Management Meeting//Slow-Roast Pork Rolls

We catch up with the kids over a family-classic.

There’s something so wholesome about having the whole family round for a roast dinner…

Although both our kids have got roles within the Farm Shop Food business (which is based just a few miles from our home) we still don’t get to see them that often. Kate (34) and Jack (31) have come full circle in terms of their relationship with our business here.

Gerald and I first started growing vegetables when we were struggling for cash as young parents. Pulling up carrots, potatoes and broccoli was a cheap way of feeding the troops whilst getting good nutrients in them at the same time. They were never fussy eaters as young ones, happily wolfing down whatever we set in front of them – whether it was a hearty stew or a rather anaemic looking soup.

After the Farm Shop Food business started to really get going (and the kids were a little older) we were able to get them working in the shop. I imagine that those early days of sitting at the checkout in our quiet Farm Shop were rather dull for them. They were the only young people working there and they were impossible to cheer up when they were half-way through a day’s work on the Saturday. We paid them minimum wage and I think they resented us slightly for nudging them into giving their precious weekends.

Still, by the time they had left for university they’d both taken on more substantial supervisory roles in the store and had built up a solid slate of skills that they could hopefully take with them into later working life. Every summer they’d both return to work in the shop and with each passing year I could see them enjoying their work a little more. Kate was the first to graduate, she spent a few months travelling before cropping up on our doorstep, asking if she could have a job. Two years later it was Jack who repeated a similar trick, but this time a little sun burnt from his time in Thailand.

They both took on managerial roles and have since then risen to take over complete control of the company. It really is a weight off our minds knowing that our kids have got the company in hand and it’s also wonderful to have them both so close to home. We try and keep our noses out of the business now that we’re both retired, but it’s always nice to check up on how they’re doing and there’s no better meal to bond over than a lovely bit of slow-roast pork.

Get Together Roast Pork Rolls

Serves a family of 4 with some leftovers

What You Need:

2kg loin of pork

2 onions, peeled

Plain flour

Good can of cider

300ml of veggie stock

8 soft bread rolls

To Serve:

Butter

Apple sauce

Stuffing

Method:

Crack your oven on as high as possible, then prep your pork.

Score the skin of your loin joint in thin strips, go about halfway through the fat for the best crackling.

Quarter your onions and place in your tray then plonk the pork on top.

Then get a good handful of sea salt and really rub it into the meat – place on a high shelf and roast for 25 mins.

Turn the heat down to 190 degrees and roast for another 2 hours.

Skewer the meat – if there are clear juices then you’re good to go.

Take it out to rest for half an hour before serving with bread rolls and any sauces/stuffing that you’d like.

Knotweed Invasion//Beef Stew

At the start of the week we received the call that no landowners want to hear…

Japanese knotweed is an invasive plant that found its way over to the UK during the Victorian era from Japan (funnily enough!).

When it was first introduced to the UK the gardeners and horticulturalists of Britain were completely enamoured with this wonder plant. Not only did it grow fast but the budding gardeners of the time also discovered that it had the ability to push back other plants, making it useful for keeping unwanted plants off the railway lines that were getting constantly built up and down the country at the time.

Unfortunately, the Victorians had underestimated how industrious Japanese knotweed could be. They’d not accounted for the plant’s ability to grow up to 20cm a day and they (falsely) believed that because the English climate was too cold for it to flower that the plant would not spread any further: they were wrong.

Over the last 100 years or so Japanese knotweed has spread out from it’s various origin points throughout the country and found it’s way into the back gardens, fields and homes of thousands around the country. The plant has the capacity to grow through walls and even uproot small structures such as sheds, this is why it’s now being treated as an ‘invasive non-native plant‘ by the government. Fail to dispose of your knotweed in the correct fashion and you could face a serious fine.

When we got a call from one of our lads that he’d spotted several Japanese knotweed plants breaking through a neighbouring land border, we knew we had to sort the problem out right away. We enlisted the help of Knotweed Help to assess our situation and get us a quote on removing the plants. Whilst our visitors were having a poke around, Gerald and I made ourselves busy in the kitchen cooking up a heart beef stew to keep the men outside warm.

The right beef stew takes more than a good joint of beef, this recipe is one that we’ve had in the family for years. Unlike some of our other ‘untouchable’ family recipes we always try and add a little something extra into this to make it a bit special:

Our Traditional Beef Stew

Serves 5 hungry farmers and 1 knotweed specialist

What You Need:

Vegetable oil

1kg best braising beef,

Plain flour

2 onions, roughly chopped

Couple of glasses of red wine

4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped

2 large potatoes, peeled and chopped in 1cm cubes

5 bay leaves

2 tbsp Harissa paste

Method:

Preheat your oven to 160 degrees.

Dust your beef in couple of tablespoons of flour and then fry in a heated pan with a dash of oil.

Once your beef is sealed toss in your vegetable along with the garlic, bay and harissa.

Cook this out for a few minutes before adding the puree, Worcestershire sauce, wine and stock.

Bring this all to the boil and let it cook for 10 minutes before seasoning, then stick it in the oven for 3-4 hours.

Give it a stir occasionally and make sure you’ve got some lovely fresh bread to soak it up with when it’s ready.