Curing & Preserving

Red Pepper Conserve

This is a simple but delicious recipe that came about from my desire to replicate a conserve we purchased in our favourite Pecorino dairy just outside Montepulchiano. Whilst primarily sold to be served with their Cheese, we found it was a great accompaniment to most things savoury (including as a dip). I therefore promised myself I would make some when I returned to England.

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Coppa (Italian salt cured pork)

I have to admit it, I can become fascinated by certain aspects of food production. At present, because of my love for all things Italian, I have started to make cured meats or Charcuterie / Salumi. For those who don't recognise the word Salumi, it means cured joints of meat rather than the minced sausages (Salami). Coppa is just such a thing, taken from the centre of the pork shoulder it forms a solid piece of meat to cure and carve.

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How to make Bresaola

Having recently started to make Charcuterie (see Coppa and Salami recipes), I just had to try Bresaola. Bresaola is very popular in Italy as an essential inclusion to their cold meat platters. It is salt cured similar to Coppa, but uses a piece of Beef muscle as opposed to the Pork muscle used in Coppa.

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Saucisson Sec

This classic French sausage is so easy to make, thus it is good for the first timer who wants to make charcuterie. It's a simple technique which can result in outstanding results and it's a forgiving recipe. It can be hung in somewhere like a basement, garage or other cool outbuilding, and does not require specialized equipment.

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As someone who dislikes waste, I am always up for recycling. Also, I have the sort of mind that says, "Oh, that sounds interesting, I wonder if I can make that?" I was watching a cookery programme the other day and they mentioned making wine syrup from left over wine. Vincotto is the Italian version of wine syrup.

The first question was; what left over wine? Later I thought, interesting, I must have a go at that. The second question was; where do I get the wine?

Writings suggest that the syrup can be used to drizzle on Ice Cream, Cake, Fruit or Yoghurt, but the part I was interested in was the suggestion that it could be an alternative for Balsamic Vinegar – now you're talking!

Some will remember that this year, again, I made "Château Allotment" red wine from the grapes grown on my allotments. This wine was only ever going to be a low alcohol table wine. Though acceptable, because we have so many good wines in our cellar, the likelihood was that I would make red wine vinegar with this product, so I took two bottles from the rack and made Vincotto with it.

Here is how I made it:

A normal 75 cl bottle of wine holds about 4.5 cups; therefore, using a ratio of 3 cups of wine to 1 cup of granulated sugar put everything in a pan and set to boil, stirring occasionally to ensure the wine absorbs the sugar.

Once the pan has reached boiling point, reduce the heat to allow for a gentle simmer; continue to stir until the mix is reduced by about two thirds and is taking on a sheen on the back of the spoon. Taste the liquid, it should be sweet.

Allow the liquid to cool and bottle and place in the refrigerator.

If you are looking to use this as an alternative for Balsamic Vinegar, I found the syrup a little too sweet for this. I therefore put a couple of drops of Malt vinegar in the bottle and shook it to mix.

However, if you are just looking for an intense, mature, adult sweet taste of grapes, leave out the malt vinegar. It will surprise your friends if drizzled over a fruit or an ice cream dessert.

The picture below is the end result of my two bottles of vino.



How to make Salami

This is one of those things I have been going to attempt for some time; all I have been concerned about has been the place where I could hang the said Salamis. After much research and looking at recipes on how to make them, I decided now that the weather was getting cooler, I would be able to hang them in my shed without them overheating, so here goes.

I would also like to say that there are two sorts of casings being used, not by intent, but because I made the mistake of procuring far too much meat, therefore I had to dip into my emergency stock of Collagen Skins.

  Homemade salami

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