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Angela Clutton, vinegar expert...


Angela Clutton is a food writer, food historian and professional cook.   She has written on food and drink for publications including the Daily Telegraph, the Independent and Country Life;  commercial clients include brands such as Doves Farm, Lurpak and latterly Good Food Wines;  Angela also writes regularly for  Borough Market as well as being their recipe developer, demonstration cook and hosts the hugely popular Borough Market Cookbook Club.   Broadcast work includes the recent Channel 5 ‘Inside…’ series.

Her debut book The Vinegar Cupboard (published in March 2019) won the Jane Grigson Trust Award, and in 2020 has won the Guild of Food Writers First Book Award as well as the Specialist/Single Subject Award and also the Fortnum & Mason Debut Cookery Book Award.

Reading this was the catalyst for the team at GFW to get Angela involved with our vinegar journey and we're delighted to post the second in the series of blogs, this one concerning tenderising meats now that we are well and truly into BBQ session...  

Vinegar is able to do two great things when it comes to cooking meats: act as tenderiser (so long as its acidity is no less than 5%) while - at the same time as doing that more technical job - also contribute flavour to the final dish. 

It’s that double-benefit which is what I think gives vinegar the edge over the other acidic marinades that are sometimes used, such as buttermilk or yoghurt. And it is well worth taking on board for both fast and slow cooking of meats. 

Let’s take the slow, first. Slow-cooking of meat is often reserved for cuts that can tend to be a bit tougher, and need low, slow heat for the flesh to tenderise. Cooks can take that idea to the next level by using vinegar to start the tenderising process before the joint gets anywhere near any heat. So a piece of beef brisket for instance which, if done badly, could be like a bit of old boot will be gloriously meat-falling-away tender if it begins its cook by first sitting in a tenderising marinade of red wine vinegar or a fruit vinegar - with perhaps a few herbs thrown in there too so that their flavour can be carried by the vinegar into the meat. 

Tough meat can also be a problem if cooking a smaller cut fast on the stove or BBQ. And again, a chop, steak or fillet is going to have a much greater chance of being tenderly flavoursome if it has had some time in a vinegar marinade. With the bonus of an opportunity here to get creative with marrying vinegar flavours with the cut. Think cider vinegar for pork, perhaps a sherry vinegar or red fruit vinegar for beef, lamb or duck - the options are limitless. 

The great thing is that for a smaller cut the tenderising time doesn’t have to be all that long for the benefits to be felt. And as cooking over fire becomes ever more popular, a vinegar marinade is a great way to make sure the meat is a winner every time. 

Our competition winner, receiving a copy of 'The Vinegar Cupboard' is....(to be announced soon!)

If you've enjoyed reading this insight into the world of vinegar, look out for further blogs in the series from Angela.

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