Friday, 24 February 2012


Friday 24th February 2012
Cracking Crackling.
Sue doesn't like pork - or she didn't until she tried proppa pork!
We've now tried the sausages and the liver. Both delicious, and I'm not just saying that. I must say, I had been fearing that I wouldn't be all that impressed, which would have undermined my faith and belief in the way we have raised the pigs and had them butchered. The leg joint we had yesterday was nothing like any pork I've had. The crackling...oh the crackling. So much flavour. And the healthy layer of fat which would put most supermarket shoppers off - well it added the flavour and moisture so lacking in so much pork these days. It actually really annoys me. We're not talking about putting a whole wodge of unchewable fat in your mouth. An animal has given its life (maybe not intentionally or voluntarily) and it seems a dreadful waste if it produces a dry, tasteless lump of fibre.
Today we had two very chunky chops, on the bone and complete with skin for more crackling. Thanks to Jamie for his recipe for Old School Pork Chops with apple and sage.

We had apple wedges in the freezer and the sage came straight from the herb bed. I bet Jamie's never eaten them with Pink Fir Apple potatoes and Swiss Chard stems. All totally scrummy, and everything apart from the apple wedges from our own garden. (The apples came all the way from Don's, over the fence!)

The Swankiest Garage
If you want to buy some Proppa Pork you can pop in and visit us. I spent the whole of today converting a dark, junk-filled, cobwebbed garage space into this...

I'm hoping that the pork sales will tempt people to return to buy our cakes, jams and chutneys, eggs and vegetables either now or later in the year when they are ready.

I've also decided to offer the chance for customers to pick their own herbs to accompany the pork. I reckon that growing my own herbs has saved me a fortune, but for those who don't have the opportunity or inclination, there's nothing so annoying as reaching the point in the recipe where you suddenly realise you need fresh herbs. (Well, actually there are probably a lot of things more annoying! But back to the herbs.) Do you use dried herbs instead? - In my opinion never giving the same intensity of flavour. Do you make a special trip to the shops to buy an overpriced packet of 'fresh' leaves? Or do you just miss out the herbs and wonder what it might have tasted like? I must say, too often I used to take the last option. Now that I have fresh, zingy, flavour-filled herbs growing, I regret never growing them before.
Thyme, rosemary and sage have stood through the winter and are starting to bush up nicely now. The bay tree has supplied us with aromatic leaves, though I think the record cold a couple of nights ago may have knocked it back.
Herbs have the added benefit of deterring all sorts of pests and insects from the veg patch, so I will be introducing as many as possible to the veg beds this year in the style of a traditional potager garden.

Rhubarb magically appears
It disappeared last autumn. Gone. No sign.
Retreated below the soil to build up its strength for what started today. The first buds of rhubarb are swelling up ready to yield their acerbic stems.
At the same time, groundsel, red dead-nettle and forget-me-nots have all erupted into flower. Not the largest, or the gaudiest, but providing a delicate beauty. Though these three plants are only welcome in the wilder parts of the garden. At the back of my mind, however, I seem to recollect that red dead-nettle is a companion plant, maybe for potatoes.

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