Thursday, 30 May 2013

Blackface mutton

A speedy post about the 16 legs of Blackface mutton arriving in the shops tomorrow, Friday 31st May. From three to five year old Blackface cull ewes, the meat is quite lean but incredibly tasty - with all that time grazing out on the North Yorks Moors, these legs are very robust and flavoursome, almost herbal due to a diet rich in heather and gorse. A long, slow braise or pot roast with plenty of stock vegetables and liquid is ideal (like us, older mutton needs a bottle of wine or beer for company, otherwise it could be a bit dry and tough). The shoulders and breasts went into our pies, sausages and sausage rolls, so they'll be extra-tasty this weekend too.

We'll have a few legs in each shop tomorrow - first come, first served, a rare treat not to be missed.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Farmhouse Cook Book - a party!

On Thursday we took a day out of the serious world of farming and butchery to throw a party to celebrate our new book. And celebrate we did, with pies, platters of ham, chutneys galore and a river of top notch booze. If you fancy starting a curing project, getting knee deep in homemade chutney or expanding your roast repertoire, you can pop into our shops and pick up a copy for £16.25 (RRP £25 - the difference should be enough to make your first kilo of streaky bacon).

Huge thanks to everyone involved in the party, but especially to...

Oval Space for letting us bring a touch of the countryside to their edgy East London events space (we've never felt so hip), and Bash Redford of Forza Win for making sure that everything went according to plan.

Our three utterly fantastic drinks sponsors, Hush Heath, Sambrook's Brewery and Penfolds Estate (via Treasury Wine Estates) - we go to great lengths to ensure that everything we produce is as good as can be, and it was a delight to work with three businesses who do the same. Cheers!

And last but not least to the brilliant team at Octopus, publisher of the book, who along with Fran Warde and her wonderful recipes, worked really hard to make this book happen.

The book.

Hush Heath's single estate, Champagne-method cider

Ceremonial pie! 'Ginger Pig Farmhouse Cook book'

Notoriously camera shy Tim Wilson slicing the pie.

Penfolds Koonunga Hill 2010 Shiraz and Riesling,
Sambook's Wandle and Powerhouse Porter

Love Food's Andrew Webb, showing us how to eat Colston Bassett Stilton

Claire of fantastic new Hackney restaurant, Mayfields, sporting a rather fitting brooch

Powerhouse Porter, right at home on the cheeseboard

Wandle and sausage rolls...perfect match!
And finally, our Creative Food Director, Nicola, doing what she does best - getting everyone tipsy.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Ginger Pig Farmhouse Cook Book - out today!

Say hello to our new book!

Where our 2011 Meat Book focused on just that - how we farm and recipes to make the most of meat, set within a year on Grange Farm - the Farmhouse Cook Book is a broader look at everything we do, brought together beautifully with a new collection of Fran Warde's wonderful recipes.

Because we're not just a company of farmers and butchers - what we do is wider than that. There's the arable land in which we grow crops to feed our animals, and the edible berries, brambles and leaves to be picked in the hedgerows that surround it. In our preserving kitchen you'll find Julie and Rachel, who work four days a week to produce lip-smacking chutneys, jellies, jams and pickles, using as much homegrown and local produce as possible. The bakery and kitchen up at the farm is where our sausage rolls, pies, hams and other cured meats are prepared ready for the shops, and this is as much a part of the Ginger Pig as a slab of beef or a massive pork chop. Open the pantry in Tim's kitchen and if you're lucky you'll find bottles of last year's sloe gin and a cake primed for elevenses...

The Farmhouse Cook Book brings all of this together along with a little bit of rural history, with chapters on curing, casseroling, foraging, roasting, preserve making, puddings and making the most of the veg garden. It's not simply aimed at cooks who have a host of fresh produce on their doorstep, but at giving a bit of encouragement and instruction to anyone who wants to have a go at making more of their ingredients from scratch. We don't expect you to run out and buy a pig (that's still our job!), but making your own streaky bacon is a fairly easy curing project - and well worth a go if you're even slightly interested.

A speedy thanks to all at Mitchell Beazley for their hard work, to Kristen Perers and Pene Parker for making it all look so beautiful, and - of course - to Fran, for writing us a collection of scrumptious recipes to supplement some old Ginger Pig favourites.

We hope readers will enjoy cooking from the Farmhouse Cook Book for years to come.