Good butchers are a rare breed. The profession requires love, dexterity and passion. You’ll hardly ever speak to a good one who doesn’t get misty-eyed about the beast he has butchered for your pleasure. Above all, you must love the thing you want to eat. Enough to slaughter, butcher and cook it.
Butchers know their beasts from the field to the block and in their shops you have a sense of people loving their work and the experience it demands. Having that willing and enthusiastic expertise on hand to learn from really does make the experience of cooking more satisfying. At PipsDish we to focus on sourcing the best ingredients before end results. Because you need to cherish what you are cooking to produce something worth eating. Slavishly following a recipe will only take you to the end result and denies the ‘possibility of a miracle’ about which Elizabeth David continually wrote.
David’s mentor, Norman Douglas, wrote: ‘to say that a cook must possess a requisite outfit of culinary skill and temperament – that is hardly more than saying a soldier must appear in uniform. You can have a bad soldier in uniform. The true cook must not only have those externals, but a large dose of general worldly experience. He is the perfect blend, of artist and philosopher.’
This is the ethos of PipsDish and it’s what brings our kitchen to life. And the miracle of Boeuf Bourguignon is miraculous for us by two things. First, something I learned from Julia Child, that sautéing the mushrooms in butter so that they do not touch each other ensures that somehow their juices don’t drain from them and their flavour is sealed. Secondly, we serve the dish with Roscoff onions the size of turtle eggs. Too big to braise, they are baked and placed in the bowl before being covered in the rich emulsion of beef, claret and mushroom. A visual and culinary feast.