What is the difference between gravadlax and smoked salmon? The obvious one would be the lack of smoke on the gravadlax. Another difference is the subtlety of flavours. Gravadlax is cured fish. whereas smoked salmon is cured and smoked. With the more traditional recipes the cure would also include something like fennel herb, but [...]

 
The Secret of onion gravy

  So what is the secret of a good onion gravy? We could spend a while here exploring the different ways of building a stock up from roasted bones and diced vegetables, add in cooking juices etc, but, we are not going to. The real secret to onion gravy is the onion. There are three [...]

 
Razor clams

    I first tried these in Italy in about 1989. The hotel I was staying in was in a coastal town called Salerno, near Naples. One of the brothers owned a restaurant next door, so this was by far the easiest place to visit. A big plate full of spaghetti got served with “fruits [...]

 
Umami - The 5th taste

    For several centuries there were thought to be 4 tastes;  bitter, salt, sweet and sour. In 1908, Kikunae Ikeda  pictured above, a professor at Tokyo Imperial University discovered the 5th taste. This was to be called Umami, meaning “good taste” but has come to mean an almost meaty or savoury quality. The nearest [...]

 
Stilton from Stilton?

      This came about from a great article in The Times. The traditional tale is that Stilton cheese was made in the counties of Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire. Stilton, in Cambridgeshire, was a main stop on the coach routes to London in then18th century. Cheesemakers in the 3 counties would take their produce [...]

 

This is one of the few methods of preservation that does not require a cure of the foodstuff before hand, so please excuse the title, continuity and all that. There are two very traditional methods of extending the life of meats and fish by using fats. The first is the French method confit. Originally confit [...]

 
Curing 5 - Fermentation

  Life loves balance, often best in the middle. The level of acid or alkaline is a prime example of nature taking the centre line. On the pH scale above, it starts at 0 (most acidic) and goes up to 14 (most alkaline). Human blood sits just above 7, anything of a slight difference either [...]

 

The use of chemicals in preserved meats goes back centuries. Common powders were often used for multiple purposes. Salpetre (potassium nitrate) is also a component of tradtional gun powder or blackpowder. Even though it is available, salpetre is the second choice if other formulations are available. Nitrates and nitrites are responsible for the eradication of [...]

 

  What’s the one food that doesn’t need salting or brining before smoking? …   Salt! Just about every smoked food requires a certain amount of salt to allow a key to develop on the outside and to cut down on the moisture that could interfere with the process. Even soft cheeses like mozarella can [...]

 
Curing 2 - Brining

    Brining is the addition of food to salty liquid. At a lower concentration of salt the fluid penetrates most food, but especially meat. This lower level brining results in added moisture. It is particularly popular for poultry before it goes into roast. The difference in texture is very noticeable and it doesn’t necessarily [...]

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