04 March 2013

The Black Farmer Cookbook

 I hear about most cookbooks out there, but this one snuck up on me.   Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones is England's only Black Farmer.  Born in Jamaica,  Emmanuel-Jones' parents came to the United Kingdom where he was raised Birmingham. Coming from a large family in a small flat, he loved to work the small allotment where his family grew vegetables.   Emmanuel-Jones wanted more.

He managed to get into television, rising to become the producer and director for many of the U.K.'s big celebrity chefs, including Gordon Ramsey. He finally saw his chance to get his own small farm and soon after launched The Black Farmer brand. Before long, his sausages were winning awards.  Not content to be Britain's only black farmer, he launched a rural scholarship program bringing  kids from inner city communities to live and work on rural farms.

His empire is growing as he adds more products and enlists the help of family.  There is even a Black Farmer's Daughter line.

This books just oozes a love of product. One feels the land on every page.  While being grounded in a place, the influence of his travels and his Caribbean birth flavor his recipes making them seem at the same time comfortable and a touch exotic.  You want to sit down and have a meal with this guy.  Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones' love of the land extends not only to the animals of the farm but to the people in his community.  He shares his success, supporting sports teams and schools while making a mean bacon!

Trieste is one of my favorite places so this recipe caught my eye.  Trieste is a city on the  northern most edge of the Adriatic Sea. Now considered Italian, it has been claimed by East and West and Austrians, Germans, and Slavs.  It is a melting pot and goulash is a melting pot.

Trieste-Style Beef Goulash

2 tablespoons olive oil
800g braising topside, cut into large pieces
2 onions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato purée
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 fresh rosemary sprig, leaves finely chopped
a small handful of fresh oregano leaves
1 bay leaf
150ml dry white wine
400g can plum tomatoes
2 tablespoons kalamata olive tapenade
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat the oil in a  large flameproof casserole pan and cook the beef for 5 minutes, turning until brown. Remove and set aside. You will need to do this in batches. Add the onions and cook for 5-8 minutes until softened and just starting to brown.

2. Return the beef and stir in the tomato purée and paprika. Cook for 1 minute, stirring, then stir in the rosemary, nearly all the oregano leaves, the bay leaf, white wine and tomatoes. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, or until the beef is tender and the sauce has thickened.

3. Check the seasoning and serve immediately in shallow bowls, topped with a spoonful of tapenade and a few oregano leaves.

Seek out this cookbook.    You won't be disappointed.

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