Archive for May, 2014

Growing at a rate!

May 20, 2014

I shared a photo of the newly hatched pigeon squab the other day …

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And now this is the same bird just one week later!  The unhatched egg gives a good size comparison.  🙂

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It just seems amazing to me to watch it grow SO fast.  Can you imagine that it fit in an egg that size a week ago?

 

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Smoking!

May 18, 2014

This week Lydia organised the building of a smoke house for us, so that we could cold smoke some hams from the pig we processed the week before.  (Only one pig left now!)  Yesterday we tried it out, and though the fire box will need some tweaking it did the job just fine.

Smokehouse

The hams had previously been cured in a salt and glucose brine and here they are being cold smoked, along with one of my home made cheddars.

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Our brine cure was a simple 2 litres of water, 3/4 cup salt, 4 teaspoons pink salt (insta cure #1) and 2 cups glucose (also called dextrose – in order to go along with the “sugar-free” diet we are currently trying).  The hams were kept in the brine in the fridge for 2 lb or 900gm per day.  As it turned out this was not quite enough and the cure did not reach completely into the centre of some of the hams, leaving some of the sliced ham with pale roast pork colour instead of the usual pink.  This doesn’t really matter as mostly the flavour is there, however another recipe I read later suggested 1″ thickness of ham per day.  I will do them a bit longer next time.

When they came out of the cure, the hams were sat in the fridge for a day to dry in preparation for the cold smoking.  We smoked them for 6 hours which seems to have given them a good amount of smokey flavour.

After the smoking they get cooked.  We baked ours until they reached 150°F in the centre and thereafter they could be sliced and eaten!  Yum.  The family find them particularly delicious when hot, and the first one I cooked to try it out almost disappeared in an evening as a rather more-ish snack.  The rest are now waiting for me to slice them up and store them away.

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The taste is delicious though the texture is a bit different from store bought ham and is perhaps reminiscent of corned beef.  I’m not sure why, perhaps it is the pigs age or the fact that they free range, however it does not affect our enjoyment of the product.  Kim wants us to try the old fashioned dry cured ham now, so we can hang it up outside for a few months instead of using the fridge and freezer.

New arrivals

May 14, 2014

I know that it was a swan that was supposed to be ugly when it was fresh hatched – as in the ugly duckling – but I’m not sure if it could hold a candle to a squab!  Those eye bulges are really not attractive.

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This little fellow hatched late on Monday.  We are still hoping that the second egg is just running late as it has not hatched yet.
Pigeons
We bought some squab pigeons a month or so ago, supposedly 3 male and 3 female, but sadly there was only 2 girls and one turned up her toes shortly after getting her home.  😦   However the remaining female paired off and quickly sorted a nest and laid the customary two eggs.  We will have to find some more females but it is a long trip to Hobart where they all came from.
Meanwhile we are still waiting for Twinkles the house cow to produce her second calf.  She was due 8 days ago and I keep expecting to find a new calf at foot when I go out feed up each morning, but she is taking her time.  I shouldn’t rush her as it will be back to daily milking again once the calf arrives, and it has been pleasant taking a couple of months off from that chore.  It will be nice to have the milk again though.