If there’s one food I love as much as smallgoods, it’s Cheese! Some years ago I did a cheese making class with Sheree from Udder Delights, and every now and then when my work and bacon commitments allow it, I whip up a batch of fetta or camembert. It’s not bad, but it’s not brilliant…think i’ll stick to making bacon.
Sheree, her husband Saul, and her dad Trevor own and run Udder Delights, an artisan cheese factory in the Adelaide Hills. They make a full range of goats and cows milk cheese….their Ashed Chèvre is a personal favourite of mine. Sheree got in touch with me on the website, and offered to trade 3kg of cheese, for a kilo of my bacon. Unlike mine, their cheese is delicious and I buy it all the time, so this was a pretty simple ‘yes’.
I dropped in to the Udder Delights Cheese Cellar in the main street of Hahndorf a few weeks back, to catch up with Sheree and to trade some bacon for cheese. She whipped me up a huge box of Chèvre, Brie, Cheddar, Fetta and their Heysen Blue….have a look at the photos.
As for the bacon, Sheree got a mix of two different cures, both full rashers of middle bacon.
The first was cured with salt, dark brown sugar, curing salt and a good slug of maple syrup, which produced a a sweet, Canadian style bacon. I’ve made maple bacon before, and found it to be a little on the sweet side, so this time I scaled back the maple syrup content, and was pretty happy with the result…just enough to get a hint of maple, but not so much that you lose all the savoury notes in the bacon. I think I can now lock in the maple bacon recipe.
I got a little creative with the second cure….CHAI BACON. I’ve found through experimenting with some cures at home, that strong spices like pepper and cinnamon really come through in the bacon, plus i’ve never heard of anyone making chai bacon. To my basic cure of salt, dark brown sugar and curing salt, I added cardamom, black & white pepper, cinnamon and cloves. The result was surprisingly tasty….fragrant, floral and sweet. I’ll wait to see what others think of it, who knows, this might become a regular thing.
Both had about four hours of light smoking with chestnut wood from my mate Dave’s backyard. The wood was about eight months old, and gave a pretty nice and even smoke. I’m not too sure about the flavour though, it was a bit bland for me. If i use it again it’ll be mixed with another wood.
Pork – Middle cut (loin to belly)
Origin – Unknown
Cure – 500g x maple-cure + 500g x chai-cure
Length of cure – 7 days
Smoke – 4 hours with chestnut wood