Friday, 10 June 2011

Perfect pork pies from the master butchers

Well-loved (and justifiably so) butcher, The Ginger Pig has answered every carnivore’s prayers with the long-awaited publication of their The Ginger Pig Meat Book. I went along to the launch to sample some meaty treats and get my gravy stained hands on the new book.

Held in the pretty Edwardian interior of Daunt Books on Marylebone High St, just around the corner from The Ginger Pig, the tables beneath the sky light heaved with pies, pasties, hams, their world famous sausage rolls, pink tinged roast beef, sausages and other delights. A sight to truly gladden the heart.

Not usually a fan of pork pies, I decided, in the interests of journalistic integrity to dive in at the deep end and get my chops around a traditional pork pie. The hard, cloth-y tasting golf ball of mystery meat surrounded by unappealing quivering jelly wrapped in greasy and bland pastry are the usual hallmarks of a supermarket pork pie, hence my avoidance up to now. The Ginger Pig’s pork pies were a sagey, buttery and rich revelation and would happily have a place at any future picnic, party or lunchbox of mine. Ditto the sausage rolls, which knocked every other sausagey snack into a cocked hat.

As for the book, it’s a beautiful bible of recipes by Fran Warde and Ginger Pig farmer Tim Wilson. Covering the classic (roast partridge, slow roast pork belly, duck with plums) and the more contemporary (venison burgers, Moroccan chicken with preserved lemons) the recipes are arranged by month according to seasonality, and each chapter begins with an insight into what’s happening on the farm in the form of a farm diary, a lovely touch which brings the farm and the table closer together.

Not only a recipe book, the title also provides over 100 pages of instructional detail on different cuts of meat, what to look out for when buying, things to ask your butcher and information on the suitability of certain cuts for certain dishes. Step-by-step instructions and pictorial guides to boning, rolling, stuffing, butchering and tying all manner of meat make this an absolute essential in the kitchens of any committed carnivore.

Originally published to The Culinary Guide

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