Category Archives: Charcuterie

Black Puddings

I’m not sure how this all links to the Royal Jubilee or this time of year – but I’ve heard that black pudding is one of the Queen’s favourites, and who can blame her !

Black pudding in the United Kingdom is generally made from pork blood and a relatively high proportion of oatmeal; in the past it was occasionally flavoured with pennyroyal mint, differing from continental European versions in its relatively limited range of ingredients and reliance on oatmeal and barley instead of onions to absorb the blood. It can be eaten uncooked, but is often grilled, fried or boiled in its skin.

In the United Kingdom, black pudding is considered a delicacy in the Black Country and the North West, especially in Lancashire, in particular the towns of Bury and Ramsbottom home of The World Black Pudding Throwing Championships, where it is sometimes boiled and served with malt vinegar out of paper wrapping.

Follow that van …..

Black puddings are also served sliced and fried or grilled as part of a traditional full breakfast throughout the UK; it is also served this way in Ireland, New Zealand, and the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador. The further addition of the similar white pudding is an important feature of the traditional Northumbrian, Scottish, Irish and Newfoundland breakfast. British towns noted for their black pudding include Bury, Dudley and Ramsbottom.

Just click here for a splendid webiste devoted to black puddings. For a bit of black pudding history try here.

Spanish morcilla has many variants. The most well-known and widespread is morcilla de Burgos which contains mainly pork blood and fat, rice, onions, and salt. In Albacete and La Mancha, the morcilla is filled with onions instead of rice, which completely changes the texture.

My all time favourite

In Extremadura the creamy morcilla patatera includes roughly mashed potatoes. In the northern regions and the Canary Islands there is a sweet variety known as morcilla dulce. Other varieties introduce breadcrumbs, pine nuts, almonds and vary the proportions of the other ingredients or flavourings, some of them considered delicacies.

I’m not sure how many of you might be wanting to have a go at making your own black puddings but if you are try here or here for some ideas.

…. and for the very adventurous here’s someone else having a go …. a bit of theory first then on to the action …

Charlie the butcher

Pork Scratchings – scratching a living

Recently, there seems to be a bit of a thing about Pork Scratchings.  Perhaps people are latching on to my own method for making them at home ?  My earlier recipe is here.

Mmmmm .... hint of caraway seed added

So a bit more information on the subject is required …..

  • Pork scratchings originated in the early 19th century, when the production of meat began to be industrialised. The term literally means the scraps from the slaughterhouse floor.
  • An estimated 20 million packs of pork scratchings are sold each year as bar snacks. The Black Country in the West Midlands is the epicentre of the industry.
  • There are 606 calories and 2.9g of salt per 100g of pork scratchings (Source: Mr Porky’s, sold in 20g packs).
  • Traditionally, scratchings are fried and made with the softer, relatively hairless skin with attached fat, behind the hock (back foot) of the pig; crackling is roasted or baked, and can be made from a wider portion of the pig.
  • Before cooking scratchings, hair must be singed off and the skin blanched in boiling water to open the pores. Some swear by this to optimise crackling levels when roasting pork at home.
  • International versions include pork rinds and cracklings in the USA, grillons or grattons in France, chicharrones in Central America and the Spanish Caribbean.
  • 99 per cent of scratchings sold in the UK are made with Danish pork. Before recent changes in legislation, this was not revealed on labels.
  • When fried, the skin of the scratching hardens. All UK brands carry a label warning that contents are suitable only for people with strong healthy teeth.

There are also a couple of excellent websites devoted to Pork Sratchings with more on the history, recipes, reviews etc …. click on the logos

Enjoy.

Charlie the butcher

Burns Night – there’s an App for that

OK, so the actual Night was on the 25th January but I’m guessing that many of you might be having your Burns Night event over the weekend and I have just stumbled across this great App to help you …
It is getting rave reviews and this is what the blub says ….

At last, an app to help you plan and have fun with one of the world’s greatest birthday parties. Going to an event this year? Find out what to expect, or learn something new. Better yet, why not plan your own wee birthday party in honour of Rabbie, one of history’s great partiers?

The app, produced by Spot Specific, and made super-stylish by Scott Smyth’s design, is now available from iTunes and live on the Android Market. So what are you waiting for? Download it and explore it for yourself! Thousands have already, thanks to iTunes featuring it on their New & Noteworthy picks the best new Lifestyle apps.
A stirring performance by Alasdair MacRae brings Tam o’ Shanter to life, and you can use the autocue to follow his lead and work on your own delivery without worrying about forgetting the lines or losing your place. Top singers Karine Polwart, Corrina Hewat and Annie Grace have treated us to some of their acclaimed Burns arrangements, and the built-in compass points you to Robert Burns’s birthplace, allowing you to salute him when raising your glasses to his Immortal Memory.

Learn all you ever wanted to know about Auld Lang Syne (including some of its more esoteric translations – Klingon for example), find out what it all means and cook up a storm with Burns Supper recipes.

So even if you have already had your Burns Night Supper for this year take a look and be all set up for next time.

Charlie the butcher

 

I would like Santa to bring me a Berkel bacon slicer

I don’t suppose my ideal Christmas present is on everyone’s list but I’ve always wanted a big bad boy bacon slicer and the Berkel is tops.

Perfect, but how to gift wrap it ?

Wilhelm van Berkel, was born in Holland on 5 February 1869, son of a pub owner and brother of a butcher. He was the inventor of a cutting machine with a movable meat table. This way meat products could be cut neatly and regularly Up until that time butchers were kept busy slicing with 16-inch long carving knives.

Van Berkel had worked his way up from a butcher’s boy to become the owner of three successful shops. Then he began the deliberate search for a winning way to slice sausages and other meats mechanically.

This quest took years, often working through the night, ruining costly pieces of meat and starting many times over. During his search he saw the attempts of others who had devised mechanisms for slicing meat. No matter how ingenious these were – with spiral or elliptical knives – they could not be put to any practical purpose at all.

Van Berkel’s search was eventually rewarded. His find was the concave knife and an upper table sliding automatically towards the blade. He succeeded in constructing a prototype which more than proved its worth in his own pork shop.

He realised at once the far-reaching possibilities of his invention. He applied for a patent and immediately began to consider ways of mass producing his slicing machine.

This invention was set to revolutionise the butcher’s trade, where quality of cut and the speed of the slicer were very important.

By 1898, Van Berkel has started production at factories based in Rotterdam, and soon slicers were in demand all over Europe. Master butchers simply could not believe that hand-sliced meat or sausage could be matched or even excelled by a machine !

With his experience in the trade, Van Berkel confidently took to the road to win over all the butchers. He skillfully demonstrated the results that could be achieved with the slicer, and reassured butchers they would be fully employed coping with the increased business generated.

Van Berkel’s foresight and commercial spirit quickly led him to foreign markets. Berkel Ltd was established in London in 1908 and was manufacturing slicers in England for a period after the first World War. In America, Berkel started manufacturing as the U.S. Slicing Machine Co. Inc. in 1909. By 1915, the company had outgrown its facilities in Chicago and moved on to La Porte, Indiana.

Now part of Avery Berkel, slicers and food processing equipment are still sold under the Berkel brand throughout its companies and distribution network.

Van Berkel’s Patent Model A was the first commercially produced slicing machine to come out of the Rotterdam factory in 1898. This somewhat clumsy looking machine is today a museum piece. A hundred years ago it revolutionised the butcher’s trade across Europe, though it was anything but cheap to buy. The price was often more than the total value of the inventory of many a butcher’s business.

After the 1st  World War Van Berkel also started with the production of balances and related products for the butcher and the Food Industry. Sale offices and factories were built in several  countries, in the United States under the name Slicing machine Co. Inc. and in United Kingdom under the name of Berkel Ltd.

Here’s a clip in which Emilio Mitidieri discusses and demos one of his antique Berkel meat slicers on The History Channel’s “Modern Marvels: Cold Cuts”, from his showroom in San Francisco’s Mission district.


There’s also a super-cool animation here demonstrating how a Berkel works !

Charlie the Butcher

Travel

Its been a while. I’ve been on a couple of little trips and as always I’ve snapped away.

Scotland-Inverness

The beautiful highland cattle.

Africa-Morocco

A happy butcher.

France- Somewhere

I always love the range of butchers shop fronts in France. They seem very welcoming to me, I took lots of pictures but wont bore you with them all.

Horse Butcher.

Foie Gras Farm-France

Its been a little while since my last post but I’m back on the blog so keep your eyes open. Bacon Jam etc…….

Charlie the Butcher.

Panko scotch egg

I love scotch eggs. They bring back fond memories of my childhood at mate’s birthdays, motorway service stations and pub gardens in the summer. But it’s a very un-cool food to admit to liking. It is deep fried and not that healthy for you. But as a treat food you can’t beat them, and with the English summer here or around the corner it’s the ideal picnic snack or cricket tea filler.

What is it ?  and who first made them ?  well………………

With my usual detective hat on, my work is complete and my results are :

A scotch egg is simple. A hard-boiled egg with a sausage meat casing covered in breadcrumbs and deep fried.

History. Well it does have a nice little story behind it. Once upon a time at Fortnum and Mason in Picadilly, London they made the first scotch egg to sell in the amazing food hall they have there. For all the record books that was back in 1738.

There are a couple of different ways to make them some people use quail eggs, duck, goose or even an ostrich egg has been used. So get yourself an egg and make a scotch egg.

Ingredients

  • Five free range eggs
  • A pack Panko bread crumbs, the best crumbs to use, trust me.
  • Flour
  • One egg for coating
  • Sausage meat about 1kg
  • Smoked bacon bits 200g
  • Salt and pepper

Step 1
Take a pan of salted cold water and place the eggs in. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 9 minutes.

Step 2
Collect all the ingredients, sausage meat and bacon bits in a mixing bowl, egg wash in another, flour and panko crumbs in the others.

Step 3
Get the oil on, use a deep fat fryer and heat to 180.C

Step 4
Peel the eggs under cold running water.

Step 5
Flour the eggs, you do this so that the sausage meat does not stick to the egg.

Step 6
Wet your hands, it’s easier to control the sausage meat. Place the egg in your hand a work a sausage meat covering all around the egg, make sure you cover it all.

Step 7
Wash the egg with the egg wash.

Step 8
Rub on the panko bread crumbs, make sure you cover all of the egg. This is what gives the egg the crunch.

Step 9
Place into the oil, and cook for 9-10 minutes at 180.C

Step 10
Take out, let them cool down and enjoy with salad cream or bbq sauce.

Panko bread crumbs are available in any good Chinese supermarket. If you can’t find them pulse stale bread in the food mixer for a good homemade style crumb.

Enjoy.

Charlie the Butcher.

Travels

After a crazy couple of weeks butchering over the Christmas season, it’s time for a holiday and this time I’m off to South Africa for the cricket, sun, wine and a little bit of work. So I will be back in a couple’ish of weeks with lots of pictures , stories and ideas. In the meantime “Happy New Year”.

Charlie the Butcher.