Review Of The Year

It's today that most 'proper' bloggers troll through their posts and do a review of their year. Me? I went to the pub instead! There's links to each month on the right below: pick your own 'cos I ain't doin' it for ya!

I hope that you all have a great 2010 and achieve everything that you would wish for yourselves.

Pauline's Ham

I hope you all had a great Christmas and got all the pressies that you asked for. We had a superb turkey from Clump Farm, a farm that's only about half a mile from here. That along with home-cured ham and bacon, home-made sausage and home-smoked cheese made for some great food.

Now, the ham was one of the best flavoured I've made, even if it did nearly cause a divorce! You see, whilst you may think that saying that my 'bread rolls are just like the supermarket's' is a compliment, most cooks will not. Likewise when Pauline said: "Can you cure a ham to taste like the supermarket's". Well, I ask you, what would you think? Anyway, when she got back from the hospital we discussed the ham further and I came up with a revised cure. Funnily enough it has a lot more salt; something that the family had always said they didn't want when I suggested it before regarding my bacon! Sometimes I think that I can't win, but with just me in the house and three women, I guess I can't!

Pauline's Ham

I have revised the Pauline's Ham cure - it's still got the same great taste, but is more economical and is now even safer than ever.

The revised recipe and further details are here » »

The recipe below is for reference purposes only. See link above for revised recipe

Pauline's Ham

Water 2810gm
Salt 680gm
Muscodavo Sugar 405gm
Cure #1 105gm
Juniper Berries 2
Cloves 2
Black Pepper Corns 4
Bay Leaves 1
Coriander seeds 4


Weigh the spices then bash them about a bit. Put the water, salt, sugar and spices (in fact, everything except the Cure #1) into a pan and bring to the boil. Stir to dissolve the salt and sugar. Leave to cool.

Using water, make the weight back up to the original amount - that is the original weight of the water, salt, sugar and spices, added together. That's the total weight of everything except the Cure #1.

Mix the Cure #1 into the cooled brine mixture stirring to ensure that it is dissolved.

Weigh the meat and calculate 10% of its weight. Inject this weight of brine into the meat ensuring that you get brine into all areas of the meat.

Now put the meat into the remaining brine and put it in the fridge for around 5 - 7 days, turning the meat every day or two. My meat weighed 6kg so I gave it the full 7 days.

The meat was then rinsed, dried off, and left to dry further in the fridge overnight. You could smoke it at this stage if you wanted.

The other change I made was to the cooking method. I 'steamed' this ham, keeping the temperature above the water to 80°C. The ham is cooked when the temperature of the centre of the meat reaches 75°C. I have found that this method results in less flavour loss and also less weight loss in the finished ham and that by cooking to 75°C, as against 72°C, it gives a more tender product. An alternative would be to cook it in a vacuum bag or boil-able 'roasting' bag in water at 75 - 80°C.

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Christmas is Coming!

A spell of bed-rest put me somewhat behind in the preparations for Christmas so it was 'all engines on full speed' last week to get some ham and bacon done so that it would be ready for the 25th. Hence the lack of posts.

I took the bacon out of cure today with the intention of quickly drying it and then smoking one piece, however Pauline has saved me the trouble by saying that we need it all unsmoked. I've popped a couple of Camembert and a piece of Edam in the smoker instead. Camembert and Edam I hear you say, that's not local, nor is Edam any good for anything other than rubbing out spelling mistakes; well apparently it's a different beast altogether when it's smoked. I find it hard to believe, but I'll let you know.

In all hobbies you accumulate a lot of 'kit' and I've written before about all the paraphernalia that a keen curer and sausage-maker acquires; I think my favourite has got to be my Pro Q Cold Smoke Generator. This simple but cleverly designed piece of kit will produce smoke for 10 hours unattended using just 100g of wood-dust. Maybe not earth shattering; I guess you've got to have been outside in the dark, cold and wet conditions that always accompany smoking sessions to appreciate it.

Pro Q Smoker

I'm Back

I'm finally back in circulation, but am playing "catch up"; I've only just done some ham for Christmas! It's a new recipe. Pauline decided she wanted something different; how different it will be, we'll have to wait and see. It has very few flavourings; I've cut the spices right down, but it's got a lot higher level of salt and uses all Muscovado sugar.

I've also been making bacon and have still got to do some smoked sausage for slicing cold. It'll make a nice addition to the bresaola, coppa, lonzino, chorizo and pâté that I hope to serve either as a starter or as a lunch sometime over the Christmas period. I should have made some salami as well, but I haven't got around to it.

I was too late to get a half pig from my usual source so the meat's from Morris's at South Kilworth; well worth a trip - buy their meat in 5 kg lots and you get a quantity discount that really makes the trip worth while. Probably nearly half the price of the supermarket on things like belly pork and brisket.

Their current special offer price list is online in the 'freezer prices' section of their website.

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