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The Douglas Willis Blog


14th

Come one come all and celebrate British Pie Week


There’s a week or special day for everything nowadays; foodies can enjoy Yorkshire Pudding Day, National Chip Week and of course, the rather more mundane Pancake Day. Well these are all well and good, but as a leading online butcher, here at Douglas Willis we reserve our real excitement for this week, and you know why? It’s British Pie Week!

We thought we knew pretty much everything there was to know about pies, we certainly know how to make them – we have a delicious range of pies available in our retail stores. Well it turns out there’s a lot more to a pie than meets the eye.

Pies date back thousands of years to the time of the Ancient Egyptians who are thought to be the very first people to enjoy them. Their pies were made using oil making for a rather more floppy affair, producing only flat pies. The Greeks and the Romans also indulged in variations on the same theme, using different methods to make their pastry, which was often not eaten and used solely to encase the meat and seal in all the juices. It was when the Romans invaded Britain and other parts of Northern Europe and brought their cooking techniques with them that pie consumption became truly widespread. The techniques for making the pastry have changed over time with oil being replaced by lard and butter, leading to the pastry we are far more familiar with today.

So with our pie history lesson fully absorbed, let’s tackle another tricky pie related dilemma: When is a pie not a pie? We’ve all been there; you’re sat in a lovely pub, by the fire, enjoying a pint of stout with your order for steak and ale pie successfully placed. Along comes your meal; everything looks fantastic until you make the first cut, when you realise, to your horror, that the pastry on top of your pie is merely a removable lid, exposing the meat within. This isn’t a pie you think, it’s meat with a side serving of pastry.

Officially, and we got this from the very top of the pie echelons, in Britain, a pie may or may not have a bottom, but will always have a pastry top, even if it s detachable. If it’s topless it’s usually referred to as a tart – there’s a joke in there somewhere. However, in America, a pie is usually what the British refer to as a tart.

So there we are. More information about pies than any right minded individual could possibly wish to know. But then, as an online butcher, we do have a reputation for going the extra mile here at Douglas Willis, delivering the highest quality fresh meat directly to your door. Try our fantastic meat and make your own pie, we promise you’ll love it!


1st

Extensive research proves the merits of eating red meat


A recent report published by researchers at the British Nutrition Foundation, has rubbished widespread misconceptions that the consumption of red meat leads to an increased risk of heart attacks and cancer.

The research has shown that individuals who eat a healthy amount of red meat are not subject to any increased risk of disease. This will come as a relief to many who have been subjected to myths over the years that the eating of red meat increases health risks.

The safety of red meat is largely down to modern farming methods. This has led to drastically reduced fat levels which can be less than those found in chicken. However, red meat can provide more nutritional benefit than chicken, acting as a vital source of iron.

The research showed that a vegetarian tucking into a cheese salad will eat seven times more fat, pound for pound, than if they ate lean red meat.

The review shows that as an average figure, men are eating 96 grams of red and processed meat a day compared to 57 grams for women. Such amounts carry no added risk of disease. However, those eating an unusually high daily amount, around 140 grams a day, are still advised to cut down as such high levels can be still linked to a slight increase in the risk of heart disease.

Dr Carrie Ruxton, an independent dietician and member of the Meat Advisory Panel, said: “This review highlights that eating red meat in moderation is an important part of a healthy and balanced diet.

“It also puts to rest many of the misconceptions about the links between meat and health. People have been told they shouldn’t eat red meat, so feel guilty when they do. But given average current intakes, people are well within health targets, so there is no reason to eat less red meat”.

Given the news, why not order yourself a lovely slab of meat, and enjoy it wholeheartedly without any of those nagging doubts. Order your top quality meat from Douglas Willis the online butcher and we will deliver it fresh, directly to your door.


15th

Are meat-eating men more macho – the online butcher examines


In what can only be described as, ‘a bit of a turn up for the books’, Douglas Willis has been going all intellectual this week, looking into a recent study which reveals the traits we subconsciously associate with meat eaters and their vegetarian counterparts.

Recent research carried out by one of the nation’s top universities has revealed that male meat-eaters are seen as more masculine in comparison to their vegetarian counterparts. And what’s even more surprising, even vegetarian females regard men who eat meat as more masculine.

However, it is not all bad news for herbivores, at the cost of being seen as less macho, vegetarians are regarded as more virtuous.

The research, conducted by Dr Steven J Heine, reveals that: “Meat has been closely associated with power and privilege – a staple meal for the upper classes, and a rare treat for peasants.

“The eating of meat has long been seen as an established symbol of power, status and masculinity; it seems that vegetarian males, who abstain from such a staple, are widely perceived as being more principled, honourable and righteous than their carnivorous counterparts.”

It is thought that our views on meat eating are inherent and date back to when early man had to be able to hunt and kill to provide for his family, thus fulfilling the traditional male role.

We love meat here at Douglas Willis, and really don’t care whether this makes us macho or not; all we care about is bringing the very best quality meat to the people of Wales, which we have been quietly occupying ourselves with since the 1940s, and let us tell you, experience counts for a lot. Why not try for yourself; we are the online butchers in Wales, who deliver the finest quality fresh meat, direct to your door.


7th

Red meat – more than just an occasional treat


Following years of lobbying from ardent ‘anti-meat’ campaigners, millions of British consumers have been left with a bad taste in their mouth. Following a new survey of butchers’ customers it has become apparent that nearly six in every 10 believe lean cuts of beef, lamb and pork typically contain 20% or even 30% fat. In actual fact, the level is well under 10%.

Around two-thirds of individuals are of the opinion that roast chicken is lower in its fat content than steak. However, official statistics show that 100g lean topside of roast beef contains just 5.1g of fat, while 100g of roast chicken contains 7.5g.

The survey also showed that men are better informed than women and the old more knowledgeable than the young when it comes to the accurate nutritional information of meat.

The findings from the survey conducted by industry information service MeatMATTERS, come on the back of a campaign launched late last year by butchers, whereby dieticians were invited into their shops to address customers directly on the myths of meat, as well as providing them with accurate nutritional information.

Dietician Johanna Hignett, who participated in the MeatMATTERS scheme at London butcher, Frank Godfrey, admitted she was taken aback by the reactions of some of the customers.

“We had a great response from customers; it is clear there are a lot of myths about red meat. Several people were even unsure if it was ‘ok’ to actually eat red meat. The majority of individual’s concerns seemed to focus on the perceived fat content of red meat, whereas, for lean pork, beef and lamb, this really could not be further from the truth”.

Chris Lamb, of MeatMATTERS, supported this point with great news for meat lovers everywhere: “Over the past 20 years the fat content of red meat has fallen by a third. The average fat content of lean lamb is now 8%, lean beef 5% and lean pork just 4%. This compares favourably with other protein rich foods which form a key part of the British diet.

Here at Douglas Willis we stock a wide range of lean red meats of the utmost quality. Buy steak, buy beef and buy lamb online and we will deliver your food fresh to your door.


29th

The secret history behind Christmas food


Here at Douglas Willis we were having a bit of a discussion about the origins of Christmas food, and realised to our horror that between us we knew very little. So we decided to set about finding out. After a little research we discovered an article in the Guardian, which delved into the topic.

So why is turkey the traditional Christmas bird? And what is all this fuss about Brussels sprouts?

According to the Guardian, the popularity of the sprout, many children’s worst enemy, increased after the First World War when the eating of greens was universally encouraged; since then they have remained a constant on the nation’s festive dinner plates, remaining a hugely divisive issue, or as divisive as a vegetable can possibly be. However, the lack of popularity for the sprout can be largely down to their overcooking, which releases a sulphuric smell and does no favours at all to the taste and consistency.

Roast Turkey has its origins as a Christmas favourite way back in the 16th century when Archbishop Cranmer permitted members of the clergy to eat one large fowl per household, and by 1575 the poultry had overtaken the other favourites of the time, peacock, goose, boar and heron as the primary Christmas food.

So what about pigs in blankets, those delectable little pork parcels, well it turns out that they first reared their snouts in the Aberdeen weekly Journal in 1800 as oysters wrapped in bacon, with the news source noting that the modern day version probably arouse as a derivative of this.

And according to the Daily Telegraph – yep we really did do our research here on this one – the turducken, which has declined in popularity over recent times, dates back to medieval times and Roman banquets, where stuffing one bird into another was common practice.

So now you know the history behind some of our Christmas staples, why not order them online. We are the online butchers who deliver high quality meat fresh to your door


9th

Confirmation at last: Douglas Willis named best in Wales


Douglas Willis has picked up the lucrative title of ‘Butcher’s Shop of the Year Award 2010’, at a glittering ceremony held at the Sheraton Park Lane Hotel in London.

Douglas Willis impressed the esteemed panel of judges with their passion and enthusiasm for excellence at every level, setting extremely high standards in Wales.

The judges from awards organiser Meat Trades Journal hold a particularly high standing in the butchers industry. Meat Trades Journal Ed Bedington, commented that: “The range of products on sale is incredible, and their dedication to the highest quality fresh meat is unwavering”.

The Butcher’s Shop of the Year awards are renowned as the premier event for the UK butchery sector. They recognise excellence in craft butchery and winners enter an exclusive group who represent the crème de la crème of British butchery.

Having travelled to London to receive the award, and enjoying a fantastic three course meal in the process, Peter Willis, the proprietor, was naturally delighted: “We believe this award is recognition for the passion and continued investment we have in our business; this is a fantastic reward for all our hard work.

If you’d like to enjoy butchery at its very best, visit our award winning butcher’s shop. We are passionate about setting standards for Welsh butchery which our competitors struggle to follow. For the freshest meat delivered, shop online at Douglas Willis and you will receive free delivery on any order over £50.


30th

Critical Acclaim for our Mouth Watering Ribeye Steaks


Douglas Willis, the dedicated online butcher, has received a silver True Taste Award for the quality of its succulent 10oz, Usk Valley ribeye steaks.

The critical acclaim received by the Welsh online butcher reaffirms their commitment to quality and animal care which forms the very basis of the Douglas Willis brand.

The judges of the True Taste Awards pour over 860 entries in over 18 categories from food and drink companies across the length and breadth of Wales, recognising and rewarding only food of the very highest quality.

Based on the premise that happy animals produce tastier meat, all Douglas Willis’ cattle are reared naturally and grass-fed on the verdant hills of South East Wales.

All the beef produced is allowed to hang and mature naturally for up to 21 days, before being passed onto our master butchers who take a great deal of pride in carefully preparing the Usk Valley ribeye steaks.

So what turns a normal steak into an award winning steak? We believe the secret to our ribeye steak’s flavour and succulence is down to their bright red colour and distinctive marbling, which are best grilled quickly and over a high heat to seal in all that taste.

If you’d like to try our 10oz ribeye steaks, and to be honest you’d be mad not to, then order online now! We are the award winning online butchers with a passion for producing the highest quality fresh meat.


15th

The Geese are Getting Fat


All the team here at Douglas Willis love Christmas, it gives us one chance a year to ignore the old adage and actually take our work home with us for once.

And with the newly released festive range from Douglas Willis, can you really blame us?

Whether it’s a traditional Turkey dinner to grace your dining table this year, or something a little more modern like goose or duck, here at Douglas Willis you will find all the ingredients required to make your festive period one to remember for all the right reasons.

My personal favourite bit of Christmas, and this includes the chance to meet members of the family you haven’t seen for years, the presents and the merry celebrations down at the local; pigs in blankets – aren’t they just fantastic.

The range we have at Douglas Willis is especially varied this year, with all the meat you could possibly need. From whole wild pheasant and red leg partridge, through to pork sausages and our glorious sausage meat with cranberries.

All our festive products are available to order from the 1st December until the 22nd December at 1pm, the last delivery date is on the 23rd.

For premium meat delivered freshly to your door this Christmas, look no further than Douglas Willis. Our festive range represents excellent value for money and will make the whole Christmas period one to remember!


3rd

Happy Pigs Make For Tasty Pork


Many of the 160 million pigs bred for meat across Europe live in conditions which we believe are completely unacceptable. From the results of a recent survey carried out by YouGov, it seems that shoppers are concerned with the treatment of pigs with 6 out of 10 wanting to choose high welfare pig products; however, many found the labelling unclear and admitted they were not sure how the pig had been treated.

So if you’re partial to a bacon butty, or have a penchant for a pork roast, buy your meat from Douglas Willis. We are in keen support of the RSPCA’s Think Pig Campaign, which aims to make a real difference to the welfare of pigs.

In the YouGov survey, carried out in conjunction with the RSPCA, it was revealed that 64 percent of shoppers who bought ham, sausages, bacon or pork in the last 6 months want to choose higher welfare products, but struggle to because of a lack of clear labelling.

When shown the packaging of a wide variety of pork products, between 35 and 45 per cent of these shoppers could not derive a fair assessment of how the pig had been treated. This is the basis for the RSPCA’s Think Pig Campaign. It’s all about educating the customers so they can tell how well a pig has been reared.

So how can you tell how well a pig has been reared?

• Does the food label include the Freedom Food logo? If it does then you can be sure the pigs have been reared on farms which have been inspected to RSPCA welfare standards.
• If there’s no Freedom Food logo, then look for free-range, outdoor reared, outdoor bred or organic.

Leigh Grant, Chief Executive of Freedom Food, believes the upsurge in consumer demand and spending on Freedom Food products is having a very direct impact on improving pig welfare.

“We have seen the number of pigs reared to RSPCA welfare standards dramatically increase by 26 per cent, from less than 1.6 million animals two years ago, to more than 1.9 million today, all as a direct response to consumer demand. This means that 400,000 more pigs are having a better life thanks to Freedom Food.”

If you’re looking for premium quality, fresh pork, delivered to your door by specialist online butchers, look no further than Douglas Willis.


18th

Meat & Meat Products Market Report 2010 reveals interesting insights.


The ‘Meat & Meat Products Market Report 2010’ has been released, revealing some interesting insights into the traits of the country’s carnivores. In 2009 households spent more on meat than any other food category with the exception of just fruit and vegetables. This shows the size of the British meat market with a yearly spend of 16.22bn, or 22.7% of total consumer spend in the grocery market representing a 1.4% increase on the previous year.

Many factors have influenced the spending habits of the British consumer over the past few years. The credit crunch has of course had an inevitable effect, with people opting for cheaper meats rather than some of the expensive cuts, which used to be more popular. Prices have been driven upwards due to a number of factors including a marked increase in the cost of animal feed and fuel. Global demand for meat has also risen as developing countries become wealthier. In fact a forecast from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations predicts a 40% price hike over the next decade.

An original survey carried out in February 2010 showed that women had reduced their meat consumption more than men, whilst the young and the old were more likely to have reduced their consumption than those in between.

It is also a sad indictment of the current meat market that just 10% of meat was purchased in traditional butchers. Predictably the major supermarkets dominated this area with an estimated 85% of the market, and the other 5% is accounted for by independent grocers and freezer centres and farmers’ markets. The catering sector has also become a major player in meat market accounting for around 30% of total UK meat consumption.

Economic forecasts indicated that UK unemployment levels will not decline until 2012; inflation is predicted to rise as the Government increases taxes to address the large deficit which has built up during the recession. Meat however, remains a key purchase in many households, and as the global market recovers, overseas trade is expected to be the catalyst for brighter days in the meat markets of the future.

If you’re looking for fresh meat, delivered to your house by specialist online butchers then look no further than Douglas Willis. We offer premium quality, fresh meat at highly competitive prices.

30th

Supplying the Ryder Cup Teams with Extraordinary Quality Meat.


Now unless you’ve been living under a very very large rock for the past few weeks, you’re going to be fully aware that the world’s very best golfers are in town for the biggest golfing event on the planet: The Ryder Cup. The Ryder Cup 2010 is being held at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, one of Europe’s leading golf and business resorts, with three top class courses, an award winning clubhouse and floodlit golf academy.

All eyes will be on the Celtic Manor Resort with hundreds of millions of viewers expected from well over one hundred countries all around the world. So you’ve got some of the world‘s biggest sports stars under your roof - how do go about treating them? How about using Douglas Willis, the suppliers of the highest quality fresh meat in South Wales? That’s exactly what the Celtic Manor has done. We have been supplying their 8 in-house restaurants for 13 years, so both the European and American teams will be gorging themselves on our high quality beef, lamb and pork, before, during and after a hard day’s play.

When you see all the golfers shooting superb rounds then you’ll know it’s partly down to the fantastic meals the players are receiving every night thanks to the finest quality meat, from animals cared for in the very best conditions on the verdant hills of South Wales. Whether it’s beef, pork, lamb, chicken or wild game, you will not be able purchase fresher or more flavoursome meat from any online butcher.

If you want meat delivered that is of the highest quality and fit for some of the world’s biggest sports stars, then order online from Douglas Willis, the online butcher today. Although the quality of our meat is five star, our prices aren’t, ensuring you can afford to eat like a king. And what’s more, we are so confident about the quality of our meat we offer all our customers a no argument, money back guarantee.

20th

Buying meat online? Is it as fresh as you think?


Many online butchers will tell you the best way to buy meat online is to buy it frozen, as this helps to lock in the nutrients.
However, cutting edge advancements in the market allow Douglas Willis to provide our customers with fresh, chilled meat which is as succulent and juicy as the minute it was carved.

Advancements in chilling technology allow us to deliver your meat order fresh to your door, which brings with it a variety of benefits...

There are a number of ways of packaging your chilled meat, each offering distinct advantages over frozen meat.

• Vacuum packing – immediately vacuum packing your meat after carving helps lock in the flavour of your beef, preventing bacteria developing and helping your meat stay fresher for longer. In addition, this method of chilling also helps to prevent the juices from escaping, meaning your meat remains succulent and moist. It also protects your food from knocks, bumps and freezer burn.

• Hydrated ice sheets – these specialised sheets are pre-cooled prior to wrapping your steaks, helping your meat to stay chilled without the need for freezing.

• Temperature controlled boxes – these boxes prevent warming and keep your order chilled to the exact temperature set by your ice sheets.

With such extensive packaging options it is easy to see why this chilling method is becoming more popular than frozen meat. Your meat, without being frozen, will be as succulent and juicy as the day it was carved. Not having the need to defrost your meat is beneficial not only in terms of taste - it is also far more convenient as you don’t have the need to defrost your meat before cooking.

We take great pride in the quality of our fresh meat here at Douglas Willis, always striving to ensure all our customers are blown away by the quality of our products. We only use farms which treat their animals with the care and attention they deserve. This can be tasted in our meat.

If you want to buy meat online that is of the highest quality and tastes as fresh as it ever will, then order from us now. Don’t buy frozen, buy your meat from Douglas Willis, the online butcher. We are so confident about the quality of our meat, that we offer all our customers a no argument, money back guarantee.




Douglas Willis Ltd

5 Grange Ind. Est, Llanfrecha Way, Cwmbran, Torfaen NP44 8HQ.
Tel: 01633 877777 Email: admin@douglaswillis.co.uk

Douglas Willis supply the finest quality Welsh meat online and through our award winning shops based in Cwmbran and Llanyrafon. Douglas Willis Ltd 2008. All rights reserved.

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