Pork Prices Continue Remarkable Rally

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Prices are continuing their remarkable rally which has seen the SPP rise from 112p to 151.7p over the past 12 months or so, with further increases forecast, writes Peter Crichton in his “Traffic Lights” commentary for 31 March 2017.

News that the German producer price announced on Thursday had risen by a massive 7 Euro cents helped to keep the bulls busy in the UK pig market, with no bears to be seen and spot quotes are now in or around the 160p mark, with light pigs worth in the 170p region, but as previously, very tight numbers of spot pigs were traded, with contract supplies short across the board, and this situation has also been reflected in the European mainland pigmeat market. Read more

No Worries on Pig Price Front

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More of a stand on feeling in the air as we approach the Easter bank holiday weekend, but demand remains firm from end to end, so no real worries on the price front as far as producers are concerned, writes Peter Crichton in his “Traffic Lights” commentary for 13 April 2017.

The SPP continues its relentless rise and put on a further 1.34p to stand at 154.47p, although most weekly contribution prices remained unchanged. Read more

Sausages around the world to make your mouth water

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Sausage is one of the most versatile foods and can be used in many dishes – probably why it is so common in all parts of the world. Not only do sausages don unique flavours to compliment global cuisines they suit a number of seasonings and ingredients. If you’re a sausage lover, you’re in luck, because we’ve pulled together some of the best sausage dishes from around the world for you to enjoy. Read more

British Pie Week 2017: 10 things you never knew about pies

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Not long now until British Pie Week 2017… and we thought it would be a good time to share this article after all a whole week devoted to pies. What’s not to love?

Technically, everything used to be a pie

Originally, the pie’s pastry shell was designed to be used as a baking dish, storage container, and a way to serve the filling. Records show that Romans would use meats, oysters, mussels and fish as the filling and a mixture of flour, oil and water to keep it all in place. The pastry was often tough and inedible and was designed to be thrown away.

Some historians suggest it was given to the servants while the rich ate the contents.

Someone once paid over £1,000 for a single slice

The Guinness World Record for the most expensive meat pie ever sold goes to the Fence Gate Inn in Lancashire which sold its pie for £8195 – or £1024 a slice – to eight guests on November 14, 2005.

It was made from £500 worth of Japanese wagyu beef fillet, Chinese matsutake mushrooms (which are so precious, they’re harvested under guard), Winter Black truffles, French Bluefoot mushrooms (sold at £200 for 1kg), gravy made from two bottles of vintage 1982 Chateau Mouton Rothschild wine, topped with edible gold leaf.

Will Brexit spell the end of the pork pie?

Shakespeare has killed off two characters with pie

A recent study compiled all of Shakespeare’s 74 scripted deaths throughout his 38 plays. Among them are stabbings (30), poisonings (four), be-headings (three), and two poor souls had the most creative death of all: they were baked into a pie.

In Titus Andronicus (Shakespeare’s first tragedy), Titus Andronicus wreaks revenge on Queen Tamora and her family for their evil deeds by baking her sons into a pie and serving it to her.

There’s a world-famous pie-eating contest in the UK

Held at Harry’s Bar in Wigan, the annual World Pie Eating Championship has been going since 1992. Originally, contestants had to attempt to eat as many pies as possible within the given time limit, but this was changed in 2006 – in order to meet government healthy eating guidelines – to a race in which competitors vie to eat a single pie in the least amount of time.

There has been some controversy over the last 24 years though: in 2005, pies were imported from from nearby Farnworth in Bolton, while local Wigan pies were sidelined as they were believed to be “sub-standard”. This resulted in a four-man strong protest. The same thing happened again in 2009 when the pies were imported from Adlington.

The real-life Sweeney Todds

The tale of Sweeney Todd and Mrs Lovett, the murderous duo who baked their victims in pies and then sold them, might be fictional, but it appears people have been taking inspiration from it in real life.

In 2010, a Russian chef was arrested on suspicion of killing his father-in-law, and serving his remains in pies to customers in a popular cafe for three days before anyone realised.

Gala Pork Pies by Waterall Pork Butchers

Pickle and Peanut Butter pie exists. Sadly

There are a lot of strange pie flavours out there and the annual Strange Pie Contest in California aims to create even more.

The aim of the event is for the general public to submit their “freakiest, oddest, most non-traditional, (and yet still delicious) pie“, and is responsible for wonders such as the ‘Pickle and Peanut Butter pie’, ‘The Club pie’ (that’s French fries, bacon, and mayonnaise), and the ‘Candied Peppers and Chocolate pie’.

Pie used to be illegal

Sort of. In 1644, Oliver Cromwell banned pie as he decided it was a “pagan form of pleasure”. It wasn’t a complete and utter ban on pies, though – just a ban on Christmas celebrations and foods that were associated with the “pagan” holiday, such as mince pies, turkey, and Christmas ale.

The ban was eventually lifted in 1660.

People send eel pie to the royal family every jubilee or coronation

It’s one of those painfully British traditions that just wouldn’t make sense anywhere else. For every jubilee or coronation the people of Gloucester send pie to the Royal household made from lampreys, a locally sourced eel-like fish.

The odd tradition dates back to the Middle Ages, when lamprey was considered a treat. It used to be so popular, King Henry I was rumoured to have died of food poisoning in 1135, thanks to his eating “a surfeit of lampreys”. Even Samuel Pepys mentioned them in his diaries, calling them a favourite of “medieval epicures”.

The rich used to put live animals in their pies

In 16th century England “surprise pies” where live animals would jump out when the pie was cut open were strangely popular among the upper class.

All kinds of creatures could be placed inside the pies, including frogs, squirrels, foxes and, as one nursery rhyme says, “four-and-twenty blackbirds.” Some records even suggest that at a dinner attended by Charles I, a huge pie was placed on the table and when the crust was removed, a dwarf jumped out from the pie.

The British take their pies very seriously

Last year, the ‘Make wrongly describing a casserole with a pastry lid as a pie a criminal offence‘ petition earned 5,687 signatures arguing that a ‘pie’ with a puff pastry lid is not actually a pie, and is a casserole instead: “For too long customers in pubs and restaurants have ordered what is described on the menu as a pie only to be served with casserole in a pot covered by a puff pastry lid. This is not a pie and is also curiously difficult to consume.

“A pie is defined by the OED as “A baked dish of fruit, or meat and vegetables, typically with a top and base of pastry.” This petition urges the implementation of criminal sanctions upon the owners of food outlets that serve items described as pies without a pastry base.”

Whitbread restaurant chain sorry over pork found in beef lasagne

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The restaurant chain Whitbread has apologised after it was found to be serving “beef lasagne” in which more than a third of the meat content was actually pork.

The Sun reported that almost 250,000 of the affected dishes were sold over three months at scores of the company’s outlets including Brewers Fayre, Table Table and Whitbread Inn. Read more

Man who used drone to deliver barbecue sausage to friend in hot tub could be fined

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Authorities in Australia are investigating a man who used a drone to pick up a sausage from a barbecue and deliver it to a friend in a hot tub.

The man faces a £5,600 [$AUS9,000] fine after he posted a video on YouTube which showed him sitting at home and piloting a drone which travelled over a busy motorway before descending to collect the cooked sausage from a barbecue – or “sausage sizzle” – at a hardware store in Melbourne.  The  video has since been removed. Read more

New UK Pork Strategy Aims to Close the Productivity Gap

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Closing the productivity gap between English and EU pig producers and a new focus on pork as a midweek meal solution are two underpinning themes of AHDB Pork’s three year strategy published for consultation today (1 December). Read more

How to Cook Bacon in The Oven… if you have no other options!

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Bacon is one food that is remarkably and also obscurely healthy. The British morning meal staple-bacon as well as eggs. It’s also part of a diet regimen of the world’s earliest individual, Susannah Mushatt Jones 116 years old, who eats bacon and also eggs everyday. Read more

Fall in UK Farm Incomes Continues

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New Defra figures have shown a dramatic fall in farm incomes for the third consecutive year.

The National Farmers Union says this has had a huge impact on farming businesses with some sectors, such as dairy and pigs, seeing their incomes halved.

It believes the main reasons for the dramatic falls are lower commodity prices and market volatility including a strengthening pound in 2015. Read more

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