Cheap cuts of meat is ‘what we should be eating’ and whilst I whole heartedly agree with these sentiments I often find myself in my butcher’s shop rather than the supermarket which almost defeats the objective of saving money. This isn’t a complaint directed to the butcher, it is quite the reverse; the quality of all his produce is superb, whatever the cut. Many a dinner party discussion focuses around finding the ‘right’ artisan; arguments erupt over which boulangerie produces the best baguette – obviously, the answer to this question is my own chosen one and I was mortified to recently discover my son frequenting a rival establishment; likewise, in finding a good butcher. There are several to choose from in our town and I have tried most though with various degrees of satisfaction. I can only describe finding ‘my’ butcher as instant attraction – not the largest or plushest shop but, his attention to detail is second to none and nothing is any trouble.


I regularly buy minced beef to make burgers and he is happy to throw in a couple of chunks of freshly prepared beef bone, their marrow delectably succulent and perfect for shredding into the beef al a Ginger Pig cookbook style. Successful burgers need to be made from mince containing 20% fat – less than this and they will be tough and dry. Using off cuts of meat from the counter which is then minced to order, my butcher provides wonderful quality priced just a little above the supermarket where source or quality cannot be guaranteed at all so it is unquestionable not to buy from him. This together with the bone marrow and a little seasoning make the most juicy, delicious restaurant-quality burger and I am proud to serve on a chunky slice of toasted sour dough bread along with chips and salad.

Love it, hate it or simply haven’t tried it, haggis is a dish that hadn’t ever crossed my mind to make but, this seemed an apt choice to prepare for my friend and author Jennifer McLagan. I met Jennifer just after the publication of her second book, ‘Fat’ which was followed by ‘Odd Bits’, and though I wouldn’t particularly choose offal, Jennifer completely converted me with her amazing Brain’s Ravioli, which resembled a creamy, light ricotta… fabulous and who else do I know who would possibly appreciate this Scottish delicacy and the limb that I had gone out on to prepare it.

Ordering the ingredients from my trusty butcher then using Jamie Oliver’s recipe (Jamie’s Great Britain) gave amazing results. The components were shiny and fresh and the instructions simple to follow… I recommend you try; My French butcher had never heard of this but had researched so was worried that I hadn’t ordered a stomach in which to cook the haggis (not necessary and one step too far for me!) so, of course, I took portions for him and his wife to enjoy, accompanied by a wedge of her favourite dessert. It is important to discuss the menu and I was delighted to pass on a translation of The River Café (blue book) Tart au Citron which she deemed the best she had ever tasted.