I’ve started a piece of bacon, which we’re looking forward to immensely. You make a mixture of salt, sugar, spices, herbs, a little saltpetre and rub it into the pork, put it in the fridge and rub it in again for several days, then wash it thoroughly, hang it in a cool place to dry out, then bingo. Before hanging it up, I take the skin off and cut it into snippets and roast them and they are the most fabulous pork scratchings.
We started the first jar of damson chutney today and it’s very good – quite rich, you don’t need much – and also opened a jar of pickled onions, a couple of weeks before we’re supposed to but they’re good already and presumably will get even better.
And I’ve harvested the last of the tomatoes and all of the jalapeño peppers, so relish is on the cards for later this week. The freezer is full, we have to do something else with the crop and the relish is fabulous.
I’ve come to the conclusion that growing very hot chillies isn’t worth it. You get so many, especially of the tiny ones, and they’re actually too hot to eat. When a single little pepper zings an entire stew, and it’s impossible to eat unless massively diluted, yet you have hundreds of them, their use is very limited. If you have jalapeño or perhaps Cayenne at the most, you can deal with them. All the same, we’ve still got plenty of dried Cayenne peppers left from last year. But the spicy, less extremely hot jalapeños are so useful that they can be put in all sorts of dishes, one can be cut up into a masala omelette or a bean salad or a stew (maybe two) and a delicious relish can be made, then that’s a valuable pepper.
I went down to the local coal merchant this afternoon to enquire about a delivery of smokeless fuel. Yes, it should have been organised back in the summer, but it wasn’t. And I discovered that it’s cheaper to buy a bag at a time than to have a tonne delivered. So I bought four bags, which is a couple of hundredweight (I deal equally with Imperial and Metric) – two each for Rose and for us – and we can go along and get more every two or three weeks. Which makes life easier really and it’s only a mile down the road.