Thereâ€™s a butcher shop in Moxon Street in London called The Ginger Pig, itâ€™s one of five branches which have opened in the greater London area since 2007.
Like many of the new generation of butcher shops they only sell meat from rare and traditional breeds, grass-fed, naturally reared, dry aged and well hung.
The meat costs considerably more than the perfectly trimmed meat in the local supermarket but customers for the Ginger Pig are for looking for a different thing. They are the growing number of people who want to eat less but better meat and are prepared to pay for it even in a recession. They are also seeking out the cheapest cuts and really enjoy cooking them in the time honoured way, some slowly but others like bavette very fast, this cut is the new â€˜lamb shankâ€™ and is featured on virtually every cool menu in London â€“ sometimes called onglet. It is usually marinated, then pan grilled very fast and cut across the grain while still rare and juicy, it has a fantastically beefy taste so often missing from the supposedly choice cuts like fillet or tenderloin.
In New York, new butcher shops continue to open, on my last visit I popped into Dickersonâ€™s Butcher Shop in Chelsea Market, Meat Hook and Marlow and Daughters in Brooklyn, the same ethos run through them all, humanely raised, pasture fed, free range meat
The butchers also have the skills to make pÃ¢tÃ©, terrines, pies, rillettes, salumi so they can use every single scrap of the animal which every butcher knows is virtually the difference between profit and loss – the jam on the sandwich.
Beef dripping and lard are sold proudly and believe me lard and not just any old lard is the next big thing but the pigs must be the traditional breeds, Red Duroc, Gloucester Old Spot, Tamworth and Saddleback with a decent layer of good nourishing fat.
Most of these butcher shops also offer butchery classes all of which are oversubscribed. They also sell free range organic chickens, reared for at least seventy five days and often over a hundred days depending on the breed. No dodgy chicken fillets of no fixed abode tossed in sweet and sour sauce or patent spices heightened with flavor enhancers. In Ireland we can produce outstanding meat but we need to separate the wheat from the chaff, tell the story and have the courage to charge more.
On top of the counter of the Ginger Pig in Moxon Street there were three ribs of beef; one dry aged and hung for 35 to 40 days, a second for 30 days and the third for 27 to 28 days.
Each had a dark crust on the cut side as well-aged meat naturally has and Ginger Pig customers understand and are happy to pay extra for because of the flavor.
The beef comes from Timâ€™s own farm in Yorkshire, Longhorn, Shorthorn and Belted Galloway.
Tim Wilson and others like him are leading us â€˜back to the futureâ€™ and itâ€™s no bad thing.
Here are three recipes taken from the Ginger Pig Meat Book by Tim Wilson and Fran Warde, published by Octopus Books UK.
Ginger Pig Hungarian Pork Goulash
Itâ€™s important to add some belly of pork to this dish, as the fat is needed to add moisture and richness to the sauce.
Takes 3 hours
1 tbsp olive oil
1.25kg (2lb 12oz) shoulder of pork, diced
300g (10Â½oz) belly of pork, skinned and diced
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, diced
2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
Â½ tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp caraway seeds
freshly ground black pepper
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
320g jar peeled, roast peppers
1 bunch of chives, snipped
4 tbsp soured cream
Preheat the oven to 180Â°C/350Â°F/gas mark 4. Heat the olive oil in a large ovenproof
pan and fry the meat until brown on all sides, then add the onion and garlic and sautÃ©
for 3 minutes. Add the paprika, cayenne, caraway and seasoning, mix well and cook for a
further 4 minutes. Pour in the tomatoes and top up with just enough water to cover the
meat. Bring to a boil then place in the oven to cook for 2 hours.
Drain the jar of peppers, cut them into thin strips and add to the goulash, stir through
and cook for a further 30 minutes. Add the chives and serve the goulash topped with
soured cream and bulgur wheat or rice.
Ginger Pig Rillettes of Pork
In the past a whole pig would be killed by a smallholding and all the meat was butchered, cooked or cured. Rillettes are a great way of using some of the belly. Compressed into a jar, then covered and sealed with hard fat, they will keep for months. Before refrigeration, this was a very popular method of preserving part of the pig.
Takes 5 hours
50g (1Â¾oz) pork or goose fat
1kg (2lb 4oz) skinless pork belly, cut into cubes
300ml (Â½ pint) white wine
2 garlic cloves
2 sprigs of thyme
freshly ground black pepper
1 onion, chopped
Melt the fat in a heavy-based pan, add the pork and cook over a very low heat for 15
minutes; do not allow the meat to brown. Drain off and reserve the excess fat. Add the
wine, garlic, thyme, seasoning and onion to the pan, cover and simmer very gently for
4Â½ hours, stirring occasionally and adding a little water if needed. Cool a little, then mash with a fork, breaking up all the meat (if you prefer a smoother result, place in a food processor). Taste and adjust the seasoning. Spoon and compress very tightly into an earthenware or glass pot, which has been scrupulously cleaned with boiling water. Melt the reserved fat and pour it over the top, completely sealing the meat. This is best left to improve for at least a week and can be kept for up to 6 months if it is well sealed with fat and contains no air pockets. Enjoy with crusty bread, piquant cornichons and crunchy lettuce.
Ginger Pig Sausage Roll
A real, good British sausage roll is hard to find so we decided to make our own. We sell an awful lot at lunchtime.
Takes 2 hours, plus chilling
Place the minced pork and pork fat in a bowl and mix together, then add the
breadcrumbs, 125ml (4fl oz) water, the herbs and seasoning. Mix with your hands until
evenly blended. Set aside. Sift the flour into a large bowl. Melt 50g (1Â¾oz) of the butter and mix with the salt, vinegar and 230ml (8fl oz) ice-cold water. Add to the flour and mix to a smooth dough. Place in the refrigerator to chill for 1 hour.
Place the remaining butter between two sheets of Clingfilm and roll out to the thickness of your finger. Roll out the pastry to a rectangle just over twice the size of the butter. Place the butter in the middle and wrap by making an envelope with the pastry, totally encasing it. Roll out again to a rectangle the same size as it was before the butter was added, then fold 3 times, like a letter. Roll out once more, turn 90 degrees and fold 3 times again. Wrap and chill in the fridge for 1 hour. Repeat the rolling and folding four more times, adding a light dusting of flour each time, and chilling after each repetition. (In total, the process should be performed five times.) Leave to rest in the refrigerator overnight.
Preheat the oven to 180Â°C/350Â°F/gas mark 4. Roll the pastry out to approximately
41x26cm (16x10in). Work the sausage meat into an even, long roll and place along the
length of the pastry. Brush the exposed pastry with egg, then roll over and crimp the
join together with a fork. Cut into 4 sausage rolls. Brush the outside with egg, place on a
baking sheet and cook for 50 minutes.
The Art of Running A RestaurantÂ – a new class at the Good Things CafÃ© & Cookery School, Durrus, Co. Cork,â€“ 6 days of hands-on training in a restaurant environment. Monday 11th to Saturday 16th June, 2012. Cost: â‚¬1,500 including accommodation, knives and personalised chefâ€™s jackets. To book, contact Carmel Somers Tel: 00 353 27 61426 Email:Â email@example.com
Riesling is the new Chardonnay!Â On Thursday 17th May thereâ€™s a one-off opportunity to meet three famous Riesling winemakers: Tim Adams â€“ Clare Valley, Australia, Carl Ehrhard, Rheingau, Germany and Severine Schlumberger, Alsace, France at Ballymaloe House. The session will be chaired by wine writer John Wilson.
After the wine-tasting, enjoy a Slow Food Summer Plate from local food producers. This is priced separately from the wine-tasting and all proceeds will go to East Cork Slow Food Educational Project. Phone 021 4652531 to book.
A great little find in Dublin â€“ Just popped in to a cute little cafÃ© called Brother Hubbard at 153 Capel Street last week. Garrett Fitzgerald and Jim Boland opened only at the end March.Â They make everything themselves even their own homemade orange and lemon barley water and raspberry, apple and rose lemonades. Beautiful quality cakes and biscuits, tempting lunch time salads and sandwiches, a short menu with carefully chosen produce. Lino Olivieri supplies the extra virgin olive oil, teas from Wall Keogh, direct trade coffee from 3SE, Dan Hegartyâ€™s Farmhouse Cheddarâ€¦Contact 01-441 11 12 firstname.lastname@example.org