After going to the shops this ‘winterval‘ to stock up on feasting goodies decided to have a go at curing my own pork and turning it into ham after being quoted ham by the slice. Yet for some reason pork is still dead cheap.
So how hard is it to cure ham. Have you got a bucket and some salt? Then you are done.
Take your bit of pork. Any bit will do, but the leg joint (without the bone is probably best). Stick this in a clean bucket and cover with brine (2 litre of water to 300g of salt). Put a plate on top to make sure the brine completely covers you joint. The pork will cure into ham at the rate of about 1kg a day or so. Keep the bucket somewhere cold (outside in a shed perhaps). Wait until it is cured and Bobs your uncle, ham for the same price as pork and a bit of salt. How hard is it?
Yesterday I beheaded a lamb, then proceeded to roast and eat the whole thing, with a little help from ‘the pub’. It is not often that we have organised get togethers here in Samodiva but to celebrate my survival of 3 years in the village without upsetting too many people I thought I would try.
The lamb was chosen from a field of 50, I say chosen, it was the slowest in trying to get away, we then slaughtered and butchered it between me and Ilyas (my knife wielding neighbour), which all in only took 20 mins. My knowledge of sheep anatomy is now quite good. There was not much left for the dogs to munch on. The intestines, stomach, liver, heart, and kidneys are all eaten – not my cup of tea, but each to there own. I then took ‘larry’ the lamb in to the local town of Djebel where he was placed in the bakeries oven and slow roasted until needed later. The slaughtering had to be done quite early in the morning as the temperature rockets to 35C by 10:00am.
A few invites were passed round the village, including two sheep farmers, you would have thought they would be sick of the sight of lamb, but seemed quite impressed with preparation none the less.
Between the 10 of us we managed to get through the whole lamb so I think I will be vegetarian for the next few days! Too much of a good thing. I didn’t mention much the 3-0 scoreline in Sofia on Friday, or the fact that Turkey only managed a draw at home to Kazakhstan!
Just for Elsa thought I would post this, he does have his own tractor you know! Doesn’t Ilyas look happy with his scheming?
Today is ‘Korban Bayram’. The muslim festival of sacrifice. I am no expert so if I get the details wrong I apologise in advance! The village of Samodiva in southern Bulgaria has come to a standstill today as the festivities begin. I was invited and attended the sacrifice of one cow, two goats and a sheep. Ilyas my neighbour was kind enough to give me a leg of goat to take home with me as well.
I will not be putting pictures up of the butchering process as I didn’t take any, and if you need to know what happens just use google images and search for ‘halal butchers’. Coming from the UK where the process has been hidden away and meat only comes in plastic wrapped ready to eat portions would probably make watching this process turn quite a few people in to vegatarians. I on the other hand have no problem eating meat, and therefore believe that if I can eat it I should be able to do the slaughtering as well.
It is quite a fascinating process, especially from a biological point of view. As each part of the animal was removed I was given a Bulgarian and Turkish translation and told whether or not it was good eating.
There is not a lot left for the dog! Just about everything is used and nothing wasted. Normally after the sacrifice has taken place the liver is cooked and eaten as by all accounts this is the best time to do it. Later on this evening a food festival will take place to which I have been invited. My next door neighbour ‘Chernol’ has insisted that I go round even if only to get some free food. I tried as hard as I could not to accept, but it got to the stage where it was implied that if I didn’t accept offence would be taken. So I will not be cooking this evening and look forward very much to feast!