19 February 2007

Last night we did the Copa...

The Copa is our favourite home made charcuterie. Our neighbours Guy and Chantal showed us how to make it last year. In the photo above I've spiked and pushed whole grains of coloured pepper into the meat and wrapped the meat in string and rubbed finely ground pepper over the whole thing. (Pepper kindly supplied by our friends Yan who run a spice company from Bourrou.

We'll leave the rolled Copa outside for four weeks to dry in the air.

This one was made last year, it was wonderful.

This year's will be less fatty and to make it last longer than the last one, the cunning plan this time is to hide it when we have guests.

More photographs and information on preparing pig meat for storage can be found in one of my Flickr sets on preparing pig meat. Roll your mouse over the small photos to get a commentary and if you want a slideshow, click on "slideshow" (top, left). You can reduce the timing between each photo to a second if your tea's getting cold.

18 February 2007

Preparing our pig meat for 2007

It's that time of the year again and although it's with very mixed feelings, we're pleased to be able to eat meat prepared from our pigs who have had an open-air and happy life.

The chops and a few of the best cuts for grilling on the barbeque went straight into the freezer, but we try to have as much as we can prepared for storing by salting and either air drying or smoking.

We also prepared a lot of paté, rolled meat and grattons to be sterilised in as "ready meals" in Kilner jars. Here are some of the jars after they came out of the boiler. We spent all weekend cutting and tying and boiling and packing, and cleaning the kitchen took a while too! The results are well worth it and now we've got enough pork to last at least a year.

It's nice not having to go out shopping to buy lardons, bacon, sausages, black pudding, jambon, pork chops etc. and we've enough rolled pork skin to make gallons of soup. The taste of the meat is superb and of course, nothing was wasted.

Merci Marçel.

8 February 2007

History lessons from a metal detecting friend.

Roman coin found in Bourrou by Fabrice's Grandmother
Roman coin Carus, found in Bourrou by Fabrice's Grandmother

Some friends of ours (our tenants Yan and Estelle) have gone to Thailand for a few months and left a friend of theirs Mickael, here to look after their dogs.

He's a passionate forager (of the metal detector kind) and he's found a lot of interesting things on our land.

This coin was found by Fabrice's grandmother (Who was born in Bourrou) and Michael's identified it as a coin minted in 282BC during the reign of Carus, a Roman emperor. I've never been interested in this kind of thing, but over the past month or so, we've learned an amazing amount about the history of our area.

Here are some links to help you find out more about Carus: