The Pig opened in 2011 in the New Forest and became an instant hit. A more relaxed take on the country hotel, The Pig’s unique selling point was, and still is, its kitchen garden which remains at the heart of each hotel.

Founded by Robin Hutson (who created Hotel du Vin and launched Lime Wood), his wife Judy Hutson (who is responsible for the interiors) and David Elton, The Pig’s litter has grown to six, with more on the way.

"The first Pig, in Brockenhurst in the leafy heart of the New Forest, was previously a hotel called Whitley Ridge," says Robin.

"It’s a lovely old house, of course, but the lightbulb moment came when I saw the walled garden. A beautiful but neglected spot, full of weeds and with just a couple of carrots growing, it was the potential of the garden that really swung it for me.

"Right from the beginning, we wanted the kitchen garden to be the heart and soul of the place and to play a big part in influencing the menu. We talked about a change to the traditional hierarchy of the kitchen team, whereby the kitchen gardener and forager would become equally ranked lieutenants – along with the sous chefs – to the head chef."

The team has just released The Pig: Tales And Recipes From the Kitchen Garden And Beyond, which is billed as "a stylish, practical guide to living the good life with tales and recipes from the kitchen garden and beyond".

Inside the pages you will find: Classic recipes from rib of aged beef and shepherd’s salad to proper fish pie, porchetta and even a pink blancmange bunny.

The Pig’s Guide to Pigs from identifying different cuts of meat to making your own sausages.

How to pickle, forage and identify edible flowers and suggestions on how to bring the weird and wonderful vegetables, fruits and salads from the garden into the kitchen.

Interior inspirations and how to recreate the comfort and elegance of The Pig at home covering everything from how to buy at car boot sales to the art of lighting.

Spa treatments to soothe and relax and how to create a relaxation room of one’s own.

Party tricks, from hosting your own festivals to summer feasts and winter gatherings, including creating the perfect playlist and the best recipes to cook outdoors.


Try this recipe...

Studland Bay Lobster & Thrice-Cooked Chips

Serves 2

For the chips

• 1-2 Maris Piper potatoes per person (depending on size)

• vegetable or sunflower oil (to fill a deep-fat fryer or chip pan)

For the lobster

• 1 medium-sized lobster

• forager's butter

• forager's mayo

• salt and pepper For the court bouillon

• 150ml (5fl oz) white wine

• 150ml (5fl oz) white wine vinegar

• 150ml (5fl oz) water

• 1 garlic clove

• 1 sprig of thyme

• 1 sprig of tarragon

• 10 peppercorns


Start your prep the day before you plan to cook. Cut a small slice from one side of each potato and place the cut side down on the chopping board. Cut lengthways into 1cm (½ inch) slices, while keeping the potato together. Lay these down on their flat side, and cut into chips 1cm (½ inch) wide.

Place in a bowl and cover with cold water. Put in refrigerator overnight to release starch.

On day two, drain water and rinse quickly.

Steam for eight minutes using a double boiler pan or an electric steamer. You want them to part-cook, so you get that nice, fluffy texture inside. Plunge into cold water to chill, then drain and lay on kitchen paper to soak up excess moisture.

Preheat the oil in a deep-fat fryer to 120°C (250°F). For the second cook, blanch chips in the hot oil for 8–10 minutes, then chill. When you’re ready to eat, preheat the oil in the deep-fat fryer to 180–190°C (350–375°F), and fry until golden brown and crispy. Season and serve. They need to be eaten on the day of cooking and can’t be reheated.

Cut the lobster in half, remove roe, brains and intestinal tubes. Remove the claws.

Make a court bouillon by putting all the ingredients in a pan and bringing to a simmer. Cook the claws in the court bouillon for 5 minutes. Set aside on a plate, keeping the stock hot.

Preheat oven to 200°C, 180°C fan (400°F), Gas Mark 6. Season and griddle flesh side of lobster halves in a hot griddle pan until dark lines form on tail meat.

Put the lobster on a tray, top with forager's butter and bake for 3–5 minutes, depending on size.

Reheat the claws in the court bouillon for 1 minute, crack with the back of your knife and serve with forager’s mayo.


:: The Pig: Tales And Recipes From the Kitchen Garden And Beyond (Octopus Publishing, HB £30) by Robin Hutson, Gill Morgan, Paul Croughton and The Pig team.