Things to do this year that aren’t resolutions…

Definitely not resolutions – as I said earlier, I don’t do those – more along the lines of ambitions. These are things that need to be done if I’m to get my life back on track now my legs are healing – Lymphoedema is incurable, but the leaks have gone and the remaining lesions  have almost completely healed, though I have to accept that either or both might be back at some point – first among them being get out more, before Cabin Fever sets in! If, indeed, it hasn’t already.

Before I can do that, I need to Continue reading

More thoughts on home-made bacon…

Well, after spending a few days researching home-made bacon online, two things have become absolutely clear – many people simply haven’t got a clue, and of those who know what they’re talking about, no two agree.

So, OK, I do know how to cure bacon – I did it with the panceta last week – and frankly, any fool can throw salt all over a slab of pork, leave it for a week and get bacon. It might not be the best bacon, but bacon is what it will be – so it’s not hard, then.

The reason I’m collecting information is so that I can pick other people’s brains, create a synthesis of the best websites and, based on that, come up with a process that will produce the best bacon I possibly can.

One thing that struck me is that Continue reading

Coming soon – making home-made bacon…

High-quality, dry-cured, streaky bacon retails for around £25 a kilo. I can buy a kilo of organic, free-range, pork belly for £10. The ingredients needed to cure it, most of which I have – salt, molasses sugar (or maple syrup, which I don’t have), black pepper and maybe a few herbs – will cost very little, a couple of pounds at most, even if I have to buy maple syrup**. The main ingredient – time – is free.

**This has a remarkably short shelf life, surprisingly – just 4 weeks from opening, so don’t get carried away and buy more than you can use.

So, making my own will cost me less than Continue reading

A hidden cost of disability and illness, plus assorted foodie ramblings…

In my case, a quite substantial cost is in wasted food, simply because I am all too often too ill to cook. When I am able, I get maximum benefit from it by cooking for the freezer – cooking on a daily basis, one meal at a time, is simply out of the question.

Yesterday, in the hope I’d be up to it today, I defrosted some braising steak. It was a vain hope and, unless things change as the day goes on Continue reading

Home-made pork sausages…

Finally, I’ve made a pork sausage that (a) I’ve resisted the temptation to tinker with (last batch got a splash of cider at the last minute, instead of water – didn’t improve them, though they’re good poached in a herby tomato-based sauce), and (b) didn’t leave me a total basket case afterwards (I wrote that last night – I was wrong, though the clock change didn’t help either). Still going to be in a lot of pain tomorrow but, for now, just tired. You’ll find out why below.

Normally I use Sainsbury’s Continue reading

Cooking – thoughts, perceptions, fabada and sausages…

It started like this. Last night I tweeted, “Dear god, it’s twenty to eight – where’s my day gone?” Because it had seriously got away from me somehow. Someone responded “Time flies when you’re having fun,” and I went back with “Ah – fun – I remember that!”

And they bounced back with “ from your posts you seem to have a lot of fun cooking, making black puddings etc.”

Which set me thinking – if that’s how someone on Twitter perceives me, what impression are DWP snoops going away with – if they exist, which I have little doubt about.

While I have considerable skill, and a passion for cooking, and for learning new skills and making new recipes (if I say so myself I’m bloody good at it), it has, I’m sorry to say, long since stopped being fun. For me, it’s only fun if I have somebody, besides me, to cook for, and that’s not happened for far too long.

Cooking, like anything else I do, is extraordinarily painful and exhausting (exhausting is relatively new, but it’s been painful for years). In consequence I don’t cook as often as it might seem (a look at my blog will show that actual recipes are, in fact, quite widely spaced). And these days, when I’m able to cook, I cook for the freezer rather than expend the effort on one meal.

I suppose, though, people could be forgiven if Continue reading

Home-made Pork Sausages…

Yesterday, Saturday, I worked my nuts off, making a batch of sausage meat with meat sourced online, from Steadman’s of Sedbergh, instead of my usual Sainsbury’s pork. The same cuts, boned pork shoulder and sliced pork belly, and broadly the same price – but vastly superior.

I’ve complained before, here, about the wetness of Sainsbury’s meat, but the squishiness of it does make it very easy to run through the mincer. Steadman’s meat, in contrast, once some superficial bloodiness had been washed off, was excellent – firm muscle, without a trace of wetness. In fact, Continue reading

A brief, personal, look back at 2011 (and a peek at 2012)…

Well, as I’ve said elsewhere (possibly to the point of tedium!), I’m happy I’m still here. Better yet, I’m actually feeling much more positive. Physically, I’m much the same (crappy, but least I’ve stopped going to sleep wondering if I’ll wake up, and not really caring if I didn’t), but psychologically there’s been a huge improvement.

So much so, in fact, that I’ve invested in a Continue reading

Making Lamb and Rosemary Sausages.

My second sausage-making session went very well, and the results look impressive. I’m sure they’ll taste equally good (I have confidence in me!).

Click to view full size, Back to return. The individual sausages are made with the meat left in the filling machine’s outlet, filled by hand. The rest need linking, which will tighten up the apparently slack casing.

You need:- Continue reading