Book review – First Catch Your Pig!

21 January 2011 by
Book review – First Catch Your Pig!

First Catch Your Pig! - Real Cooking with Real Ingredients from the Kitchen of the MilestoneBy Matt Bigland, Marc Sheldon, Simon Ayres & James WallisRMC Books, £19.95 hardback, £16.95 paperbackISBN 978-1-907998-00-3

Borrowing one of Mrs Beeton's phrases for its title, First Catch Your Pig! aims to reflect the principle of The Milestone pub/restaurant in Sheffield of working closely with the source of its ingredients.

As well as using pork from its own rare breed of pigs, vegetables from local allotment growers, meat from nearby farms, game from the Yorkshire Moors and fish from the British coast, senior head chef Simon Ayres and head chef James Wallis never buy anything they can make themselves such as bread, pasta, chutney and ice-cream.

Compiled by Matt Bigland and Marc Sheldon, co-owners of the Milestone, with recipes from Ayres and Wallis, the book will appeal to anyone who takes a keen interest in knowing and understanding where their food comes from - whether it be a professional chef or an enthusiastic consumer.

The enthusiasm that the Milestone's chefs have for the produce they often personally gather and then cook is imparted through the pages loud and clear, as is their desire to ensure that nothing every goes to waste.

As well as making use of surplus fruit and vegetables to make chutneys, jams and pickles, the unusual parts of animals are included in a variety of dishes. Hence, there are recipes for ox tongue fritters and sweet chilli jam, beef bourguignon (using slow cooked ox cheek) and rump beef, sweetbread, oxtail and tongue cottage pie with watercress purée.

In particular, there are a wealth of recipes suitable for pubs with high culinary ambitions or for restaurants keen to offer honest food in which good quality ingredients are set to sparkle.

Dishes like pigeon pudding and pea purée, salt mackerel and sesame seed pasty with tomato marmalade and sautéd new potatoes, and baked apple with raisins, custard and rum and raisin ice-cream all demand to be cooked and eaten.

It is no surprise that the Milestone has recently been awarded the title of Best Pub in Yorkshire at the White Rose Awards, as well as being named as Gordon Ramsay's Best British Restaurant.

First Catch Your Pig! is an inspiring, no-frills cook book which will have chefs cooking from it again and again." target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">View our recipe from the book for boned and rolled pig's head with mashed potato and caper jus >>If you like this, you'll love these

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