Last month saw the Royal Highland Show taking place so it was the perfect venue for Browns Food group to relaunch their premium range of sliced Scottish cooked meats. Show-goers could sample the whole range of Tarbert Fine Premium Cooked Meats, which are made from specially selected pork and scotch beef, including :
- Finely Sliced Heather Honey Ham - Scottish pork leg, slowly cured with our Scottish heather honey recipe then cooked & roasted, giving a sweet honey infused ham.
- Finely Sliced Black Pepper Pastrami- Specially cured Scotch silverside of beef, hand rolled in cracked pepper & slowly cooked for a tantalising taste.
- Peppered Topside of Beef- Tender Scotch topside of beef, hand rolled in crushed peppercorns then slowly cooked in its natural juices for a distinctive flavour.
- Roast Pork- Hand boned Scottish leg of pork, lightly seasoned, slowly cooked & roasted for succulence.
- Thick Cut Ayrshire Ham- Hand boned Scottish pork leg, cured with our unique Ayrshire recipe then slowly cooked to give a delicious moist ham.
- Topside of Beef- Tender Scotch topside of beef slowly cooked in its natural juices for a traditional, mouth-watering taste.
- Arran Mustard Ham- Scottish pork leg, slowly cured & hand coated in delicious Arran mustard, creating a distinctive tasting ham.
- Chicken & Haggis- Succulent Scottish chicken, with a rich spicy haggis stuffing, steam cooked for a unique taste of Scotland.
Well, that all sounds absolutely perfect for summer picnics (even if the sun hasn't put in much of an appearance yet !) so we were very pleased when we received a fabulous selection of Tarbert meats to review. As you can see in the top photo, we received the whole range to put through its paces.
The first pack to be used was the ham, because Juliette and Sophie were off for a day out with their summer club and needed a packed lunch. I'd asked them what they fancied and their reply was a cheese and ham sandwich with a tomato cracker. (I started wrapping up a line of cherry tomatoes in a piece of foil twisted at the ends to stop them squishing into the bread and that has now been baptised a "tomato cracker" here at The Madhouse, because of its resemblence to a Christmas cracker !)
They both commented on the fact that their sandwiches were really nice and, having had a nibble, I can confirm that this is indeed lovely ham that actually tastes of - well, ham ! - unlike some supermarket bought hams that taste of nothing but paper really. Reading the label for the Thick Cut Ayrshire Cured Ham, it's not hard to see why it tastes far superior to the cheaper brands - it's made from specially selected pork and is "hand boned Scottish pork leg, cured with our unique Ayrshire recipe then slowly cooked to give a delcious moist ham". If you think - as I admit that we did - that "ham is ham", try this and you'll see that some are indeed better than others.
Next, we decided to try out the Topside of Beef, with peppercorns for the grown-ups and without for the kids. This works really nicely in crusty rolls with cherry tomato relish or on granary bread with a thin layer of wholegrain mustard, depending on whether you want to play up the sweetness or mustardy-hot tones.
It's also lovely with an accompaniment of cooked vegetables - Madhouse Daddy Mike added a slice of beef to the Turkish Stuffed Peppers with fried tomatoes and mushrooms that I told you about yesterday, and said that the flavours really complemented each other.
The one that was a bit of a wild card - and one that I really wasn't sure about before tasting it - was the haggis-stuffed chicken but it was actually really nice. The haggis flavour isn't at all overpowering but gives a lovely lift to the sometimes slightly bland flavour of chicken. This is definitely one to bring out to impress anyone who loves tasting local produce and discovering regional dishes. French Madhouse Daddy Mike couldn't wait to sample his slice of Chicken & Haggis and declared it "very nice indeed". Three-year-old Pierre, on the other hand, just ate the haggis in one mouthful then spent five minutes playing "eye-eye Captain" looking through the whole left in his chicken !
The Pastrami reminded me of our honeymoon in New York, where "pastrami on rye" was one of the things recommended to us by the locals at the NY delis.
And that is, in fact, the beauty of the whole range. They mentally take you to exotic locations, offering you the finest of Scottish produce, and taking a boring ham sandwich to a whole new level. Sophie was very proud to go to summer club the next day declaring she had topside of beef in her roll instead of ham !
The Tarbert Fine Cooked Meat Range is available in Asda, Sainsbury's and Tesco in Scotland stores only. It is also available through independent Scottish retailers and the range will feature at the BBC Good Food Show (SECC, Glasgow, 19-21 October, 2012).
star rating : 4.5/5
RRP : £2.49 per 3-slice pack
for more information : www.brownsfoodgroup.com.
Disclosure : I received a selection of Tarbert Fine Foods Cooked Meats in order to write an honest review.
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