All posts by Phil

Queso blanco, or Paneer (Panir)

In 2012, I wrote:

Here’s a great cheese-related activity to do with a group of school kids that won’t break the bank. Paneer, an Indian vegetarian cheese – or the cheese your granny made out of sour milk!

That said, I’ve only ever made it from non-homogenised milk, which works out a tad expensive ‘cos those large cheap plastic containers of milk in the supermarkets are invariably homogenised.

Ah well, nothing ventured, nothing gained: the investment of a whole £1 coin got me 2 litres of ALDI’s best full-fat milk.

To make the cheese is simplicity itself: put the milk into a pan and bring it to the boil stirring regularly so that the milk doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Just before it boils (or at least when it’s over 80°C) add a couple of lemons worth of lemon juice or about the same amount of white vinegar. Give it a quick stir then leave it for a couple of minutes or so. The milk should split into white curds and a watery light-green/yellow/clear whey. If it hasn’t, boil it back up and add some more lemon or vinegar. Pour the whole lot into a cloth-lined colander and run it under cold water to cool it, then leave it to drain:

…you can save the whey to use in scones or soda bread if you want.

That’s basically it – you can go on to wrap the cheese up and press it (I did, under a stone mortar). You can add salt, herbs, spices etc to it or you can even use it for sweet puddings or have it dribbled with honey. If you press it for a couple or three hours, you can cube it or mould it into balls. Then, unlike virtually all other cheeses, it will fry without melting; it’s great in Mattar Paneer (Panir).

Lonzino

It’s not been a very productive week, however, I managed to start off a Lonzino Stagionata. I think this is the correct term for what is a cured air-dried loin of pork, Italian style.

It’s basically like a parma ham but from the eye of the loin. Expensive, but superb.

I started off with 4½ kg of pork loin from Joseph Morris’s. It was boned and the eye of the loin removed yielding 1½ kg of meat for the Lonzino and a further 2¼ kg of meat/fat that will be used in chorizo.

Now for the cure, what should I use? I am at something of a disadvantage here as I’ve never tasted Lonzino. Online recipes, of which I found only two from trusted sources, varied considerably in the spices used so I was left with making up my own interpretation from the (little) information available – it’s turned out as a sort of combination of the two online recipes. Whether it will be anything like the original is anyone’s guess! Anyway, here it is:

For 1 kg meat I used:

Salt 34gm
Sugar 10gm
Cure #2 – 2.4gm
Black Pepper 5gm
Fennel Seeds 4gm
White Pepper 3gm
Garlic Powder 2.5gm
Cinnamon 1gm
Mace 1gm
1 Clove

Grind the spices and mix with the other ingredients. Rub cure into the loin then put it into a food grade bag or vacuum pack it.

It will cure for 10 days or so.

The Lonzino was cured for 12 days. I washed and dried it and put it into a 90mm collagen casing. The casing was tied (badly!) and pricked to aid drying.

I left it drying at 10 – 15°C in a humidity of 60 – 70% (ish) until it lost about 40% of its weight.

The black wires in front of the Lonzino are from the humidity and temperature sensors in the fridge.

In late August I sliced some of it Getting to that stage was not been without its problems what with a new fridge set up for the drying it’s been a case of juggling things about to get the humidity at the correct levels – not helped by the weather we had at the time.

It’s a little dry around the edges, surprising as if anything the humidity was a little high in the early stages of drying. I dried it to a 36% weight loss. Next time I’ll dry it less and test for water activity to make sure it’s safe. I don’t think the drying was helped by the small size of the loin or the fact that I de-cased it after about 20 days as some undesirable moulds were starting to form under the casing – I obviously hadn’t got it tight enough around the meat. The mould? I brushed that off, rubbed the area with wine vinegar to kill any remaining nasties, and sprayed the meat with Penicillium Candidium – the white mould that is seen on Brie and Camembert cheeses. Within a few days a nice coating of white had appeared:

Pauline really likes its fennel overtones; I’m not as keen. Yes I like it, but think I will do a Lomo next time – basically, Lomo’s the same thing but with paprika flavours – Spanish as against Italian. That said it’ll make a nice addition to the growing charcuterie store.

Pork and Apple Sausage

I don’t write much about fresh sausage, mainly because we generally stick to the two recipes I’ve already put online, my Thurlaston sausage and Lincolnshire sausage. However, I thought I’d do something different for a change and chose to make Pork and Apple sausages. Now I’ve tried these before and wasn’t happy with the results so I trawled the web to see what I could plagiarise off other people! The results received rave reviews from the family, so here’s my recipe with thanks to Welsh Wizard and Parson Snows from the sausagemaking.org forum on whose recipes’ it’s loosely based:

Sausage Seasoning Mix

16g Salt
3g White Pepper
1g Fresh Rosemary
0.5g Dried Sage

Chop Rosemary then mix together well. I mixed them in a coffee grinder.

For 1kg of meat

1kg Locally Produced Pork Shoulder (about 20% visible fat)
85g Rusk
40g Dried Apple
110g Apple juice plus extra (see below)
20.5g Seasoning mix (above)

Start with about 400ml of good quality apple juice. Boil it in a pan until it is reduced by half and leave to cool. Then soak the dried apples in it for about 1 hour before chopping them.

Having kept the pork in a very cold fridge, mince it. I minced it through a plate with 6mm holes and then through one with 4.5mm holes. Add the rusk, seasoning and chopped apple and then pour 110gm (110ml roughly) of the remaining apple juice over. Either mix by hand until you think you’re going to get frostbite or use a Kenwood type food mixer (not food processor) to mix it for 3 or 4 minutes until the the mixture is sticky sausage meat. That is, it changes from just a burger-type mix into a sticky mass; the smell seems to change too. It’s hard to describe but you need to do this to develop the myosin in the meat that will stop the sausage from becoming dry and crumbly when you cook it. You may need to add a little more apple juice to get a good mix. Don’t add more than an extra 20ml – 25ml though, otherwise, the sausage will spit like a camel when you fry it!

Stuff the sausage into pre-soaked casings (follow the supplier’s advice for soaking the casings), then hang them to ‘bloom’ (develop flavour) in the fridge for 6 – 8 hours. Some fridges are very dry so check the sausages regularly and if they appear to be drying out too quickly put them on a tray and cover them for the rest of the ‘blooming’ period.

You could use cider instead of apple juice in this recipe. Preferably a local one.

The only disappointing thing about these sausages is that I had to buy foreign dried apples; it looks like I’m going to have to dry some myself when they’re next in season

Mortadella with Pistachios

It’s great to get back to doing some real sausage making. We’re fast running out of ham, bacon and sausage from my last mammoth session, so it’s time to clear all the frozen meat out of the freezer to make way for the next lot.

Given that the meat’s been frozen, it shouldn’t then be refrozen unless it’s been cooked – making fresh sausage is, therefore, a no, no. I was going to make hot dogs but the weather looked a bit iffy and I’m very much a fair-weather smoker, so that left a choice of the many and various other cooked sausages/luncheon meats.

Continue reading Mortadella with Pistachios

Chorizo

When I started making my latest batch of ASDA clone chorizo it was my intention to photograph everything and create a sort of mini-tutorial. Needless to say when I got involved with making them I forgot to take most of the photos!

I started off with a big chunk of pork collar, also known as shoulder spare rib, and cut it into strips. If you have a small mincer you will have to cut it smaller. I prefer strips to chunks as the screw in the mincer pulls them through with very little need to use the pusher.

The meat with plenty of fat attached was cooled right down and then minced through an 8mm mincer plate.

Continue reading Chorizo

Far-Famed Cambridge Sausage

When I came across a sausage called the “Far-Famed Cambridge Sausage” in a 1938 ‘Handy Guide for Pork Butchers’, I couldn’t resist making it? But what type of sausage was it?

I’m guessing that it was far better known in those days: I’d only ever heard of it in passing. A quick online search told me that the best know brand was Palethorpe’s ‘Royal Cambridge sausages’, though they were made in Shropshire, and that there were 2,500lbs of them were aboard the Titanic when she sailed on her maiden voyage!

Continue reading Far-Famed Cambridge Sausage

The Not Lincolnshire Sausage

This sausage formulation was posted on the sausagemaking.org forum. It has had a slight alteration by me. It was developed from a recipe that was originally supplied by the butcher Phil Groth to forum member Parson Snows with some adaption by another forum member, Oddley.

I have since been informed that the only herbs and spices in a ‘true’ Lincolnshire sausage are sage, salt, and pepper. This was supported by The Lincolnshire Sausage Association’s application for EU PGI status. So, this recipe is ‘technically’ not a true Lincolnshire; it is, however, a great recipe and a Lincolnshire sausage in spirit.

Continue reading The Not Lincolnshire Sausage