I've been dabbling in preserved and cured meats for a while now - I've had a go at duck ham, parfait and rillettes, spiced beef, hot smoked trout, pastrami, droewors, bacon and tonno di coniglio. We both love the taste of cured meats, and we're interested in the old-fashioned techniques, so it works out well for us.
My most recent attempt were these stunningly easy, overnight-cured bacon chops from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall. So simple, they are a very good way in to home curing. I think it is partly the time of year - something atavistic about colder weather making me want to preserve food for the winter to come - but I have definitely been thinking that it was time to make some more spiced beef or something.
I knew Paul would be absolutely delighted when I found out that there is going to be a Festival of Cured Meats next weekend (28th- 30th October), at Southbank. Lots of market stalls, tastings and workshops, including some by Lindy Wildsmith. Plus the Metropolitan line is actually running next weekend, so it is clearly fate that we attend.
I've got a pork belly in the fridge, but I haven't been able to decide whether it is going to become streaky bacon or petit sale. I have to say the lentils in that video may just make my mind up for me. Not to mention the more instant gratification - waiting 3 weeks to try the bacon isn't appealing!
This week I was sent a copy of Lindy's book, Cured, to have a look at, but I haven't been able to do it justice yet. I think after the Festival of Cured Meats I will aim for a jumbo post on all things salted flesh related. With apologies to my vegetarian readers.