Salted Saffron Milkcaps (Ryzhiki)

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Saffron milkcaps had eluded me for quite some time until a few years ago when I moved to the North of Tasmania. While I was out foraging for one of my favourite mushrooms (the very versatile ‘Slippery Jack’ mushroom that usually lives under pine trees – these can be found all over the state) I accidentally stumbled across red pine mushrooms, also known as saffron milk caps. I had never come across these mushrooms, or as a matter of fact seen these before, other than what I had seen in literature. Initially I wasn’t 100% sure if these were actually milkcaps, so I took lots of pictures of them and went home to research and try to identify them. I had triple checked that these were indeed saffron milkcaps. Once confirmed, I was really excited with my find and I have now been picking them ever since! I can’t stress enough about identifying mushrooms as its better to err on the side of caution, and if you’re not more than 100% certain about the mushrooms its better to avoid them rather than risking your health or someone elses. The consequences of making a wrong guess or a misidentification about whether a mushroom is edible can be severe; worst case scenario can result in a liver transplant or even resulting in death.
Saffron milkcaps are a foraged autumn delicacy; they are very versatile – they can be eaten raw, pan-fried, sautéed, added to stews and soups, pickled and even salted. I usually like to salt the first milkcaps of the season as by that time of year I have a hankering for them. You only need one ingredient – salt! If you have had these before you will understand why this extraordinary mushroom does not lack for spices, due to its inherent flavour. It is one of the few mushrooms that is possible and even advisable, to eat raw; all it takes is placing the mushroom gills up, sprinkling with some salt and letting sit for an hour or two. Continue reading

Turkey Prosciutto (Salt Box Method)

P1050451Prosciutto, made with either duck or goose breast, is a gate-way, entry level charcuterie project and one of the easiest to do at home. Although the entire process only takes a few weeks, curing your own prosciutto is a lot easier than you might think and is basically fool proof. Having tried duck and goose breast several times I decided to use turkey breast for this method. The first time I did this I was met with scepticism by some commenters on social media as they seemed to associate salmonella with white turkey meat but not with duck and goose. As I have mentioned in a previous post, using poultry is safe as long as you follow the proper hygiene and preparation protocols.  Continue reading

Bresaola di Tacchino (Turkey Bresaola)

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So it’s no secret that I enjoy experimenting with different types of charcuterie, and particularly with whole muscle cures. I have previously made Bresaola with beef, venison, camel, buffalo, wallaby, kangaroo, duck, goose and even alpaca. Before each of my cures I do a considerable amount of research regarding recipes, cures, seasoning ratios and the possible risks involved in differing methods. I have also gained a lot of useful information from trading tips and receiving advice from other hobbyists.

Even though I have made Turkey Bresaola before with great results, I still get a lot of negative responses from people who seem to believe that working with white meat and poultry is a guaranteed way to get salmonella poisoning. I understand where this attitude originates, however I can say that through my experience of working with white meat for cures and following the hygienic and preparatory principles of charcuterie, I have never ended up with anything but safe products. It is also worth mentioning that my pork cures, despite being close to poultry as a white meat, never receive this negative feedback. The perception of turkey or other poultry being categorically unsafe is one based more in a lack of knowledge or bad experiences resulting from improper research and hygiene standards.

The end result of charcuterie is a product that is neither raw nor uncooked. By doing the proper research into these products and utilizing the essential ingredients (such as insta-cure #2, to prevent botulism poisoning) in conjunction with good hygiene practices, you too can enjoy the delights of Turkey Bresaola. As always, practice good judgement in the selection and preparation of your ingredients and document the process for each step along the way.

Back to the actual recipe! Bresaola di Tacchino, or Turkey Bresaola is not as common as all the other cured meat products in terms of availability. I initially struggled to find recipes and information on how to make it. That being said, the information and recipes that I have found highlight the fact that using turkey is nice alternative to red meat cures and has the added benefit of being a healthy option. Turkey Bresaola is considered a delicacy and a specialty item. If you are looking for something slightly different to cure or perhaps something that is kosher or halal, then this is the recipe for you. You wont be disappointed!
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Homemade Oyster Sauce

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I always love visiting my family; they live near several beaches that are covered in  oysters and other tasty shellfish. It’s hard for me to get fresh shellfish where I live, so it’s always a treat to collect some at the beach. While gathering oysters from the shoreline I always manage to ‘accidently’ break open around half a dozen to a dozen oysters, so as a result I get to eat them straight from the rocks! This time I wanted to do something different with the oysters that I haven’t done before – make a homemade oyster sauce.

Oyster sauce is a thick brown sauce extracted from boiled oysters. It is a popular condiment used in Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese cuisines, and is thick, dark and salty-sweet tasting. The sauce has a mild oyster flavour to it but no fishy taste, despite its name. It is very easy to make at home and is very tasty. The home made version is also made without any preservatives or caramel (colouring, to give it its appealing black colour). Continue reading

Nocino (Green Walnut Liqueur)

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There’s a large old walnut tree in the work car park and every year yellow-tailed black cockatoo’s get to the walnuts before they have a chance to fully ripen. The cockatoo’s are pretty clever as they carry the unripe walnuts and drop them from a height onto the nearby concrete footpath to crack the walnut shells open. As a result, each year I miss out on the massive bounty of walnuts. So almost 3 years ago, (the reason why I say almost 3 years ago is because I made it back then placed it in a dark cool place and forgot about it. I was moving house recently and came across it while packing). I decided to do something different and picked the unripe green walnuts to try my hand at making nocino. Nocino (pronounced no-CHEE-no) is a dark liqueur made from unripe walnuts, that is delicately nutty and has subtly spiced flavour. Nocino is a traditional Italian liqueur that is perfectly paired after a rich meal. Most of the recipes that I have come across are very similar; some use more and some or less sugar, add or omit certain spices, vary the length of time. The liqueur should sit and mellow for the flavours to develop. It turns out it is also very easy to make, here’s how.

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Cured Pork Tenderloin (Mini Lonza)

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Cured pork tenderloin has the size, shape and resemblance of a salami stick and makes for a perfect quick dry curing project, which you can eat within a month of making it.

Lonza is the much smaller cousin of Lonzino. Lonzino is made from the loin of the pork which is a much bigger cut of meat and takes a lot longer to cure. Lonza is made from the tenderloin, which a very lean with little to no fat at all, which is what makes it such a quick project. Lonza is often likened to bresaola, which is a similar product but made with lean cuts of beef. Both lonza and bresaola have a mild, clean taste owing to the absence of fat. Since the tenderloin is very lean, the flavour of the meat is greatly influenced by the diet of the animal. Try and source a locally raised, heritage pork that has been allowed to forage and fed a diverse diet. Anything less will lead to an inferior product. If you’re able to spend the money, its worth it.

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