The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space


Guest spot: preparing to build a cold smoker by Smoking Methusala

Posted in Curing and Smoking | 7 comments

Guest spot: preparing to build a cold smoker by Smoking Methusala

I’ve been chatting to Smoking Methusala for a while. He cures and smokes his own bacon on a hillside in Wales. He has agreed to share his knowledge with all would be bacon smokers out there. I’ve heard of a man who smokes fish and bacon in an old wardrobe but this story takes the ticket for best smoking tale that I’ve read so far. Smoking Methusala’s cold smoker journey. Part one. I’m going to tell you a something about our setup here. We live in a little Welsh village, way up in the mountains in a very isolated...

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The Salami Project: part four. A journey into the heart of the Fens

Posted in Curing and Smoking | 9 comments

The Salami Project: part four. A journey into the heart of the Fens

The temperature in the larder is rising with these warmer days. It is a proper old fashioned cold room but the fridge freezer lives in there and the large motor inadvertently heats the room. Great in mid winter as things don’t freeze but in summer it’s not cool enough for maturing my fast growing family of salami. After the initial excitement of one salami actually tasting good, I have started experimenting in earnest. One of the ways of cutting down our weekly spend was to avoid buying speciality salami. I have yearned for it so...

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The salami project: part 3

Posted in Curing and Smoking | 4 comments

The salami project: part 3

We had the day marked clearly on the calendar when we could sample our salami. 14 days since they were first hung in the larder to cure. Apparently you can taste them just to see how they are getting on and seal the cut end with a piece of lard. Generally, salami take between 4 and 10 weeks to mature completely. They have hung in the larder, smelling delicious and getting thinner and knobblier by the day. “What exactly are we eating?” D was dubious as I sliced through the long immature salami. “Cured meat and garlic and...

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Cottage Smallholder wet cured and smoked bacon recipe

Posted in Curing and Smoking | 8 comments

Cottage Smallholder wet cured and smoked bacon recipe

One thing that lightens the darkest day is our home cured bacon. When I took a small hamper of food to my mum the small package that I was really pleased with was our bacon. Her grill is different from ours. She had to wait a good twenty minutes before it was cooked, compared to our ten minutes. But the smell of slow cooked bacon is the heart of any good breakfast, so by the time I had warmed the plates and rustled up some scrambled egg my mum was in the starting stalls and eager to go. She tasted a small forkful and looked up. “I...

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The Salami Project: part two

Posted in Curing and Smoking | 5 comments

The Salami Project: part two

I wondered why all the recipes that I found for salami didn’t mention pork hock. They all seemed to go for shoulder. Three hours later, I know why. It took me a good hour to remove the gristle from two hocks. At least I thought I’d removed the gristle until Eva, dug in her trotters and only let a thread width shred of mince escape from her furred up disks. Eva has replaced Mincy who just pulverised meat. Great if you are feeding an invalid or a toothless dog but a no no if you want proper minced meat. The extended mincing process...

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The salami project: step one

Posted in Curing and Smoking | 15 comments

The salami project: step one

Bursting with pride, I opened the small foil parcel and pushed it across the counter towards Fred. It was a slice of my first old fashioned pork pie. Fred sampled the meat. “Good texture. Did you make the pastry yourself?” He tasted the thick crust. “Yes, we did.” “When you next make the pies put a little of the seasoning mix for the meat into the pastry. Then the pastry won’t be such a contrast to the meat. Sage and pepper is a good combination.” “What do you think of the...

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Besotted by home cured smoked bacon

Posted in Curing and Smoking, Pork Ham Bacon Sausages, Save Money | 14 comments

Besotted by home cured smoked bacon

I was at Fred Fitzpatrick’s butchers shop. I’d brought them each a present of my home cured bacon. John picked up the two slim packs and placed them gently beside the till. “I think I’ll have mine with my Easter Egg.” It was Easter Saturday and I had finally made bacon that I was proud of. Not too salty, sweet edged with black treacle and a deep smokiness from hanging over a smouldering log for twelve hours in our inglenook fireplace. We are now hooked on home cured bacon. Our wet cured recipe only takes 2-3 days...

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Home smoked bacon in your chinmey: Tips and tricks

Posted in Curing and Smoking | 1 comment

Home smoked bacon in your chinmey: Tips and tricks

I woke up on Thursday and realised that I was missing an essential item in my wardrobe. I had to get a hoodie And I wasn’t planning a heist at Cheveley Post Office. It’s pretty sooty when I stretch up into the canopy of our inglenook fireplace, to hang our home cured bacon. This could be the answer to keeping clean. I hadn’t realised how clingy soot is. “You’ve ruined your cardigan.” Danny was trying to brush off the soot. “Do you mean I’ve got to wash it?” The next morning there was a...

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