Has been a while since this video was shot, and for Stephen and myself we are certainly more weathered however the inspiration is still the same as it was on day one. This video brings back some very happy memories of the joy we had in rearing the pigs, alas this has now gone as we were unable to keep up with the demand. Today our pork comes from 3 different farms throughout East Anglia. All of which have the highest welfare, which in turn provides the source of a gorgeous air dried bacon.
Why do we give people presents ? There are psychological reasons why giving and receiving can be beneficial to both parties, it makes you feel happier knowing you’ve brightened someone’s day. Not only that, we are social creatures and enjoy each other’s company and we can express our feelings by bestowing presents on others be it an expression of love… Read more →
The Bonus of Bacon How many times have you heard the expression “ Bacon is bad for you “ ? I know I have far too many times, so with this in mind, I took it upon myself to see if it’s actually true and was incredibly relieved to find that it’s not. Fantastic news for all bacon lovers… Read more →
There are actually too many reasons why people have been signing up to our subscription, artisan bacon to list, unless I write something which would resemble a thesis, I’ve managed to nail it down to the top 10, not an easy feat by any means ! 1; The quality of our bacon. Every loin (cut of meat) is lovingly cured… Read more →
With Autumn upon us it was time to dig out the big stove pot & make a casserole, a bacon casserole naturally, here follows the recipe though the weights & measures are very approximate as the Bacon Wizard I am not, much more a smoosh it in the pan all together making it up as I go along sort of cook, but judging by the second bowls everyone went for here at Bacon Towers the results were all the tastier for it.
Serves 4 (It turns out I made enough for 10 so have just tried to dial down the amounts)
- 4 leeks thickly, sliced
- 1 onion thickly, sliced
- 2 large carrots, chopped
- 2 large sweet potatoes, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 200gms pearl barley
- 1 litre chicken stock
- 1 dollop of butter
- 1 slosh of olive oil
- 1 packet bacon snipped into smallish pieces
(I found these in ‘Lady P’s Pantry’)
- Sea salt
- Celery salt
- Fennel seeds
- Ground cumin
In a frying pan heated with the butter and olive oil I fried the bacon- in this case it was one of our flavours in development ‘Jamaican Jerk’- over a medium heat until the fat just started to colour. I then added the leeks, onion and garlic & stir fried for another few minutes.
I then transferred this to the pre-warmed stove pot and added the pearl barley, sweet potato, chicken stock so that it was nearly covered and extras. This simmered for about 45mins with occasional stirring, tasting and adjusted ‘extras’ until the stock had been nearly fully absorbed by the barley.
I popped a lid on it to let it sit for five minutes or so & served up big dollops of it with crusty bread.
To my mind it would have been significantly improved with the afternoon off and a clutch of scrumpy cider, but our accountant’s a devil for wanting accurate information so that idea had to be parked. For now.
A cliché perhaps, but one thing we have learnt here at Cure and Simple, there is no substitute for a bit of patience and perseverance in creating something fabulous. Whether it is a skilled joiner, furniture maker, tailor or even curer, a quality handmade process cannot be beaten by a machine, at heart that is what artisan means.
For us patience is required in bucket loads to create our bacon. From Pork to Bacon through your door, our process takes just over 3 weeks. While this creates a problem for us in regards to supply, this is easily outweighed by the flavour we get from a process that takes this long. The actual process of curing takes anywhere between 8-12 days. When we say curing this is when we immerse the loins in salt and all the flavours that make up each of the recipes. With the loin being turned every few days to ensure the cure is spread evenly across the whole loin. The time taken is purely dependant on the size of the loin, the thicker the piece the longer time, the smaller the piece the shorter the time.
Once the curing time has elapsed we hang the loins to dry in a humidity controlled environment, with a gentle breeze flowing over the loins. The purpose of this is to draw out more of the moisture from the loin. Not only does this help preserve the bacon but also draw out some of the more subtle flavours that we use in the curing process. Finally the slicing and packaging of the product is carried out.
In 3 weeks, we have taken a piece of raw meat and converted into a fully preserved food all with a bit of patience, (and some salt and air). For those who have made bacon at home, you wonder what the differences are to the process described above and what you have done. In essence not a great deal, a lot more record keeping, a controlled environment for the pork to be transformed into bacon and demonstration of best practises to those that need to know i.e. Local health authorities.
We know that with this traditional hands on approach you end up with a far superior product to that what is commonly available in the shops. So if you don’t want to try some of our own bacons why not give it a go and make your own:
1) Go to your local butcher and ask for a kilo or two of pork loin (Ask them to remove the bones and rind), not a requirement but makes a life easier later on.
2) For every KG of Pork you need
- 30gms salt (flakier the better we find)
- 15gms sugar
- 10gms of any herbs and spices
- 2.5gm of Cure #1, (buy Cure #1 at http://bit.ly/1kzFzFE )
3) Mix all the ingredients together and rub into the pork
4) Once rubbed in, place the pork in a non-metallic container in the fridge for 10 days
5) Turn the pork every other day, and pour off any of the liquid, try not to remove any of the salt flakes that haven’t dissolved if so add the some new salt back in to the cure as you poured out, but rubbing back into the loin.
6) Once 1o days is up, run the loin under a cold tap briefly and pat dry with a clean cotton towel
7) You now have bacon and can slice with a sharp knife and enjoy straight away.
8) Alternatively you can let this hang for a few days in a cool dry area, garden shed or similar, best to wrap fully in muslin so the flies don’t get at it.
9) If a white mould appears then simply wash of with some vinegar, it is perfectly harmless.
10) Slice with a sharp knife and enjoy.
Back in 2008 a group of friends decided it would be a good idea to keep some pigs in the English countryside, to fatten up and fill up the freezer. The premise of the idea was syndicated pork, I.E. a syndicate would share the risks, rewards and efforts in growing some tasty pigs. Any profits would be then shared amongst the syndicate. Six Gloucester Old Spot weaners arrived in May and took a one way ticket to the abbatoir in October. A crash course from the local butcher enabled the syndicate to feast on this most delicious of meat, safe in the knowledge that the quality of the product was directly influenced by its own efforts. It was through the summer of 2008, that a fascination with all things pork began for one member of the syndicate.
Fast forward 5 years to January 2013, and Charlie Pyper who had carved out a career in media and technology was chatting to a great friend and foodie Tom Kevill-Davies (aka The Hungry Cyclist) about a crazy idea, bacon by subscription shipped in the post. As quick as a flash Tom suggests that the brand should be called “Cure & Simple”. Truly inspirational! With a name like that this one idea could not be left to fester with all the other great ideas, this had to be done.
Over the next few months while making the transition from the tech and media world to full time bacon manufacturer, the idea developed further. Charlie knew lots about making bacon already through much trial and error over the past 5 years with Pig Club, but on a commercial scale this was something totally new and daunting. With the careful guidance of Jasper Akroyd (aka The Bacon Wizard), the recipes soon developed over the summer of 2013. A site was found for the making of the bacon, an Old Tractor Shed in the village of Great Hormead, in rural Hertfordshire which needed to be fully developed. While the facility was developed, a brand was developed, a website was designed, a whole application was built to underpin the whole subscription process, packaging was designed, suppliers were chosen and nearly 16 months after the original idea, Cure & Simple opened for business.
The purpose of this blog is to share the insights into what we do at Cure & Simple and why we do it! Every aspect is open to discussion and not just about the products we serve to our customers. We want to share our philosphy with you, on making the best bacon and the making of a modern company