Monday, 31 January 2011

Egg Wash Tips

When next choosing a pastry brush, consider a traditional brush, one made with goose feathers.
A conventional pastry brush made with synthetic bristles can become irritating when they become brittle through constant washing and drying, for they loose their bristles and often over your pastry.

A pastry brush made with goose feathers however, is naturally born to withstand getting wet and dry on a daily basis.

A goose feathered brush will never loose its fibres, it will give you a perfect covering of egg wash each and everytime.

Lastly remember when egg washing your pastry to add a few drops of cold water to your egg wash, this will help breakdown the enzymes in the white of the egg. Having done so, you can then apply the egg wash evenly and without any snail trails of the egg white covering your delicate pastries.
If you would like to purchase a goose feathered pastry brush, then contact me and I'll put you in touch with the lady who makes them.
By the way those sausage rolls above tasted scrummy!

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Coppa Ham

Coppa Ham is Italian and as it's name translates and suggests it is made from the neck (nape) muscle of the pig. Above we can see some Coppa wrapped in ox-casings this offers protection to the ham by allowing the meat inside to remain supple without being over air-dried.

Coppa ham air-drying alongside some salami and saucisson sec.

Here is Maria Elia at the infamous cookery school "Thyme at Southrop" demonstrating the butchery of a pork shoulder and how to find the nape muscle to cure as a Coppa ham.

Maria explains not only the butchery but also shares a cure recipe and some tips on how to make your own Coppa.
Place your nape muscle in a plastic bag and add 30g of curing salts per kilo of meat along with some added Italian flavours; fennel seeds, crushed juniper berries, celery salt, thyme and vanilla salt. Massage in all the ingredients ensuring all the nooks and crannies are in touch with the cure, expel as much air as you can from the bag and tie/seal the opening the best you can.
Place in your fridge for 3 weeks turning daily, thereafter pat dry the ham and hang to air-dry for at least 3 weeks before slicing thinly and serving. Aim for a 25% - 35% weight loss as this will indicate when it is ready.
Adding sugar to cured meats will counter balance the nitrates thus stopping the meat becoming too firm, so if you wish to have a sweet tasting cured meat but still of a firm texture then Maria suggests using vanilla salt. You make vanilla salt as you would vanilla sugar by placing your discarded vanilla pods into a jar of curing salt, when applied as part of your cure mix it will impart a sweet flavour to your ham.
Have a go yourself, you know it makes sense!
Checkout for charcuterie courses.
Checkout for she is a unique talent.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Ham, Bacon or Gammon ?

Did you know? Regardless of where on the pig, if you apply salt to the pork it is then known as ham, bacon or gammon. Confusing right? Myself I try to simplify the terminology by applying this method, follow me and see if you agree.
Imagine a pig laid out in front of you, cut off it's head, now cut away the shoulder & hand after the fifth rib, cut away the pig middle from the leg. We now have 4 pieces of pork, with me so far?
If I was to salt the head, I would then refer to it as a cured pigs head.
The shoulder & hand I would probally seperate into two pieces and if I salted these I would refer to them as collared bacon for the shoulder and a cured hand of pork.
The pig middle as a whole piece salted, I would refer to as whole or middle bacon, if I were to seperate the belly pork from the loin and salt these individually, then I would refer to them as streaky bacon (belly) and shortback bacon (loin).
The leg of pork can be called a ham, but I prefer to call it a leg of pork, when salted it is then I refer to it as a ham. If I were to break it down into smaller joints, I would refer to them being gammon joints or smaller still as gammon steaks.
Do you agree with me in this explanation?