How to make charcuterie

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Want to know how make your own homemade charcuterie board? With a few simple steps you can create your own charcuterie meats, from easy beef jerky to duck cured ham and Italian bresaola. Check out our how-to guide and create the best cold meat platter.

Plus, we’ve compiled all the best British cheeses and classic cheeses for the ultimate meat and cheese platter. 

Expert guide to cheese: new-style cheeseboard


Good things come to those who wait, and charcuterie is all about waiting. Think of classics like Spanish jamón, French saucisson, Italian prosciutto and British bacon – they’ve all been preserved in some way, requiring time and patience as they are elevated from a raw piece of meat to something truly unique and wonderful to taste.

There are countless methods of preservation, including dry curing (think gravadlax and salt cod), air drying (chorizo and salami), smoking (pastrami (check out how-to-make pastrami at home, here), kippers and smoked cheese) and brining (salt beef and rollmops). These techniques have been used for centuries, primarily as a way to stop food spoiling. Today, with modern refrigeration, preservation is now mostly used to transform ingredients by imparting on them distinct flavours and textures. Some of these processes can seem pretty daunting to the home cook, often involving specialist equipment, plenty of space and lots and lots of patience – some top-grade jamón ibérico hangs for up to four years.


Having said that, if you fancy giving charcuterie a try at home, there are a number of simple and relatively quick projects to get started with. Depending on how much time you’re prepared to dedicate, here are three delicious recipes to try out.

For the quickest return, try out the beef jerky – dried strips of lean, marinated beef – which can be made in just three days. Jerky, originating from the Americas, makes the perfect beer snack, and our recipe will give you a jarful that’ll last a good couple of weeks, depending on how many people have access to the jar.

Try our beef jerky recipes here…

Homemade Beef Jerky
Homemade Beef Jerky

Equally quick (relatively speaking) is duck ham – duck breast cured to resemble prosciutto – simple to make, with minimal intervention, and also taking three days from start to finish. The fatty duck skin becomes beautifully sweet, and, sliced thinly, duck ham is delicious as it is, or served as part of a salad.

Try our duck ham recipe here…

Cured Duck Recipe
Cured Duck Recipe

Last up is bresaola, a thinly sliced, air-dried, salted beef originating in the Italian Alps. Although the process is straightforward and requires very little upkeep, it does take four to five weeks from start to finish. Trust us when we say it is well worth the time and effort – wafer thin, deeply purple, fat-marbled bresaola looks and tastes spectacular, eaten as an antipasto with a little extra-virgin olive oil and squeeze of lemon juice, or served with a rocket and parmesan salad.

Here’s our bresaola recipe to try…

Bresaola Recipe
Bresaola Recipe

There are few things more satisfying in the kitchen than carefully preparing something and, over days, weeks and even months, watching it slowly transform into a delicious delicacy to share with family and friends. And, what’s more, your creation won’t taste like it came from a shop – its flavour profile will be unique to the cut of meat chosen, the time given, the preserving environment and your personal choice of aromatics. After your first success, we guarantee you’ll be hooked.


HOW DOES SALTING WORK?

As well as flavouring food, salt also works to preserve meat by creating an environment hostile to bacteria and fungi – essentially the salt draws water from these potentially harmful organisms, slowing their growth or killing them off altogether.


SURFACE MOULD ON CHARCUTERIE

Sometimes a white mould might bloom on the surface of meat while it is curing. Don’t worry, this is quite harmless and can be wiped off using a cloth dabbed in a little vinegar. Black mould, on the other hand, unfortunately means that the meat has gone off, and must be discarded.

 

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Rachel Roddy’s Neapolitan beef and onions recipe | A Kitchen in Rome

This rich braise was brought to Naples by sailors from Genoa, and provides both a sauce for pasta and a meat course to follow

In the middle of Benedetta Gargano’s flat in Naples is a white, oval table. The table once lived three streets away in the dining room of Benedetta’s maternal grandmother, Elisa, where the extended family would sit at least three times a week when they all gathered to eat. And eat they did: Elisa was, by all accounts, a fine Neapolitan cook, her polpette al pane (meatballs baked on bread), sartù di riso (moulded and stuffed rice), panzerotti fritti (filled, folded and deep-fried dough) were all particularly loved. Loved, too, were her two alternating Sunday dishes – ragù napoletano and la genovese – both of which provide a sauce for the pasta course and the meat for the second course.

It is la genovese I smell as I reach Elisa’s house on Via Tasso, a snake-like road that curves its way through the boisterous city, then rises with the hill of Posillipo to give spine-tingling views of the bay of Naples. The scent of beef and onions cooking slowly leaves no room for doubt as to which door is about to open.

Continue reading…

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Best ever pork belly recipes

Slow Cooked Pork Belly Recipe with Creamed Corn

Our easy pork belly recipes are cheap and easy to make. Want to make the best crisp pork belly? Looking for the perfect Sunday roast centrepiece? Make one of our recipes with our expert guide to the perfect crackling for your pork belly.

Pork Crackling Recipe

We have slow cooked pork belly recipes, roast pork belly recipes (think rolled ‘nduja-stuffed pork belly, slow-roast pork belly and smoked salt-crusted pork belly), Chinese pork belly recipes and a recipe for rich pork belly ramen. We even have a recipe to make homemade pork scratchings! Roast it, braise it, fry it – the choice is yours…


Roast pork belly with potatoes baked in milk

Our roast pork belly recipe is inspired by an Italian dish which would usually use rolled loin. Pork belly cooked in milk is tender and succulent and, this pork belly makes for an easy and impressive main to feed a hungry crowd. For optimum crackling, cook for longer at the higher temperature before reducing.

Roast Pork Belly Recipe With Potatoes Baked in Milk

Crispy five-spice sriracha pork belly

Check out this punchy, easy, crispy pork belly with Chinese five-spice. This flavoursome pork recipe is great with rice, noodles or bao buns.

Roast Pork Belly Recipe With Pork Belly Marinade

Low and slow pork belly with jalapeño creamed corn

This recipe for slow cooked pork belly with jalapeño creamed corn is really easy to make but packs in a lot of flavour. This family friendly pork belly recipe is gluten free and simple to make. 

Slow Cooked Pork Belly Recipe with Creamed Corn

Rolled ’nduja-stuffed pork belly

If you’re looking for a pork belly recipe why not try our rolled ‘nduja-stuffed pork belly for an impressive centre piece. ’ is a spicy spreadable salami from Calabria and it adds a special twist to Tom Adams’ pork belly recipe. This impressive recipe is worth the effort. Use ‘nduja in this linguine recipe, too.


Fennel rubbed pork belly

Enjoy a special Sunday roast with our fennel rubbed pork belly. This roast is perfect for feeding friends and family.  Looking for roast potato recipes to go with you pork belly? Click the link for our best ever roast potatoes recipes…

Roast Pork Belly Recipe With Fennel Rub

Twice-cooked Chinese pork

Check out our delicious twice-cooked Chinese pork belly. This sticky pork recipe is really tender and packed with great flavours. Serve with green vegetables and steamed rice for a flavoursome evening meal.

If you’re looking for more Chinese recipes, click the link and find many more here…

Twice-Cooked Chinese Pork Belly Recipe

Cheat’s spicy pork ramen

Pork belly ramen, anyone? Ramen may seem like one of those dishes you can’t recreate at home, but this recipe for cheat’s spicy pork ramen changes that. Rather than spending hours making stock, we buy a good flavoured one and spike it with Asian aromatics. Here are our favourite noodle soup recipes if you don’t fancy this one…

spicy pork ramen


Slow-roast pork belly with black pudding mash and grain mustard sauce

This pork belly dish takes a little time but really is worth making. The brine makes the pork taste amazing and helps the crackling along. The mash is incredibly luxurious and the sauce cuts through the richness of the dish.

Slow Roast Pork Belly Recipe with Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Chinese braised belly pork with greens

This really easy Chinese pork belly recipe cooks pork low and slow in soy, 5 spice and star anise. It’s all cooked in one pot so you can just put it in the oven and forget about it. Serve with rice and greens.

Click the link for more one-pot dinner ideas… 

Braised Pork Belly Recipe with Greens

Steamed pork buns (Hirata buns)

Check out out recipe for sticky pork buns. These sweet, pillowy Hirata buns are popping up on menus all over at the moment. Try this recipe at home with our step-by-step guide. The secret to steamed buns is adding extra raising agent and double rising, which gives you a pillowy bun to stuff your pork belly into.

This is one of our top Asian street food recipes…

Pork Buns Recipe (Bao Buns)

Chifa chicharonnes

What’s not to love about fried pork belly? This recipe is from Señor Ceviche and comes with an Asian sauce. You can cook the pork the day before and chill overnight if you like. Try one of these smart Asian dinner party ideas for main course and sharing dishes.


Crisp pork belly with spiced apricots

Transform this relatively cheap cut of pork and feed the family for Sunday lunch. A fantastic sweet and savoury combination, spiced apricot and pork belly is well worth the wait. Perfect served with kale and roasties.


Dan Doherty’s pork belly and quince with sage and black pudding stuffing, and borlotti bean ragout

This is Dan Dohery’s take on class roast pork belly. The fruity-meaty stuffing works really well, and the borlotti bean ragout, enriched with all the roasting juices, finishes it all off nicely.

pork belly and quince with sage and black pudding stuffing and borlotti bean ragout


Pork-belly skewers with Vietnamese caramel sauce

Our pork-belly skewers with Vietnamese caramel sauce make easy but impressive canapés for your next drinks party.

Pork-belly skewers with Vietnamese caramel sauce


Roast pork belly with star anise plum sauce

Pork belly is a brilliant budget cut for feeding the family. Try it roasted with Asian spices like star anise, coriander seed and ginger and served up with a sticky sauce made from fresh sweet plums, cinnamon and brown sugar.


Bibigo’s bo-saam pork belly

This Korean dish of slow-cooked pork gets a smart makeover at Bibigo. To make very neat pork slices, press it after cooking.

Bibigo's bo-saam pork belly


Smoked salt-crusted pork with lentils and caper sauce

Pork belly, braised lentils and caper sauce: gastro pub-style comfort food. Put them all together in this weekend lunch recipe: designed to make everyone feel glad to be at home.

Best ever pork belly recipes

Homemade pork scratchings

Got some pork belly skin left over? The ultimate bar snack is much easier to make than you think. Create your own super-crunchy pork scratchings then serve with a sprinkle of smoky paprika or celery salt for extra flavour. 

Homemade pork scratchings


Looking for more pork recipes? Click the link and check out our best ever pork recipes from pork schnitzel and pork ramen to pork buns and slow-roast shoulder of pork…

Steamed Pork Buns (Hirata buns)

 

 

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Tamal Ray’s grapefruit-glazed cheesecake recipe | The Sweet Spot

A smoothly sweet dessert spiked with spiced grapefruit to round off the perfect dinner

I’ve often pondered whether or not cheesecake really is a cake. Other than being sweet and round, it bears little resemblance to the golden sponges we’re more used to seeing. Perhaps, as a mix of dairy, sugar and eggs, it’s really just a very firmly set custard. Paired with the sharp sweetness of grapefruit in a spiced syrup, this would make the perfect end to a dinner party.

Continue reading…

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21 Days to Get Excited for Paris

Buy Clotilde’s latest book, The French Market Cookbook!

La Bossue

Do you have a trip to Paris planned this year?

I know it can feel overwhelming to organize your time in a city like Paris. With so much to experience, how can you possibly choose? How do you make the most of it all?

As a native Parisian, food writer, and passionate explorer of my city, my goal is to equip you with insider tips and recommendations so you know you have your bases covered, and you can feel relaxed, confident, and excited.

It is the spirit in which I’ve created this FREE and FUN email series called 21 Days to Get Excited for Paris.

Sign up for FREE today and for the next 21 days, you will receive a daily email from me in which I’ll share one of my favorite things about my home city — things I don’t want you to miss when you next visit Paris. (FOMO begone!)

And if a trip to the City of Light is not in the cards for you at this time, you won’t feel left out: I am also including recipes and online resources so you can enjoy a taste of Paris, wherever you are in the world.

>>Click here to get started!<<

The post 21 Days to Get Excited for Paris appeared first on Chocolate & Zucchini.

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21 Days to Get Excited for Paris

Buy Clotilde’s latest book, The French Market Cookbook!

La Bossue

Do you have a trip to Paris planned this year?

I know it can feel overwhelming to organize your time in a city like Paris. With so much to experience, how can you possibly choose? How do you make the most of it all?

As a native Parisian, food writer, and passionate explorer of my city, my goal is to equip you with insider tips and recommendations so you know you have your bases covered, and you can feel relaxed, confident, and excited.

It is the spirit in which I’ve created this FREE and FUN email series called 21 Days to Get Excited for Paris.

Sign up for FREE today and for the next 21 days, you will receive a daily email from me in which I’ll share one of my favorite things about my home city — things I don’t want you to miss when you next visit Paris. (FOMO begone!)

And if a trip to the City of Light is not in the cards for you at this time, you won’t feel left out: I am also including recipes and online resources so you can enjoy a taste of Paris, wherever you are in the world.

>>Click here to get started!<<

The post 21 Days to Get Excited for Paris appeared first on Chocolate & Zucchini.

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