When I was growing up in rural France, we had three butchers’ in our village, for just over a thousand inhabitants. Needless to say, meat came from the butcher’s and it was invariably top quality. On the rare occasions it was not, you just had to say and you would get a more suitable cut. I moved to Paris as a student when I was 19 and I had a butcher’s really close to home. Meat became a treat, but when I could afford it, I would get beef from my local butcher’s shop once a month or so.
Ever since I moved to London 15 years ago (has it really been that long?), I have not once stepped into a butcher’s. I am not sure whether it is because I am not sure where to go, or whether it is a cultural thing or a financial thing. I am not sure, really, but I do know that I love good-quality meat, knowing where it came from, that it has been grass fed and naturally reared.
A tender cut of beef fillet cannot be beaten in my eyes. It is my treat of choice, yet I have not got a local butcher’s I regularly go to. I have no idea whether three is one where I live. When I need a ‘meat fix,’ I get a nice bit of beef fillet from M&S, Waitrose or Tesco.
You can imagine how elated I was when Scottish butcher Donald Russell contacted me asking whether I was interested in trying one of their beef boxes. Erm, yes please! I even called Hubby at work when I received the news.
After spending ages browsing their website (what a tough decision to make!), I settled for the ‘Butcher’s Favourites’ box. Wait for it…
- 2 Ribeye Steaks
- 2 Pavé Rump Steaks
- 440g Minced Steak
- 4 Medium Classic Steak Burgers
- 12 Mini Steak Burgers
A few days after making up my mind, I received a large polystyrene box. Rather than throwing it away, I have kept the empty box so I can use it again in the summer as a cool box when we have a party. If you threw it away, I feel the impact on the environment might outweigh the convenience, since polystyrene cannot be recycled locally.
The meat had been kept frozen in there with dry ice, made from carbon dioxide created as a by-product from industrial processes. It would normally be released straight into the atmosphere so using it to keep the meat frozen has a minimal effect on the environment. The dry ice had completely evaporated during the transit, and that is perfectly normal. The meat was frozen solid and it looked good! Here is a photo of a couple of items that were in the box (before it was all devoured).
Our order had been checked by Almida, who had signed a card by hand informing us she had personally checked each item was in mint condition. I liked that personal touch and feel that a human being was on the other side of the ordering process somewhere in Scotland.
On the day I received the box, I placed most of our meat haul in our freezer and kept my least favourite cut, the ribeye steaks in the fridge to defrost for the following night. It really is not normally my favourite cut and I would not buy it, but I surprisingly enjoyed the meat. It was seriously yummy and tender.
I was desperate to try the rump steaks, but decided to keep them for a special occasion as they were my preferred items in the box. We had burgers and chips next, and the children absolutely loved their mini burgers, which were a perfect portion for each of them at approximately 45g each. The fact they wed pure meat also meant I did not have to worry about allergens for Jumpy. We did not miss whatever we normally add to homemade burgers, may it be herbs, spices, onions, eggs or breadcrumbs. It was 100% meat and it was good!
I used the minced steak to make meat balls, once again with nothing added into the meat balls, and they were perfect with my simple, veggie-laden tomato pasta.
We had the rump steaks with plenty of vegetables last week for Wriggly’s birthday, and what a treat it was! Check my tips for cooking steak to perfection here.
A couple of days ago, we had our last bit from the box with scrumptious cheeseburgers. They were so good we did not even have a side with them!
The 2 kilos of beautiful grass fed, naturally reared beef lasted just over 2 months, and I did not buy a single piece of beef anywhere else. The box fed six of us for 5 meals (when we had the rump steaks, the children had mini minced steaks).
Initially, I wondered whether the price tag was worth it, but I have just ordered the ‘Butcher’s Favourites’ again for the start of September as it is on offer at the ridiculously low price of £34 for over 2 kilos of top quality beef (+£5 delivery – regular price £60.25).
If I were to cook the same things as I did when we received our gifted box, the reduced box would cost us an average of £2 per serving (6 of us), considering that our four children have smaller portions. It is a no brainer as it is 10 times better than supermarket-bought meat, and it is quite nice knowing you have some meat in the freezer.
You could win one box of the butcher’s favourites!
How to enter the giveaway:
Check the instructions in the form below. You can pick and choose a range of ways in which to enter. The only one you must click on to get into the draw is the one asking you to leave a blog post comment. You must also leave a comment telling us where you buy meat for your entry to be valid.
Entries are open until 23.59 p.m. GMT time on 19 July 2016. Good luck!
– I was sent the ‘Butcher’s Favourites’ box free of charge. I was not otherwise compensated for this post. All opinions and photos are my own.
– The prize will be supplied directly by Donald Russell.
– The giveaway is open to UK residents over 18.