Last weekend I was fortunate to participate in a Butchery and Charcuterie Course, this was my Christmas present from Andy and I’d been waiting for months for the day to come around. I got up early on a Saturday morning, not always easy with our Micro Bakery being Friday evenings, popped some ice packs into cool bags and set the Sat Nav for Hackney…
Black Hand Food
Hugo Jeffreys, a trained artist and chef, set up Black Hand Food in 2014 to pursue his love of food through creating amazing products from fantastic pork. As Hugo is producing a extensive range of charcuterie, bacon and sausages from his Hackney kitchen, hand made made from whole carcasses of pig, I thought this would be the best place to start my journey. I was keen to understand the processes which create such delicacies using traditional methods of curing without cooking the meat.
‘There are no mistakes in butchery… Only more sausages…’
Marc Frederic, Le Charcutier Anglais
We arrived to find half a pig on the table, along with a selection of knives, demonstrating just how hands-on this would be. After Hugo’s introduction, the knives were handed over and we got to work. We cut the pig into manageable size sections whilst Hugo explained the different cuts available, both the well known leg, shoulder and belly and the lesser known collar and cheek. After we removed significant bones to make butchery easier, we progressed to curing. Hugo demonstrated a dry cure technique that we applied to 3 large pieces of meat each to make bacon and then explained the process of air drying cured meat both as whole joints and as salami sausages.
Once all the meat was prepared, we washed our hands, hung up our aprons and enjoyed a selection of delicious Black Hand Food products washed down with a cool beer. As a guest, I came home with more meat than I could carry and looking forward to my handmade bacon, salami, collar and lardo.
Just five days later, the bacon was ready to slice. I can honestly say, and my family agree, that this is the best bacon we’ve ever tasted!
Guests at this week’s Spoon Carving Course were treated to a bacon sandwich breakfast with a porky Quiche Lorraine for lunch and we’ve since made a drying cabinet to air dry our salami and cured collar and lardo.
- We’ve put some fertile eggs under Broody Bunty that we bought from Keith’s Orpingtons, they should hatch on Monday 20th June
- During Half Term we celebrated nine years of keeping chickens, Pearl, a Cream Legbar, is our oldest hen at 8 years and still lays beautiful blue eggs
- We are planning a new Sourdough Bread Class for a Saturday later in the year
Jobs for the Week:
- Pack up the car with flour and bowls to take to a Kingston Infant School, we are teaching 120 Year 2s how to make a loaf of organic bread
- Check on the bees, we are hoping that they’ll make us individual rounds of honeycomb this year
- Boil some jam and bake some scones, we are hosting a Hen Party Afternoon Tea here at Hen Corner
So I’ve butchered a pig and brought home the bacon, have you got any food ambitions that you’d like to try?