Passion and commitment to the soil. Guest post by Sascha Grierson
Sascha Grierson of Grierson Organic is someone that I have followed for a long time and taken inspiration from her philosophy on food and farming as well as for the quality of the Grierson produce. In fact it’s fair to say that when she said ‘it’s all very well to have passion but you must also be committed’ it really made a big impression on me. Therefore I was delighted that Sascha agreed to share her philosophy on farming, on food and where it belongs in the modern world as well as her favourite family recipe.
‘I think a lot about inspiration and motivation. Chefs tell us who inspires them and how passionate they feel. Food is popular like its never been before. So why do we farm & sell the way we do? What’s our story?’
My husband Hugh has long held the view that he farms organically to make way for wildlife that need to co-exist with our farm. He believes that good land management starts with the soil. Our human health is linked to our food via healthy soil and so he arrives at that organic farming place. For me its all about the food, producing the best tasting food possible. I come from a huge Irish family and we grew up on a small 50 acre farm that my father farmed part time. It was his passion and the other jobs paid the bills. It was idyllic from a child’s point of view, and I know that given other circumstances we would have stayed there. We farmed cattle and sheep, we kept a few hens for our own eggs and had a veg plot.
it’s all very well to have passion but you must also be committed
It was 1975, cooking and shopping for food was a huge part of each and every day and my basic food knowledge is something I now take for granted. One Sunday, after Sunday roast, a ritual at home, my father outlined his business plan for a farm shop & cafe. I remember getting down from the table inspired and believing with a child’s certainty that it would happen. It didn’t but 35 and a bit years later Hugh and I are growing and selling our own food from our farm here in Perthshire. Deep down I think my desire to do it and the passion I feel for good food and the respect I have for the people who produce it, started somewhere in that day. Food is not just fuel, its about family, friends, and being together in good, and bad times. Its the reason for sitting down around a table to share, eat, relax and enjoy our lives.
We produce pure bred Aberdeen Angus beef, home bred lamb, Berkshire pork, Slow Growing chickens and free range organic eggs here at Newmiln Farm. Sunday roast is a ritual at home, its the one day of the week we all get to do as little as possible and I get to cook in a relaxed way without one eye on the clock. I enjoy cooking the same thing over and over each week. Its comforting to observe a ritual and we are blessed with the best of ingredients and this recipe best sums up my philosophy on food, shop well, do very little to it and make the time to eat and share with your loved ones.
Sunday Roast Chicken with Giblet Gravy
One free range chicken with giblets
4 cloves garlic
Salt and pepper
For the Gravy
½ oz plain flour
- Remove the giblets from the inside of your chicken. Leave to one side. Place your chicken in a roasting dish with plenty of room to get your roast potatoes around it in the same dish.
- Cut a lemon in half. Squeeze both halves a little over the bird and then place them inside the cavity of the chicken. Roughly crush the garlic cloves and place in the cavity of the chicken. Grind salt and pepper over the chicken. Put in a pre heated oven (200C) for 20 mins per 500g. Push a skewer into the leg, if the juices run clear its done.
In the meantime:
- Giblets are the neck, heart and stomach of your chicken. They are all clean and ready to use and well worth the bother.
- Empty the giblets into ¾ pint water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the froth if there is any.
- Remove the giblets. You now have giblet stock.
- When you chicken has finished cooking, take it out of your roasting pan and cover with foil to keep warm. Leave it to rest. It will keep warm for up to 30 mins.
- Sprinkle about ½ oz of plain flour into the roasting pan and mix it with the meat juices. Cook the flour mixture for a minute or 2.
- Slowly add in the giblet stock stirring briskly to break up any lumps.
- Keep the pan on the heat until the gravy thickens.
- Add extra water to get the gravy to the consistency you like. Taste and add salt and pepper if you think it needs it.
- Serve with Bread sauce and seasonal veg.
First published in Food Niche Collective, December 2012