All the best for your Festive Season!
Since I last blogged a month ago, there has been so much happening! The Amberley A & P Show was a major event in the North Canterbury calendar. Harris Meats sponsors the Hoof to Hook to Hotplate competition and so it was all hands on deck to get that organised. We have a great group of people from the show who have been putting this event on for some years now, and while we all exclaim it does take a lot of work, every year it gets better.
Trish Coleman does a fantastic job of being the MC for the event, she keeps the whole thing flowing and makes it a lot of fun for the spectators. This year her husband Tim took over being the waiter for the judges - that's something I've done for the last few years and he did a great job. My main input was putting on a cooking demonstration in the morning. My brother Bryan, Nick Tobin, the Harris Meats Operations Manager and Nolton Laing, the Boning Room Supervisor did a boning demonstration first. Nolton blew everyone away with the speed he broke down the half bodies into usable portions. We had over 20,000 look at the video on Facebook already. Here's the link to the You Tube video in case you haven't seen it.
Once the boys had done their bit, I cooked up the rump steak, serving it with a salad with a special asian style dressing. It was then auctioned off and the highest bidder had a lovely lunch! The afternoon I spent judging the lamb section of the competition, trying lots of lamb along with other judges. The lamb was complemented by a delicious Pinot Noir from Waipara Hills. While the judging was going on, Glenda and Leo put on another cooking demonstration. Leo made lettuce cups with Harris Meats backstraps, they were delicious and I've adapted his recipe myself now and cooked it successfully a number of times since - it could become a firm favourite and I will put it up on this website as soon as I can.
I then had a couple of days at the Canterbury A & P Show with Harris Meats clients, Red Oak Angus. We had a great time and I met lots of people. Plenty came up for the free samples, there were even some kids who obviously appreciated the lovely meat, as they nearly scoffed the lot before anyone else got a chance! I had to give them the "Uncle Richard" look and suggestions....
Since then I have had other really enjoyable catering jobs, but have been pretty busy at Harris Meats as we ensure all our customers and clients are all sorted for Christmas. Ham production is in full swing, and we love working with the Patoa Pigs, freefarmed in North Canterbury and that's where Leo works!
I did manage to get over to Hanmer for a night a few weekends back and had a most fantastic evening and meal at the Malabar restaurant. If you haven't tried this, then you really must. The food is first rate and has my full recommendation!
I'm also in the Cheviot butchers shop on Fridays, and our shop is also now open on Saturday mornings although I won't be in this weekend as I am heading up to Blenheim. I'm going to be at the Blenheim Farmers Market on Sunday morning with the guys from Nuggetty Creek. Come and say hi!
I'm also going to be at the Christchurch Food and Wine Festival next weekend, am looking forward to that. I'm also looking forward to catering for a few other North Canterbury Christmas parties. Tonight there is also an auction to raise money for the Glenmark Rugby Club. Their clubrooms burned down a few months ago and they need to raise money to rebuild them. Leo and I are part of the auction. We will cook dinner for the winner of the auction and 11 of their mates, and I reckon we might be as popular as one of the other auction items - where Richie McCaw and Dan Carter cook a BBQ dinner for the highest bidder - yeah right! I might even bid on that one myself....
So, hope to catch you over the next month or so, and if I don't, please enjoy your festive cooking and eating. Keep it simple, cook with love, and it will all work out fine!