Friday, December 13, 2013


We are anticipating some pork later next year. My sister and her husband are raising two piggies called Hamlet and Bacon. We were going to raise our own and feed them all the whey from the cheese making, like parma ham, but have decided to wait until next Spring to get piglets.

In the meantime, we are educating ourselves in all things pig. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has a very educational dvd called Pig in a Day, which covers everything from caring for pigs, to butchering the meat and processing it. After watching it Decadent Dad decided to try his hand at making bacon. This is something he has wanted to try for a long time.

He salted some pork belly for most of last week. The only ingredients added to the meat were slat, bay leaves and some spice. Then, being an all-or-nothing kind of guy, he built an ingenious cold smoker. The smoker funnels the wood smoke from wet wood chips that are heated by a gas burner, into a sealed wooden box where the meat and cheese are hung.

 For two days he smoked the meat along with one of my freshly made gouda cheeses, an onion, a beetroot and some halloumi. He used just-chipped cherry wood which imparts a mild, sweet flavour.

It was a great success. The bacon is very salty, not really breakfast rashers, but rather the kind that you would hang in a cool place and then one would cut off a slice or two for flavouring stews and soups. The flavour is remarkable. The meat loses weight during this natural process, rather than commercial bacon which is often injected with water and chemicals for flavour and volume.

Once hung for a few months more, the meat will become more like a panchetta. In the meantime, it still needs cooking before eating. 

Once the cheese had been smoked, I waxed  fragrantly smoked gouda and it will need to mature for a good four months before we try it. 

I made a superb grilled peach, smoked bacon and halloumi salad for supper last night. Inspiration for the salad came from Jamie Oliver's "Grilled Peach Salad with Bresaola and a Creamy Dressing".

It was really simple. Just a bed of mixed lettuce leaves topped with grilled peaches, crisply grilled bacon, golden smoked halloumi and some grilled smoked onion. I drizzled over a dressing of vinaigrette whisked up with yoghurt and some tarragon.

If this is a taste of things to come, then let's get smoking' again.


  1. Several people have tried Hugh's bacon recipe and all have said how salty it is, which has rather put me off trying it. When I do, I think I shall try this recipe first: It will be just my luck that this also will be too salty:0)


    30g of salt for every kilo of meat and 1/4 – 1/2 tsp of saltpetre per kilo.
    Sugar 10g – 15g per kilo. As much fresh herbs as you like or 6g – 8g dried herbs per kilo of pork.

    Add all the above together and put into a container large enough to hold the pork. Add the pork and rub it well with the mix, getting into all its nooks and crannies.. Put skin side down, seal container and store in fridge for 7 days, turning every day but making sure it stores skin side down.

    Once finished, rinse well and dry well. Wrap in muslin and hang in a cool, dry place (not the fridge)
    for 1 day but preferably a week.

    It may develop a harmless dry white mould which can be lightly rubbed off with a cloth soaked in vinegar. As green bacon (un-smoked), this will last two months from finishing but can be sliced and frozen.

  2. Thanks Dc. It would be good to give it a try. Hugh did say on the video that for a sweeter breakfast rasher then we can keep it in the salt for 3 days. We are planning to try that too.

  3. I came to your blog via Down to Earth. "Elastic mom"--fun title. Blessings to you and your family.

  4. Oh my goodness Cath! You guys have come such a long way in your self-sufficiency skills. I am totally in awe of you my friend :o).I love Hugh - my favorite chef come self-sufficiency expert! Sending you lots of hugs across the many miles {{huuuuug}}

    1. Thanks Shirls. It's a step by step journey that has happened very gradually.