Winter salad in the unexpected sunshine.

Kale with egg, real bacon, avocado and a beetroot dressing

How strange. But fantastic. Where’s the scummy white liquid that comes out of supermarket bacon? It seems to be missing from this proper bacon from the local butchers. Which is why the bacon is more expensive, but better value, as it shrinks less, and is much better to eat.

Proper bacon, with no added water

Perhaps the new EU regulations that proposes that bacon with more than 5% water added should be labelled ‘bacon wither added water’ might change things. Water is added for one reason: to make more money. It’s like an extra tax on the bacon eater, that goes to the industrial manufacturer’s pocket. Adding the water also means that the bacon now has to be frozen to be sliced. Rapid curing and injections of brine mean that a supermarket rasher could be 50% water.

Proper bacon is a long process, around 5 days dry salt cure and then another 10 days maturing. The quick fix method cuts the maturing time to half that. Not dissimilar the the horrible things that were done to bread with the Chorleywood Process. And continue to be done with pretend bread.

Anyway, minor rant over. Recipes notes in the notebook to follow below. Note the sudden appearance of the neighbours cat when he smelled the bacon in one of the pics.

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Er, it's all about the colours.

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Gratuitous egg pic.

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The neighbour's cat appears after a whiff of bacon.

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Kale, Bacon & Egg sald with beetroot dressing - notes

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Winter salad in the sun.

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Local pork & foraged juniper. And smoked salmon ice cream.

It’s our last day in Devon for a bit. So it’s a final push to find local stuff to cook and eat. The other day Tim wanted to do an oyster dish, but when we spoke with the fishmonger he said there was an ‘oyster drought’. We both looked concerned. Then he added, “I haven’t seen an oyster, since, when was it – Thursday.”

We felt we’d neglected the meat side of things (we’ve got lots of veggie barbecue dishes done here that we haven’t had time to post yet.) So, today it’s rolled rib of pork, from within 6 miles, from one of the excellent local butchers.

When Tim goes into a butcher’s shop he tends to be there quite a while. In our local one at home he’s been known to spend a day there, getting involved and learning to butcher lamb, pork, and beef – separating topside and silverside, and boning a leg of lamb. This gives him the ability to say mysterious things on the phone to me when I’m at work, such as, “I’ve got to go – I’ve got to cut a pig in half.”

Local butchers

The local butchers

Tim will use the juniper from our foraging walk a couple of days ago. And local apples.

Locally foraged juniper

Rolled rib of pork

Cracking crackling

A special variety of blurry apples, with juniper

As a starter, he’s doing an old dinner party favourite – smoked salmon with ice cream and pea shoots. Pea shoots have suddenly become very trendy – they even have their own website: http://www.peashoots.com. And now you can get them in places like Morrison’s down here, and Tim says he’s seen them in Waitrose in Richmond. When he started doing this dish we had to get them from the allotment. Our very short-lived allotment, near Syon park. But that’s another story.

Smoked Salmon ice cream

Smoked salmon, ice cream, avocado puree and pea shoots

Smoked salmon & ice cream

I love pea shoots. All the essence of freshly picked and shelled peas, compressed into a delicate twirly shoot, with a burst of pea freshness when you bite. Though, these supermarket bought ones don’t seem to have the twirly, sprirally ends to them.

Blimey, according to peashoots.com, these little blighters have more vitamin C than blueberries. And 4 times more vitamin A than tomatoes. Though I’m not sure I eat tomatoes for their vitamin A.

After all this healthy antioxidant blueberryness and pea shoot healthiness, I think it’s time to go and re-tox.

Pork loin cooking notes