Tim Wilson: 'I'll put HP on a bacon sarnie if I know no one will catch me'

Click to follow
Indy Lifestyle Online

My earliest food memory... Sunday lunch. Sunday was an all-day cooking day in my family: my mum would put the roast in the oven at 10am, we'd sit down for lunch at 1pm, and then at 5pm we'd have a proper afternoon tea with cheese scones and walnut cake.

My store-cupboard essentials... Mustard: I've got to have Dijon, some wholegrain, and some Colman's mustard powder in the cupboard. Also, cream – if you have some chicken or pork and you want a nice midweek supper, it's great to be able to make a quick cream sauce. And Heinz ketchup: if I'm cooking mince or a stew, and the meat hasn't quite enough oomph, it's a great flavour booster.

My favourite cookbook... Jane Grigson's Charcuterie and French Pork Cookery. I go back to that book all the time: the pork pies we make in the Ginger Pig shops are hers, and I also got my basic sausages recipe from there. Also, The Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency by John Seymour and Food from your Garden:I started the Ginger Pig because I wanted that self-sufficient life, but needed an outlet for all the stuff I couldn't eat.

The kitchen gadget I can't live without... My Aga. It's the hub of the kitchen. I've had one since I got my very first house and I don't use any other cooker. I hate people who say "We've got an Aga but we also have an electric hob."

My favourite food shop... A Cantina di l'Orriu, a family-run shop in the medieval town of Porto-Vecchio in Corsica. It's absolutely tiny but they have a fridge full of home-made artisan cheeses and the walls are lined with locally made jam and salamis. They've also got hams hanging from the ceiling, with little cups underneath to catch any juice that runs off; they feed their pigs on chestnuts and the meat is wonderful. I've tried to import Corsican charcuterie for years, but they make enough only for their own consumption. Though in a world where everyone imports and exports everything, the fact that you have to go there to get it is quite refreshing.

My top table... A Cantina di l'Orriu again: at night, the daughter of the family turns it into a restaurant. There are three little tables inside and four or five out on the pavement, and it serves simple but wonderful food. I was there the other week and had grilled kid served with aubergines stuffed with a mixture of breadcrumbs and a sheep's cheese called Brocciu: it was fantastic. Also, London's Hawksmoor steakhouses: we supply them steak, but that's not the only reason to go there. They do wonderful side-dishes, such as cauliflower cheese, macaroni cheese and proper chips.

My dream dining companion... My father, who died when I was quite young. He used to own hotels in Blackpool, and was very knowledgeable about food and drink. The other would be the explorer George Mallory: I'd like to find out if he ever got to the top of Mount Everest.

My desert-island dish... A seafood cocktail, with a base of avocado, crab, prawns and great big lumps of lobster. And then it's got to be finished with my own cocktail sauce, which is made from ketchup, salad cream, Tabasco sauce, and loads of double cream and lemon.

My guilty pleasure... A bacon sandwich. We cure stacks of bacon for the shops, but if I have a special pig – an exceptionally fatty one, like a Gloucester Old Spot – then I'll get the guys to keep half back and make my own from that. I'll put HP Sauce on, but only if I know no one's going to catch me, and then I'll hide it at the back of the cupboard again.

My tipple of choice...I'm a wine drinker, so a good, rich, heavy burgundy. I also make my own sloe gin: once it gets frosty of an evening, there's nothing better than a glass in front of a log fire.

Tim Wilson is a farmer and owner of the Ginger Pig butcher group. 'The Ginger Pig Meat Book', by Wilson and Fran Warde, is published by Mitchell Beazley, priced £25

Comments