Paddington sells out

Paddington eating Marmite®? It's just not on!

Now let's get this straight Mr Ad Man – Paddington eats marmalade, point blank. Your exploitation of this minor for commercial purposes is just bear [sic] faced cheek.

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Rockingham Cider Blog

Mark Shirley over at Rockingham Cider has been in touch to tell me about his new blog.

It's a journal of his cider making year and should make interesting reading as it develops.

It's great to see that Mark is making some cider from locally grown apples.

Everyday Ham - Part II

As promised, a photo of some of the ham, started on the 9th September, now it has been cooked. It took about 6 hours to cook at 80°C. Pauline says it's the nicest tasting lot we've ever made.

The cooked ham

Not bad for about 50p per 100gm!

Ham, Kitchens and Gadgets

The 'everyday ham' put to cure on the 9th is ready. Like the idiot I am, I forgot to take a photo. It has been washed in cold water and put in the oven in a stockpot of water to cook. It will be in for a while yet as it's only cooking at 80°C. I'll cook it till it's about 72° in the middle then leave it in the liquid to cool. Photos of the finished ham will be posted tomorrow – if I remember this time!

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Local Veg is Best

Within a mile of my house there are a few gardeners who sell produce at the roadside. It's brilliant; the veg are ripe, super fresh, and reasonably priced.

Today the selection included Runner Beans, Beetroot, Lettuce, Plums, Damsons, Blackberries and apples.

No, they are not as well presented or polished as at the shops. So, if you buy your fruit and veg to sit in a bowl looking pretty, pass them buy. If you buy food to eat, stop, you'll be glad you did – the flavour will be second to none.

Buying Veg from a road-side stall

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Everyday Ham

This cure is in the process of being revised. Please use Pauline's Ham in a Bag in the meantime.

You know how it is, you go to the fridge for a sneaky slice of ham only to find that someone has beaten you to it! Well in our house that's likely to be my wife, Pauline. She loves the stuff. So the time has come to make some more. Forgetting that it's Broughton Astley Farmers' Market today we ended up in the supermarket and bought a piece of pork leg (too cheap to be good!). Not something I'm proud of; I hope you'll forgive me because I've confessed and am now in sack cloth and ashes.

I'm going to cure it by injecting it with the cure so it will be ready quickly. It won't have the depth of taste of a dry or immersion cured ham but it will still be better than most of the supermarkets offerings.

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Food Additives and Traditional Baking

A scientific report has led the Food Standards Agency to revise its advice about some food colourings and the preservative sodium benzoate as they can lead to a 'negative effect on children's behaviour'.

Other than commenting that many parents were already aware of this because 'little Johnny' acts like a whirling dervish every time he has certain drinks/sweets – I don't really need to comment.

However, the report made me think that maybe farm-shopping is a way of avoiding largely unnecesary additives?

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Blackberry and Apple Jam

Those of you who read my entry a few days ago entitled What a Plonker! will know that making any preserves and chutneys in this house is a bit of a hit & miss affair. So, masochist that I am, I thought I had better redeem myself and make some blackberry and apple jam.

The household authorities were despatched to get blackberries and apples scrumped from my dad.

Using equal weights of apples and blackberries, the apples are put on to simmer in a small amount of water:

Simmer the Apples

When the apples are soft the blackberries are added and boiled for a couple of minutes.

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Bean Can Smoker

If you've followed this blog, you will have seen the posts about making bacon. Your friends will no doubt be asking you to make more, and you'll be cursing me for even suggesting it. Then along will come some bright spark and say they like smoked bacon best and why don't you make that. Now, the sensible person would just tell them to get lost or to make their own. However, you've proved you're not sensible by making bacon in the first place! It's inevitable you'll give in eventually, so you might as well just get it over with and give in now!

You could, of course, just cheat and buy a smoked bacon flavour cure from but that's the easy way, and we know you don't take the easy option you?

So, to help out, here's my cheap and cheerful smoker.

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