Mary Berry, daughter of poet Wendell Berry, wants to take local food beyond ‘a faddish economy.
4–6 best-end or middle-neck lamb or mutton cutlets
400g diced lamb or mutton neck fillet or shoulder
Flour, sugar, salt and pepper, to dust
3 largeish floury potatoes, such as maris piper
2 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
1 bay leaf
2 onions, sliced
500ml lamb stock
20g butter, melted, plus extra to grease
Preheat the oven to 170C. Dust the meat lightly with flour and sprinkle with a pinch of sugar, salt and pepper. Peel the potatoes and slice them thinly.
Butter a high-sided casserole dish and arrange about a third of the potatoes in the bottom. Season them and sprinkle with a little thyme. Top with the meat and bay leaf and season in the same way, followed by the onions, seasoned in the same way.
Arrange the remaining potato slices on top of the onions like overlapping fish scales, and season these with salt and pepper. Pour enough stock over the potatoes to just come up to the base of the topping (take a piece off to see this better), then brush them with melted butter.
Cover and bake for two hours (two and a half hours for mutton), then uncover and bake for another 30 minutes, until the potatoes are golden and crisp. Serve with pickled red cabbage.
Lancashire hotpot: what’s your family recipe? Is it possible to improve upon the simple perfection of the original? And, despite endless media waffle about the mutton renaissance, why is it still so hard to find it?
In 1986 McDonald’s announced it would raise its golden arches in Rome, next to the Spanish Steps. The global purveyor trumpeted its arrival with the slogan, One taste, worldwide. Those familiar with the Italian penchant for claiming regional supremacy (which dates at least to the fierce competition between medieval city-states) know that telling an Italian he should adopt the culture of an upstart outsider is probably not the best approach.
The proposal fired up the activist Carlo Petrini like logs in a brick oven, and he assailed the burger giant with combative questions. “Why should an Eskimo eat the same food as an Ethiopian? What will happen to the neighborhood trattoria? Food is as important as language, why destroy our heritage?” He railed and rallied against the homogenizing of cuisine and cultural identity, and three years later Slow Food was born.