Universal Cure calculator

This cure calculator can be used for measured dry cures or equilibrium brine (wet) cures.

It is designed for the experienced curer – those who will know to adjust the meat weight for any bone. Those who realise that meat takes a very long time to reach equilibrium in an eq brine.

They will also be aware of curing safely and using a sufficiently strong brine to protect the meat whilst it is curing when using a brine cure.

The input to the form is in grams rather than lb and oz. This is for purely practical purposes; for example, 2.5% of 1000gm is far easier to calculate than 2.5% of 2lbs2oz. It also uses weight for all measurements; this is because the volumes of solids are variable.

To convert US measures to grams you can use our:

US measures to grams converter

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Sausage Rolls

Having made the sausagemeat for rolls it’s a fairly simple task to make it into sausage rolls.

I prefer to use a rough puff pastry rather than a shortcrust or shop-bought puff pastry but these could also be used. I make the pastry using this quick rough puff pastry recipe.

I’ve dropped a clanger by not taking a photo of the sheet of pastry after it’s rolled out but I roll it to approx 250mm (10″) by 400mm (16 “). Square the edge off that’s nearest you. I will make 2 long rolls from this that I’ll then divide each into 4 individual sausage rolls.

For approximately 100gm rolls use 170gm of sausage meat and roll pieces to form a long sausage to lay along the nearest edge. Then, lifting the pastry, roll it to just encase the meat. At this stage dampen the next inch or so of pastry with water (I think that water is better than egg wash for this) and roll the meat/pastry roll onto this. The roll can be cut away from the sheet at this stage.

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Sausagemeat For Rolls

I love a sausage roll but blimey, you kiss a few frogs before you find a prince! Too many are absolutely dire; the sausage meat is like meat paste and what is it with that pastry that’s neither short nor puff and is similar in texture to cardboard? I guess people tolerate it because they’re relatively cheap and they’re convenient.

As sausagemeat can be made without any fancy equipment they’re a great project for making at home. I would normally mince the pork myself to make these but to illustrate my point I’m using bought pork mince for these. You could get this from your butcher, or as in this case, the local supermarket. If it’s from your butcher ask for 80/20 visible lean. From the supermarket, buy the 20% fat pork mince, not the 5% fat one.

I assembled what I needed for the sausagemeat, most of the spices in the spice dabba won’t be used on this occasion but they do add a bit of colour to the photo!

The ingredients for each kilogram of pork mince are:

280gm Water
180gm Rusk
22gm Cornflour
18gm Salt
4gm Ground white pepper
2gm Ground black pepper
1.5gm Ground nutmeg
1.5gm Ground ginger
1.5gm Ground coriander
0.5gm Ground mace
3gm Rubbed sage

To make things easier, there is a calculator at the end of this post.

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Pâte sucrée (sweet shortcrust pastry) and Afternoon Tea

In 2014, I wrote:

Mum and Dad celebrated their Diamond (60th) Wedding Anniversary in 2014. As well as sending them to a local restaurant for a meal, we decided to have an afternoon tea.

For me, afternoon tea is lots of small patisserie and cake items; oh, and some token sandwiches beforehand. I’m not one for scones and cream as part of ‘afternoon tea’; they’re for other occasions when they can be enjoyed on their own. Now, we’re not ‘The Savoy’, or even ‘The Great British Bake Off’, so I choose just a small selection of simple things: individual lemon meringue pies, fruit tarts, and meringues, along with cupcakes made by my daughter Hannah. The meringue uses up the egg whites left after the yolks have been used for the pastry and lemon meringue filling. Savouries were cucumber, egg, ham, and cheese sandwiches, some even had the crusts cut off!

‘Ere, how come when it’s lemon meringue it’s a pie, but when it’s fruit, it’s a tart?

Never mind, what I do know is that with pies or tarts, it’s all about the pastry – it needs to be strong enough not to fall apart but melt-in-the-mouth when you eat it. My method may not be the proper way but it works and results in a pastry case that’s more like shortbread than pastry.

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Air Dried Pork with fennel

Forgive the long title; I was going to title this ‘Fennel Lonzino’ and had actually typed that when I thought that it’s a bit of a liberty to do so when I’ve not a clue as to whether the Italians use fennel in their lonzino. Whilst it’s comparatively early days for the UK charcuterie industry, we really need to start using our own names for products. I guess the problem is that our names lack the style of the Spanish and Italian ones and that the buying public can relate to those names even if the product sold is nothing like its name suggests.

I’d got in mind to make a more classic simply flavoured product – pepper and garlic, which I understand to be a traditional lonzino. However, given that this is a piece of industrially produced meat, which is likely to have less flavour than the meat I would usually use, I decided to go with the stronger flavour of fennel. Unlike my previous lonzino style loin which also uses fennel, I’ve omitted the juniper and cinnamon.

The recipe is:

For each 1 kg of pork loin, or pro-rata:

28g Salt
10gm White sugar
2.4gm Cure #2
4 gm Crushed fennel seeds
3gm Ground black pepper
3gm Ground white pepper
2.5gm Garlic powder

Kasseler Style Pork

Whilst I am a great believer in using locally produced meat from independent suppliers I’m also aware that many people don’t have the income to do this.

I hope to show with this project that you can still make some great products despite this. Many are cheaper than buying them from the supermarket. Yes, the quality may be better with meat produced to higher standards but good products can be made using meat produced on an industrial scale.

This is the piece of meat I bought from a local supermarket that sells pork produced in Britain. It’s around a kilogram of pork loin and cost £4.26 as it was discounted to £4 per kg.

A piece of loin of pork

That still may seem like a lot of money to some but the meat it makes can be used instead of cured ham, fried as bacon or be cut into thick slices to use as pork steaks/bacon chops – all of which would be more expensive to buy.

In Germany, it’s called Kasseler and is usually cured with the bones still in; it’s served as bacon chops. Some online references talk of it being smoked, cooked and then stored in brine which seems an odd way of going about things! However the few recipes I can find all make it in the normal way.

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