Can I introduce you to Jones, the Butcher? They’re my local, independently-run, quality butcher based in Herne Hill, South London. They’re something of a community icon around these parts, supplying the meaty needs of many of the best restaurants and pubs in the neighbourhood such as Nanban, Hood and Chalkpit. They’ve been going since 1962 and the business is now run by third-gen-Joneses.
Since we’re all slowly but surely becoming hermits, who go into meltdown if something can’t be delivered same-day, directly to our front door, businesses like Jones are diversifying and launching their own delivery services. Hooray!
So, in addition to their jovial Herne Hill store, Jones will now be selling their products online, for delivery. They sent me one of their boxes so I could try out the service and let you know what I thought.
My box arrived on time, in tact and neatly packaged, with plenty of cooling and the meat tucked up in sealed bags, avoiding unwanted drips. It’s worth pointing out that the box and packaging tape was recyclable. I’m a long-time customer of Jones, so I can already tell you that the meat is great and of fantastic quality.
My generous box contained a mixture of beef, lamb and sausage meat, and there are loads of already-curated boxes for you to choose from on the website.
The first thing to catch my eye was the beef fillet tail, and since I was craving the hot and sour flavours of Vietnam, here’s a Vietnamese noodle salad, with top-quality beef as its hero.
There’s not much to warn you from here, other than to check you’re using gluten free rice noodles, as opposed to egg noodles. If you can’t tolerate chilli, then leave that out of your recipe.
- 400g beef fillet tail
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1/4 tsp crushed Sichuan pepper
- 2 nests of dried rice noodles
- 1/2 cucumber
- 1 red chilli
- Small handful of coriander leaves
- Small handful of mint leaves
For the dressing
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
- Start by rubbing the beef fillet in sesame oil and sprinkling with a very thin dust of Sichuan peppercorns. Set aside for 15 mins.
- Put the noodles in a bowl and cover with boiling water, following the packet instructions (the ones I use only need 3-4 minutes), then drain, stir in a few drops of sesame oil so they don’t stick and set aside to cool.
- Combine all the ingredients for your dressing in a bowl, and set aside.
- Now, prepare your cucumber by shaving it into ribbons, and finely slicing your red chilli.
- Heat up a tsp more of sesame oil in a frying pan and, once hot, add the beef. Let it sizzle for a minute, then turn and cook the other side for a minute. Then turn again and cook for 40 seconds each side – repeat this 3 times each side for rare beef. Cook for longer according to preference. Once done, set aside and let it rest for 10 mins.
- Meanwhile, build up your salad. Start by adding the dressing to the noodles and stirring so they’re coated through. Put a handful on a plate, then fold in some cucumber ribbons.
- When the beef is rested, slice it and add to the salad, then dress with the chilli and herbs.