It’s the party season and last night you’ve kicked it hard – and why not? Tis the season and you’ve earnt it…..today though the morning is a foggier, less hospitable place than the night before and you need help, restorative, comforting, warming help, but where to turn for this short cut to wellness?
A big, fat, tasty bacon sarnie – which my friends, is science, as Elin Roberts science development manager at the Centre for Life in Newcastle reported to the UK national press in 2009: “Food doesn’t soak up the alcohol, but it does increase your metabolism – helping you to deal with the after-effects of over-indulgence. So food will often help you feel better. Bread is high in carbohydrates and bacon is full of protein, which breaks down into amino acids.
“Your body needs these amino acids, so eating them will make you feel good. Bingeing on alcohol depletes neurotransmitters too, but bacon contains a high level of amines which tops these up, giving you a clearer head.”
There’s even a scientific formula behind that, oh so, aromatic delight of a bacon butty.
Elin adds: “If you’ve got amino acids and reducing sugars at a heat above 150 degrees centigrade, it kickstarts the Maillard Reaction in the pan. That means lots of lovely smells are released and it’s this which draws us in. I know of three vegetarians who have been broken by the smell of bacon.”
So we can all enjoy ourselves this festive season, safely please (eh? I really am 40 now), knowing that we can help put things right with plenty of fluids and a sizzling pan.
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.
It was back in 2007, when LoveFilm, burst onto the scene, with a simple service of delivering movie rentals through the post. What made the offering so compelling, was not only the huge array of titles on offer, or the price point, but the way that your postman could quite easily deliver your movie rental at the fraction of the price of a traditional courier and certainly more convenient; you didnt have to be in.
The founders of LoveFilm soon sold the company to Amazon, and set their sites on their next goal; Graze.com. Another compelling offer, but this time deliverying all sorts of snacks and treats through the post, the company was soon snapped up by a private equity outfit. The power of Royal Mail is considerable, with their network being able to deliver packages and letters throughout the country overnight. The real trick to getting Royal Mail (or other nationwide postal services) to work for you is to get the weight of your package and dimensions correct so that you can use 1st Class Post for a letter or large letter. For Cure & Simple we use a large letter format, and keep the total weight under 500gms. This enables us to deliver overnight nationwide for under the price of half a pint of larger.
The UK is inundated with fantastic small manufacturers of all types of wonderful foods, who sell their wares throughout a myriad of independant retailers, farmers markets and other regional events. In days gone by unless you happened to live next door to these events being able to experience these foods was problematic. The internet soon filled this gap, and online ordering soon became the norm for these companies to offer their products to a nationwide market. The problem for this is that you either have to buy in bulk or you are hit with a huge courier bill to ship your product to your door. An example, pull up Google, type in “Artisan Bread Online“, select the top link and buy a loaf of “Multi Seed Rye”, go through the checkout process. The product is £2.30 to purchase which seems perfectly reasonable, by the time you get to adding in your card details, the price is over £7.30 for a loaf of bread!! No doubt the producer is also helping to subsidise some of this delivery charge. Suddenly even the most deepest of pockets would struggle to justify the price of a loaf of bread.
Fortunately Cure & Simple, delivery is a straight forward process due to the fact that bacon averages 5mm in thickness and doesnt weigh that much, plenty of other products can also benefit from being delivered by 1st Class Post. What is really needed is a simple method for small producers to be able to ship their products in bulk to a single location overnight, and for consumers to buy multiple artisan items from this single location. The price of delivery is then split between all items in the basket, maybe even on a pro-rata basis. Maybe there is a co-operative out there or an independant artisan retailer who does this already, if you know of any, then please let us know. If their isnt one perhaps the artisan food movement should set one up.
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