Gourmet Meals with St James

A new project I’m working on at the moment is developing a fresh gourmet menu with St James Quality Cuts. It’s quite a wonderful change from the rest of my work, and I find it marvelously clearing for my mind to shift between such diverse tasks. This is a little trick many creatives use – let yourself recharge and brew on one project while working on something completely different.

St James is a gorgeous little family owned butcher – owned by some of my family in fact, providing a huge range of pies, desserts, platters, and take home meals alongside their meats, veg, fruit, milk, and pet treats. For such a small crew and kitchen they work hard creating an amazing array of excellent meals.

They needed a menu overhaul, and clearer, easier systems in place for storing ingredients, accessing recipes, and methods for preparing all these meals. So I’ve been in the kitchen creating pies, testing flavours, and investigating what great local produce is available for summer and winter menus for them. There’s definitely no complaints about this project in my house – tasting nights are a new favourite, and bringing home choice bacon and ham is never an unpopular decision either. 🙂

It’s funny, at first I felt terribly anxious and out of my depth with this project, I’ve never done anything like it before! Then I realised I set up all the house cleaning systems in my home, the rotating menu, meal planning, shared shopping list, household budget, and have spent years adapting meals for various people who are dairy free, lactose free, gluten free, celiac, fructose intolerant, FODMAP, allergic to nuts, pepper, soy, or eggs. Like so many people, especially women, I have years of experience developing skills that I have few avenues to gain formal recognition in. Fortunately the wonderful world of freelancing cares much less about certificates and far more about competence. I’ve brushed up on safe food handling and current best practices, and the new, improved gourmet menu, recipes, and systems are making excellent progress.

Today I’ve been testing, among other things, sticky maple syrup lamb shanks with mashed potato, chicken korma, self saucing chocolate puddings, and pear and rhubarb crumble. If you’re local there’s a fridge full of these ready to go. Rose and I finished every morsel of the samples I brought home tonight. 🙂

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