In our online series, reader recipe, those from the farming community share their love of food and cooking. Here, Debbie Kingsley, from South Yeo Farm in Devon tells us about where her passion for food comes from, and shares one of her favourite brisket dishes, inspired by the Ruby Red Devon cattle they rear on-farm.
Farming with her partner, Andrew, Debbie farms Berkshire pigs, pedigree Welsh Mountain Badger Face sheep (both Torddu and Torwen), pedigree Whiteface Dartmoor sheep, Herdwick sheep and a suckler herd of pedigree Red Ruby Devon cattle across 100 acres near Dartmoor. They run an extensive system with a focus on high-welfare.
"Like most people, I guess a love of cooking comes from a love of eating? My parents were European and there was a lot of European and Jewish cookery in our home, and everything was always cooked fresh from scratch. It is so important that people understand where their food comes from and eating seasonally is part of that.
"I love French beans for example, but I refuse to buy them air freighted in from Peru, when I can buy British in season ingredients, and enjoy them at their freshest and best.
"We try and grow our own, but our busy farming life means we buy in too. But we do stick to seasonality wherever possible - bananas, coffee and tea aside.
"We sell our beef, lamb and pork direct to customers, and it is a constant pleasure being able to respond to their questions about how we farm – they in turn get greater enjoyment out of the dinners they cook from our meat boxes.
"My recipe for brisket and dumplings is as old as time, and a traditional meal that is absolutely delicious, especially using our Devon Ruby beef."
You will need:
Thick chopped onion
Thick chopped carrot
Thick chopped celery
1 - 2 tablespoons of flour
1 bay leaf
200g self-raising flour
French grain mustard
Put a splash of olive oil into an ovenproof pan and brown the brisket joint all over for a few minutes. Remove the brisket onto a plate.
Add thick chopped onion, big chunks of carrot and some celery to the pan and brown these too. Sprinkle over a tablespoon or two of flour and stir vigorously. Pour in hot water from the kettle, still stirring, then put the joint back in - the water should come nearly to the top of the joint.
Add black pepper, bay leaf, and bring it to the simmer, cover, then put it in the oven for 2.5 hours. Meanwhile make your dumplings.
Put 200g of self-raising flour into a bowl and add 100g of suet. Put in a pinch of salt and a generous twisting of black pepper.
Add either a mix of favourite herbs (I like thyme) or a generous teaspoon or two of grainy French mustard.
Stir the mix together and add just enough cold water to make a soft but not too sticky dough. Flour your hands and roll the mix into 8 dumplings.
These can be kept on a dish in the fridge til you’re ready for the next step. When the brisket has been in the oven for 2.5 hours remove the pan from the oven, take off the cover and pop in the dumplings around the beef.
Keep the cover off and put the pan back in the oven for another 25 minutes or until the dumplings are cooked.
Serve the meat in thick slices with the broth and vegetables and a dumpling or two plus a generous lashing of creamed horseradish.