Sick as a Seagoing Parrot


Mmm... bacon! Well no, actually it's not. This bacon's got the most horrible off-taste; I've chucked the lot of it. It's even more annoying as the meat was superb.

Oh well, as an online friend of mine always says: "It's not a sin to bin!"

On a more pleasant note, the smaller piece of black ham finished curing a couple of days ago and is currently drying in the fridge and the Lonzino's got a lovely coat of powdery white mould: just what's needed to keep the nasty sort of mould away. The top of it seems to be drying more than the bottom, so I've turned it upside down!

I keep thinking I should write more about things other than cured meat and sausage but I've done very little cooking lately. OK, I've done a few bits, but with they're all things I've already written about. Fair enough, I did cabbage with cream as a side dish for yesterday lunch; I saw it on Saturday Kitchen. However, it's a dish I first came across at a restaurant in the London Barbican Centre on the occasion of my brother's wedding. I made it a few times in the subsequent months but then it slipped off my recipe radar. I guess we all get into a 'recipe rut' occasionally; I must resurrect all of those recipes that we enjoyed but haven't had for ages. Things like chicken galantine made with a boned out chicken, Indian thali meals, meat and potato pie - I'll have to get my thinking head on, there must be many more.

Casing the Lonzino

The Lonzino's now cured having been left for 15 days. I've given it a wash and dry off and it's now been put into in a 90mm collagen casing to help it dry evenly throughout. It's by no means essential, but does help achieve a better result. Now let me tell you something; getting that meat into that casing was a bit like trying to untie the Gordian knot - it wasn't easy, I can tell you!

The Lonzino cased and tied

The casing was tied and then pricked all over with a sterile needle; it's now drying along with the salami at around 12½°C with a humidity of around 75%.

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12 Days On

The pork that I processed on the 2nd February is now 10 days down the line. The small piece of bacon is cured and has been washed and is hanging to dry for a few days before slicing.

Bacon and salami drying

Alongside the bacon in the drying fridge are some Saucisson Sec, Salami Finocchiona and Nduja. They were fermented for 2½ days at 24°C with a relative humidity (RH) of 90 - 95% to allow the Lactic bacteria culture that I put in them to work and are now drying at around 12.5°C with a RH of between 75 and 80%.

I've only made a small quantity of each to test the recipes, in detail they are:

Saucisson Sec
A coarse ground salami based on the French Saucisson Sec with simple flavourings of black pepper with a hint of thyme and cayenne, based on the recipe for Saucisson Sec in the book Charcuterie and the one on the EGullet Forum.
Salami Finocchiona
A finer ground salami flavoured with black pepper and fennel based on the classic Italian sausage of the same name but without the wine, based on the recipe from
A spreadable salami with 20% Calabrian hot chillies. The recipe's by my mate Larbo with the chilli paste supplied by another friend who makes great salami - check out his products at his Quiet Waters Farm website.

I have a few concerns about the first two as the fat in them didn't grind cleanly (due to lack of freezer space I couldn't freeze the fat before grinding), they're also drying far more quickly than I would like. The Saucisson Sec have dried particularly quickly which I assume is due to the larger pieces of meat in the mix. I have lowered the drying fridge temperature and increased the humidity slightly to try to slow things down a little.

In a couple of days, it'll be time to prepare the Lonzino for drying. The two pieces of meat that I'm curing as Black Ham won't be ready until the end of the month at the earliest though.

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More Pork to Process

I've been up to my neck in pork for the past couple of days - that's why I've not written anything here. It's late so I can't go into all the details but here's some things that'll whet your appetite until such time as I can write about them fully.

A great loin for bacon:

Processing the pig

Getting the ingredients together for a ham:

Processing the pig

Applying cure to a Lonzino:

Processing the pig

An extra large grind of pork for Salami:

Processing the pig

This Nduja's going to be fiery. The red colour is chilli:

Processing the pig

Salame ready for drying:

Processing the Pig

Full details and the recipes will follow.

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