Camden New Journal
Publications by New Journal Enterprises
  Home Archive Competition Jobs Tickets Accommodation Dating Contact us
Published: 21 February 2008
A& S Hillman in Kilburn High Road
A& S Hillman in Kilburn High Road
The fowl truth

Free-range or intensive, there's not a lot in it for ther chicken.

THE chicken welfare campaign launched on TV by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Jamie Oliver urges us to eat free-range chickens, not only because free-range methods improve the quality of the product, but out of concern for the chicken.

Fluffy little chicks are treated abominably, in order that we may eat cheap chicken, they allege. But is the life of a supermarket free-range chicken really that much better than a barn chicken?
Most free-range chickens are – like their barn counterparts – intensively reared. True, free-rangers can venture outside and will live a couple of weeks longer than the barn variety. In the end, both will suffer the same awful fate – their lives terminated long before the 10 years nature intended.
Free range or intensive, there is not a lot in it for the chicken. This is the harsh and yes (if you believe in human rights for poultry) the foul reality. If you can’t hack the truth, then don’t eat chicken.
The supermarkets are renowned for their cheap chickens, but they have some serious rivals among the ­independent butchers, two of whom can be found in Kilburn.
A&S Hillman, founded in 1848 and at 209 Kilburn High Road, NW6 since 1918, is buzzing. Customers queue to buy the bags of cheap chicken pieces that line the front of the shop. Inside the meat counter heaves with various cuts and joints.
“People shop here because we are a family business, offering civility and service and very good prices”, declared Michael Hillman, who, aged 76, is the fourth generation Hillman to run the shop. His son Jonathan – the fifth generation – is in the process of taking over this family business.
Further down and just off the High Street in Glengall Road, the butcher advertises halal chickens at two for £2. Chicken pieces are equally cheap. Also on offer is a goat for £34.99, alongside a lamb and even a whole sheep, both on sale at bargain prices.
If you fancy something exotic how about a bag of gizzards for £2 or even some cow’s feet – a Jamaican delicacy. Try finding those in your local supermarket. ?

Farmers' yoghurt causes stir

Why do we have to go an extra mile to find this simple dairy product?

Yoghurt is an ancient and simple produce. Milk and friendly bacteria interact to produce a tasty, nutritious food. Add some fruit, maybe some sugar or other natural ingredient, and you have a scrumptious dish. So, why is it so hard to find a simply made yoghurt?
Whether on sale in large supermarkets or small independent shops, yoghurts always appear to be either badly made or produced from poor-quality ingredients that re­quire enhancement by additives. Certainly, the situation has improved in recent months with many “E” numbers and blatantly artificial ingredients disappearing from yog­hurt labels.
However, thickeners, sweeteners, acids, starch, additional flavourings and even phosphates are still being added in an effort to make shop yoghurts look and taste reasonable.
Step forward River Cottage yoghurt, made by Somerset dairy farmers Judith and Clive Freane, and distributed by the chicken’s champion, Huge Friendly Wotsit. The fruit flavourings are natural and seasonal.
Their real vanilla yoghurt contains only milk, sugar, cultures, vanilla pods and essence, making it the genuine article. Clearly well made, it requires no additional ingredients, is not unnaturally sweet, has a deep vanilla colour and a pronounced vanilla taste that blends with and enhances the flavour of the natural yoghurt without overpowering it.
Currently on sale in only a handful of shops in central London, the suppliers have carbon footprint issues to resolve.
Pomono (179 Haverstock Hill, NW3 near Belsize Park Station) and Melrose and Morgan (42 Gloucester Avenue, NW1), are the two most local. Sinead, from Melrose and Morgan, raved about the product and advised me to order in advance, as the yoghurts sell out very quickly
There is, alas, a sting in this tale: the price is £1.69 for 167g in a glass jar. This is more than the 65p for 150g in a ­plastic pot, charged by Sainsbury’s for their admittedly comparatively insipid looking – and tasting – Taste the Difference Madagascan Vanilla Jersey milk yoghurt.


Comment on this article.
(You must supply your full name and email address for your comment to be published)





the good life
 » Recipes A - Z
 » Online Shopping
 » The Wine Press
 » Buy wines
 » Book restaurants
 » Eating Out


Theatre Music
Arts & Events Attractions