Posts Tagged ‘meat’

Kezie Foods review

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016 | Food, Reviews


I ordered some exotic meat from Kezie Foods. They offer a great range of non-mainstream options including horse, kangaroo, camel, crocodile and edible insects.

The problem is that they are delivered via a standard courier. You might wonder how they keep them frozen in transit. The answer seems to be that they do not. They put the products in a polystyrene case that they pack with dry ice. This is supposed to keep everything frozen for 48 hours.

However, when I received their delivery, everything had defrosted. I spoke to their customer services and they were very nice about it, arranging another delivery. The problem is, the exact same thing happened the next time.

Maybe I have somehow misunderstood the definition of frozen. But it feeling exactly like defrosted meat does not seem correct.

So I am giving up. I cooked what I could from the latest batch and will leave it there. At least until I can progress my backup plan of starting an ostrich farm. The products themselves seem good quality: the meat I did manage to eat very good.

Should we kill whales for food?

Friday, July 15th, 2016 | Thoughts


Whaling, the practice of hunting and killing whales, is a controversial one. it is banned in many countries but others continue the practice. Notably Japan, Iceland and Norway. During my recent trip to Iceland I came face to face with the issue. Specifically, I want to look at the issue of hunting whales for food.

My initial reaction was to agree with the anti-whaling campaign. Whales are very cool. If you had asked me where they are on the endangered status, I would have probably said somewhere in the middle.

However, the more I thought about it, the more I wondered if the answer was obviously no. I am a pretty poor vegetarian, regularly eating meat. The animals I allow to be killed so that I can eat them include cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, ducks, fish, crabs, well, to be honest, the list just keeps going. Surely one should decide not to allow animals to be killed for food, or decide that it is okay? Why should whales receive special treatment?

Endangered status

One reason could be that we could seriously damage whale stocks. We do this with most fish already of course. However, since commercial whaling was banned in 1986, whale populations have been doing okay. The most common type of whale you find in Iceland, the minke whale, has never been considered endangered and continues to have a strong population.

Thanks to the low levels of hunting, it is now done at a very sustainable level. This would change if all countries started commercial whaling operations again, but for the moment there is no issue with the current level.

Hunting methods

It’s true that whale hunting has traditionally been unpleasant. They are harpooned. Japan now uses exploding harpoons that attempt to instantly kill the whale. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t.

However, there is also a flip side. All whales are wild, freely roaming the sea until they are hunted. This could be preferable to the way we often factory-farm cows and chickens, kept in pens and cages for the sole purpose of our slaughter?


Some species of whales are very intelligent. This is less true of some of the more actively hunted species. However, it is also worth us taking another look at our current dietary choices. If we are going to say no minke whale, we also need to say no pig, because they too are an intelligent group of mammals.

Other dangers

Hunting is not the only danger that whales face. In fact, other issues are putting them under more threat than hunting. These include:

  • Pollution. There is so much crap in the ocean that whales are eating debris, finding it indigestible, and starving to death with a full stomach. A number of dead whales in Germany were found to have their stomachs full of plastic.
  • Reduced habitat. Some whales can only live in cold water. As sea level temperatures rise, their habitat becomes smaller and smaller. Changes to the acid levels also have an effect.
  • Change in eco-system. The changes in temperature also affect other critical parts of the ecosystem. Food sources may adopt different migration patterns and other predators may encroach into the whales’ territory.
  • Over-fishing. Whales eat fish, so when we take all the fish out of the sea, there is nothing for them to eat.


Should we kill whales for food? Probably not. But then, we should not be killing any other animals for food either. If we are going to continue to do that, then there does not seem to be a good reason why whales should be granted a special exemption. Currently whaling levels are sustainable, which is far less true of much of the fishing industry.

We should protect whales. However, the real threats to them are pollution, climate change and over-fishing. These are the most pressing issues for us to tackle.

Grillmarkaðurinn, Reykjavik

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016 | Food, Reviews, Travel


Grillmarkaðurinn, Grill Market in English, is a sister restaurant to Fiskmarkaðurinn. As you might be able to guess from the names, this one is a little less focused on fish and a little more focused on meat. However, there is still a lot of crossover.

They make a good seafood soup for example and can cook a decent steak too. The real winner of the meal was Elina’s grilled redfish. It came with a crab roll that could have been a main course in itself. I did not enjoy it as much as Fish Market, but it was still a fine meal.

Nordic food

Friday, April 8th, 2016 | Food

I like Nordic cooking. The reason is quite long.

If Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Scandimania and The Hairy Biker’s Northern Exposure are to be believed, there is something very exciting about Nordic cooking. But there really isn’t. That in itself is novel.

You see, I’m from Britain. A country not known for its spicy food. As the timeless Good Gracious Me sketch ably demonstrates.

But it goes further. When Fearnley made his show TV Dinners he searched the country for people who really went all out for their dinner parties. However, when he floated his boat up as far as Yorkshire, he went ot see a man who did an amazing Sunday roast. The conversation went sometimes like this:

Hugh: “That is a beautiful piece of beef. What are you going to do with it?”

Yorkshireman: “Just roast it.”

Hugh: “Just roast it?”

Yorkshireman: “That’s right.”

Hugh: “Are you going to season it with anything?”

Yorkshireman: “No, I’m just going to roast it.”

In a country known for its bland food, I live in the county that thinks the rest of the country goes a bit too crazy with all that fancy seasoning nonsense.

Why am I telling you all of this? Because when I tell you that Nordic food is fucking bland, I want you to appreciate the true enormity of that statement. They are not messing about here. Traditional Nordic dishes have taken bland to a whole new level.

Check out this photo of me preparing a Nordic stew:


Normally, a stew would consist of some meat, with some vegetables, and seasoned with some salt and pepper, and a bay leaf or two. Not this recipe. You put a much of red meat in a pot, and you boil it for five hours.

Most dishes are served with boiled potatoes, but I like to go wild, so I whipped up some traditional root vegetable mash to go with it. It is like regular mash, except it comes with bits of swede and carrot in it that in no way make it look exactly like sick.


Or, if that doesn’t float your boat, why not fry up some potato cakes?


If you really want to go big, why not make a meatloaf? Simply get as much mincemeat as you can, shape it into a bread loaf, wrap it in bacon, and cook it for a few hours.


Every mouthful wiped about a week off my life expectancy. It was totally worth it. If you want to add some variety of your diet, you could add some fish. However, even in that case, the Nordic recipe turns it brown.


Unfortunately, even my sauté pan was not big enough to fit the breaded sea bass in.

Whether these Nordic classics will make it onto our regular rotation remains to be seen. I do like these recipes, however. They are simple. Most of them involve piling ingredients into a pot and leaving it for ages. There are odd parallels between having to build a fire pit to stay alive in a frozen forest and the stress of modern day life: both greatly benefit from recipes that can be slow-cooked with almost no interaction.

Mixed grill

Sunday, December 13th, 2015 | Food


A few weeks ago Elina was ill, so to make her feel better I made her a mixed grill. It turned out very well, but it was the bill that surprised me. I spent £20 at Tesco getting everything for it. There were a few other small items, but most of it was grill money. That works out at nearly £10 each.

It has given me a renewed appreciation. How the hell do Wetherspoon’s do it for £7 each, including a drink?

Home-cured bacon chops

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015 | Food


I have not been that impressed with River Cottage Every Day. The rabbit stew was bland and the Bloody Mary burgers fell apart. The home-cured bacon chops did work quite well though and mean that you don’t have to worry too much about the meeting going off as you can cure them then store them for another week.

River Cottage: Pig in a Day

Saturday, March 14th, 2015 | Distractions

Oh Mr. Fearnley-Whittingstall. My hero, my idol, for at least the past two months. How much damage you can do with two comments.

River Cottage: Pig in a Day is a course run at River Cottage HQ to teach people how to butcher a big. They then translated it into a two hour DVD. The DVD starts with a really nice section on keeping your own pigs and what fun they can be, before showing footage of sawing through a head and butchering the entire body of a dead one.

There were however two bits that annoyed me. Firstly, Hugh said the only real health problem he gets with his pigs were coughs and colds, that he treats with homoeopathic remedies. Boo! What a confidence knock in an otherwise sensible man.

Though this does have the advantage that you can clearly just ignore colds because they will go away by themselves. Or does it? This brings up an interesting question as to whether placebo works on animals. RationalWiki suggests that you can condition animals to get the benefit.

Secondly he referred to organic salt. What the fuck is organic salt? Presumably one with additives because you need to get the carbon in there somehow…

Anyway, that aside, the show really does embrace Hugh’s “nose to tail” philosophy as he calls it. They eat pretty much everything. I say pretty much because a bit of fat gets cut off, and the eyes come out. However, that is pretty much it. The organs are cooked, the trotters and tail are used for stock, and even the brain is fried up and scoffed.

It was a mildly interesting watch, but I’m not sure how much appeal it has. You are either a) do not have your own pigs, which seems very likely, so how relevant is the content? Or B) you do have your own pigs, in which case are you really going to try and butcher the entire thing based a DVD? If so, I tip my hat to you, you clearly have some balls. Specifically pig’s balls.

Should we eat meat?

Thursday, September 4th, 2014 | Food, Health & Wellbeing


Last month Michael Mosley made a Horizon documentary on “should I eat meat?”.

The documentary started with a discussion similar to the one we recently held at Leeds Skeptics. The spoiler answer is yes. Meat is incredibly nutritious and often a centrepiece of family life. A non-meat diet can be very healthy (after all life-long vegetarian Lizzie Armitstead won an Olympic gold medal), but you do need to think a bit more about your nutrition. Meat makes it easy to get it.

The program dismissed white meat (chicken, poultry, fish) as not showing any signs of negative health effects, and so concentrated on red meat (beef, pork, lamb) and processed meat (bacon, sausage, ham).

Red meat comes out somewhat negative. It could have some positive health effects, but overall it is a negative. We’re just not sure why. Originally it was thought to be saturated fats, but this does not seem to be the case.

Processed meats come out hugely negative. 35 grams per day could increase your risk of premature death by as much as 30%. While the Harvard study and European EPIC study disagree on red meat, they come together on the danger of processed meat.

So what should we conclude?

Cutting down on your meat is probably helpful. Processed meat should be cut out entirely; red meat should be eaten 1-2 times per week at most. Such a diet will not only extend lives by as much as five years on average but will increase the quality of life of those years as well.

Bear soup

Thursday, August 21st, 2014 | Photos


Made with real bear.

It is actually quite a good meat to eat as they are not factory farmed and only killed to control the population (in Finland, I can’t speak for other countries).

Mixed grill

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013 | Photos


Can a restaurant that only serves chicken and lamb produced a mixed grill? Yes, apparently they can.