Swine and Cheese

A passion for Pigs and Food

Archive for the ‘Dukeshill’ tag

Berkshire, Tamworth and Gloucester Old Spot pork

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If you are easily upset then look away now! I realise I never reported back about the taste of the finished product aka Tallulah, Lola and Oinky, our Berkshire, Tamworth and Gloucester Old Spot pigs respectively. Incidentally I have just posted a picture of the deerhound who took a keen interest in Tallulah in the Pig Diary (“Tallulah’s first suitor” episode). I’ve got to admit that it took about a month after their slaughter before I felt like eating any of them. From the image of how they returned from the abattoir you’ll see why I was a little upset especially as it was still obvious who was who. I remember when I was working at the Malton Bacon Factory back in the eighties I started working in the lairage for the first month and as a result I couldn’t eat any pork for that month. It was the association with a living animal that makes it so hard, and especially when you’ve got to know them so well. As before it was bacon that got me back on track again!

From L to R: Tallulah, Oinky and Lola

From L to R: Tallulah, Oinky and Lola

The overriding issue with all three animals has been the enormous amount of fat. How they had enough muscle to support themselves I do not know but Neale and I realise that we severely messed up with the balanced feeding programme. I suspect it was all those treacle puddings. With our next batch of pigs we will be much stricter with what we give them. All three types have tasted delicious but as we still haven’t compared them side by side it is difficult to say, hand on heart, which of the three has the best flavour. Glyn, our Dukeshill butcher, whose opinion I value highly particularly enjoyed the Tamworth shoulder joint we gave him saying it was one of the best pieces of pork he had tasted. Considering he has been in the pig trade for 45 years it must be good. One of the things I’ve noticed with all three types is the skin crackles exceptionally well. Also the fat has that lovely slight yellow tinge to it and every cut has been meltingly tender.

The faggots Neale and Glyn produced using their hearts and livers and lungs (lights as they are known in the trade) and the caul fat were absolutely delicious. They produced about 72 faggots from the three pigs based on our Dukeshill recipe. Neale and Glyn also produced sausages using the intestines, minced pork and fat, chorizo and flitches of bacon (which we have now hanging in our larder) and dry cured several of the legs resulting in delicious York ham. We were also left with numerous joints and chops, belly, tenderloin, ribs, kidneys, trotters. Not one bit of each pig was wasted, we felt we owed them that much with the exception of the heads and obviously the blood as we weren’t present at the killing. Neale really didn’t like seeing the heads of his three pigs bobbing up and down in the curing brine looking up at him, it was too much to bear so the brawn never got made! Hugh Fearnley-Whittingshall would be horrified with us.

A Tallulah/Berkshire flitch

A Tallulah/Berkshire flitch

At the moment I’m trying out several recipes to use up the pork so I will report back on those in due course but I do think that for a superior flavour, when it comes to unalduterated pork, free range, rare breeds such as ours take some beating. Less so with dry cured hams and sausages etc. where the subtle flavour is masked by the salt in the case of the ham and seasoning in the case of the sausages. In fact the commercial breeds of pig are better suited for the dry cured hams we make at Dukeshill in terms of conformity. I know we would get numerous complaints about the fattiness of the hams if we were to use these breeds (even when fed correctly!) and as I’ve just said the flavour differences would be indistinguishable.

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Written by Sarah

January 24th, 2010 at 1:58 pm

London visit

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My company Dukeshill supplies most of the well known food halls in London with our hams, sausages, bacon and steamed puddings so we go there quite often to visit the buyers and do demonstrations in store and just to generally check out the competition/current vogues/markets etc.. On a recent visit we were lucky enough to be doing York ham sampling during a charity event in Piccadilly in aid of cancer research. The evening was really fun with lots of celebrities, although Neale and I are useless when it comes to recognising them, and the customers were delightful. The store looked fabulous and in fact they had spent a small fortune supplying the delicious canapes and champagne which were in ample supply. The guest speaker was Ronnie Corbett, who being vertically challenged had to speak from the top of the staircase! Sadler Wells ballet performed as did some talent show person who again neither Neale or I had heard of but no doubt is making Simon Cowell even richer (one of the benefits of living in the sticks!). We eventually finished around 10pm so staggered off into Soho feeling ravenous and thirsty. Our first stop was Bourne & Hollingsworth, a small basement room/bar which is like entering “Aunty Doris’s” front parlour. Absolutely charming venue with a brilliant DJ, lively 20-30 something crowd and yummy cocktails. Neale managed to blag our way into the private party by telling the doorman that he was related to the Hollingsworth of Bourne & Hollingsworth, which incidentally he is. We finally ended up in a lovely Tapas bar called Barrafina only after Neale had been propositioned by a transvestite (he had been walking too fast so was several yards ahead of me – serves him right) in front of five bouncers who found it hilarious especially when Neale declared he was with me and the trannie remarked “are you sure?”. I’d forgotten how good tapas can be especially as a late night snack accompanied by light beer or cocktails.

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Written by Sarah

December 17th, 2009 at 5:39 pm

D – DAY

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I can’t begin to tell you the sadness you feel when the culmination of the whole project has to come to its awful conclusion as far as the living creatures are concerned. After writing last weeks blog Neale announced on Monday that he had booked our three rare breed pigs in at the very reputable small abattoir in Leintwardine for the 7th July, today. So I delayed writing the blog until I had said my farewells. It is incredibly hard to not feel a huge twinge of sadness and betrayal when you send animals you personally cared for to their deaths. I know as soon as we receive the three carcases and heads I will be fascinated to follow the butchery which is being done by our wonderful Dukeshill butcher Glyn. But right now I’m not happy because I really will miss them. Just like the wonderful Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall I have fallen in love with all things pig. I was already a huge fan because of what we can do with a pig here at Dukeshill but the actual pig keeping was a whole new experience.

Awkward angle shot due to pushing & shoving by pigs

Awkward angle shot due to pushing & shoving by pigs

 

 

Loading them onto the immaculate trailer we had hired wasn’t too hard despite Lola making a getaway across the chickens’ field. After a circuit she was exhasted so thankfully resorted to a huge troughful of food cleverly placed at the back of the trailer. Oinky, the Gloucester Old Spot, true to his breeds nature was the first to get in and just calmly walked straight into the trailer, followed by the sprightly Lola. Tallulah, the Berkshire, true to form wasn’t having any of it and took ages to coax in however her greediness got the better of her and finally she just had to get to the trough.

Interestingly after Neale had confirmed the kill date with the abattoir he then estimated their weights by measuring their length and girth. He had been told that pigs kept for just three months from weaners i.e. 6 months old would weigh about 55-60 kilos. Imagine his surprise and mine when we discovered that Tallulah the Berkshire was a whopping 84 kilos, Lola the Tamworth about 75 kilos, and Oinky the Gloucester Old Spot 63 kilos. We await the unkind comments from the abattoir when they say they are possibly the fattiest pigs they have come across. I suspect it might have been something to do with all those treacle puddings!

At least our rare breed piggies had a wonderful short life. Yesterday I passed a lorry on the M6 going through spaghetti junction with pigs crammed inside and I can guarantee ours in their Rolls Royce style trailer had a far nicer end than those poor pigs. As sad as I am today I don’t regret the experience at all. R.I.P. Tallulah, Lola and Oinky.

From L to R: Tallulah, Lola and Oinky

From L to R: Tallulah, Lola and Oinky

 

 

Watch out for the Berkshire vs Tamworth vs Gloucester Old Spot pork taste tests.

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Written by Sarah

July 7th, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Six Foot Cumberland Cartwheel

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bbq-2

Cumberland Cartwheel

Dukeshill have just launched what must be the largest available sausage, the amazing six foot Cumberland Cartwheel.

New for this summer and in particular for the BBQ season they have used their Cumberland sausage recipe using outdoor reared British pork, herbs and black pepper filled into a natural sheeps casing to produce a meaty and exceedingly tasty sausage.

The six foot sausage is curled and the resulting diameter is approximately 10″ which fits perfectly on a BBQ grill or in a large frying pan. No more fiddling around to retrieve sausages from the coals!

The Cumberland Cartwheel feeds 4-6 people and weighs 1kg and is available exclusively from Dukeshill.

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Written by sarahh7282

May 13th, 2009 at 11:59 am

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Potted Ham Hock

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Dukeshill Potted Ham Hock

Dukeshill Potted Ham Hock

I have got to tell you about a wonderful product Neale and Nick have come up with at Dukeshill, potted ham hock. The ham hocks are cured by immersion in a Wiltshire cure brine for a minimum of two weeks followed by a slow cook of 12 hours to produce the tenderest ham and magical stock. To this a generous amount of brandy is added and the stock reduced before being used to set the shredded ham. This wonderful potted ham hock has just been launched by Dukeshill and is available through their website.

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Written by sarahh7282

May 5th, 2009 at 7:39 pm

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