I’m not doing very well with my holiday reading, which is no fault of the book and more to do with fine weather and lots of things to do. After last year’s Cod, this year I am following up with Mark Kurlansky’s Salt: A World History, which is particularly appropriate given the proximity to several salt producers, and also the town of Brouage, which had much of its early development funded by the salt trade.
Mark’s fascinating book contains all sorts of recipes using salt, so I thought it would make a good basis for this week’s Friday Five. Pass the salt please!
* The Smoking & Curing Book by Paul Peacock – No need to panic, this will show you how can easily knock up your very own smoker out of a dustbin. Presumably not a plastic one or one that the council own! You also get easy to follow step-by-step guides to smoking and curing meat, poultry, game, fish and cheese, plus over 100 recipes for both cures and brines. Get making prize hams for Christmas now!
* Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking & Curing by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn – something we’re getting very familiar with on our sojourn to France. Expanding from the original definition around pork products, it now term encompasses a large range of possibilities, most of which involve salting, cooking, smoking and drying. Here the authors have expanded the definition even further to include anything preserved or prepared ahead such as rillettes, confit, pickles and sauerkraut. I would want to try the crab, scallop and saffron terrine but would probably start with spicy smoked almonds. I like that the recipes are described as “intriguing to professionals and accessible to home cooks”. Sounds perfect.
* Manual of a Traditional Bacon Curer by Maynard Davies – Mr Davies is the last of the traditional bacon apprentice-boys, and now retired as a master-curer. Up until researching these books, I had no idea there were such things but here he shares his lifetime’s knowledge of the art of smoking and curing. Benefit from his experience of how it used to be done, from choosing the best raw ingredients, to building your own smokehouse, to the secrets of making the best sausage. With 60 years of expertise to pass on, this should guarantee great results, and a fascinating read. No wonder he’s one of Rick Stein’s food heroes.
* Making Artisan Cheese: Fifty Fine Cheeses That You Can Make in Your Own Kitchen by Tim Smith – Ah yes, artisan cheese, something else that’s been a feature of the last 10 days. This book gives you instructions to make your own, which you could then give away as great foodie gifts, or just keep the good stuff yourself! And you can’t make great cheese without salt really, so does fit this category. This is not a sideline for Tim Smith off the Steve Wright Show, but Tim Smith cheese authority and international cheese buyer who lives, makes cheese and writes in Connecticut. Just so we’re clear!
* Keeping the Harvest: Preserving Your Fruits, Vegetables and Herbs, Canning, Jams and Jellies, Freezing, Pickling, Drying, Curing, Cold Storage by Nancy Thurber, Gretchen Mead and Nancy Chioffi – Winner of this week’s longest title award, this covers freezing, canning, jams, jellies, pickles, relishes, brine curing, and drying vegetables, fruits, and berries. Which means you’ve got just about everything covered across all these titles.
My salt consumption has definitely gone up since we got here, but I think I am consuming mine all in the form of salted caramel, one of the most divine creations ever. Particularly in the form of ice cream. Hoping it catches on in the UK really soon. Edd Kimber is trying his best, check out his recipe for Salted Caramel and Chocolate Popcorn Bars. Will definitely be giving these a go when I get home!