Friday 28 June 2013

Simon Howie - Scottish meat delivered to your door

Much as I like to save money on my grocery bill, there are some areas where I won't compromise on quality or standard.  I will never, for example buy anything other that free-range eggs and I will choose a cheaper cut of meat from a source with good welfare standards over a 'budget' pack of meat which has been pumped full of water and chemicals and has had a miserable life.

When Simon Howie, the Scottish Butcher asked if I'd like to sample a meat box to review on the blog, I was happy to oblige.  I value traceability and clarity of origin, and would always rather cut out the middle-man of the supermarket giants and buy direct from the supplier - whether that's my fish delivery direct from Grimsby or an organic veg box from the farm.

I was sent the Appetizer Box (value £30) which arrived beautifully packed, nestled among ice packs and kept chilled inside a sealed polystyrene box - all delivered to my door.

Inside was
  • 2 x 280gm Rib Eye Steaks
  • 1lb Steak Pie
  • 1 x 300gm Traditional Pork Sausages
  • 1 Small Black Pudding
  • 220gm Dry Cure Bacon

A truly delicious prospect for our meat-loving family!

First up, we tried out the pie.  Some cooking instructions on the label would have been nice, but I've heated up plenty of pies in my time so I figured it out!  

As it turns out, our daughter could eat this (she has a dairy allergy) - we usually steer clear of pastry but this was made with margarine rather than butter.  It does however contain egg (and gluten obviously) so something to bear in mind if you have allergies in the household.  Although it was clearly labelled on the packaging, it would be useful to have this on the site when you make your order.

The pie was delicious.  Generously thick, light and flaky golden pastry with HUGE chucks of beef steak - the largest I think I've ever had in a pie.  The meat was succulent and melt in the mouth.  I'd have preferred a little more gravy, but it made a tasty and filling midweek dinner served with mashed potatoes; broccoli, carrots and Dijon mustard.

The sausages I'm afraid to say, didn't survive the weekend without me.  I was away at Britmums, and apparently they were calling hubby's name from the fridge, so he ate them. Did he take a photo? No.  Were they tasty?  Apparently so.

Being away meant I needed to use up the rest of the box on Monday night.  Yes, I could have frozen all the items, but I wanted to enjoy them fresh.  So I whipped up the most amazing mixed grill - not really one for the dieters, but a real naughty treat (I promise I was munching lettuce for the rest of the week - ahem).

I had to add in some other sausages - a fry-up's not a fry-up without sausages!  The bacon was sweet, crispy and moist.  I was really impressed with the rib-eye steak.  It's not a cut I tend to go for in restaurants - I tend to stick with sirloin as I've been disappointed too many times by leathery, gristly versions.  This one however, was bursting with flavour and not at all chewy.  The black pudding was a great texture, but I wasn't too keen on the spice, it tasted a bit too Christmassy for me.  

They offer a range of different selection boxes as well as the Appetiser one I tried out.  If my fry-up has you tempted, you might want to check out their Great Scottish Breakfast pack, or if you're planning some summer al-fresco dining, why not one of their BBQ boxes.

Overall, I was very impressed with the taste of the meat, and the quality it reached me in.  I won't be buying chicken, as they do not stock free-range (although they do only deal with suppliers who follow the 5 freedoms guidelines), but for good quality, traceable red meat they are certainly worth a look.

Blog readers can enjoy 5% off their order before the end of July 2013 by using code VIPCLUBJUL13 at checkout. 

Disclosure: I was sent the meat box as described for the purposes of this review.  All opinions expressed are my own.


  1. I love the rib eye! i want it again now!!

  2. I can't wait for our box to arrive next week. Very excited about it :)

  3. Oh yummy yummy yum yum! Sounds and looks divine. My husband would have schnaffled the sausages too!

  4. Love dry cured bacon. So much nicer than the stuff you get in supermarkets which seems to contain water. Agree re the free range chicken. All in all it sounds great. I am tempted.........

    1. Thanks Glenda. I've spoken with Simon Howies and they are looking into sourcing free-range chicken so watch this space!

  5. I have nothing but praise for the standard of products also care taken to get online orders to us quickly and still chilled.