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.
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.
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.