How long does it take you to get your weekly shop?
If you are anything like me my list varies very little from week to week and it’s just a grab and go, to get in and out as quickly as possible with items such as bread, eggs and milk being staples that I probably haven’t changed in years.
I’m sure that many of you are with me on this, and it wasn’t until I visited Cockhaise Farm in Sussex last week, really shifted my thoughts on the way I shop and opened my eyes up to organic, free range products.
Arriving to this beautiful farm and sitting sipping coffee on the patio could have transported you into a scene from the ‘Darling Buds Of May’ which always seemed like such an idyllic way to bring up a family although in reality I know that a farmers life is a tough one and I was here to learn exactly what goes into our everyday milk that most of us doesn’t give a second thought when buying.
Dan talked us thorough how he came to become an organic dairy farmer and his passion for his product and his herd was clear to see from the very first moment.
Dan’s dairy farm is very much a family business and the love for their animals really made it feel as if they were part of the family too.
This farm follows the ruling of organic farming by making the welfare of the animals and the environment a top priority, not using any artificial additives, preservatives or GM ingredients and fewer pesticides.
Instead the cows are allowed to graze freely as much as possible in fields full of chemical free, clover rich fields.
We got the chance to see how happy they were by going to visit the fields that honed the most adorable calves…I’m not sure what they made of a group of bloggers armed with cameras and phones galore!
From the young and happy calves we made our way to see a field full of pregnant cows and got to experience first-hand the first few fumbling steps of a calf that has literally just been born.
I was chatting to Dan’s father at the time who is also a retired organic dairy farmer who said that the birth of a calf is always special no matter how many time you experience it.
From here we made our way into the milking sheds that weren’t operational at the time but it was still amazing to see.
We had now been shown the milking process from the very beginning and it was now time to see how the beautiful product could be used and we were treated to a cookery demonstration from Ben a local chef who’s passion for organic products was just as great as Dan’s.
The demonstration was all set up in a barn with a fabulous hay barrel backdrop where Matt worked his magic on showing us how to create a Sussex smokey scotch egg that had an alternative filling of mashed potato and smoked haddock rather than the usual sausage meat, and a delectable vanilla creme brûlée that I could have sampled more than one of!
If you like the sound of these delicious recipes I have left them below for you to try yourself at home.
From the vibrancy of the colours of the egg yolks to the rich creaminess of the milk it is without a doubt there are not only benefits to the way organic food is produced but it also comes through in the product itself tenfold.
Vanilla Creme Brûlée
• 200ml Double Cream
• 100ml Arla Organic Free Range Milk
• 4 egg yolks
• 50g sugar
• 1 vanilla pod
- Preheat the water bath to 80C or if using the oven 140C/120 Fan.
- Warm the milk, cream, vanilla and sugar together in a small saucepan to 60C.
- In a large bowl wish together the egg yolks and sugar until thoroughly combined.
- Slowly whisk the warm cream and milk into the egg mixture.
- Pour into individual shallow jars and screw on the lids very tightly.
- Place the jars in the water bath to cook for 60 mins then remove from the water with tongs and cool on ice.
- Alternatively place in oven for 20-22 mins until just set.
- Once set sprinkle the surface with sugar and brûlée with a blowtorch.Allow the sugar to set for 5 mins before serving.
Sussex Smokey Scotch Eggs
• 4 medium organic eggs
• 1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus oil for deep frying
• Salt and pepper for seasoning
• 1 pint Arla Organic Free Range Milk
• 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
• 250g natural smoked haddock
• 1 bay leaf
• 200g potatoes for mashing
• 1 bunch of finely chopped dill
• 119g High Weald smoked cheddar chopped or grated
• 1 banana shallot
• 1 clove of garlic
• 1/2 leek
• 1 stick of celery
• 1/2 carrot
• 3oz butter
• 3oz plain flour
• 330g flour
• 1 organic medium egg
• 200ml Arla Organic Free Range Milk
• 300g or packet of breadcrumbs
1.Boil seasoned water and then add the eggs, turn down to a simmer for 5 mins for a soft boiled egg, chill in cold water and put aside.
2.Add the smoked haddock, nutmeg and bay leaf to the milk and place in a water bath for 25 mins at 45C – if not using a water bath place the ingredients in a saucepan and dinner for 5 mins.
3.Remove haddock and save both for later
4. Peel and chop 200g of potato and boil for 15-20 mins, once cooked gently mash.
5.Meanwhile finely dice shallots, garlic, leek, celery and carrot. Sauté in oil for 10-15 mins, season to taste.
6.Boil seasoned water and then add the eggs, turn down to a simmer for 5 mins for a soft boiled egg, chill in cold water and put aside.
7.Add the smoked haddock, nutmeg and bay leaf to the milk and place in a water bath for 25 mins at 45C – if not using a water bath place the ingredients in a saucepan and dinner for 5 mins.
8. Remove haddock and save both later.
9.Peel and chop 200g of potato and boil for 15-20 mins, once cooked gently mash.
10.Meanwhile finely dice shallots, garlic, leek, celery and carrot. Sauté in oil for 10-15 mins, season to taste.
11.Peel the boiled eggs and dust in seasoned flour.
12.When the casing mixture is cool delete the into 4 portions and wrap around wash egg enclosing it completely. Chill for at least one hour to ensure it keeps its shape.
13.In the meantime prepare your station to breadcrumb the eggs.
14.You will need three shallow trays, one for the seasoned flour, one for the beaten egg and one for the breadcrumbs.
15.Firstly take the encased eggs one. Y one and put into the seasoned flour, making sure it is well coated.
16.Shake off any access flour and pass the food into the beaten egg, again making sure it is well coated.
17.Shake off any access and finally pass the food into the breadcrumbs again making sure it’s well coated.
18.Tap the food firmly to ensure the breadcrumbs are well attached and remove the crumbs into a clean plate or tray.
19.Now deep fry the completed eggs at 160C until golden brown.