A proper Italian ragù is a thing of joy. A rich, savoury sauce of minced meat, tomatoes, wine and herbs – it’s the basis of dishes like bolognese, cannelloni and of course lasagne. It’s no accident that they’re some of the most globally popular dishes of the vast Italian repertoire.

People will debate the perfect ragù recipe until the cows come home – it’s got regional variations all across Italy – but the general consensus seems to be that a combination of minced steak and pork mince gives the tastiest results. Some use veal mince, too – it’s all down to personal preference.

Here at Donald Russell, we use equal parts beef and pork mince in our lasagne. The pork not only adds a delicious sweetness to the finished dish, it actually boosts the beefy flavour, too. Seems odd? Well, yes, but only until you look at the science behind it. You see, pork mince has a higher fat content than steak mince, and fat carries flavour. It’s the same reason that a ribeye steak has a more powerful taste than a fillet – it’s all down to the fat. So the pork actually carries the taste of the beef to your tastebuds. Clever, eh?

Family Lasagne

Oh – and we did tell you that our best-selling lasagne now comes in a family size too, didn’t we? Buon appetito!

Yours aye,

Corrie

Posted by Corrie in Beef, Lamb & Pork, NEW to Donald Russell   |  Leave a comment
08/07/2014

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘rest the meat’. But what exactly does it mean – and more to the point, why should we be doing it?

Resting simply means removing the meat from a hot oven or pan, and placing it somewhere warm for a while before serving it. Yes, it’s frustrating when you’re starving hungry, and the whole kitchen smells delicious, but it will be worth your while, honest! There are a couple of main reasons why …

In a large piece of meat, such as a big roast, the outside heats up faster than the inside. It takes some time for the heat to travel through to the centre of the joint – this actually carries on happening after it’s removed from the oven, and is known as ‘carry-over’ cooking.

For this reason, a big chunk of meat should always be removed from the oven a little bit before it’s cooked all the way through, otherwise it can end up being dry and tough. A meat thermometer is a godsend here – you can remove the meat to rest while the centre of it is still a few degrees below what it will eventually reach. Resting here just allows the temperature to even out throughout the joint.

Ribeye Roast

The second reason is the one you’ll hear about more often. It applies to all meat, large roasts or single steaks. Remember, meat is basically muscle. It’s made up mostly of protein and liquid. When it’s added to a hot pan or oven, the fibres in the muscle contract with the heat. This causes internal pressure to build up, forcing the liquid into the centre of the meat. If you cut into it straight away, the juices – where a lot of the flavour is concentrated – will leak out all over the plate.

By letting it sit somewhere warm for a while first – about 10 minutes for a steak, anything up to an hour for a really big roast – the muscle fibres relax again, the internal pressure reduces, and all those lovely juices stay put where they belong. And because the fibres have relaxed, the meat becomes more tender to the bite, as well as staying juicier. Sounds like a win-win situation to me!

Double Sirloin

So there you have it. Next time you want to tuck in straight away – stop! Control your drooling for a wee while, treat your meat with respect, and when you do take that first bite, it will be juicy, tender and fabulous. Good things come to those who wait!

Sirloin Steak

Yours aye,

Corrie

Posted by Corrie in NEW to Donald Russell   |  Leave a comment

Corrie Cheyne

What makes our cheesecakes special? Well, loads of stuff, actually, but we have a signature recipe that really makes these delicious desserts stand out from the crowd. First, we put a rich, creamy cheesecake base on top of a crumbly bottom layer. So far, so normal. BUT, on top of that, we add another layer of soft, billowy fresh cream cheesecake, for an even more indulgent experience. Only once that is added on do we crown the lot with a tangy topping. Not much wonder people keep coming back for more!

Summer Cheesecake Selection

And now our customers have even more reason to celebrate – we’ve introduced a brand new bunch of cheesecakes, just for summer. Believe me, when it was time for us to try these out ourselves (as we do with all our products – oh, the hardship!) you would have thought the Northern Lights had appeared in our development kitchen, such were the oohs and ahhhs coming out of there!

Mango,Papaya & Passion Fruit Cheesecake and Summer Fruit Cheesecake

Hardly surprising really. I mean, everyone loves strawberries and cream, don’t they? Turn it into a dessert and we’re all happy! Then Summer Fruits, with the tang of blackcurrants and raspberries – perfect with the rich, creamy base. And my personal favourite, the Mango, Passionfruit and Papaya – wow! Talk about a tropical treat – absolutely bursting with flavour. The only problem with these fabulous creations is that they won’t stick around – they’re strictly seasonal. All the more excuse to grab them while the going’s good, I say!

Yours aye

Corrie

Posted by Corrie in Desserts, NEW to Donald Russell   |  Leave a comment