The Ginger Pig – Tim Wilson


The craving, particularly among young people, to relearn almost forgotten skills continues to gather momentum. Butchery courses in London, New York and San Francisco all have waiting lists. The participants don’t necessarily want to be butchers, they simply want to understand what it takes to produce, butcher and make the best use of meat. One of the cult figures and exemplars of the trade is a farmer and accidental butcher called Tim Wilson who is the owner of the Ginger Pig Butchers Shops in London. He is unquestionably one of the most respected meat producers in Britain. His shops have received many accolades and prizes, including Best Food Producer in the Observer Food Awards. The Ginger Pig’s shops stock meat almost exclusively from his three Yorkshire farms. Tim says ‘There is no great secret to what we do; we simply raise the best animals, in the happiest of circumstances, on the finest stretch of the Yorkshire Moors we could find.’

His four butcher shops have a cult following. There were all opened within the last 15 years when many others were closing. They just sell well hung meat and poultry from breeds native to the British Isles. No dodgy chicken fillets here or relabelled pork, bacon or turkey – just real meat of impeccable provenance, sometimes from rare breeds.

After fifteen years in business, Tim has teamed up with Fran Warde to write the Ginger Pig Meat Book. This book is a meat manual for the inquisitive domestic cook. The word ‘provenance’ is thrown about a lot these days with regards to the food we eat, and with very good reason, as it means ‘to know the origin, source, birthplace, roots, pedigree and derivation.’ All these things are vital for us to know about every piece of meat we buy.

You’ll find out how meat changes through the seasons and what is best to cook at each time of the year. You’ll also learn about the different cuts of meat what they should be used for in your kitchen.

The Ginger Pig Meat Book is beautifully designed and produced, printed on good paper with wonderful photographs by Kristin Perers, diagrams by Pene Parker and published by Octopus. It would restore your faith in the meat business.


Tim Wilson’s Pork fillet with New Season Rhubarb

Think of this as a more exciting twist on pork with apple sauce. The tangy,

sharp flavours of the rhubarb perfectly complement the sweet pork to make

a delicious and very simple dish.

Serves 4

Takes 45 minutes

1 tbsp olive oil

sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

650g (1lb 7oz) pork fillet

1 sprig of rosemary

175g (6oz) new season rhubarb

Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5. Put the oil in a roasting tin and place

in the oven for 3 minutes. Season the pork, place in the hot oil, roll to coat, add the

rosemary, then cook in the oven for 20 minutes. Turn and cook for 10 minutes more.

Cut the rhubarb into 4cm (11/2in) lengths, then add it to the roasting tin with 100ml

(31/2fl oz) water. Cook for a further 10 minutes until the pork is cooked through and the rhubarb is tender. Remove from the oven, keep warm and leave to rest for 5 minutes. Slice the pork into chunky, juicy rounds and spoon over the soft rhubarb and its juices.

Tim Wilson’s Oriental Pan-Fried Goose Skirt with Crunchy Salad

This cut is usually cooked slowly, but can also work well cooked as below. Remember to allow the meat to rest, so the muscles can relax. Goose skirt (also called onglet) is a very textured cut of beef that is known for its flavour and can be a little tough for some, but after searing on a high heat, relaxing and slicing thinly, it never seems to fail my family.

Serves 6

Takes 1 hour, plus overnight marinating

For the goose skirt marinade

4 garlic cloves, crushed, then peeled

100ml (31/2fl oz) soy sauce

5cm (2in) fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped

1–2 red chillies, deseeded and finely diced

freshly ground black pepper

900g (2lb) goose skirt

For the dressing

2 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp soy sauce

juice of 2 limes

1 red chilli, deseeded and finely diced

1 garlic clove, crushed, then peeled

For the salad

115g (4oz) bean sprouts

1/2 Iceberg lettuce, shredded

1 red pepper, cored, deseeded and finely sliced

1 cucumber, peeled, deseeded and sliced

6 spring onions, sliced

leaves from 1 bunch of coriander, roughly chopped

85g (3oz) cashew nuts, roughly chopped

Mix all the ingredients for the marinade together and marinate the goose skirt in the

fridge for 24 hours, or for as long as possible, turning and basting frequently. Barbecue or griddle on a high heat for 4 minutes on each side for rare, 5 to 6 minutes

for medium, or 6 to 8 minutes for well done. Brush with the marinade while cooking.

Remove, keep warm and rest for 8 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, place the bean sprouts, lettuce, red pepper, cucumber and spring onions

in a large bowl and toss. Sprinkle with the coriander and cashew nuts.In a bowl, whisk the sesame oil, soy sauce, lime juice, chilli and garlic for the dressing.

Cut the beef into ribbons and arrange over the salad, drizzle with the dressing and serve.

Tim Wilson’s Seared Feather of Beef

This is an almost unknown, secret steak. There are only two small feathers on each carcass, and they come from the inside of the shoulder blade. They are good value and deliver a depth of flavour with a good texture. They really only need quick flash-cooking, otherwise they toughen, so take care.

Serves 2

Takes 5 minutes

beef dripping or olive oil

2 feather steaks

mustards or Horseradish sauce  to serve

Heat the fat in a frying pan or griddle over a medium-high heat and, when hot, sear the steaks for 2 minutes on each side. No longer, please. Remove and rest the steaks for 2 minutes in a warm place. Serve with your favourite mustards or with Horseradish sauce.

Horseradish Sauce

This is a fairly mild sauce.  If you want to really clear the sinuses, increase the amount of horseradish!  Serve with roast beef, smoked venison or smoked mackerel.

Serves 8 – 10

3 – 6 tablespoons freshly grated horseradish

2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon mustard

1/4 teaspoon salt

lots of freshly ground pepper

1 teaspoon sugar

8 fl ozs (225ml) softly whipped cream

Put the grated horseradish into a bowl with the vinegar, lemon juice, mustard powder, salt, freshly ground pepper and sugar.  Fold in the softly whipped cream but do not over mix or it will curdle.  The sauce keeps in the fridge for 2-3 days, covered, so that it doesn’t pick up other flavours. 



Terroirs on Morehampton Road – I can’t remember how many times I’ve thought as I sped past Terroirs ‘that shop looks interesting, must stop, have a look one day!’ Well I did just that last week and it really is. Apart from a fantastic selection of wine and sherry the shelves are full of beautifully chosen French ‘things’ from Albert Menes sardines in olive oil and mustard to Michel Cluizel chocolate, pottery from the French Alps, tea towels… on and on go the temptations when we are supposed to be into thrift. I have to say I succumbed to a few little treats – great place to find a beautiful present from Irish Voya and Graine de Pastel soaps to roasted pine nuts and far beyond. 01 667 1311

Monique McQuaid runs the Cookery School at Donnybrook Fair which offers a brilliant line up of cookery courses and guest chefs. I was deeply envious when I heard that Fergus Henderson from St John restaurant in London had been there. There are lots of other exciting courses and guest chefs coming up. Monique is now the Cookery Writer for Image magazine. 087 9792107

Energise your life and feel healthier and happier by joining nutritionists Debbie Shaw and Linn Thortensson on Saturday June 11th 9:30am to 4:30pm, at the Montenotte Hotel, Cork City for a one-day wellness programme which covers healthy eating for permanent weight loss; spring detox; energising super foods and delicious family-friendly recipes; eating for allergies; and de-stressing techniques. Cost €110 (€10 euro off if you bring a friend!), including recipes, notes and lunch. Tel: 086-7855868 or email:

Pizza Masterclass with Philip Dennhardt – learn to make the perfect pizza with Philip on Friday 10th June, 2:00pm to 5:00pm Ballymaloe Cookery School – 021 4646785.

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Darina Allen
By Darina Allen


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