivers that special flavour that the imported alternative never can.

Grass-fed lamb from the southwest became a protected food under European law after some sustained campaigning by the region’s farmers who knew it had a special quality and were keen to have that officially recognised.

The process took several years to achieve, mainly because of opposition from farmers in other parts of the country who were, frankly, objecting out of pure jealousy to the special status being accorded.

Those of us who live in the region know full well, however, what a real delicacy local lamb is. As do continental buyers whose customers clamour to get their hands on it particularly at this time of the year.

One of the great things about lamb is its versatility. It can be married with all kinds of seasonings and it doesn’t matter from which part of the animal the meat comes, the flavour is just as good.

So this month we’re suggesting trying lamb cooked in three ways favoured by the French, all using less expensive cuts. However if your Easter choice is leg of lamb we would always advise long, slow cooking rather than serving it fashionably pink.

It couldn’t be easier, season the leg all over, wrap in two layers of foil with a branch of rosemary, pierce the underside of the parcel, place on a rack set over a roasting pan and roast at 160C gas mark 3 for five hours, peeling back the foil and blasting it for 15 minutes at 200C gas mark 6 to impart a final browning.

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

MARCH 2022

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

MARCH 2022

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES MARCH 2022

It probably won’t come as much of a surprise if you are one of our regular customers, but we make and sell an awful lot of sausages. What may surprise you is the fact that our monthly output can be measured in miles.

It’s no real surprise to us, however. Over the years we have won numerous awards for the various types of sausage we produce and for a very good reason: we have never, ever compromised on quality.

The meat that goes into our sausages is exactly the same as that which we offer in cuts and joints, which is why people are rarely less than delighted with the result when they cut into one of our sausages on a plate.

British sausages in general have come a long way from the days when we were struggling to get them recognised as sausages by the European authorities because of their high non-meat content: a relic of the war and austerity years when anything could be thrown into them – and frequently was.

We take a small amount of pride in being part of the movement that has not only restored the good name of the Great British Banger but has elevated it to the status of a gastronomic treat.

Quality sausages may, inevitably, cost a little more than those the supermarkets offer but they are delivering better-quality, high-welfare, lean meat.

You might want to try the ultimate quality test: cooking sausages under a slow grill. The supermarket ‘bargain’ will inevitably have shrunk, maybe by as much as a third, and will be sitting in a pool of fat. The one you bought from us will have pretty much retained its uncooked dimensions.

So given that we can truthfully state we are producing some of the best sausages in the country here are some ideas for making them the real stars of the supper table.

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

FEBRUARY 2022

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

FEBRUARY 2022

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES FEBRUARY 2022

While we are not out of the woods yet spring is definitely in view – as the supermarkets’ Easter egg displays will confirm, even if the weather won’t. But as the days lengthen and things begin stirring in the gardens we are also coming to the end of the game season.

And with plenty of game around by way of ingredients – we have some excellent venison and a supply of first-rate, plump pheasants – and a continuing need to stoke up our inner fires with hearty food then it’s the ideal time to concoct some really comforting supper dishes.

There is – contrary to what many people believe – no mystique, no magic about cooking game. Long gone are the days when pheasants would be hung until nearly rotting before they were considered fit to eat – and equally long gone are the outrageous prices that used to be charged for them.

Pheasants are plentiful and really good value for money and with a superior flavour to chicken. The trick is to avoid the meat drying out during cooking, which is why we are suggesting a pie treatment which will deliver succulent results every time.

Venison also delivers big flavours but is equally a lean meat so if you are planning to roast a joint be sure to top it with rashers of fat bacon (which we can supply). In the past cooks would have cut this into thin strips and used a larding needle to thread them through the meat itself.

You can still buy larding needles on Amazon so if you wanted to indulge in some old-fashioned classic cookery you could. On the other hand you could simply follow our recipes for the French-inspired parmentier or for the steaks – complete with a classic, shiny sauce to eat with them.

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

JANUARY 2022

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

JANUARY 2022

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES JANUARY 2022

When they can record a temperature of 16 degrees in London at the end of January you know for sure something’s up with the weather. But it always does well to remember the old saying about ‘green Christmas, white Easter’ and to take account of the fact that there is still plenty of time between now and the spring for things to take a distinctly chillier turn.

Which is one reason for us suggesting some particularly hearty dishes this month. The other being that if you are anything like us there’s still the odd bottle of wine knocking around the house after Christmas. So it’s not a bad idea to incorporate it in food just to remove the temptation.

But there is one thing to stress here, and that’s the fact that when you are cooking with wine you only get out what you put in. In other words if all you’ve got to hand is a bottle of acidic Algerian red you are never going to achieve the same culinary result as you would with a full-bodied, rounded Burgundy – but you probably wouldn’t want to sacrifice a full-bodied, rounded Burgundy to the cooking pot in the first place.

One handy trick for enhancing the performance of a less-than-sumptuous wine is to raid the Christmas drinks supply for a dash of port – we find it’s always worth getting a couple of bottles in for culinary use when they are discounted at this time of the year.

And that’s precisely the method we are advocating for our luxury version of Bolognese sauce, which you can either have with pasta, in the normal way, or use as the basis of a fragrant, fruity cottage pie – don’t forget to use plenty of butter and a snip or two of chives in the potato topping.

But the most important ingredient in our first oxtail recipe is time – and plenty of it. This is slow cooking at its best.

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

DECEMBER 2021

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

DECEMBER 2021

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES DECEMBER 2021

It’s slightly sad that Christmas food has become such a chore for so many people that they simply resort to buying everything in ready-made.

Particularly since enthusiastic home cooks will tell you that preparing for Christmas is for them still one of the most enjoyable experiences of the whole year.

And given the vast array of ingredients now available to everyone the task is so much easier than it would have been in our grandparents’ day.

Not that you need to go trawling for exotic ingredients in order to turn out tasty food: it all comes down to the quality of what you use and the careful juggling of flavours.

We thought we would offer you some party food ideas this month. And we have no hesitation in basing them on our sausage meat. We have collected a string of awards for our sausages over the years mainly, it has become clear, because we have always believed in making them using the same top-quality pork as we sell as cuts and joints in the shop. And our sausage meat has exactly the same pedigree.

So here are a few ideas for simple party food which will take you on something of a cook’s tour, the croquettes bringing echoes of Austrian schnitzels, the meatballs a taste of Greece via Morocco and the mini croissants adding a distinctly French appearance to the party table.

Finally, since we have walnuts in the shop we’re offering a suggestion for an alternative to Christmas cake: just as flavourful, just as fitting for a special occasion – but much, much lighter on the stomach!

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

DECEMBER 2021

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

NOVEMBER 2021

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES NOVEMBER 2021

As we write this it is less than two months until Christmas, though with the mild weather we’ve been enjoying this autumn midwinter, strangely, seems much further away.

Looking back over the last few years by this point we were directing you to really hearty casseroles and stews to keep the encroaching winter cold out. They don’t really seem appropriate this year – though there’s plenty of time between now and the spring for things to change and for us to give some suggestions of that kind.

But if you’re struggling for inspiration for a family supper or what to cook for those friends you have invited round let us steer you gently towards pork.

Centuries back pork would have been very much on the menu at this time of the year with the family pig having just been killed, the hams hung up the chimneys to smoke, the sausages and puddings made and preserved, the head turned into delicious brawn and the fat rendered down to provide a winter-long supply of lard – some of which would have been used to make delicious lardy cake.

What couldn’t be preserved would have to be eaten fresh so roast and stewed pork of various sorts would have figured prominently in the November menu – though probably not in quite such exotic forms as we are suggesting.

We are also adding a lardy cake recipe because it is a much-neglected delicacy and a truly regional speciality: it was traditionally made in the pork-producing area extending from Devon through Somerset and Wiltshire and up into Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire – home of course to the Gloucester Old Spot and Oxford Sandy and Black traditional breeds.

It’s simple to make and a great way of introducing the children to bread-making on a wet Sunday afternoon.

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

OCTOBER 2021

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

OCTOBER 2021

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES OCTOBER 2021

We get a lot of favourable comments about our chorizo burgers and that’s hardly surprising: they are one of the tastiest of our speciality products.

They owe that largely to the use of paprika, that warmly-rounded spice which hardly appears at all in traditional English cookery but is widely used not only across Europe from Spain to Hungary but in North Africa where it’s an essential ingredient of merguez – the classic lamb chipolata which features in the cuisines of Algeria and Morocco.

Paprika – made from dried and ground red peppers – varies from mild to hot in flavour and there’s also a smoked variety which adds a quite distinctive note of its own to any dish.

It’s just the thing for adding depth to autumn dishes, which we are all thinking about making now the nights are drawing in and the evenings getting noticeably chillier. Paprika is the one ingredient that is guaranteed to add the finishing touch to any kind of comfort food, so here are a few suggestions.

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

SEPTEMBER 2021

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

SEPTEMBER 2021

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES SEPTEMBER 2021

For anyone with a passion for wild food September has to be one of the best months of the year, what with blackberries and sloes in prime season. But there’s another wild fruit that is often overlooked – though is now being taken up enthusiastically by some chefs – and that is the elderberry.

Often taken in the form of a cordial to ward off winter colds in the past, it also yields a very distinctively-flavoured jelly: delicious on toast but equally a powerful ingredient in meat cookery.

We’re teaming it up with lamb this month but the quantities given for the jelly will make you half a dozen small jars to see you through a winter of cookery: a spoonful will add roundness, depth and character to sauces for lamb, pork and, above all, game.

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

AUGUST 2021

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

AUGUST 2021

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES AUGUST 2021

Partial to a bit of lamb, the Greeks. Very partial. Although they produce some stunningly good pork lamb remains the favourite meat in most families though the animals it comes from are as far from plump, English lambs as it is possible to imagine.

Reared in hot conditions often on stony pastures they are much thinner for one thing, generally smaller for another. But their meat has a wonderful flavour, particularly on the Greek islands where they will often graze on wild herbs whose own flavours have been intensified by the heat.

Herbs also play a large role in Greek food, whether the wonderful combination of dill and mint you find in dishes such as spanakopita or the thyme-flavoured honey they dollop onto yogurt to make one of the world’s great breakfasts.

Then there’s oregano – rigani – ten times more pungent and powerful than our own mild, garden variety but consequently delivering ten times the punch in food.  It really is worth seeking out a supply of Greek oregano for the store cupboard, the best way of doing it being booking a Greek holiday (as soon as it’s safe to go) and experiencing some of the extraordinary and often underrated dishes the country has to offer.

Gyros (pronounced zhi-roh) is normally prepared like a doner kebab with minced lamb but here we’re suggesting transferring the flavours to leg of lamb of which we currently have a plentiful supply.

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

JULY 2021

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

JULY 2021

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES JULY 2021

This month’s recipes are all about the magic of garlic: a seasoning which is a bit like Marmite in that some people adore it and others shrink from it like vampires.

The UK has taken to garlic in a big way since people were introduced to it back in the 1960s when overseas holidays enjoyed their first, huge rise in popularity.

By the 1980s more garlic was being consumed in southern Britain than in northern France and the continuing growth in demand has now given rise to a home-grown garlic industry.

It originally took root on the Isle of Wight where a number of local varieties have since been developed, though for some people nothing will beat the huge, fist-sized bulbs you will find on sale in continental markets.

New season’s, or ‘wet’ garlic is available now, giving the advantage of a slightly milder flavour. But for most garlic lovers it’s a case of the stronger, the better.

You may have caught one of Britain’s celebrity chefs whipping up some controversy (and publicity, naturally) recently with a recipe featuring a chicken cooked with 40 cloves of garlic. In fact there’s absolutely nothing new about it: it’s been appearing in French cookery books for decades. And we’re offering our own version here.

Another visitor from across the Channel is aioli, the classic Provencal garlic mayonnaise which in that part of the world will form the centrepiece of a huge supper or lunch dish consisting of cooked and raw vegetables and often some fish, all to be dipped into it before being eaten. For this version we can supply prawns and vegetables.

Aioli more than repays the modest effort involved in preparing it, the only golden rule being to ensure that all the ingredients – and the bowl you use – are at room temperature. Oh, and there’s one more warning: many people have found aioli to be addictive.

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

JUNE 2021

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

JUNE 2021

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES JUNE 2021

By the law of averages it should be barbecue weather from now until Bonfire Night.

We have, after all, had a summer’s worth of bad weather in the last month so on that basis – and even if you believe some of the more optimistic forecasts – the skies are set to remain sunny and clear for weeks to come.

But in any event we shall all be indulging in a barbecue at some point between now and the autumn and while we’ve often suggested meat-based barbecue treats in the past this month we’re also making some suggestions as to what to serve alongside.

All our ideas are based on potatoes. Once dismissed with the almost automatic label of ‘humble’ in the past. But British potatoes have come a very long way since then. Top of the heap are still, of course, Jersey Royals but other types of British new potato aren’t far behind though remain all too often woefully underrated.

Let us show you how they can become something truly delicious in their own right with this month’s selection. First stop: Greece…

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

MAY 2021

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

MAY 2021

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES MAY 2021

It’s an elusive element, the British barbecue season. This year it appeared to have arrived early, taking us all by surprise. And just as we were getting down to suggesting some barbecue recipes for May, when it normally gets into full swing, the weather has turned and we are back to something like February.

Never mind. Barbecue weather will be back with us at some point soon, so it’s well worth getting ready for it. The good news is that we have plentiful supplies of barbecue-ready steak of all kinds and at very tempting prices so even if you aren’t quite ready to fire up yet it might well be sensible to take advantage of this and buy for the freezer.

The usual rules of barbecuing apply of course. If you are using charcoal don’t attempt to cook huge amounts of food – particularly chicken – on a small barbecue and don’t cook over roaring flames or you will ruin the flavour of the food. Always allow the fire to die down and wait for a layer of grey ash to form on the coals before adding the meat – and wipe the grill with an oil-soaked piece of kitchen paper before you place anything on it.

In the interests of livening up your barbecues this year we’re suggesting some unusual flavour combinations. Pork and prunes are often found together in the casseroles that are popular in southwest France but combine equally well when gently cooked this way.

Chimichurri is a favourite in Argentina and frequently slathered over the huge grilled steaks that are so popular there. It’s known as Argentinean pesto because it has the same pungency as that great Italian sauce. Meanwhile our recipe for steak seasoning conjures up some of the flavours of the American southwest and can just as easily be used for fish as well as for meats of all kinds – particularly beef and lamb.

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

APRIL 2021

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

APRIL 2021

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES APRIL 2021

If it’s April it has to be lamb – and English lamb, of course. But new season’s lamb comes with something of a warning this year: prices are unavoidably higher than a year ago.

There is little we can do about that. We are sourcing our lambs from a market which is very short because so many farmers, fearful of becoming embroiled in export chaos in the wake of Brexit, have cut back on production.

And when a market is short the inevitable happens: the price goes up. That said, there is still little to equal the eating quality of prime English lamb – a product which is admired and envied in many countries where they have neither the grass, the climate nor the breeds to produce anything like the same quality.

Our recipes this month also demonstrate lamb’s versatility and we can particularly recommend the lamb boulangère, originally a dish cooked in the receding heat of the baker’s oven. And no list of suggestions for this time of the year would be complete without featuring the flavours of Greece, where lamb will be on the table in nearly every home at Easter.

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

MARCH 2021

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

MARCH 2021

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES MARCH 2021

British pig farmers are going through one of their periodic difficult trading times – caused, as usual, by factors way beyond their control.

The details are too complex to go into here but they concern trading arrangements and export agreements of countries as far apart as Germany and China which have built up significant surpluses of pork in Europe.

And despite the reported difficulties in the post-Brexit export and import trade these haven’t been severe enough to prevent large quantities of cheap Spanish pork arriving in the UK to further distort the market and put downward pressure on prices

However you will know we have always supported British pig farmers, and will always do so because of the vastly superior quality of the product.

The plus side of all this negative news for the industry is that pork currently represents very good value indeed, so it’s worth talking to us about freezer packs. Meanwhile here are some suggestions for cooking this most versatile of meats. If you haven’t tried pork cheeks before then there’s a treat in store for you – though we will need one day’s notice to supply them.

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

FEBRUARY 2021

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

FEBRUARY 2021

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES FEBRUARY 2021

February. Valentine’s Day. And the point in the calendar when many of us decide to put our culinary skills to the test and whip up something special to impress a loved one. Often, in the process, attempting something complex and wildly beyond our abilities, however it may have appeared when the celebrity chef cooked it on TV.

The golden rule to bear in mind if you are not an experienced cook is that it all comes down to the quality – though not necessarily the cost – of the ingredients. Get that right and even the simplest of dishes will deliver a great eating experience.

Luckily we are in a position to help you at boths of the scale. If your preference is for steak you won’t find any better than ours which comes from locallly-raised grass-fed beef cattle – and we’re suggesting a fail-safe way to achieve restaurant quality results with it.

But we’ve also won countless awards for the outstanding quality of our sausages so here are a couple of suggestions for turning them into really memorable supper dishes.

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

JANUARY 2021

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

JANUARY 2021

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES JANUARY 2021

You may have noticed how the cauliflower has become fashionable among the cooking classes in recent years. Professional chefs have discoverd how versatile a vegetable it is and what a variety of flavour hits it can deliver, given the proper treatment.

It’s a bit of a turnaround for something we have always taken for granted – and which, like Brussels sprouts, has presented something of a challenge to many children encountering it for the first time.

Cauliflowers actually originated in the Mediterranean region (the name comes from the Italian cavolfiore, meaning “cabbage flower”) and were used in many traditional Asian dishes for years before arriving here in the 16th century.

The best ones, it is generally agreed, are grown in Cornwall  and across the Channel in Brittany – both regions where they benefit from the mild, maritime climate – and since the 1970s growers in these areas have been exchanging knowledge and expertise to improve the quality and flavour of thier crops.

One of our most popular ways of serving it is, of course, as cauliflower cheese. But the supermarkets have done this potentially great dish a real disservice, using cheap, industrial cheese to deliver a bland and pretty much tasteless product. So we thought it was time to elevate this classic to the status it deserves. And all these recipes use the whole cauliflower – as those chefs have taught us there’s a huge amount of flavour in the core, the part many people still throw away.

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

DECEMBER 2020

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

DECEMBER 2020

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES DECEMBER 2020

This, so we have been told repeatedly, is not going to be a normal Christmas, and but will probably be the most low-key one in living memory. After all, even in the war there was no limit on family gatherings – only on the amount of food that might be available to feed everyone.

Here we are in the exact reverse circumstances: all the food in the world available yet hardly anyone to feed it to.

But bearing in mind that centuries ago Christmas was one of the very, very few occasions in the year when people did eat well we should all continue to make a little extra effort on the catering front for the sake of tradition, even though everything might have to be scaled down.

So, speaking of tradition we thought we should offer some truly traditional recipes this year. None demands fancy ingredients or any huge levels of skill or massive amounts of time to prepare. Leaving you, of course, plenty of time to phone those relatives and friends with whom you would have been sharing Christmas had things been different.

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

NOVEMBER 2020

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

NOVEMBER 2020

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES NOVEMBER 2020

GETTING AHEAD FOR CHRISTMAS

There’s nothing worse than putting off all the pre-Christmas food preparation and suddenly finding that it’s Christmas next week and you have simply run out of time.

So we should all be aiming to get as much as possible done by the end of November in order to leave a clear run for the first three weeks or so of December.

November is traditionally the month when Christmas puddings are concocted on Stir Up Sunday (it’s the 22nd this year), the last Sunday before Advent and so called because the collect for the day begins “Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people” – which was always a useful reminder for people to get stirring their puddings when they got home from church.

The chicken and duck liver pâté and the Normandy pâté can both be made towards the end of November and frozen until needed – both are ideal for Boxing Day lunch. The salt beef needs to be started 10 days before Christmas but making the parfait is best left until two days before: you can then turn it out on Boxing Day and present it with a flourish, allowing its amazing aroma to fill the room.

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

OCTOBER 2020

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

OCTOBER 2020

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES OCTOBER 2020

Most keen cooks welcome the arrival of October because it signals the start of a new season in the kitchen with autumn and winter ingredients abundantly available.

It’s not quite the moment yet for eating rib-sticking stews in front of a roaring fire but heartier meals with a little warming flavour of spice are definitely on the menu at this time of the year.

This month we are once again exploring the versatility of lamb and particularly lamb shoulder, which always represents good value for money. As to the spicing there’s garam masala, traditionally a blend of cinnamon, mace, peppercorns, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and cardamom pods (and occasionally cloves) which is used to add depth and flavour, rather than heat to Indian food, and ras-el-hanout (literally ‘top of the shop’) a great addition to any North African dish.

Visit the region and you will find spice sellers all offering their own version of this blend which may often contain 20 or more ingredients (sometimes including rose petals) and while there are plenty of commercial varieties available if you go online there are simple instructions about making your own which you can tailor, of course, to personal taste.

Finally we’re looking to North Africa again for this month’s soup. Again it’s a mild-flavoured dish but if you prefer to hot things up authentically whisk a small teaspoon of harissa paste into a cupful of the soup and return to the pan for the last few minutes of cooking.

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

SEPTEMBER 2020

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

SEPTEMBER 2020

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES SEPTEMBER 2020

Although it hardly seems possible summer is officially over and we are into autumn, the consolation being that that means the game season has also opened.

Many more of us are buying and rearing game these days, particularly in the West Country where it is so plentiful – though with several of the larger shoots operating on a much reduced scale this winter because of coronavirus pheasants may not be so readily available or so cheap later in the year.

But first up is partridge, a much-overlooked delicacy which is quick and easy to cook and a real supper-time treat. We are also getting good supplies of rabbit – a meat which is returning to popularity after far too many years of being neglected. Rabbit is lean, healthy, versatile and very tasty – and there’s a lot more you can do with it then the standby rabbit pie…

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

AUGUST 2020

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

AUGUST 2020

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES AUGUST 2020

Most farmers are agreed that this year’s crop of lamb is one of outstanding quality and with prices now easing back larger joints offer better value for money than ever.

We’re suggesting lamb shoulder this month: a lot of people prefer it to leg because it tends to dry less during longer cooking and it’s also extremely versatile. Deboned shoulder of lamb is a great choice for a family barbecue if you marinade it overnight in olive oil, herbs, garlic and some redcurrant jelly beforehand.

And one of this month’s recipes also involves an overnight marinade to ensure the delicious flavours of summer herbs and garlic infuse the meat properly.

The first suggestion uses fiery harissa paste which is an optional addition to tagines if you prefer something hotter and spicier – just be careful not to overdo it.

And finally a home-cured pork tenderloin will always be a talking point when you serve a few slices to your supper guests as a starter along with the some baby gherkins and warm crusty bread. And perhaps a glass of well-chilled rosé!

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

JULY 2020

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

JULY 2020

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES JULY 2020

Everyone loves a barbecue – as our sales of barbecue ingredients testify every summer. But what we regard as one of the summer’s treats is a mainstream cooking method in many hotter countries, so this month we thought we’d spread the net a little wider in our search for tempting recipes.

Two of our suggestions feature pork shoulder which currently is extremely good value, lends itself perfectly to barbecuing and which you will find in use pretty much across the world.

The places where you won’t find it, of course, are Muslim countries but they have their own repertoire of barbecued food, often featuring lamb. But by way of a surprise we thought we’d bring you one of the best-loved of Morocco’s traditional skewered treats, pungent with spices and served with a cooling salad.

But we can’t recommend strongly enough making your own flatbreads to go with all these dishes, either to roll them up in or just to eat separately. Once you have mastered the technique we guarantee you’ll never stop making them. Keep a ball of the dough in the fridge in a lightly oiled, airtight freezer bag and you have got pretty much instant bread on tap whenever you need it: just tear off a lump, roll it out and slap it into a dry frying pan over a moderate heat for two minutes. Flatbreads are quick and easy to cook on a barbecue, too – and your friends will be hugely impressed!

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

JUNE 2020

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

JUNE 2020

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES JUNE 2020

Maybe because of the mild start to the year the new season’s lamb is of exceptional quality – as good as any we can remember. So we thought we would just give you an idea of how versatile it can be with a couple of spicy recipes this month.

No apologies if either is a little on the fiery side – you can always rein back on the chilli powder if you are nervous – but remember that spicy food is eaten in hot countries because it helps the body to cool down.

Chilli also releases endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers which cause the feel-good effect you often experience after an Indian meal – and which is why even a large bill can appear painless.

However this authentic recipe for spicy lamb shoulder can be achieved for a fraction of what it would cost even if any Indian restaurants were open to go to.

And since – as fantastic sales of our barbecue specialities demonstrate – we are now well into the season of outside eating by way of offering some small consolation for those cancelled holidays, our chicken kebabs are guaranteed to bring all the flavours of the Mediterranean into your garden.

As with all barbecued meat it’s better to use flat metal skewers rather than wooden ones because the meat sticks to them better and it’s easier to cook it on all sides.

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

MAY 2020

RECIPES OF THE MONTH

MAY 2020

PYNE’S OF SOMERSET RECIPES MAY 2020

A skilled cook, they say, is capable of using every part of a pig except the grunt. And indeed it’s hard to imagine a more versatile meat source.

Not just in this country but across most of Europe the pig has traditionally provided nose-to-tail eating, often becoming a literal lifeline to sustain poorer families through the lean winter months when, for example, pig’s tail and split pea soup was just one of the basic, nourishing and very satisfying dishes that would be regularly prepared.

Not that that anything that can be prepared from a pig should ever be dismissed as poor food: many of the lesser-known examples, such as Bath chaps and brawn can be described, with every justification, as delicacies, and the great tragedy is that we are increasingly turning our backs on them these days.

Pork generally suffered an image problem in the 1970s when the healthy eating trend really took off and it was widely but unfairly criticised as a fatty meat. It isn’t. On the other hand it’s the fat that gives pork such fine flavour: crisp-roast belly pork wouldn’t be half the dish is without the fat below the skin melting into the lean meat during cooking.

Anyway while we wait for the weather to warm up again and the barbecue season to arrive here are three recipes which show off pork at its very best.

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