A ‘lightning lamb’ cooking challenge featuring award-winning sheep farmers from both sides of the globe was one of the highlights of the Royal Welsh Winter Fair in Builth Wells.
Surveys show that families in Britain have only 32 minutes on average to prepare an evening meal nowadays, as opposed to an hour in 1980. Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) is taking steps to emphasise lamb’s quick-cook credentials, so enlisted the help of Australian farmer Jamie Heinrich and Breconshire’s own Richard Roderick in a ‘cookoff’ to prove it!
Jamie Heinrich hails from Kangaroo Island near Adelaide in South Australia, and operates a 2000-acre holding farming Poll Merino and White Suffolk sheep. His visit to Wales is part of a Nuffield Australia scholarship to study how to encourage young entrants to the industry.
Richard Roderick lives at Newton Farm near Talybont-on-Usk in the Brecon Beacons. He is a past HCC Scholar, and has won several farming accolades including the Silver Lapwing Award in 2016 for his environmental management. Earlier this year he featured on the BBC series ‘Nadiya’s British Food Adventure’.
With the help of HCC cook Elwen Roberts, Jamie rustled up a rapid Welsh Lamb stir-fry with oriental flavours, while Richard’s creation was a pan-fried leg steak with red wine sauce.
After tasting and judging by members of the audience, the two delicious dishes could not be separated, so the Wales v Australia match ended in an honourable draw.
“When I came over to Wales I certainly didn’t anticipate getting involved in a cookoff to promote lamb!” said Nuffield Australia Scholar Jamie Heinrich. “Many of the challenges for the industry – recruiting younger farmers and making sure that lamb is appealing to young consumers who are pushed for time – are the same the world over. I’m very much looking forward to the rest of my trip to Wales and Europe.”
HCC’s Elwen Roberts commented: “It was great fun to challenge two farmers to come up with a quick and tasty lamb recipe. They both did extremely well, and the Winter Fair audience loved seeing and tasting the food.
“It’s important to emphasise that lamb can be an excellent choice for a quick evening meal,” she added. “HCC has recently launched a mobile-phone-friendly recipe selector on the eatwelshlamb.com website, to help give consumers inspiration for lamb dishes while on the move.”