Makin’ Bacon

Bacon

Bacon

My youngest son Daniel and I share a love of cooking, buying from farm gates, game meats, and making whatever we can, from what we buy, from scratch. I guess of all the people in our family, we are the ones who really like to know where our food comes from!

Our pig

Our pig

Right now with our house let out in Warrnambool, we are based here in Traralgon with Daniel for an unknown length of time.

Before we arrived with our freezer full of fish fillets, crab, squid and rabbits, Daniel filled his with organic grass fed beef from the Glengarry Free Range Egg lady he deals with at work, and a 5 month old pig  that he arranged to have butchered for us. Both lots of meat are proving to be amazing which is always good when you have a lot of it to eat.

Daniel has just started getting interested in the home curing of meats so the first thing he and I did when Russ and I arrived was to cure some of the pork belly to make bacon.  He (Daniel) organised the cure for it, I turned it daily for 5 days, then yesterday, I washed it and oven baked it at 120 c for about 2.5 hours until it had reached 64c internally.

Home made bacon

Home made bacon

This morning, Russell cut off a few slices (well small slabs maybe) and we cooked it for our brunch. It’s amazing to say the least.

Daniel’s Bacon

  • 1.2 kg pork belly
  • 30 g salt
  • 15 g sugar
  • 5 g pepper
  • about a teaspoon of liquid smoke
  • good sprinkling dried oregano and dried thyme
  • 1 g curing salt #2

Method

  1. Rub the pork belly with the combined remaining ingredients. Place in a non-reactive container or zip lock bag and refrigerate. Turn every day for 5 days. Can leave it for longer but it’ll get saltier by the day.
  2. On day 5, wash and pat dry, then bake in an oven preheated to 120 c for about two hours or until the internal temp reaches 64 c when tested with a thermometre.
  3. Cool then refrigerate. Use as you would any commercial bacon.

My attempt at Corned Silverside (under instruction)

  • 2 kg fresh silverside, trimmed of most of its fat
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 180 g salt
  • 4 g curing salt #2
  • Pickling spice mix (ingredients below)
  • 1 litre very hot water
  • 2 litres very cold water

Pickling Spice Mix

  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon allspice berries
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dill seeds
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 4 dried crushed chillies

Method

  1. Place the meat in a non reactive food grade container (garbage bags and bins are not food grade) or zip lock bag.
  2. Mix the salt, sugar, curing salt and pickling spices together with the hot water, stirring until the salt and sugar are dissolved.
  3. Add the cold water, stir then pour over the meat in the container.
  4. Submerge the meat in the brine in the brine with a weight (I used a plate)  placed on it to keep it under. It needs to stay under for about at least a week.
  5. I’ve read that it can stay longer so it might work well to cook one, then remove the next one a week or so later and cook it?

 

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Advertisements

Slow cooked Thai style venison and sweet potato stew

Slow cooked Thai style venison and sweet potato stew

Slow cooked Thai style venison and sweet potato stew

The original recipe was for beef and didn’t contain coconut milk but I think it needed it. A friend gave my son the venison, Russ cooked it under direction from me. I was busy doing school stuff with our grandson.

Slow cooked Thai style venison and sweet potato

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2kg venison (we think ours was rump), cut to about 2cm dice
  • 2 large red onions, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 inch ginger grated or cut fine
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste (or to taste)
  • 2 tins whole tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 750g sweet potato, cut to about 2cm dice
  • 1 400ml can coconut milk
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • chopped coriander to garnish

Method

Slow cooked Thai style venison and sweet potato stew

Slow cooked Thai style venison and sweet potato stew

  1. Heat the oil and brown the venison in batches, putting it aside on a plate as you go.
  2. Add the sliced onion to the pan (you might need a bit more oil) and cook until well softened (about 10 minutes).
  3. Add the garlic and ginger and cook a couple of minutes. Stir in the curry paste and cook a minute or two more until fragrant.
  4. Add the tinned tomatoes, water and fish sauce, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, pop a lid on and cook for a couple of hours until tender.
  5. Add in the diced sweet potato and coconut milk and cook a further 30-45 mins until tender.
  6. Just before serving, season to taste with lime juice, brown sugar and chopped coriander and more fish sauce if you think it needs it.
  7. We ate ours over rice.

Things that go BUMP in the day!

Streaky Bay

Streaky Bay

It took us a couple of weeks to travel from the farm at New Norcia in Western Australia, to Traralgon in Victoria where we plan to base ourselves for a few months.

After leaving the farm, we spent a night at Coolgardie caravan park, a night at Cocklebiddy Roadhouse, another at Nundroo Roadhouse, then six at Streaky Bay.

We did a bit of fishing and crabbing at Streaky but really didn’t do too well until the second to last day when we caught 10 tommy ruff and 8 whiting and missed a few good sized crabs that came in on our fishing lines. No matter, it was a nice stop in a really nice park that we’ve always enjoyed.

Our next night was spent at a caravan park at Crystal Brook (not far from Port Pirie). It was a lovely surprise to have a long-time family friend Chris Daley and his partner Miriam pull up outside the van and stay the night in a tent near by. Always fun to catch up with Chris and all the gossip, share a meal and a few drinks.

On our way to Keith the next day, we stopped at a red light on a pedestrian crossing. Unfortunately, the woman in the car behind us didn’t! We heard a dull thud as we were pushed forward by her car. Jumping out of the ute, we hurried to check the damage. At first glance it didn’t look too bad so we pulled off the crossing and swapped details.

The harder we looked though, the more damage we could see. The van’s rear bumper weld had split, she’d pushed the whole bumper back into the van and bent the spare tyre mount. We could see where she’d hit the boat trailer too. Russ managed to pull the bumper out and we took off the spare tyre and put it in the back of the ute to travel on.

We contacted our insurance company and drove on.

We spent 2 nights in Portland with friends, a night in Port Fairy with our son and daughter-in-law, another with friends then arrived here in Traralgon. On the way, Ian Grant Caravans (who we nominated to do the repair) called so we dropped in there on the way past and they quoted the repair.

Caravans are super expensive to work on so I was expecting a few thousand dollars. The quote was reaching $7000 when he asked if there was any interior damage. We hadn’t actually checked, so it was a bit of a surprise to lift the bed and find the inner wall of the van is cracked as well. To fix it, the bed and wardrobe and all side panels have to be removed and the inner wall and outer panels replaced. Ka-ching!!!!! The quote just skyrocketed to around $14,000. If that bit gets accepted, an old dent Russ did dropping the boat on the van will be fixed too!

At home here in Traralgon, Russ tried to get the boat trailer built so he could take the boat off the ute. The trailer axle has been bent so he had to take to it with a hammer to just get the boat on. We’re not sure if the wheels go round properly, but the van repairers have added the trailer into the quote!

The repairers are also going to fix the van for us while we are in Bali for 10 days in January.

It’s so lovely just being here with my son and our grandchildren, I’m really not worrying about the van. No one was hurt so that’s the main thing!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Rabbits and Rabbit and Dumpling Stew

Rabbit and dumplings

Rabbit and dumplings

Our stop at Monte Casino with Pam, Carson and the kids saw us leave with 10 rabbits. Carson shot them for us while we were in the UK and Switzerland. We stored our freezer-full of fish in their house for the 10 weeks we were away, and they took a few meals out and put the bunnies back in. It’s a good relationship!

Ten rabbits make me feel rich (like new undies or a full tank of petrol does), so I want to use them well.

Tonight  I turned two of my stash into Rabbit Carbonnade with Parsley Dumplings. Carbonnade is a beef and beer dish often topped with French bread (or baguette) spread with mustard, that’s then pushed under the surface of the stew. The mustard croutons eventually rise and crisp up. I love it. I didn’t have French bread (or baguette) so I decided dumplings would be a good substitute . I added the mustard (and  brown sugar) to the stew. I was forced to use light beer, as once again, that’s what we had on hand! The original also had 10 rashers of bacon in it-I couldn’t justify that, so I modified the whole thing to make it my own.

Rabbit Carbonnade with Parsley Dumplings

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 kg rabbit, jointed
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 bacon rashers, chopped
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 375 ml beer
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or fresh sprigs if you have it)
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley (for serving)

Dumplings

  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 50g butter
  • 1 egg, beaten lightly
  • ¼ cup (20 g) coarsely grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley (extra)
  • ¼ cup milkRabbit and dumplings2

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 c
  2. Heat oil in a large heavy-based, flameproof casserole dish over medium-high heat. Cook rabbit in batches for 5 to 6 minutes or until browned. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Reduce heat to medium. Melt butter in dish. Add bacon and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until onion is softened. Add garlic. Cook for 1 minute or until fragrant. Sprinkle over flour. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Slowly add beer, stirring constantly. Return rabbit and any juices to dish with stock, mustard, brown sugar, thyme and bay leaves. Bring to the boil, cover then place in preheated oven for 1-1.5 hours or until tender-all this depends on the age and size of your rabbit so you be the judge.
  4. Meanwhile, make the parsley dumplings.
  5. When the rabbit is tender, remove dish from oven.  Remove and discard bay leaves. Drop level tablespoons of dumpling mixture, about 2 cm apart, onto top of stew. Cook, uncovered, about 20 minutes or until dumplings are browned lightly and cooked through.
  6. Sprinkle with parsley to serve

Parsley Dumplings

  1. Place flour in medium bowl; rub in butter.
  2. Stir in egg, cheese, extra parsley, and enough milk to make a soft, sticky dough.

Edamame and Mint Dip

Edamame and Mint Dip

Edamame and Mint Dip

I bought an edamame and mint dip in an English supermarket to take with us on our cruise on the Norfolk Broads. I enjoyed it so much, I kept the packaging so I could attempt to recreate it at home. I bought pre-cooked, frozen edamame pods at an Asian grocer in Perth and the rest of the ingredients are stuff we always have on hand.

The wind here in Streaky Bay today would blow a dog off its chain, so with no fishing for us, I thought I’d give the dip a go. I reckon my version is waaaay better than the commercial one we bought, so I’m blogging the recipe so I don’t forget about it.

Apart from being a relatively healthy and very tasty dip, I reckon it would be great on boiled spuds or as a different dressing over a potato salad. We’re having it tonight over the boiled spuds with fish and a salad.

Edamame and Mint Dip

    • 450g packet frozen, cooked edamame pods, defrosted, shelled
    • 1 cup frozen green peas, defrosted
    • 1 420 g can cannellini beans, drained
    • 1/4 cup low fat Greek Yoghurt
    • 1/4 cup sour cream
    • 1/4 cup light cream cheese
    • Good pinch of salt
    • Good grinding of black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
    • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
    • 2 teaspoons lime juice
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried mint (I would use fresh but dried is what I had. You can use more if you really like mint)

Method

  1. Place all the ingredients in a large bowl, crush with a potato masher
  2. Process with a stick blender until smooth, but still with a bit of texture
  3. Drizzle with a little olive oil (mine was garlic and chilli) and sprinkle with a little mint.

Back in Perth then off across the Nullarbor

Manchester to Abu Dhabi

Manchester to Abu Dhabi

We arrived back in Perth on October 16th after what seemed like a particularly long flight. We got held up boarding in Abu Dhabi then held up again on the tarmac. Not what you need with a 12 hour flight ahead. Neither of us got more than a couple of hours sleep and I felt the service by Etihad’s cabin crew was a bit slow and surly.  I was hot and thirsty and it was hard work to get a glass of water.

Harry

Harry

We spent two nights in a motel near Todd and Deb’s so we could catch up with them and Harry which was great as we hadn’t seen them since Iona and Simon’s party in Leeds 4 weeks before. Deb cooked dinner the night we arrived, the next night we went out for Chinese in Vic Park and the following day, we had yum cha in Vic Park. It was all excellent.

On Saturday night, we stayed with our friends Charley and Beaty-we met them many years ago at a caravan park in Denham and have remained good friends since. Beaty cooked us a lovely dinner and we caught up on all the Shark Bay news.

Monte Casino

Monte Casino

Sunday, we drove to the farm at New Norcia where our van was stored with family on a farm there. I can’t tell you how nice it was to sleep in my bed, with my pillow and doona etc-so lovely. I hadn’t slept well since we got off the plane and didn’t again on the Sunday night, but Monday, I slept like a log finally. I had that trouble the last time we came back from the UK, but it wouldn’t stop me flying!
Wheat Monte Casino

Wheat Monte Casino

It was a lovely visit to the farm as usual. Pam and Carson organised a bbq on our first night, then Russ and I made fish tacos on the second. In between packing up the van and shopping for fresh food for the trip ahead, we  had time to get out and about round the farm to see the crops, and to see a huge mob of ewes and lambs being drafted for shearing the following day.

Faces in the flock

Faces in the flock

Carson had shot and frozen us 9 rabbits and they gave us plenty of lamb they kill and some beef. Our freezer is filled to bursting as we still have about 20ks of fish and crab meat in there too.

It was sad leaving as I doubt we’ll be back in WA next year for any length of time, but Lewis is working on us to go to Bali in January which we may do.

The actual Nullarbor Plain

The actual Nullarbor Plain

Tuesday, we hooked the van up and started our 3500km drive home.  I always think it’s such a long way, but once we’re out on the road, I love the trip. It’s not all as flat and featureless as my photos show it to be-there are some lovely treed stretches. This time too, there was lots of water lying about and quite a few wild flowers early on, so really lovely.

On night one, we made it to the former gold rush town of Coolgardie, night two we got to Cocklebiddy, last night we made it to Nundroo Roadhouse and today we arrived in Streaky Bay.

Without looking it up, I think we’ve come about 2100 of our 3500 so far, but we are staying here for 6 nights so we can do some fishing and crabbing-something we haven’t done since the end of July and are missing badly. Crossing into South Australia, we only had to hand over a bit of lettuce and a wedge of lime to the quarantine man so I reckon we shopped pretty well. Our first job after that crossing was to go to the supermarket in Ceduna and stock up-we were both shocked yet again at the prices and are seriously considering a move to the UK where most things are so much cheaper!

After we leave here, it’s two nights/3 days on the road to Portland where we’ll stay 2 nights, a night in Port Fairy, another in Warrnambool, then on to Traralgon where we’ll base ourselves for the next few months.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

End of the holiday

Yorkshire Moors

Yorkshire Moors

Our 10 week and 4 day holiday of the UK and Switzerland is almost over. Just two more nights, before we fly back to Perth.

With a change in our plans to visit Wales before we left to go back, we decided to visit one of the areas we’d driven through a couple of times but not really explored.

We tried to book a cottage, but had trouble paying as we had next to no chance to get onto the internet on the boat. In the end, we chose another cottage whose owner made the payment process so much easier. We booked it Friday at about 11 am and arrived at about 4 pm and collected the keys.

I didn’t research this place-just trusted the woman when she said it was really nice. As we drove there, I said to Russ I hoped it had wi-fi, a wood fire, a comfy bed and decent pillows and a separate shower. Not only did it have the lot, the fire was lit and we’d been left fresh home-baked scones, jam, butter and laundry detergent to do a load of washing.  All this and 70 pounds cheaper than the other place I’d tried to book. Because it sleeps 6, it’s super spacious with big rooms and well equipped full kitchen.

The MoorsThe cottage is on the outskirts of a  really pretty town called Matlock which is on the border of the Peak District and right by the Yorkshire moors and dales. We’ve spent our 3 days here travelling up and down dales, across moors and around the Peaks. It’s quite heavily populated, but so, so beautiful. The area was the centre of the industrial revolution so there are lots of old factories, remains of lead and coal mines too apparently,although maybe they were underground as I haven’t really noticed them. Along with the factories and mines come the rows of workers houses in all the villages and towns.

Little Castle Bolsover Castle

Little Castle Bolsover Castle

As well as quite a lot of driving in the area, we managed to visit a couple of Castles (Bolsover and Peveril), a big car boot sale and the Masson Cotton Mill museum over our three day sale. Bolsover was great, Peveril was up such a huge steep hill we gave up and sat and just enjoyed the views. The cotton mill museum was interesting as we made it in time to see several of the machines working.

Masson Cotton Mill

Masson Cotton Mill

What a great holiday we’ve had. My good friend Deb asked me what was the best bit. After thinking about it, I think the whole trip was better than we expected and there was very little in the end to complain about.

I won’t miss 6 foot wide roads and the 127 million people that seem to use them, stairs, crappy pillows, toilets that have to decide if they’re going to flush, hand held showers over baths, dogs (or their leftover smells) in restaurants, cafes, apartments, cottages, boats and in national parks.

I will miss our friends, our little car, amazing scenery, history everywhere and fantastic supermarkets.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.