There's always something!

Finally the snow seems to have cleared. I've not bothered venturing further than the pub while it's icy, not because we couldn't, but it seemed a bit daft to venture far when we didn't have to. I'm getting to be even more of a grumpy old man and the TV set is in grave danger of flying through the nearest window if I have to listen to any more news reporters tell us that the few inches of snow we've had are unprecedented, or other such exaggerated terms. The only reason our roads weren't as clear as they should have been is because our penny pinching council couldn't be bothered to stock up with salt in time; they promised they would ensure adequate supplies last time they got caught out. It's a pity that all the hot wind that comes out of their mouths when they're caught with their pants down yet again couldn't be used to melt the snow.

I'd have gone out today to get more meat as I need to make sausage and ham and also want to try to make the Italian spreading sausage called Nduja, a fiery concoction full of chilli. It needs a particular type of chilli to be at its best and one of my sausage making chums, John from Quiet Waters Farm in Devon, has kindly sent me some. If you're ever down that way, be sure to pay him a visit and buy some of his superb charcuterie. Regrettably, there was no point as I haven't the fridge space for anything else as our kitchen fridge decided to give up the ghost, so everything's in the curing fridge at the moment. To add insult to injury the microwave came out in sympathy with the fridge so we need a new one of them as well. Neither of these items are old and the microwave has hardly been used. We bought an 'all singing and dancing' microwave with a grill and normal oven - neither have ever been used and the microwave has only been used to heat milk for sauces, heat baked beans and the like, and to defrost the occasional piece of meat. I'm sure these things have obsolescence built in nowadays!

On a more cheerful note it's great to read that my writings are appreciated by some, even if you have to go to Canada to find them! Barbecue specialists The Black Pig Competition BBQ Team recently featured my soft bread rolls on their blog, Les Noiracochon. Thanks for the plug guys.

On the cooking front things have been quiet. I know that others write about their everyday meals and the like, but I won't insult you by giving you a recipe for the slow cooked belly pork that we had last night. I won't insult your intelligence by giving a list of ingredients but here's what I did: grab some slabs of pork belly and just season it with salt, cook at 120°C on a grid above water for about 5 hours then blast with heat to crisp up - superb, melt in the mouth meat and crispy crackling, what more could anyone want?

What I will do though is give you the recipe for the hot water crust pastry that my mate used for this game pie (if it looks a bit battered, it's 'cos I carried it home from the pub in my pocket!):

Maurice's Game Pie

Pastry: 9oz Plain Flour, 3oz Lard, ¼ pint water, ½ level teaspoon salt. Heat fat and lard until lard is melted then bring to a boil and mix with the flour and salt. This makes a pastry that's as good as any I've had. Some of the quality is no doubt due the fact that Maurice has got it just the right thickness to be crisp but not hard. He's from Yorkshire. They know a bit about pies in that neck o' the woods! He's now got his own cold smoke generator, so I look forward to posting more about his exploits in future.

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There are two comments


Keep us updated on the n’duja. Don’t go easy with the pepper……..load it up.

Scott, (Email ) (URL) - 20-01-’10 00:32

For my latest batch of nduja, I increased the peppers I was putting in by 50% because I found that they mellowed with the time in the drying fridge. I’m not up to a ratio of 3:1 pork to chilis, all of the chilis “picantissimo”!

Laurence, (Email ) (URL) - 30-01-’10 14:17

I'm somewhat incapacitated at present so replies may take some time. Please post urgent enquiries at the forum.

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