• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

  • product-image-quickten.png.a40203b506711f7664fc62024e54a584.pngDid you know that these all-volunteer forums are operated by the 501(c)3 not-for-profit Society for Culinary Arts & Letters? This holiday season, consider a tax-deductible Quick Ten Bucks to support the eG Forums and help us remain completely advertising-free. Thanks to all those who have donated so far!

sheepish

eG Foodblog: Sheepish (2012) - Eating and drinking in a Welsh farmhous

133 posts in this topic

I thought I'd use blog-eve as chance for a brief introduction.

I'm Rob. I live just outside a village, around 35 miles North West of Cardiff, in Wales. For those of your not familiar with the principality, it’s the blob of land attached to the left of England. Mostly hills and mountains that tends to flatten out towards the coast.

I have an 80 acre farm on which I keep an ever growing flock of Welsh-Mountain sheep, plus occasional Tamworth pigs and Welsh Black cattle. I'm not a farmer though, as any of my farming neighbours will attest to. I pay the bills “doing computer stuff” for a big telecommunications company, although mostly I can work from home which is great for me.

I grew up in London, England, but have been living in Wales for nearly 20 years. I share the house with my wife and two small children.

Food wise, I’ll eat and drink pretty much anything. I particularly like to investigate offal, although Mrs Sheepish isn’t so keen.

So this week I’m going to try and show you the sort of things we usually eat, with a bit of bias to Welsh ingredients and recipes where possible. I’m very keen on Sichuan food too though, so there’ll be some of that. Plus Mrs Sheepish has a birthday next Saturday and as has become traditional I shall be attempting to knock up a relatively fancy meal for 2, so there’ll be a fair bit of prep for that. Oh, and Mrs Sheepish is Irish so there’ll be a bit of influence from even further to the left.

Here's a couple of library pictures to give you an idea of where we are.

Track from the farm towards the village

2185130003_e9f844d052_z.jpg

Looking down from fields to the village

2154430535_7daeb65165_z1.jpg

Last year's Tamworths

4555191114_7114fb00ed_z.jpg

I’ll leave it at that for now. Tomorrow, food! And hope you don’t get bored until at least Tuesday.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I looked up Welsh Mountain Sheep and apparently they are both for fleece and eating. What do you do with yours? How many do you have? Do you keep herding dogs? Do you sell the sheep for others to eat? Thanks.

Yes, I am interested in sheep. Used to work with fleece in another life.


Darienne

learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This should be interesting! Looking forward to the next update.


There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A foodblog from you, Rob. Splendid. And a nice hit of nostalgia from that first pic.


QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rob – Thank you for doing the blog this week, I look forward to following along. Looks like you are in a gorgeous location, that’s a lovely view of the town.

I have a sudden hankering for Sichuan pork, and I blame you. Perhaps you can do something about that . . .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gorgeous countryside -- and nice-looking pigs, too! I'm looking forward to this.


Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very much looking forward to your blog. Will this be more "village focused"? Sechuan cooking and offal...Welsh ingredients...Irish food...wonderful teasers. :smile:


Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Food and drink update!

As it's the first thing my eyes finally begin to focus on I should introduce you to my cafetiere. A masterpiece of the cafetiere makers art. No matter what angle or pour velocity you choose it dumps a sample of your chosen beverage (mostly coffee) onto the table next to your mug.

6829208809_4c38ab1f7d_z.jpg

This is breakfast every day I work from home. I'm not a fan of early morning eating. But by mid morning I'm getting peckish and what better way to break fast than with a slice or two or Bara Brith. Mrs Sheepish is outraged I've chosen to showcase shop bought Bara Brith but as I'm not detecting the delicious aromur of a freshly baked loaf this will have to do.

6829204325_9b28ced019_z.jpg

Bara Brith is a bit of a Welsh institution. A moist fruit bread that distinguishes itself with the addition of tea to the ingredients. I think you soak the fruit in the tea. Never made it myself, I can find out the details if anyone is interested. Anyway, it's jolly good. Bara is the Welsh word for bread. No idea what Brith means, but I don't think it's fruit.

6829206759_32509735e0_z.jpg

Later on we'll be returning to an Irish childhood memory with boiled pork ribs. I've had these before. They're worth looking out for....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quick update on the sheep for those who asked. Currently have 40 breeding ewes, although I bought another 30 last month, just need to arrange delivery. They are primarily for meat. Fleece purchase is a monopoly in the UK, but as of last year we've started getting paid more than a couple of pence per fleece, although still not enough to cover sheering costs if you employ someone to do it. Welsh Mountain fleece is rough and oily. Excellent mountain weather protection. Not so good for a nice soft jumper. We keep a few lambs to grow on into their second year and then have them slaughtered for our freezer. The rest get sold through livestock markets. I have an un-herding dog. I run around pushing the sheep into a coherent group, and then she runs through the middle and disperses them. I really don't have enough sheep to justify a herding dog. They need a lot of work to keep them fit and interested. The theory would be to continue expanding the flock and make use of the common grazing rights on the mountains behind the farm. Then a dog would be a necessity to go and collect them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking forward to seeing more food on the hoof. Love the fruit bread on a Hello Kitty plate. This week should be fun. From perusing the web,looks like brith means "spotted," which makes sense.


Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tamworth is a breed few farmers around here (mid-Atlantic U.S.) raise and that is a shame. The best pork I've eaten came from a farmer who raises Tamworths but his farm is located an hour and a half from here and he no longer comes to the farmers market nearby.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quick update on the sheep for those who asked.

Thanks so much for your answer. Good of you to do it.

I love lamb, even mutton. DH hates it and will not eat it. When we are on the Navajo reservation in NM, I order mutton stew...Ed does not. End of story.


Darienne

learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking forward to this one Boyo! Tamworth and Welsh Black are two of my favourite breeds of meat. Do we get to see some butchery this week?

Probably not too much butchery this week. I might be pulling some ribs from a lamb breast tomorrow. So here are some butchey library pics in lieu. You might spot this fella was a Welsh pig rather than a Tamworth.

3853277788_c9d98f56e7_z.jpg

3852478575_518df4f7e7_z.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Was butchery something you got interested in after (if indeed you did) you moved out of the city? Did you take a course on butchering your own animals?


Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Was butchery something you got interested in after (if indeed you did) you moved out of the city? Did you take a course on butchering your own animals?

Until I moved out of the city I was a vegan, so yes only really interested out in the sticks :-) Learned from books and a DVD. I'm not a great butcher, but it's very satisfying to do yourself, if slow. Turning 3 whole pig carcasses into joints, bacon and sausages is an exhausting way to spend a weekend.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rob, thanks for sharing and putting your part of the UK on the map so to speak.

Couple of questions.

Clearly the price of lamb is now, as I understand quite good for farmers, but is it really cost effective or profitable to rear these days.

I have heard nearly all of a pig is put to use when butchered. Do you manage to utilise all of the carcass?

Homemade Bara brith was really enjoyed last year in North Wales, strangley enough in sad curcumstances, at my best friend,s funeral.

It was the only time we have eaten it and vowed to try making it sometime.

Perhaps now is that time. :smile:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've a recipe for Bara Brith (speckled bread) handed down from my maternal great-great grandmother (Arnietha Davies) that, unlike most recipes, uses yeast.

I've cut it down from the original, which made seven loaves, to a single loaf and modernized it to where one doesn't need to grate the sugar off a loaf.

I'd love to see photos of your kitchen too.

I love the photos of the Tamworths. I recently watched a British mystery where a painting that included Tamworths was a critical clue in solving the mystery.

Lovely countryside.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, Rob! With that picture of the village, you took my heart! I am madly in love with your part of the world – England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland. Only been once (just last spring) and Mr. Kim went to Ireland in August, but with an English stepdad, I’ve loved it and dreamed of it forever! When we were in England we SO wanted to come to Wales. We were as far west as Stroud, so it wouldn’t have been difficult, but we could only cram so much into the short time we had. We loved everything we saw and did, but the villages were our favorites! And we came home with about 200 pictures of sheep! I am looking forward to this blog very, very much! Along with all the obligatory pictures, I’d love to see your house and surrounding land!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I'm pleasantly surprised that thus far I haven't induced narcolepsy into all of eGullet. So onwards and upwards, and this evening it's boiled pork ribs with champ. This is a dish from my wife's childhood. She's from County Armagh in Northern Ireland. If you don't know what a Northern Irish accent sounds like, listen to the word Brad Pitt uses 75% of the way through each sentence in the film Snatch as his "Irish" accent veers from Wicklow to Antrim.

Take some pork ribs. This is where my poor butchery comes into its own because there's a nice chunk of loin left stuck to these.

6832043263_50e1581ab7_z.jpg

You probably don't want the spine bit, although my dog does, so saw that off really quickly (or use a slow exposure on your camera).

6832046325_80d2698c28_z.jpg

Simmer the ribs in well salted water for an hour or so. Meanwhile boil some potatoes. Mrs Sheepish's tip is to put the drained potatoes back in the hot pan to steam out some of their water and prevent the mash becoming soggy.

Add a tiny smear of butter

6832060603_10439f3bf9_z.jpg

Add a pile of spring onions. Mrs Sheepish calls these scallions, but she's from Ireland and so doesn't speak English properly like I do. Spring onions!

6832066111_ec5c6fdbce_z.jpg

Serve with a bottle of two of Gwynt y Ddraig cider. Made about 10 miles from here in Pontypridd.

6832080383_969dbcdc27_z.jpg

Delicious

6832084143_edc4158ca8_z.jpg

Told you

6832092707_99f821d603_z.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

David. As you say, lamb prices are going up and up. I'm very much like an international pop star in that I have a very poor grasp of what lamb cost at the butchers because I never buy any. Last summer Mrs Sheepish was trying to kick start a local farmers market and sold some of our lamb. We had to price up the joints and I was amazed at how much it sells for in a supermarket. My understanding is that as China and India get wealthier they are buying up more lamb. That might be from New Zealand rather than the UK, but the lack for New Zealand lamb in Europe then pushes up the prices here. I'm very un-commercial because it really is a hobby for me, but reckon on about £35 profit per lamb. It can make you a living if you have enough land. Would it pay the mortgage on a farm you buy? Probably not. But then nothing will really. You also have to factor in the complex world of subsidies but I'd still think it's a very hard way to eek out a living if you don't get a farm handed down to you from your parents.

The only bit of a pig that the dog might see are the lungs. I can use some lung. But a lot of lungs I struggle with. Everything else though, yep, eaten. If I can find some in Cardiff on Friday I'll buy some faggots, if nothing else to give American readers a giggle. They would be the traditional Welsh way to use up the squidgy bits from a pig.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd love to see photos of your kitchen too.

I've told Mrs Sheepish to clean it up first.

Only joking. She's reading these posts. :-) But in all seriousness, it needs a wipe down before I'm going to reveal it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can see why the boiled pork ribs would be tender and tasty. I love them when I simmer the ribs for one of my favourite Chinese vegetable soups - with bok choy, celery, carrots, and ginger. :wub:

I will be interested in seeing what you do with the pig stomach and large intestine!


Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Similar Content

    • By sartoric
      We're 50 something Aussies who enjoy travelling, eating, cooking, markets, kitchen shops, cooking utensils, animals & plants (often food related), architecture & photography (both kitchens and food) and exploring different cultures (of which food is a big part). The trip was January 14 - February 6, it was just marvellous. My favourite meal is now masala dosa with sambar, I had many. Here's some highlights of the food.
       
      A late afternoon snack of Sichuan pepper squid was washed down with a beer at the Ajantha Seaview Hotel on the promenade in Pondicherry. It's a colonial building with a first floor terrace overlooking the colourful display of women in their finest, and the Bay of Bengal. We're here on a Monday public holiday for the Pongal festival, a four day celebration of the harvest, with many different ceremonies and traditions.
       
       

       
      A visual bonus, cows (and sometimes goats) get their horns painted and wear flower garlands or other decorations.

       
    • By Christy Martino
      Ciao!
       
      I'm Christine and I'm a born and bred New Yorker. I’m an Italian by blood (and at heart, of course) since my parents actually came from Italy. My father was from Sciacca, Sicily while my mother was from Sondrio, Lombardy. Despite coming from different regions, or because of it, love for food and cooking has been one of the mainstays in my family home life growing up. And I’ve always loved the dishes my parents prepared during special occasions, and even on regular days.
       
      And of course, I love cooking (and eating) Italian food and I have a few recipes from my mother, but I'd really love to collect some more, especially the traditional ones. And if anyone can contribute some historical background to each dish, that would be really great.
       
      Grazie mille!
    • By Chef Margie
      Hello Everyone!
       
      Happy to join eGullet in hopes to share my passion for culinary and kitchen with others. I have an Instagram account, but I don't think that is enough as I want to learn more, expand, and share my love for food with individuals who share the same passion.
       
      Here is a brief bio about myself: Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA by my Filipino parents. Having no brothers and sisters, I am very independent and surprisingly social with others but also love spending time on my own and with my boyfriend Louis, who is my kitchen partner in crime (this is how we actually met, working BOH at a local Vietnamese restaurant in LA). Having attended college majoring in accounting as an undergrad and grad, I orignally wanted to become a licensed accountant for finance and real estate, but it was not fulfilling and the content honestly bored me to death! I also desired to leave the corporate business world and join the professional kitchen. So I took the leap, graduated culinary school, quit my desk job, and worked in the professional kitchen. Then my health and finances took over, and I had surgery and I needed more money to survive in a city of ridiculous rent prices. I had to leave the kitchen and go back into accounting. Fast forward to 2017, I am currently unemployed having been laid off two days before Christmas the prior year! Using this as a sign and as an opportunity for self growth and realization, I am once again on the culinary path. Not necessarily to work on the line, but to learn more, cook and bake more at home, and expose myself out there to all things food and kitchen. Not also forgetting to mention I am always surrounded by food: Louis is also still in the professional kitchen, and we WILL have that restaurant one day (dreams DO come true, I just know it!).
       
      Anyhow, I am super excited to be posting here and exchanging ideas! See you out there! 
       
      Margie
    • By ElsieD
      We are at the airport waiting to board our flight.  As we seem to have interested folks from different parts of the world who may not know too much about our province,  I thought I would start this blog by giving you an overview of Newfoundland and Labrador (NL).
       
      Before Newfoundland  became part of Canada in 1949, it was a British Colony.  Cupids, a town on Conception Bay, was settled 406 years ago, and is the oldest continuously settled official British community in Canada.  Most of the early permanent settlers came from southwest England and southeast Ireland although  the French also settled here and in the 17th century Newfoundland was more French than English.  French is still spoken in Port au Port Penninsula, on the western side of the island, with English spoken everywhere else.   Just off the coast of south west Newfoundland, St. Pierre et Miquelon are islands that are still a colony of France.  There is a regular ferry service between Fortune, NL and St. Pierre et Miquelon.
       
      Geographically, the capital of St. John's is on the same latitude as Paris, France and Seattle, Washington.  In size, Newfoundland and Labrador is a little smaller than California, slightly bigger than Japan and twice the size of the United Kingdon.  NL covers 405,212 sq. kilometers (156,453 sq. miles) with over 29,000 kilometers (18,000 miles) of coastline.  By itself, the island of Newfoundland covers 111,390 square kilometers (43,008 sq. miles).
       
      The population of NL is 510,000, of whom 181,000 live in St. John's.  While there are some larger towns, vast areas are sparsely populated.
       
      In Newfoundland there are no snakes, skunks, racoons, poisonous insects or arachnids.  There is also no ragweed - allergy sufferers rejoice!  There are over 120,000 moose and it is home to one of the world's biggest caribou herds.   They also have some of the continent's biggest black bears.
       
      Note: This information was taken from the official Newfoundland and Labrador web site.
    • By chefmd
      My son married a lovely young lady from Yakeshi, Inner Mongolia, China.   Mongolian: ᠶᠠᠠᠠᠰᠢ ᠬᠣᠲᠠ (Ягши хот); Chinese: 牙克石; pinyin: Yákèshí
       
      We had a wedding in the US but her family also wanted to have a traditional wedding in China.  DH and I have never being to China so this was an exciting opportunity for us!  We spent a few days in Beijing doing touristy stuff and then flew to Hailar.  There is only one flight a day on Air China that we took at 6 in the morning.  Yakeshi is about an hour drive from Hailar on a beautiful toll road with no cars on it.  I wish we took pictures of free roaming sheep and cows along the way.  The original free range meat.
       
      The family met us at the airport.  We were greeted with a shot of a traditional Chinese spirit from a traditional leather vessel.  Nothing says welcome like a stiff drink at 9 AM.  We were supposed to have a three shots (may be they were joking) but family took pity on us and limited it to one only.
       

       
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.