International Bacon Day (IBD)

International Bacon Day (IBD).  Wow, finally a festival to truly celebrate.  Thank goodness for porcine goodness and the love of my wife, for finding truly awe-inspiring ways to fill in spare time. It began like this. Wake up early. Sensory level overload. The week has consisted of waiting for the perfectly smoked pork to be ready for eating. Celia has this great method of curing and smoking pork to make perfect bacon. Why? Well you try to buy bacon where we live and you will be disappointed. In fact I would be surprised if we ever have to buy bacon again. Buying pigs is more likely. Breakfast. Homemade crumpets, homemade bacon, flat whites. Can it get any better? Sometimes it really does pay  to take time to weigh up what you have.  Regardless, first celebratory IBD, and I’m well happy.

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The Depot

Monday night. No bookings. Arrived 6 pm. Table for four. No problems. Lets relax. Drinks. All good. No lager on tap he says. Into it. Wait person wants to order for us. Are we taking too long here?  Water refills abound, we must look dehydrated. Do they really have to reach right across the table to replenish glasses? They do, it’s tight in here. Food decisions made. You’re not ordering enough, he says. Oh. It’s plates to share here. Toilet run. Oh no. The toilets are dishevelled. They’re expanding. No excuse. There is a ladder in one cubicle. It’s a walk in share 6 affair. Enough said, not acceptable. Wine time. Central Otago Pinot on tap. Nice. Food wise highs and lows. New Zealand meat board, did they leave half in the kitchen? Pork hock, more of that please. Our cohorts informed us that this place is impossibile to get into without a wait, any other time. Good times. I was left questioning price to value for money ratio. Repeat visit, maybe for the pre-lunch menu and more Pinot.

Homemade Tea-smoked Bacon Part 2

So last week I started the process of making bacon.  I bought about 1.5kg of pork belly from the friendly people at the market outside school.  It cost me 29 元 (which is about the price of a glass of beer).  This allowed me to start the first process of bacon-making, that being the curing of it.  I made a mixture of salt,  brown sugar, pepper, crushed bay leaves and fennel seeds and then lovingly rubbed half of it into the pork.  This is important as you want the curing rub to cover everything and get into every little crevice.  This helps draw moisture out of the pork and imparts some flavour. Once that was done, it was into a zip-lock bag and into the fridge.  A couple of days later, the bag had a good amount of juice in it, so I drained it off and rubbed the remaining curing mixture into the pork.  All up the pork has been curing in the fridge for the past 7 days.  It is firm to the touch, no squishy bits, which is what you want.  Tomorrow I will take it out and get ready for the final part, tea-smoking.  As I have already cut the piece of pork belly into two manageable pieces I am wondering whether I should just smoke one half or do both?  Decisions…