Enjoyed my Indian at The Beach Coffee Cafe & Indian by Night at Alexandra Headlands…
Click on the image below to read this page from Weekender, July 22nd 2011:
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Slow Food Noosa recently held a fabulous Nose to Tail Pork Cooking Class at Freestyle Escape in Dulong and what a great day it was.
For those not familiar with the ‘Nose to Tail’ concept, it is essentially utilising as much of the beast as possible; offal, scraps for sausages, fat, head, even the blood. In this instance there was the added bonus of the pig being raised free range on the Sunshine Coast, so it also served to reduce food miles, and allowing the pig to be raised in an ethical and humane way by Johnno, who spoilt this little piglet with sprouted barley grain during his short life.
If you would like to read more about this, visit this previous post:
It has been interesting to me, people’s attitude with regards to the Nose to Tail concept. Some embrace the idea wholeheartedly, while others find it all too confronting; they are happy to eat meat, but they don’t want to put a face or a heartbeat to it.
This is my take:
I think the whole paddock to plate, nose to tail concept quite beautiful. We have beautiful creatures, that are bred to be destined of the dinner plate, but rather than just dealing with the end product, the meat, we are reconnecting with the origin of the meat, honouring the process in which they are raised as well as the beast, by utilising as much of the beast as possible and respecting the life of that beast until it reaches the dinner plate. This equates to very little waste, of life, and of product.
Additionally this little pig was raised in the most humane of ways – what could be more beautiful than that? No squalid conditions, no tail docking and teeth trimming, no nutrition depleted fodder. If all meat could come to our plates with the same origins, I would be a very happy person and my work would be done.
Unfortunately to bring meat to the table in this way is not an easy task, nor is it an inexpensive one, which makes events such as these all the more precious if you get an opportunity to participate.
Our day started with Peter Wolfe (Cedar Creek Farm) and Katrina Ryan (Slow Food Noosa and Spirit House Cooking School) taking us through the motions of portioning the whole pork carcass into its various cuts. Then the fun began.
Katrina and Peter, the set about creating some magical dishes:
Betel Leaves with Sticky Pork
Pork Satays with Peanut Sauce and Cucumber Relish
Roast Loin of Pork
Spanish Blood Pudding
Vietnamese Sausage in Banana Leaf
Home Style Pork and Fennel Sausages
Opal Miners Game Sausage
Red Braised pork belly with star anise and cassia
Sweet and Sour Leeks, Braised French Style Lentils, Roast Vegetables with Rosemary and Green Salad
Macerated Oranges with Almond Praline
Now Peter, along with his amazing cheffing skills, had served some time as a butcher, working in an abattoir, so he had an amazing amount of knowledge to share, and a few tricky little tips that made the whole process a lot easier. Also a few very interesting tales were told as well.
Peter had brought along quite the unique contraption in the way of a 100 year old cast iron sausage machine which he had borrowed from a friend who had in turn borrowed it from a friend. I was quite envious at this point, kind of wishing that I was in fact the guardian of this sausage machine, it was quite the beauty.
Then came the interesting part, mincing the lesser cuts and combining the ingredients, first for the normal sausages, then for the blood sausages all of which were filled using Peter’s unique contraption. He also used both natural pig gut casings and collagen casings – and there were a few tips and tricks involved with that process as well. I was not alone in Peter having my total and undivided attention through the durations of this exercise.
Peter also made a Vietnamese sausage which was steamed in a banana leaf, which was pretty yummy, I might add.
A whole rib roast was rolled beautifully and placed in the oven to roast.
Meanwhile Katrina was working with some helpers to make a delicious sticky pork belly dish and the components to some of the other dishes.
Now I had never been a fan of pork trotters, until, quite inexplicably I craved them when I was pregnant, and we have been firm friends ever since. I still remember my friends being horrified when I cooked them up as I guess it is not standard fare. So I was intrigued to see Peter gather his group and have removing the main bone of the trotter, and stuff them with a savoury mince. Once securely tied, they were steamed and then roasted in the wood fired oven which had been fired up to keep us warm on this very cold winter’s day. They were delicious.
At the end of it all we enjoyed the most fabulous pork banquet where we were able to sample our treats. The pork sausages were kept for a picnic day to follow and Katrina took the pig’s head home to cook into pork brawn. I remember my dad doing that as a kid. I can’t say that I have been a fan of pork brawn either, but I would almost be interested to try again, this time with an adults palate as I felt the same way about blood sausages, but the ones that Peter cooked up were amazing, so I am definitely converted there.
I have to say, it was a fabulous day – and so interesting, I found Peter’s knowledge absolutely captivating and Katrina wove her own kind of magic as well with the dishes that she created.
There was also the satisfaction of knowing that we had honoured our food to the highest degree and learnt skills that, with the disassociation to our food source, we are slowly loosing. While I don’t deny, dealing with a whole beast is confronting, I truly believe that if more of us made this reconnection to our food sources, we would think twice about being wasteful and ignorant of the conditions in which these animals are cared for.
Thank you Slow Food Noosa, for this amazingly worthwhile initiative.
To view piccies of this day visit:
For more information about Slow Food Noosa and upcoming events visit: http://www.slowfoodnoosa.com/
This post was posted by Petra Frieser – Local Harvest
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