I moved the prosciutto. It used to hang in the picker’s hut, but one day I noticed that the edge of the bacon looked nibbled. Something had been hanging upside down from the beam, down the two long meat hooks, and had enjoyed a little bit of pork skin. Mice or rats are my guess – there’s no shortage of either of them this year. So the bacon and prosciutto are now closer to home, under the eaves on the south side of the house.
This one in the photo is the hind leg of a 120kg porker. It’s been bashed and salted and is now hanging out in the open air, hopefully breeding a few moulds on its surface. The open meat side is smothered in fat and pepper; the fat to stop it drying out much and the pepper to help avoid wasps and flies, as well as for flavour.
Ross, my market stall partner and mate, cooked lunch on Sunday. We had about 40 people in the old shed at Ross’s place, sitting on hay bales. The day turned from a forecast of 11C and rain, to about 16C and gloriously sunny. The braziers sat unused, turned off when they turned the barn into a sauna.
Here's what was on the Lamb Winter Feast menu:
"¢ Warm spiced apple juice with mace and cinnamon
"¢ Toulouse style pure pork sausages from Ross’s Berkshire pig
"¢ A pressed ham hock and white bean terrine
"¢ Bruny Island Wiltshire Horn lamb shoulders cooked overnight with wild fennel
"¢ Bruny lamb racks and legs, rubbed with garlic and anchovy and grilled
"¢ Brussels sprouts and savoy cabbage tossed with garlic and butter
"¢ Organic carrots with dill
"¢ Dutch cream spuds with butter and a hint of thyme
"¢ Wood-fired sourdough baguettes from Bruny Island Cheese Co.
"¢ Kentish cherry pudding
"¢ And for those who stayed until the end, raw milk, 15 month old, cooked curd mixed cow and goat cheese that Ross made
The apple juice was freshly pressed and came from the Griggs in nearby Lucaston, with no vitamin C added. (Vitamin C is often used as a preservative – our apple juice was brown, but delicious.) The bangers were simply coarse ground shoulder meat with a touch of nutmeg. The wild fennel I found dotted around the homestead on Ross’s property. The cherries are an old English variety, sour and with a hint of bitter almond. I found a wonderful old small fruits farm, Wolfe’s, up Wolfe Road, of course, and bought the cherries frozen at the end of last season, just waiting for a chance like this.
This week I also went and checked out a new sow. A lovely, leggy girl who’s already in pig (pregnant) to replace one of mine. Natalie showed me around her family’s organic farm in Middleton where the pig has been wallowing. It looked like everything I want in a farm and don’t have. Lush pasture. Lots of old buildings and some fencing that you can use to house pigs or shelter goats. There’s even an old copper over a wood fire that they use to cook food for the pigs. Apparently, though, my jersey cow is far less temperamental than theirs, and I can actually milk mine without worrying about a horn to the ribs or being trampled. A young calf, Heidi, is being hand reared as the next milker, though fresh raw milk is now at least a year and a half away.
The new sow, tentatively called Bella, will come over to Puggle Farm in a week or two. Another mouth to feed, another animal to care for. The farm would feel empty without them.