“Putting a stop to global food waste”: Gleaning & saving & working & employing…

This is great news.

I’ve mentioned The Gleaning Network from Feedback.org before in this piece on swill and food waste earlier on the blog and they’ve now teamed up with FoodCycle — with assistance from the Lottery Fund — to help train over 4,000 young people to reclaim surplus food through gleaning and then to cook this food for vulnerable people.

There’s more detail on this fantastic initiative below. Their website and Facebook page will also have more news in the next few weeks. If you’re aged 18-24, see how you can help.

The rest if you? Volunteer!

2016-03-15 at 16.32

Love it? Loath it?

Remember Liebig? I mentioned this “polymath for nerds” man quite recently. His “bouillon”, the subject of this poster, that I stumbled across recently at the framers

Bouillon oxo

mutated over the years to become (this variant is the XO, super tasty, super strong version), thanks to great English taste buds, this delight,

© Jacob Shepherd 2013


still the subject of heated arguments in England. In some parts of the globe it even provokes nausea or the gag reflex. The Australians have some piss-poor, weak as dish-water, variant called Vegemite. We can draw a veil over that abomination. Typical bloody Aussie.

Aged about 10 or 11, I remember competing with my cousin to see who could put the thickest layer of Marmite onto their breakfast toast (when staying with “Aunty” Val that is; if I’d have tried to attain this level of greed & stupidity at home, I’d have been, rightly, severely chastised by my mother). We managed to get to something that may have been over 1/2″ deep in the black gold. And if truth be told, even I found it a little too much to take. But I wasn’t going to admit that to David. So, swallowing deeply, we declared an honourable draw.

Marmite is deep, deep, deep in an umami flavour. And really is a “love it or loath” it, no middle ground, taste. I love it. As you might have guessed.

Picture this!

“Picture this, a sky full of thunder

Picture this, my telephone number

One and one is what I’m telling you

Get a pocket computer 

Try to do what you used to do, yeeeeeeeah”

via Blondie, all the way back in 1978. Took quite a while for us all to get that “pocket computer” she sang about, but pretty much everyone has one now.

I recently bought a great print of some pig artwork by the very talented Ian McDonnell courtesy of Tom Adams of Pitt Cue fame (often referenced in previous posts).

Tom agreed to sell me one of only five signed copies that had been made of this print. I’m very grateful to him; I loved the one that used to sit on the wall at the old Pitt Cue restaurant in Soho and had badgered him ever since for details of how I could get a copy. I think he finally agreed to sell it to me just to stop the continuous flow of begging emails I was sending him…

So, here it is, hanging on the wall above my desk at home. It took a little while to get it properly framed (hat tip here to Andy & Emma at “The Framery” for their fine work) but I finally got to bring it home today.

I’ve deliberately left all the artefacts in there (inc. a rather sinister shadow image of me) as they give an idea of the size of this piece. Much larger than his other works.


You can view some of Ian’s previous prints on this page and see where some of the ideas and images that he used in this Pitt Cue one originated. I love this one called “When We Had Pigs” using hot-foil techniques to highlight details.

IAN02 Ian Mcdonnell When We Had Pigs Yellow Wall Shot

The sections on both labelled ‘butchering tools’ will be a reference point for a new post on the breaking-down of a pig carcase that I’m planning to have out there shortly.

Oh, “one last thing”. Pitt Cue doesn’t open at the weekend anymore unfortunately (boooo!) despite what it still says on the website…


but here’s a couple of shots of their new place, nestled in old converted warehouses, behind Liverpool St Station. The first one is a view of the in-house brewery called

Alpha-Beta brewery

Alpha-Beta brewery

Whilst taking these shots I was asked “what I was doing hanging around outside” by a security guard as “it’s all closed”. Sheesh, education standards are falling daily aren’t they? It’s called “photography”, you dick-head, not “terrorism”. I was actually politer than that when pointing this out to him. I’m quite proud of myself.

The second is taken silhouetted against the Gherkin. A rather good accompaniment to meat…

Opening at the weekend Sir? Fuhgeddaboudit. Neither is Hotbox, located in Spitalfields. Come on people! Close on a Wednesday or something FFS! But I will still be going back there to check out some of their delicious sounding menu items:

Hotbox, Spitalfields

Hotbox, Spitalfields

Menu at Hotbox, Spitalfields

Menu at Hotbox, Spitalfields

“The World’s Favourite Breed”? Introducing the Large White…

Favourite? Well, maybe… certainly that’s true if the breed is measured by volume or number.

Which as you will know by now, having got this far with me, isn’t how this particular blog looks to judge the worth of a pig.

That said, the breed is one of the most prolific around the world (as well as in England), so I rather grudgingly accept that it deserves at least a page to itself, at least if I’m trying to be as exhaustively detailed as possible. Which I am. So, this is it. Filed under History Notes as always.

But who couldn’t love this sleeping lady?

One of my earliest memories of living on the farms, is peering through the bars on the gate of their pen (too small to look over the walls at that point) looking at the pigs dozing peacefully in straw strewn sleep areas, listening to their snuffling and muffled grunting as they, dreaming, rooted around in the ground and through the undergrowth, looking for food treasures. It was always warm in the pig pens, even in the depths of winter, so when the outside world got too cold — even for a kid — there was where we’d choose to defrost our hands and feet before we dashed back out again.

Truie large white

Mangalitza goodness & an old friend returns…

The “old friend” is the team at Pitt Cue who, after closing towards the end of last year at their tiny old crib in Soho (where you were rubbing body parts with others if the head-count went over 20), have moved to a larger location at Devonshire Square opening there at the end of last month and with a micro-brewery (The Alphabeta) attached as well. And this place has space for 80+ covers.


They’ve got some great new dishes (as well as some of the old favourites like the marrow bone mash!) but most importantly from my own perspective, is Tom Adam’s sheer delight in the possibilities of all the uses of the meat from the incomparable Mangalitza, a breed on the merits of which I’ve waxed lyrical many times in the past (inc. “Chef Kerridge and a great piece of Mangalitza belly pork“)

Tom Adams loves his pigs. Seriously loves them. On occasions, more than people. I can get behind that point of view. This is just one of the menu boards shown this week. I can’t wait to eat there again. Keep an eye on their Instagram feed.


This little beauty is Mangalitza loin with walnuts. Bred, cured and hung on their farm.

©Tom Adams & Pitt Cue 2015

©Tom Adams & Pitt Cue 2015

Or how about this as some of the ingredients, “four years in the making”…


Oh, and Bitten Written liked ’em as well:


Bookings by email or by calling 0207 324 7770. See you there…

Oh, and “one last thing”. That grill they’re using there? The Grillworks Infierno 154. Takes 3-4 months to even get one delivered. It’s an amazing piece of engineered loveliness. Can’t begin to imagine how much cash money that costs. Or quite where the fuck I could put it in the Ugly Bungalow…

grillworsk inferno154