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eG Foodblog: Jackal10 III - Smoking Bacon and a May Week picnic


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Mine, is not prolific enough to do anything sensible with, except put the occaisonal cucumber flavoured sprig in Pimms.

Several questions and comments are springing to mind, so I hope you don't mind if I don't raise my hand individually for each one. Lovely 'blog, Jackal.

First, on the bacon question, the Lyonnaise you made looks absolutely terrific. Personally, I love frisee paired with bacon in a salad, and perhaps a little radicchio, because of the flavor and texture contrasts with those items. Of course, my single favorite combination is bacon with a side order of more bacon (my cats back me up on that one.)

In the comment department, your Aga makes me covetous.

And then I'd like to know about what is referred to, by you on the last page, as "boiled beef." I've often heard of "boiled dinners" when people are referring to things that are distinctly British, and I've never eaten the particular dish to which you refer, so I wonder, how is it good to boil beef? I'm sure there's more to it than just dropping a hunk of meat in a pot of water and fishing it out when it's done, right?

Oh, and the comment above referring to "University" as opposed to "college" is a little confusing to some here in the U.S., since most people on this side of the ocean use those terms synonymously. As always, two countries separated by a common language. :biggrin:

Again, great blog.

Edit to add that I forgot to ask how you take your Pimms, as I've never had that, either. Perhaps I should just go order one at a bar and stop bothering you, huh?

Edited by TheFoodTutor (log)
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Oh, and the comment above referring to "University" as opposed to "college" is a little confusing to some here in the U.S., since most people on this side of the ocean use those terms synonymously. As always, two countries separated by a common language.  :biggrin:

I'll let Jack fill in the blanks, but if memory serves Cambridge is comprised of a number of colleges (my friend attended St. Catherine's, known more for its sporting life in the mid-70's than its academe). The colleges, in turn, are rife with societies and clubs. But clearly I missed some nuance--perhaps Jack instructs directly for the University, which is coming up for its 800th anniversary in four years.

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Vancouver magazine

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Drat, I was hoping you'd have some great uses for salad burnet. Mine is lush now, and flowering. I think it tastes pleasant, and is mildly decorative, but I need to use it more than just on sandwiches and in salads.

You're giving me tons of ideas for my new smoker. I'd never imagined smoking an egg. I can't wait for the smoker assembly tomorrow so I can get started.

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Good morning. It a cool grey day today. Outside the window rabbits are playing.

There is a patch that was an old well where the grass doesn't grow as well that they seem to prefer.

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Mrs Pheasant came to call. She is down to three chicks, but they seem sturdy (one chick is behind the water bowl - an old morter - but the neighberhood robin is looking askance. When ts cold and wet the mother cannot brood a large number of chicks, so some get left out in the cold and get ill.

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Off to the supermarket for the weekly shopping. Its so much easier to go early before the hordes arrive. No pix - one supermarlet is much like another anywhere in the world. If you want to see pix, they are in my Xmas blog. Its not changed significantly.

The supermarket is about 5 miles from here. On the way is Hacker's Fruit farm, that grows the best soft fruit for miles around, maybe because its next to and downwind of the local crematorium. Delightful family, being there forever. Smallscale, a smallholding really.

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Ducks, chickens, bantams, dogs and even a peacock run around the yard

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They raise bantums, and one clutch had just hatched this morning

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You're giving me tons of ideas for my new smoker.  I'd never imagined smoking an egg.  I can't wait for the smoker assembly tomorrow so I can get started.

Most smokers, like Webers, are designed for cooking briskets, ribs, chicken and the like, so hot smoke. This was cold smoking, under 90F. Althugh I guess there is no reason why you couldn't try a cool fire like smoldering sawdust in Weber

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I'll let Jack fill in the blanks, but if memory serves Cambridge is comprised of a number of colleges (my friend attended St. Catherine's, known more for its sporting life in the mid-70's than its academe). The colleges, in turn, are rife with societies and clubs. But clearly I missed some nuance--perhaps Jack instructs directly for the University, which is coming up for its 800th anniversary in four years.

Yes. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cambridge_University There are 31 colleges, which are independent organisations, loosly bound together. I guess the easiest way is to think of the colleges as sort of extended fraternity or soriety houses, except they are bigger, typically a few hunderd students, and besides accomodationa and food also provide small group tuition. They are mixed rather than specialising in any particular subject, although you might choose one particular college to study under a certain person. If you are an undergraduate, or even a graduate student, you go to lectures etc in the University Department, but the college appoints a Tutor to look after your welfare, and a Director of Studies to advise you on your work. Under the Director of Studies are Supervisors, typically research students, but may also be faculty members, who the student will meet weekly in small groups, one on one or one on two , and right essays or old exam questions for.

The University, which has faculties, and in turn departments provide the bulk lectures, laboratories, research facilities, examinations aand all the rest.

I'm a member both of the Computer Laboratory http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/ , the Centre for Entrpreneurial Learning http://www.entrepreneurs.jims.cam.ac.uk/ in the University, and I'm a Bye-fellow of Emmanuel College http://www.emma.cam.ac.uk/ . I lecture and examine for the Computer Laboratory, and for the Judge Institute (University).

There are many, many clubs and societies, both at the University level and at colelge level for almost anything you can think of, especially sport, music and drama. An important part of the Cambridge eduction is mixing with your fellow students, and following your interest. Of foodie interest, there are dining societies, University Food and Wine societies, and a competitive wine tasting team. In College there is the Real Ice Cream Society. http://www.srcf.ucam.org/erics/ or whatever takes the student mind at the moment

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What vintage is your Aga, Jack? And how would you judge the maintenance? Do you ever find the heat disaffecting in the summer?

I think the Aga is late 1940 vintage. I bought it reconditioned second hand, they are better and cheaper than the modern equivalents. Apparently it was originally in a nunnery. Its been converted from solid fuel to oil.

It gets serviced twice a year. Not a major problem, as there is not much to go wrong with them, and they are solidly built out of tons of cast iron. Main thing is to brush out soot from the internal flues, and check the burner. An Aga engineer comes and does it, and it takes about an hour.

We don't find the heat a problem, The kitchen is light and airy, with lots of windows and big sliding glass doors that can be opened to the outside. If the weatgher gets over about 90F, we might turn it off for a week - I have gas rings and an electric oven/microwave as well, but if the weather is that hot we don't each much hot food.

Edited by jackal10 (log)
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Boiled Beef is delicious, and an alternative way fo cooking tougher cuts, like brisket and silverside. Carrots are traditionsl, as are dumplings. I knew I should have taken a picture. In France there is Pot a feu, much the same.

The long slow cooking lets the collagen dissolve.

Put the piece of beef in cold wate with some carrots, an onion, and aromatics - maybe a bay leef and some peppercorns. You can brine it first, but then it becomes salt beef. Bring to the boil, skim, and let it just simmer for at least 5 hours but as long as possible. If not too salt the broth is good as well.

For Dumplings

4 oz/100g plain general purpose flour

2oz suet

pinch salt, pepper

1 tsp baking powder

1 Tbs chpped parsley

I like a chopped onion, softened in a little butter

An egg

Mix to a dough, divide into small balls, boil in the broth.

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sorry this is a bit late - but an excellent and super-adaptable summer bacon dish IMHO is lardons and spring onions sauteed in the bacon fat, mixed with blanched, peeled broad beans, a spoon or so of creme fraiche and LOTS of dill, parsley and a little mint. This is excellent as a vegetable dish, especially with poached salmon, a pasta sauce (with pecorino if desired) and risotto.

you could also make a pea puree with mint vinaigrette and griddled scallops a la the lovely Rowley Leigh and add a couple of crisped rashers.

Yum.

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An oil-burning stove for cooking! What weight oil are you talking about? Oh - now maybe I'm waking up - are you using what we call kerosene? Sorry if this sounds silly; I've visions of Bunker C being kept warm and pumping into your house, lots of BTU's but pretty heavy stuff. Please describe the Aga and its operation more for me, and for other readers who might not know why it's so wonderful. It certainly looks impressive, and the rest of your kitchen looks very comfortable and fun to work in.

I am such a fool for animals. I looked at your bantam chick photo and said "awwww" :biggrin:

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As for smoking, at winesonoma's suggestoin I've just gotten a Smokin' Pro. That should do fine for cold smoking, which is what I'm really interested in. Not to say that lots of ribs and other hot-smoked goodies aren't on the summer's menu as well.

I've always been curious abut Agas. What's the theory, or the advantage, of the "always on" mode?

Jack, what farmhouse cheeses are local to you? About the best of the English cheeses that I can get here is the Montgomery Farmhouse Cheddar, which is sensational.

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An Aga http://www.aga-rayburn.co.uk/4.htm is a stored heat stove. There is a small constant heat source, in my case a heating oil burner (kerosene), but originally solid fuel, lots of iron and lots of insulation including insulating lids for the hot plates. The oil is the ssame as we use for the boiler for the central heating, and one of the cheaper energy fuels here. The ovens are at roughly 500F, 300F, 200F, and 75F or roasting, baking, simmering, and plate warming, but also ideal for long time low temperature cooking. Its compatratively energy efficient because of all the insulation - the surface is about at body temperature, wonderful to snuggle up to.

Always on is wonderful. The ovens self clean, and its instant heat. It was originally designed to be easy to use for a blind person.

Meantime the loaf is cooked. Agas make good bread because of the hot oven floor.

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The loaf slumped a bit, perhaps because of the delay between slashing and putting it in the oven while I took its picture. However the closeup of the grigne would indicate the texture is good.

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Jack, what farmhouse cheeses are local to you?  About the best of the English cheeses that I can get here is the Montgomery Farmhouse Cheddar, which is sensational.

Wrong side of the country for cheese. Cattle tend to be in the west, such as Somerset. Round here its crops and sometimes sheep.

There was once apparently a Cambridge "slipcoat" soft cheese, but its not been made in living memory.

The supermarket stocks a Butlers handmade Vintage Farmhouse chedder http://www.butlerscheeses.co.uk/content/2/...armhouse-Cheese that is very good.

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Drat, I was hoping you'd have some great uses for salad burnet.  Mine is lush now, and flowering.  I think it tastes pleasant, and is mildly decorative, but I need to use it more than just on sandwiches and in salads.

You're giving me tons of ideas for my new smoker.  I'd never imagined smoking an egg.  I can't wait for the smoker assembly tomorrow so I can get started.

I hope it's okay if I offer a few ideas for using burnet.

It's a mild astrigent and can used in an infusion for your skin- hot or cold. I like it on a cold washcloth for bleary, hungover eyes. Not that I ever have a hangover. :wink:

Steep burnet in wine vinegar. Use in compound butters, dips, mayonnaise and cream cheese (bagel shmear). Or include it in chilled soups, mousses and sauces for poached fish.

Shelley: Would you like some pie?

Gordon: MASSIVE, MASSIVE QUANTITIES AND A GLASS OF WATER, SWEETHEART. MY SOCKS ARE ON FIRE.

Twin Peaks

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Jack

How did you build your outside oven?  What plans did you use?  Also, what sort of conditions does horseradish need, is the UK climate ok for it?

I used a shell from www.fourgranmere.com, and my builder built an outside shell for it.

Horseradish grows like an invasive weed here. It likes it damp.

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Sambocade or Elderflower Cheesecake

From Forme of Cury, around 1390 by the cooks of King Richard II

179. Sambocade. Take and make a crust in a trap & take cruddes and wryng out þe wheyze and drawe hem þurgh a straynour and put hit in þe crust. Do þerto sugar the þridde part, & somdel whyte of ayren, & shake þerin blomes of elren; & bake it vp with eurose, & messe it forth.

Make a tarte case (Pate Sucree: 3 Flour, 2 Butter, 1 Powdered sugar; yolk of an egg, pinch salt. Whizz together in a food processor. This has so much butter in it you don't need to butter the tin; I cheat and just press it out)

Cheesecake mix:

500g/1 lb curd cheese (I used cottage chees and Mascarpone)

3 egg whites

1/3rd cup sugar

2 Tbs Rosewater (I used Belvoir Elderflower cordial to boot the elderflover flavour)

Flowers from 3-4 elderflower heads

Bake at 350F for an hour

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Imagine it with an elderflower on top. Smells delicious. Why does cheesecake always sink?

If I was serving this at a dinner I would decorate it with crystallised elderflower heads (dip in egg white, then sugar and dry). Instead I'll just cut it into finger size portions tomorrow.

Edited by jackal10 (log)
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Why does cheesecake always sink?

Jack! With all this talk of bacon I thought you might forget about Shavuot :wink: .

I've never used cheese other than cream cheese.. do you process the cottage cheese to smooth it out?

Cheesecakes are like custards - if you bake it in a waterbath, it may help with the sinking. Do you pull it right out of a hot oven or let the cake sit in the oven as it cools?

Sinking or not sinking, it looks great.

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I whizzed all the cheesecake components together, and then stirred in the flowers. I just let it cool on top of the stove.

I suspect if you bake it in a waterbath it does just not souffle so doesn't rise so not sinking.

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The ironic thing is that I took a course in Middle English lit as well as a Chaucer course as little as seven years ago (English major here with a concentration in British literature) and I can't translate that quote anymore. :shock:

Time flies.

Wonderful photos, Jack.

Soba

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