Sunday, 7 April 2013

'don't hate supermarkets and here's why...'

All of this nonsense with horse gate has really got me thinking. For a while now many independent butchers have taken to what I call Supermarket Bashing. And I really don't see why. Just focus on your own product, providing enjoyment. When I opened my shop I wanted somewhere that I would love to shop in. Where there was no pressure - you can buy as much or as little as you like, but you could browse and be inspired to think about food, new dishes and to engage the butcher about locality of sourcing. It is about customer service. The point is I'm not about Supermarket Bashing because there is no point. The supermarkets are a necessary evil when we forget the bacon and need a sandwich early Sunday morning. But I have never relished or enjoyed going to the supermarket but I used to get this rich satisfaction from going to my local butcher and I really hope my customers feel the same. The difference between us and them is the overall experience of shopping. Life's too short too eat bad meat and drink bad wine.
quality and good customer service and care. Don't get me wrong, the supermarkets have a lot to answer for, especially in terms of fair pricing and crushing the little guy. But I would never compare my little shop to a big store because for one thing it is about


Wednesday, 20 February 2013

'there's neigh way I'm using that meat..'

Well it has all been rather interesting lately. Horse meat. Supermarkets. Many people have asked me if I've been busier, since news of the scandal. The answer is...I'm not sure. Having only been open 5 weeks, it is difficult to say. But what I have noticed is that more people have been asking questions about traceability. Where is it from?

I think it has also brought the cost of meat to the forefront of our minds. When given the choice is a businessman going to opt for a beef carcass worth £1500 or £100 worth of horse meat?

Either way it's got us thinking. I mainly just hope you're grateful I've not been using horse related puns...


Wednesday, 30 January 2013


So I had been in business for exactly 4 days and I thought it would be a great idea to start making my own haggis. Clearly I had lost the plot altogether!

However - I gathered the pluck and then trimmed it sufficiently. I then boiled the lungs and heart for about 45 mins, It was minced with some secret ingredients, then the barley and oats were added. This was then put through the filler and then into an Ox bung.

For a first try I was pretty pleased with it. It was Burn's Night so I thought I'd give it a bash. Loads of things in the pipe line at the moment - I've already put the bacon in to cure and we're developing an old Northumbrian dish called 'Hunter's Loaf'. So watch this space and feel free to pop in for a chat..


Sunday, 20 January 2013

'open for business..'

'Charlotte's Butchery' is now open for business. We had a cracking opening with the North East food God that is Terry Laybourne doing the opening for us. We then had a smashing couple of days - all a bit  amazing. Yes, hectic. Yes, full of challenges. But I hope the customers left happy and felt they should and could return. I am fully committed to ensuring that the butchering tradition stays well alive in Ashburton Village in Gosforth. I also want to encourage people to come to the area any way - there are many businesses which are fantastic. The Art House, Greenwell's - the greengrocer and all sorts of other services like fabulous podiatrists Howlett & Dickinson.

However the most popular things sold were lamb's liver, loin chops, topside and brisket. Top sellers. Must order triple next week. We're so not in London any more - we could barely give brisket away. Everything is regional, and every day's a school day.

Many thanks to absolutely every person who helped me along the way to opening. I am so very grateful and love you all. And clearly gushing. But. Thank you.


Wednesday, 9 January 2013

'I am a very lucky girl indeed..'

So in between the mad dashing to meat suppliers (ha) I wanted to write a quick blog. So far, so good. We're all geared to open Friday 18th January 2013. Lots of fabulous ideas in the pipe line. Colin at AE Hubb has already created a fantastic customer base and some strong foundations to build on so I am a very lucky girl indeed.

I went to see the fabulous team at Thompson's in Bishop Auckland and we have been in conversation about supply of Welsh Pigs from County Durham and some stunning European cross beef from the farms in the area. A lot of the meat will be from County Durham, as I really like this abattoir and more importantly, their values. The key to all of this is to establish a relationship with suppliers. I saw the guys from Weschenfelder in Middlesbrough who were equally helpful and offering all sorts of possibilities.What is astounding is just how helpful all the contacts have been so far.
I am blown away by the levels of service.
 I think I've just been in London too long and missed the friendly nature of Northerners. I jest. Sort of.
However, I am very happy to be back and I'm looking forward to kicking off and settling in to Ashburton village - Gosforth.

In the 2 years I've been butchering - this is the longest that I have spent when I haven't cut anything.
I hope I still remember how to do it..


Tuesday, 25 December 2012

'I've never cooked a turkey before..'

Now being only 24 and still spending a lot of Christmases either with my parents or my in laws I have never actually had to cook the Christmas turkey. But this year my mother informed me that since I was bringing the fabulous woodland fed Kelly Bronze - I'd be cooking it. Cheers Mam. However, I am super excited. As this is one mother of a turkey. At 7.5 KG I'm going to cook it mainly upside down and for about three hours. This is because the structure of this poultry is as such that there are pockets of fat in the back of the bird that baste the breast meat which means that we avoid the issue of a dry turkey. Turkey reminiscent of Gandhi's flip flop is very bad indeed. I know I'm a butcher and I'm supposed to have this whole philosophy of meat on the bone being fabulous, however my favourite is shredding the meat off the legs and thighs, not munching on the drumstick as such - but enjoying the tenderness of the meat as it has much more depth in the way of taste.

However I hope everyone has a smashing day - check out this bonny turkey.
Happy Christmas.


Thursday, 15 November 2012

'chief execs..'

Fellow butchers come to our shop on a regular basis. And more often than not, they introduce themselves and we chat about business. However, it is more about presentation of counter, suppliers, quality of meat and new ideas - that fuel our conversation. Most butchers, if on holiday, will drag their poor friends or spouses just to 'have a look' in various meat emporiums. We tend to be a bit obsessive, looking at the way chops are cut or roasting joints are rolled..

However, it occurred to me the other day, that this is not tedious (really). It isn't even odd or's actually good. It's because we care. Now, I can't really see the chief execs of Tesco or Asda getting together to discuss how they present their steaks? Whether fattier cuts are selling? Or how exactly they flatten their cod fat?

Can you?