Thursday, 30 December 2010

Our first free range turkey

I hope all my lovely blog followers have had a wonderful Christmas and are looking forward to a glorious New Year! I have recently got back from visiting my relatives in Kent, which meant that I wasn't organising the Christmas dining this year (in fact, I never have, as my flat isn't really big enough to have people over!), but I did want to ensure we had a free range turkey this year. So, I offered to order the turkey for my parents.

As I live in Coventry but my parents live in Kent, I wanted to order a turkey which could be delivered to their door to make it easier for them as they would both be working and be busy the week leading up to Christmas day.

 After doing my research on the internet, I decided to order the turkey from Waitrose, as they had a good selection of fresh free range turkeys, would let me order as far in advance as November, let me pick a two hour time-slot and offered free delivery! Which was great... and it would have been even more great if Waitrose had an easy-to-use website.

It took me half an hour to find the 'register' button for online deliveries. When I tried to make a purchase, a login box came up, but whereas most websites will say, "Not a member? Register here!" or similar, the Waitrose website offered no such simple option. At least not on that page. I can't remember where I found it in the end*, but it wasn't obvious or easy to do at all - if I hadn't been so keen to get a free range turkey and if they hadn't offered the free delivery, I would have given up and ordered from a different supermarket. Perhaps it was just me being a numpty, but I thought online shopping was supposed to be quicker and easier?!

Anyhow, once I had managed to register with the site, it was pretty quick and easy to place the order. I chose a turkey in the 'serves 8-11 people' range, despite the fact that there'd only be four of us for dinner. But we like leftovers.

When the day arrived for delivery, I was a little nervous as I'd made the order a long time ago and had visions of us not having a turkey at all for Christmas. But turn up it did, in its allotted time slot. We ended up with a turkey that would serve 8 people and it cost £31. Not bad at all considering how much we got out of it.

It was the first time I'd ever had a free range turkey, and it was the most flavourful, moistest, juiciest turkey I had ever had. It was well worth the money and worth the hassle with the website in the end. And definitely good to know that the turkey we ate hadn't lived in complete squalor before ending up on our plates.

It's chiefly about chicken welfare, but if you're interested at all in the plight of intensively-farmed animals in this country and want to help the cause, I recommend going to http://www.chickenout.tv/ and lending your support.

*I have since had another look on the Waitrose website and it seems you have to put your postcode in to the box first to see which services are available in your area and then click the small green 'register' button in the right-hand corner.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Adopt a Veg

My blog posts are like buses: you don't get any for ages and then two come along in one day!

I just wanted to bring to the attention of all my green-fingered friends Garden Organic's Adopt a Veg scheme. In order to protect our heritage veg and to help support the work of the Heritage Seed Library, Garden Organic have set up a scheme whereby you can "adopt" a variety of vegetable. There are a small number of varieties which you can adopt for £20 and get a packet of seeds too. I'm quite tempted by the transparent tomatoes. The others are £15 and come with a gift pack including information about your chosen variety.

These could make an unusual Christmas gift for any green-fingered chums!

Meatloaf Part Deux

It's been a while since I've posted - apologies if you've missed me at all. It's been a combination of having a lot going on and having lost my blogging-fu. Anyway, I'm determined to get back on the wagon, as it were.

Last week it was my fiancé's 30th birthday. I made him a couple of special birthday dinners to celebrate this event (I also made him a birthday banana bread, which was a disaster!), the first of which was toad in the hole, the second was another attempt at meatloaf.

I decided to use a different recipe this time, which is from Nigella Lawson's Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home. I thought this would be an extra-special treat for my fiancé because it has boiled egg in the middle and is covered in bacon! I used oak-smoked streaky bacon and it really helped to keep the meatloaf moist and gave it a lovely smokey flavour.

Before:


After:



Sadly, I neglected to get a picture of it sliced, showing the egg in the middle. It reminded me of when we used to have slices of pork pie with egg in the middle as kids.