Tom Flint: Top tagine and a new book for foodies

The lamb tagine at the Ginger Pig, which Tom says was 'a total success'
The lamb tagine at the Ginger Pig, which Tom says was 'a total success'

Anyone who takes their cooking seriously needs to own at least one quality knife.

The knife is arguable the most important implement any chef uses during the cooking process. There is a primal attraction to a well-honed piece of steel; they are both sexy and frightening in equal measure.

The starter of charred leeks, a poached egg and radicchio

The starter of charred leeks, a poached egg and radicchio

The relationship with the knife has been captured in a book by renowned food writer Tim Hayward. He was in Brighton speaking about his book Knife as part of the recent OctoberBEST festival at the Ginger Pig, quite a coup for a festival that is only two years old. I was lucky enough to attend, getting a chance to try out the new private dining room at the Ginger Pig for the first time.

The Ginger Pig has been one of Brighton’s top destinations for some time. In the past year the team has added rooms upstairs and a private dining space, improving what was already a great venue.

The event saw Tim speak about the book followed by some of the Ginger Pig’s superb food. Tim is a chef, restaurateur and writer whose passion and enthusiasm is highly infectious. A self-confessed geek, and a fellow Bristolian, his style of presentation engaged the audience throughout. He clearly knows a lot about the subject.

The food had a lot to live up to, but was just as interesting and vivacious as the presentation. The starter was straight out of the Ginger Pig’s French playbook. Simple and elegant, the combination of charred leeks, poached egg and crisp radicchio was a light and easy start to the meal.

The 'delicious and light' dessert of peach pavlova with rum, yoghurt, pistachio and amaretti

The 'delicious and light' dessert of peach pavlova with rum, yoghurt, pistachio and amaretti

Main took us across continents to North Africa in the guise of a lamb tagine served with sides consisting of cauliflower fritters, cous cous and yogurt sauce. Tagine is a fantastic dish, and this did not disappoint. A generous helping of succulent lamb, in a rich tomato sauce that was fragrant with woody spices and a gentle heat. The sides were all spot on and the dish was a total success.

Dessert was a risky one for me; it was something I would never have chosen, but made sense in the context of the meal.

My doubts were allayed when I tasted the peach pavlova with rum, yogurt, pistachio and amaretti as it was delicious and light. The ideal dessert to follow the highly spiced main – it was a masterstroke and the perfect end to the meal.

After further words from Tim, we made our exit. I picked up a copy of the book and it is definitely one for the food geeks out there. A homage to the knife with superb photography and informative text, the book would make an ideal Christmas gift for the foodie in your family. As always it was great to visit the Ginger Pig. The team never disappoints with the food and the private dining room is perfect for events such as this.