I remember going up to Lincolnshire write a piece on The Ginger Pig back in the early 90s well before artisan food producers were in vogue. It was a small farm turning out some excellent pork from the strangest pigs I’d ever seen, wiry ginger-haired Tamworths.
Fast forward 18 years or so and the farmer Tim Wilson now has three vast farms up on the North Yorkshire moors and ironically is the main supplier to my son’s steak restaurant Hawksmoor along with other top London restuarants. So I guess, as they say, I have history with Tim so it’s hard for me to be objective about his new book which is co-written with cookery writer Fran Warde.
It is of course about meat - how it should be reared, how to choose it and some really useful information on how to use different and less well-known cuts. The recipes - a good mix of the traditional and more adventurous - are seasonal, woven into a month by month diary of life around the farm.
This month (May), for example, features spiced Jacob’s Rib, an American-style recipe for an unusual rib cut, slow roast chilli beef made with top rib, a duck and pistachio pat (great for summer entertaining) and the delicious Ginger Pig beef bourguignon pie I published yesterday. In October you’d find smoked pork hock and parsley pasta, spiced and seared goose skirt (beef not goose - the cut the French know as bavette) and an Asian beef curry made with clod of beef.
There are also recipes for curing your own ham, thrifty lamb ‘henrys’ a shoulder cut you can use instead of overpriced lamb shanks and the awesome Ginger Pig sausage roll, the best I’ve ever eaten. The photography, both of the dishes and the countryside, is just lovely (though this shot, right, is mine from a visit I made earlier this year).
Tim and Fran have done a great job. This is a super book for any meatlover who wants to understand and make more of the meat they buy. You could look to it for inspiration at any time of year.
PS: A word of warning that should really go without saying: you won’t get the results you should from this book if you don’t use good meat. Which doesn’t just mean well-reared but well butchered. So go to your local butcher or buy from a reputable online supplier. In fact you can now buy direct from The Ginger Pig.