Category Archives: pig

Damson in distress

Pork pie:  Meat, Pastry.

Jelly optional.

Or essential if, like me you are a fastidious nerd who likes to do everything from scratch… I might not bother with it again because of the time involved. Boil up some pigs feet, tails etc. then simmer for hours and hours, strain and reduce for many more hours.

I would so love to evangelise to you about how we need to discover the cheap cuts and eat more offal, but seriously. Pigs feet? Ok, so they do make amazing jelly, but picking through them afterwards searching for meaty morsels, all I could find was gelatinous goop. I don’t really get why you would eat them… unless, of course they prove to be the Elixir of Life.

The jelly was brown and murky – on account of me adding ground spices (as opposed to whole) – but it made a nice reflection of some trees and a fence in my garden. Reflectojelly.

Meat

Pretty simple really. Minced pork shoulder, bacon, a few herbs and the secret ingredient: Anchovy sauce. I don’t want to get all ‘Proper’ on you, but I do believe that when it comes to Pork Pie anything claiming to be authentic really should have Anchovy sauce in it. Not that I ‘ve done my research or anything. I could be gravely mistaken. But I’m holding to what Jane Grigson says, and she says Yea! to Anchovy sauce.

Pastry

So beautifully soft, on account of the obscene amounts of lard. I once heard some TV chef/baker man say the dough should be “as soft  as the inside of your best beloved’s thigh”. Ahem. Well there you go. I don’t have a best beloved just at the moment so we’ll have to take the word of the TV chef/baker man on that one.

Baked until the lard oozes out of the gold pastry crust

And there they are, looking great and tasty until someone (me) drops them all on the floor. *tears*

Well not all of them. I ate a couple first.  And no, I didn’t take a picture of my floor smashed pies.

*

Actually, on second thoughts, did I say I was fastidious earlier in this post. Hmm, perhaps not, given that it’s 2 hours to the Charcutepalooza deadline, and part of the challenge is to post recipes along with our experiences. Even though I wrote this post in good time I’ll be honest, I TOTALLY forgot about the recipe part. I’ve been working my butt off (a gal’s gotta earn dough to make dough).

Enter panic and distress!

However, I did make pickled Damsons recently, and although I didn’t actually eat them with my Pork Pies I think they’d be a great accompaniment to pies, terrines and all sorts of Autumnal Charcuterie goodness. I also learned that Damson juice would make excellent fake blood (a girl also has to earn dough to buy a new and better camera).

So here it is. It’s not even my recipe. Like dodgy bloggers across the world I stoled it off the internet and jiggled the ingredients to my personal preference.

Pickled Damsons

Ingredients
1kg damsons
cinnamon stick
3-4 cloves
grated zest of a lemon
2 inch nub of ginger
1 teaspoon allspice berries
150ml balsamic vinegar
450g dark sugar
Method
Prepare the damsons by washing and removing the stalks, and pricking each one with a pin to prevent them bursting (Sorry what? I mean, do you have ANY idea how small Damsons are and how many of them there are in one kilogram?).
Tie the spices in a muslin bag – or not if you are lazy like me.
Melt the sugar in the vinegar, heating until it has all dissolved.
Add the damsons and spices, cook on a low simmer for 10-15 minutes until they are soft
Strain the damsons and pack them into clean preserving jars, reserving the juice.
Bring the strained juice to the boil and reduce until it has a syrup consistency
Finally pour the syrup over the Damsons and seal the jar
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