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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Ginger Pig Farmhouse Cook Book
Format: Kindle Edition|Change

on 7 June 2016
Very good book
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on 9 June 2013
The first book from Ginger Pig (5 stars) gets used every couple of weeks so I was very keen to find a new book from them... It turned up and what a disappointment, it feels like half a book, lots of pages about very little and each section feels underdone. If you want a good complete book on curing then try salt sugar smoke or an excellent book on roasts try Stephane Reynaud's Rotis

A rushed, incomplete book for profits sake somewhat?
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 28 August 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a handsomely produced book by the owner of the Ginger Pig chain of butchers and well known food writer Fran Warde. Although the book is meat heavy, there is a wide variety of other recipes around the farmhouse theme.

The book begins with an introduction to curing meat which, whilst interesting, and with instructions which seem very clear and well thought out is not something I am likely to do. If you do fancy trying out preserving your own ham, bacon, pancetta, pastrami, beef or veal, amongst others then I think you'll find this section very useful.

The chapter covering patés & terrines offers up some wonderful recipes. There is a layered terrine which includes 4 pheasant breasts, 6 pigeon breasts, 4 wild duck breasts and 24 rashers of bacon, plus a pork stuffing and chicken liver paté - a very expensive mix for a standard 2lb terrine dish. A more modest recipe is for smoked pigs' cheek terrine and there is a very simple oxtail terrine too, plus a mixed game paté and another for spiced rabbit.

Not surprisingly there are plenty of casseroles and stewed meat dishes, although many are staples of farmhouse & meat cookbooks e.g. blanquette of veal. More interesting is the Malay lamb dish using inexpensive neck fillet enlivened with spices. Back on the expensive side there is a lovely recipe for poached Bresse chicken but the chicken for this dish will costs around £35.

The roasts again cover a wide range, from traditional stuffed shoulder of pork to rib of beef, beef wellington (including the pastry recipe if you are so inclined - for me making puff pastry from scratch is too much of a chore when you can buy good readymade all-butter puff pastry at the supermarket!) and on to a three bird roast for special occasions. There is a good & economical recipe for spiced chicken wings and some Indian spiced game birds too (for me quite cheap as I can buy pheasant in season as cheap as bog standard supermarket chicken). On the meat front there are also pies & puddings. There are some non-meat quiches albeit vegetarians will need to substitute lard in the pastry for e.g. the Wensleydale and onion tart.

There is a chapter devoted to foraging & game - including mushrooms and wild herbs. My favourite part though is section on edible flowers. I have earmarked the elderflower champagne for next year - the recipe looks to be easy. Other suggestions include blackcurrant schnapps & hedgerow gin, alongside the more commonplace sloe gin & elderflower cordial. I also love the chapter on chutneys & preserves, in particular the classic tomato chutney which I made with a glut of cherry tomatoes which I grow in hanging baskets where they always do very well. The red hot relish is nice too. Other recipes include piccalilli and Italian mustard fruits i.e. mostarda (peaches, apricots, cherries & plums).

There are a few dessert recipes although nothing hugely exciting and many of which are dishes that keen cooks will probably have several recipes for but I will mention the pear & almond bake and the walnut & salted caramel pie - the latter is very sweet but gorgeous. The final two chapters cover sauces & stocks and then a useful exposition on the various cuts of meat.

I have to say some of it is a bit precious, for example he advocates wild game but cautions against buying game birds from large shoots where birds are bred in captivity and may have been dosed with antibiotics (he doesn't mention that the same can be true of small shoots). At the same time he mentions that he has difficulties finding enough wild game to supply his own small chain of shops! Some recipes undoubtedly contain expensive ingredients although this is balanced by cheap cuts.

Overall, it's a nice farmhouse cookbook but nothing particularly special, and very meat oriented compared to, say, the Yeo Valley Farmhouse Cookbook which I recently got. To get the best out of it you will need a good butcher - even a supermarket like Waitrose won't stock some of the ingredients.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 28 August 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The book is split into 11 sections:

- curing, preserving and smoking;
- pates and terrines;
- casseroles, stews and pan cooking;
- roasts;
- savoury baking, pies and puddings;
- vegetables;
- food from the wild;
- preserves, chutney and pickles;
- sweet;
- stocks, sauces and extras;
- meat cuts.

I found the "curing, preserving and smoking" of meat interesting but I doubt I'd ever indulge in making my own pancetta.

Pate is not my thing but my mum and sister both like to indulge so any nice recipes are always welcome. One of the first recipes I tried was the "Pork and Walnut Pate" and I was a little surprised that they didn't advise soaking the liver overnight to take the bitterness out of the liver. We also discovered that the juniper berries were not a good addition for us.

I love making savoury steamed suet puddings and was disappointed to find that the book contains only four fillings: pea and ham; mutton and carrot; steak and smoked oyster and steak and kidney - there are so many more possible fillings, and I realise that not all can be included, but have only for savoury fillings seemed a little mean.

If I have one complaint about the book it is that they haven't put pastry recipes as separate items. If you want to find a particular pastry recipe, say for suet pastry, then you have to look at a particular recipe, in this case "classic steamed suet puddings", rather than being able to see the suet pastry recipe separately.

I will admit that they suet pudding pastry made from the recipe on page 160 came out a little on the dry side and I am used to my suet pastry being a little more moist but not wet.

I do like the fact that they have brought the diagrams of the animals along with the cuts of meat at the rear of the book. When I did my "Cities and Guild Cook's Certificate" the book I had as my main text/cook book had very similar diagrams at the front. It is always a nice thing to know where your meat has come from - not just the animal but which parts of the animal too.

One problem with the book is that it assumes that you have a "friendly butcher" who can bone, etc, the meat for you; however, if you only have access to the large supermarket chains then you can find you have a massive problem. I live in a small village so we still have a butcher, but even so getting him to bone out some meat can be an expensive pain ... yes he really does charge for that service as does the butcher at the large chain beginning with M. I am very fortunate that my mum taught me to bone meat and skin and fillet fish, but anyone who doesn't have that knowledge could find themselves stuck.

Overall I have to say I like this book there are some very nice recipes inside and though it is a little short on photos, and since we eat with our eyes (especially when using a cookbook) a few more photographs would have been helpful. I find that without images of the recipes that I don't know I am less likely to try them, but that's just me.
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VINE VOICEon 3 August 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
A beautiful book. Just gorgeous. Following on from the Ginger Pig Meat Book, this Farmhouse Cookbook walks a boutique line between tradition and contemporary British cuisine - and does it while instilling invaluable knowledge on preparation and picking up good produce. But where the Meat Book was obviously focused on that one food stuff and its accompaniments, the Farmhouse Cook Book widens the scope to starters, mains and desserts.

Here's a mere handful of the recipes on offer: pork & walnut pate, summer pudding, pulled spicy pork, seville marmalade, quiche with mustard & cheese crust...

Broken down into eleven sections - from preserving meats, through pate & terrines to casseroles, vegetable, preserves, and sweets (to name a few) - Ginger Pig takes the sheer weight of recipes in, say, a Jamie Oliver book, but focuses them on British cooking. So what you get is a tantalising, widescreen view - but every single recipe will seem easily achievable.

What's great about Ginger Pig is that - like all invaluable cook books - it informs just as much as it entertains. You'll come away feeling like you've just spent the afternoon in their very kitchen, and had the benefit of all those little word of mouth tips; the kind we used to get off our relatives before convenience food broke the chain.

Okay, you might think knowing how to cure or preserve - or even smoke - a meat is irrelevant in this day and age, but when you consider we'll happily focus the same (if not more) attention on learning how to make pasta, then Ginger Pig is a wake-up call to how we've lost so much understanding of our own indigenous food produce.

Design-wise, the book is probably one of the best books I've held. Nonetheless, it's uncluttered; packed with information, but perfectly paced. The instructions are clear, and if the food itself doesn't get you salivating - if you love books, then I guarantee the quality of paper, photography and text design alone, will have you drooling.

This is the kind of book you'll keep forever.
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VINE VOICEon 25 September 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Things I like about this book:-

* Heavy on traditional British recipes like roasts, casseroles, fruit crumbles, chutneys and jams, including many family recipes straight from the farmhouse kitchen.

* Superb photography - wafer-thin slices of bacon wrapped round a rabbit terrine, curly-coated livestock in drizzly fields, and frosty lanes begging to be walked on a winters morning.

* There are guides to the various cuts available from each animal, including game - I've not seen the latter before.

* A few unusual dishes to surprise and delight such as Whortleberry compote, and blackcurrant schnapps.

Not so keen on:-

The fact that a fair number of recipes don't have an illustration. But that's the only real drawback to this book.

Overall, pretty impressed.
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VINE VOICEon 17 July 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I love my Ginger Pig Meat Book, I dip in and out of it regularly and the notion of another cook book was a temptation I couldn't resist. This book has eleven chapters of more meat recipes as well as veg, sweets, chutneys and other savouries. It sort of makes a companion book to their meat book.

I don't have the time or interest in curing, smoking, nor making a pate or terrine (though they do look mouthwatering). I also don't have the confidence to go foraging for wild foods, so not all of this book will be of use (but that's the same with any cook book). What it does do is give you ideas on what can be done. No, you don't need to spend a fortune on huge cuts of meat, but any cook book that pushes you outside of your comfort zone has to be a good thing.

There doesn't seem to be as many photos of the finished recipes, which is a shame, though what there is is nicely done.

A worthy buy, not just for those of you with an Aga.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 13 August 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a book of traditional recipes - farmhouse - in the sense that the principal ingredients are those you might find on a livestock farm with a fruit and veg. garden. Most of the dishes are hearty and healthy in that a range of fresh ingredients, farmed and found wild, form part of the repertoire. Good photographs help to illustrate recipes and serve as chapter headings, making the book attractive to look at and the recipes are also good - not tremendously chefy or particularly fussy to look at, but well researched and put together. I found the book and range of recipes impressive and think that it makes a good addition to my collection and would recommend it to others who want to cook interesting and traditional country-style foods.
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VINE VOICEon 14 September 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I really wanted to give this book five stars - it's the sort of hearty, meaty fare I love cooking and eating. Unfortunately there are a few really annoying inconsistencies that cause me to dock at least one star and I very nearly docked two - consider this a 3.5 out of 5 rating.

The one that I'm really struggling with is the table giving cooking times for roasting meats on page 103. These are laid out in two columns - one for minutes per pound, one for minutes per kilo - but the actual cooking times vary massively depending upon what unit you weigh your meat in. If, for example, if you weigh your chicken in pounds you will end up cooking about 9% longer than you would have done if you'd weighed it in kilos. That's not too bad, but if you do the same for pork you'll end up cooking for 18% less time than if you weighed it in kilos - with lamb the discrepancy is even greater - 25%. Eg, if you have 2.5 kilo/5.5 lb leg of lamb, the cooking time is almost half an hour different depending upon your choice of unit of measurement. That is really sloppy work by both the authors and the editors, and really affects the confidence in have in the accuracy of everything else in this book

Other things irritated me too - for example, the ingredient list of the standard bread recipe doesn't list water, but step 2 of the recipe itself tells you to "pour in 530 ml of water". Now, I know enough about bread making to have spotted that before I started, but I still think that all the ingredients should be listed - even water.

The section on hot water pastry starts with a page talking about how hot-water crust pastry is "particularly suitable for making hand raised meat and game pies ...[where] the pastry is rolled out in the usual way, but a mould...is placed in the middle and the pastry is raised up around it and patted into shape. After chilling the mould is carefully removed..." Very interesting, but the only recipe they give involving hot-water crust pastry, and the double page photo spread, involve the pastry being place inside a mould. OK, so by now I might have started getting picky but there were enough oddities (there are several others I haven't listed) to mean that I would be uncertain about how well some of the recipes would turn for someone who wasn't a confident cook.

Given all of those complaints, the fact the book till gets 4 stars from me must say something. There is much to admire here, but it does seem slightly carelessly put together in places.
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on 24 July 2013
I've got the first Ginger Pig book so was delighted when the second one came out. They really know how to do meat..
I tried the Pulled Spicy Pork as it's one of my favourite things to eat at the moment and it was melt in your mouth delicious! So easy and so tasty - my fellow eaters were swooning in admiration - a reason to buy this book alone!
The book has the feel of a classic - simple design and some classic (mainly, but not exclusively) meat dishes. It's one of those books that I can imagine having for the rest of my life - that sounds dramatic but it's not faddy - it's definitely a stayer!
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