Basturma is a highly seasoned, air-dried, cured meat. It is traditionally made in Armenian, Turkish and Russian cultures. It’s usually made from beef, but was once made from camel meat. It’s cured, dried and coated with a highly spiced mixture called Chemen. Bacterial growth is prevented because the meat is dry cured with salt, and because fenugreek is a key ingredient in the paste. Fenugreek and garlic have antibacterial properties and fenugreek acts as a natural insect repellant.
It takes at least 5-6 weeks to cure, so make sure you make it in advance to when you will need it. Making Basturma at home does involve a few steps over a number of weeks, but if you can persevere it will definitely be worth it! Continue reading
As far as cured meats and charcuterie goes, this is one of the easiest to master. It’s great for beginners! The hardest part about making guanciale is waiting for it to air dry. Guanciale is a whole pork jowl that has been rubbed with salt, herbs and spices then air dried. It is also an economic project as the jowls are a fairly cheap cut and the ingredients are very simple. In my opinion it’s far tastier than bacon and even pancetta. It has a texture and consistency much like bacon but the depth of the flavour is much greater. It is similar to pancetta and can either be eaten raw if sliced thinly or cut thick and pan fried to add flavour to many dishes.
Originally I wanted to make a bresaola with the emu meat. When I purchased it from the butcher it came vacuum packed and when I opened it I realised that I wouldn’t be able to do what I first had in mind due to how the meat had been cut. I picked out the larger pieces to be cured and the smaller pieces to make biltong with. The colour of the meat was an incredible ruby red and as you can see above darkened considerably. I based this recipe on a duck prosciutto recipe that I use from time to time – it is very simple.
Biltong is a form of cured, air-dried meat that originated from South Africa. Biltong is typically made from raw meat cut into strips following the grain of the muscle or flat pieces sliced across the grain.
Biltong is a culinary counterpart of beef jerky as both products are visually similar and undergo a preparatory process of drying. The key difference in taste between Biltong and regular beef jerky is a more savoury flavour for the former that is the result of differing ingredients and their application.
I’ve been doing a lot of curing and charcuterie projects lately and have been experimenting with infused salts and smoked salts. Luckily I live in Tasmania and have access to an expansive coastline which is not only visually stunning but also clean and largely free from pollutants – perfect for making sea salt!
I had been wanting to try my hand at making sea salt and hoping to eventually use it in my cooking. It is something that I’ve wanted to try for quite some time and it turned out to be a satisfying way to get a step closer to self-sufficiency. I hope you’ll find this as rewarding as I did. Just remember – be patient! Continue reading
Fresh caviar is delicious, but the idea of preparing caviar can be really daunting; I know I was really nervous the first time I tried! Both salmon and trout caviar is incredibly easy to make at home (and nearly not as hard as you may think). Actually, the most challenging part is getting your hands on fresh roe.
Fresh roe is really hard to come by here. If you’re lucky enough to catch a trout or a salmon with a belly full of roe, you’ve pretty much hit the jackpot! You can also buy it fresh from a fish monger, but that is pretty rare these days because we have a lot of farming here. The eggs stripped from the fish are used in the hatcheries or sold commercially and prepared into caviar by the fish farms. If you’re lucky, like me, and live relatively close to a fish farm, then you can ask them. I organised with the hatchery manager to purchase a few kilo’s of roe during the spawning season. This hatchery farms both salmon and trout; I also purchased some salmon roe and caught several trout from the stocked ponds – they all where carrying roe, so I was extremely happy to say the least.
Blood cake and black pudding are very similar. The only difference is the casing or skin; the filling is essentially the same. Blood cake is skinless and is cooked in a loaf pan inside a bain-marie whereas black pudding is stuffed into hog casings and cooked like a boiled sausage. Baking it in a loaf pan is definitely the easier option and is much less messy. Continue reading