Food and Drink

Grace to Ewe: Our Cruelty-Free Diet

UPDATE: See the latest on our cruelty-free chicken co-operative and what we think of Hugh Fearning-Whittingstall's Chicken Run series right here.

Some of you are asking what i mean by "Cruelty-Free", as in our Cruelty-Free Christmas Feast that we enjoyed a few days ago. I didnt want to post on this right before you started to bake your huge turkey - bad timing - but maybe now is more appropriate.


This is a post i wrote in 2005 which didnt get ANY attention:
There's a lot of confusion about cruelty free diets, and most websites are not very helpful if you are not vegetarian or vegan. So | will briefly describe our understanding of a Biblical, ethical meat eating diet.

I told you at the beginning of the year about our commitment to a cruelty-free diet in a post called "Righteous Men and Meat", and that i had brought the subject up (perhaps unwisely) at a briefing for some Foundations who were asking about the Emerging Church. I also told you that last week I had a weak moment, a lapse of judgment, and am now back on track. But there is some confusion as to what it is we are doing. Maybe I am assuming that everyone knows more than they do. Here is the skinny on our cruelty free diet.

I believe God gave us care of the animals ("govern" is a better word than "dominion") and they, in return, give us food and clothing. We look after each other. It is a contract we have with the animals. under the eye of God. This is why Solomon can say "The righteous man cares for the needs of his animals" Proverbs 12:10

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Our Cruelty-Free Christmas Feast

Christmas2006I am not a man given to boasting, but if i must boast, let me boast in the Lord's bountiful provision of game, seafood, grass fed beef, and the many culinary blessings of the Orkney Islands. Especially around Christmas time. We have been working on our Christmas feast since summer and are really excited about bringing out our best for our guests - six of whom are flying in from USA.
Here are some of the highlights:
Goose with rowan jelly made from rowan tree in our back yard, ducks from Orkney's St Ola Island, Orkney crabs [which nearly bit me yesterday with their huge claws, Orkney herring in a sweet marinade, venison sausages with chocolate sauce, London Broil from a cow down the road that had a bad leg. I bought the back quarter of it from the farmer. Poor old cow. But I dont think we will be feeling sorry for it as we eat my delicious beef and rosemary sausages [i really did make my own sausages on the MIGHTY Kenwood food processor and sausage making attachment, but thats another story]


CrabAll the meat was killed humanely and we know most of the farmers who killed our birds and beef. And I popped the crabs in the freezer to put them to sleep before boiling them - although i was tempted to taunt that big horrible one and get him back for scaring me!

Breakfasts will include gingerbread waffles and crepes.We have German stollen and pepper gingerbread. Friday night pizza will feature a special Christmas pizza - complete with ham, pineapple and cherries. Tonight we will have my beef and mushroom pie cooked in homebrewed stout.

What's to drink at the Jones Christmas Feast?
To accompany our white and red wines, and the mandatory Orkney Highland Park 12 year, I will be offering something closer to home this year. Our homebrewed stout and dark ale and .. . most importantly, our CelticMonk-inspired Heather Ale with heather that we picked in Stenness. I have also made a Christmas mead and a gooseberry wine from our gooseberry tree. It has been aging in my wine cellar for about 5 months. Oh . . and we have some bottles of German gluhwein [mulled wine] for the cold evenings.

And my Christmas Ale? Ahhhh . . just when i was on a roll you would have to ask that. Well, the truth is my glorious Christmas Ale, inspired by Trappist monks in Belguim, and brewed in late summer to give plenty of time for maturation, actually turned out to be total CRAP . . ghastly stuff!! . . if evaporated to half its size and is practically undrinkable. I think the temperature on the first fermentation was unstable and too low so it messed up the whole process. Oh well.

Anyway, I hope your Christmas is also filled with good friends and good food.

Related: Righteous men and eating meat

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New Scottish Beer: The Island Bere

Fabulous beer called "Island Bere" launched last night at the Stromness Hotel in Orkney. So good, in fact, that i had to go all the way home to get my wife. Lucky that we live only a few doors down.
This is Debbie and I congratulating Sonny Priest, the brewmaster from Valhalla Brewery in Shetland Islands. His "Island Bere" is a fantastic brew made from the ancient bere barley from Orkney - it taste like a cross between an IPA and an Irish Red. The bere barley has a high nitrogen content so the alcohol level is slighter lower than other beers but the hoppy flavour and reddish buttery taste more than make up for it. It is made with Cascade hops at the start and Fogels at the finish. The end result is stunning and a compliment to Orkney. It ranks up there with the great Scottish beers. Well done!
The idea of using the ancient Orkney bere stems from from Peter Martin (top photo - center back, with striped jumper), Senior Researcher at Orkney's Agronomy Institute. I asked him about the monastic beers in Orkney but neither of us are sure whether the monks would have used bere in the beer [no pun intended] but we both suspect they did, since it was the main barley back then. Thank God for the monks. "In fact, for nearly two centuries, monasteries across Scotland were almost solely responsible for the production of beer." Scottish Pubs
BTW - I am thinking of brewing a heather ale, a beer that has been traditionally brewed by Celtic monks, and before them, the Picts. Actually, there is evidence in the Scotish Islands of heather ale from 2000BC.
Some Scottish beers of note:
- Michael Jackson tells a good yarn about heather ale
- More recent history of Scottish ales and their unusual categories.
- Scottish beers are tasted and tested at the Opinionated Beer Page.The "Old Engine Oil Reserve" looks interesting and is aged in whiskey barrels.
- The Grozet, or beer made from gooseberries, was another beer made by monks in the 17th Century. Mike Miliard dates it back to the 1500's.
- There is a Kelpie seaweed ale that has a chocolate taste.
- The Orkney Brewery and Highland Brewing Co are the big ones in Orkney. The latter is preferred by locals.
And lest you assume that all Scots are beer connoisseurs, the favourite beer up here in Orkney is the horrible Tennents which doesnt even deserve a hyperlink.

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The Fatkins Diet

imagesI am way too skinny and have decided to gain some weight for the summer. I am creating a new diet called The Fatkins Diet which i believe will give me some extra poundage. Hannah, my 6 year old daughter is going to join me.
Firstly, i am giving up tea and coffee, or at least limiting it to once or twice a day rather than all day long whenever i feel like it. This should help return my appetite for food, which is suppressed by the caffeine. It should also reduce my metabolism to a reasonable speed.
Secondly, I am replacing tea with Milo and Ovaltine made with milk.
Thirdly, I started taking a supplement called Floradix, "a liquid iron formula containing herbal extract and fruit concentrates", which apparently increases appetite.
Weight lifting? Wish i could but its too expensive to join a gym around here. I will try without it for now. Lets see if i can gain some weight on my Fatkins Diet.

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You had me at Halal

Every Friday I buy some halal meat to go with our pizzas, since we get a number of Muslim young people from our neighbourhood coming for an action movie and to cook their own pizza in our oven. I actually didn't buy any this week, since we had so many other friends coming. We had lots of kids, South Africans,good friends, and neighbour kids we haven't seen before, and Amerca's best pastor, Rev. Paul Jackson of Glenwood Community Church who blessed the food.

Pizza party is not church for us, but it is one of the weekly loops in our lives that allows others to enter our life of celebration. We are dependent on others to throw different kinds of parties to allow different parts of kingdom living to find expression. It is also an element of regularity for our family and our transient lifestyle. We have pizza every Friday, even when traveling. We got the idea from an International Teams guy (Tim Barnes) in Illinois who eats pizza and watches a football game each week wtih his family and friends. I have heard that a lot of people do this on a regular basis.

I believe that FOOD and cooking are as essential to emerging/organic church than what music was to contemporary/seeker church. I also predict that in the next few years, as emerging churches stop emerging and settle down into their calling, that we will see a resurrection of the church cookery books in the tradition of the Mennonite and Amish churches. Although these will be web based instead of print.

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Vespas and Coffee

expresso2.jpg pault.jpg expresso1.jpg
In SE London, I met the good people at CMS (Church Mission Society) and we went out for coffee at this wicked cool coffee shop - It is a shop for used Vespas and old Italian coffee machines. In the back are tables and chairs. You can smell the engine oil and the coffee is great - really cool coffee shop. Jonny, who works with CMS, sent me these images.
Jonny and Paul (middle image) are two of the people behind the site that was released last month and is already looking really good. I am telling you this to make up for the fact I told them i would write up an article for the site and they are still waiting for it.