Monday, February 05, 2007


Saturday, 3rd Feb 2006: 16.00
Not even the concerned tone of voice from Sky Sports broadcasting legend Jeff Stelling could soften the impact of the news he was bringing me; my beloved Leeds United were being soundly beaten again, this week by the yellow and green onslaught of a toothless Norwich. Couple this with the slowly dawning realisation that this latest debacle could possibly lead to Leeds being relegated to the lowest tier of English football they have ever inhabited, and you have a fairly depressing Saturday afternoon for your dear writer.

Faced with such tragedy, there was only one thing to do; Organise some comfort food, some food that can warm me and melt this horrible state of mind away, food that makes me proud to be a Yorkshireman – something that my football team are, presently, uncapable of.

Yep - It’s time for Beef.

I first came across Bolton Abbey Foods at Skipton Autumn Food Fair in 2006, and the sheer sight of the meat they had on offer stopped me in my tracks. I’m a stickler for Rib of Beef; for me, the most majestic cut from the most majestic of animals. The rib they had on offer were not only visually impressive; dark, dark red with a ‘proper’ amount of marbling and fat, but also good value, too. I walked away that day with a little sample, shall we say...

Steve Crabtree, who owns and runs the farm, the animals and the business (With his family, of course!), is one of the many hard-working farmers and independent businessmen fighting against the onslaught of supermarkets in our region; but with produce that is as good as this, you wonder why someone would ever choose that way of shopping for meat. Bolton Abbey Foods not only supply many excellent gastropubs with meat (such as The award-winning Angel Inn in Hetton, and The Fleece in nearby Addingham), but their wares can be found at many a famer’s market and selected independent retailers.


As for the meat itself; I can’t speak highly enough of it. I come from a family of butchers, and our speciality was the famed Aberdeen Angus; so you can believe me when I say that Bolton’s grass-fed beef is simply excellent. Simply rubbed with salt and pepper, sealed and roasted, it was pure heaven on a plate; paired with roasted spuds and a glass or three of red wine it really did make an unhappy Yorkshireman happy again. Want even more regional? Then try some Black Sheep Ale alongside, or one of my personal faves, Coniston Bluebird Bitter.
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