Swine and Cheese

A passion for Pigs and Food

Archive for the ‘York ham’ 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

Financial Times – 22nd December 2007

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“the Shropshire Black is for people who like strong flavours … they’re the sort of people who gave up on supermarket ham long ago” Beverley Doole

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Written by Sarah

May 1st, 2009 at 4:54 pm

The Guild of Fine Foods Great Taste Awards – 2006

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Gold medal winner – Dukeshill Pancetta

Gold medal winner – Dukeshill York Ham

Gold medal winner – Dukeshill Kassler

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Written by Sarah

May 1st, 2009 at 4:25 pm

Posted in Press & Awards

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