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Pork Talk

Follow my blog for recipes, thoughts and ideas on charcuterie.


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By Rachel Hammond, Nov 4 2015 05:05PM

I need to expand

As a self- taught butcher – and even rarer – a female butcher – my passion is to make and teach charcuterie. I am reviving traditional skills and recipes as well as planning to create 2 part time & full-time jobs.

Up until now, it has been only me – but I now need to expand, and to employ one or two members of staff as well as to create a dedicated professional butchery workshop. In this inspiring place, I will work and teach my classes in artisan charcuterie in pork, mutton, game and poultry; butchery, curing, smoking, and salami making.

Crowd-funding the next step - read more about my campaign.

Do share, and consider supporting me - there are lots of great perks to enjoy!.

As a one-woman start up, I have had an amazing adventure so far, pushing myself into a new career direction (I was an unhappy IT commuter in London) and also getting great advice and making new friends along the way. I have put everything I have into my business so I am crowd-funding this next step, and I want to share this exciting development, while I grow my lovely local business!

The new premises - Ayton Castle - The Old Potting Sheds

I have searching for the right building for a long while but and I have been lucky to recently acquire a lease on something perfect - beautiful old stone potting sheds in the grounds of Ayton Castle – a few miles from my home base, where I can ride my bicycle to work.

This is a fantastic opportunity to use these lovely old stone buildings as my dedicated butchery - as it has been many years they were “alive”, so you can imagine there is some work to be done before I can start making bacon there!

The team at the castle have already done huge of work, transforming the sheds from derelict, but now I need to make it into a proper butchery. Plastering, painting, new plumbing, electricals, a proper floor and some “new” second-hand kit to help make work more productive for the future.

My crowd funding campaign...

By Rachel Hammond, Oct 28 2015 01:03PM

Scotland is a land of pines and clear fresh expanses of country, rocks and sparkling rivers.

The single best way to reflect this in my charcuterie is to add juniper.

It belongs in wild venison salami where I rough grind it so there are tiny “hits” of flavour is some mouthfuls. Woody, crisp, sweet and fresh. It is also in ham cures, guanciale crusts, rillettes and confits and as the perfect foil for the rich smokey buttery reestit mutton gigot, made from native breed sheep, which is the Scottish "prosciutto".

The pine quality of juniper is best enjoyed when fresh and just crushed; it has an astringent quality that is very Nordic and seems to resonate with hard-wired, deep memories of these colder climes where ice and frost dull the sense of smell, and yet eternally juniper cuts through. That is, unless it becomes extinct; the Scottish juniper is at serious threat from a fungus and over-grazing. It is a distinctive scent which delivers a real sense of location.

There is a spectrum of sensory complexity in juniper which makes it so desirable; some of the the aromatic chemicals are called terpenes, these volatile compounds are found in many European pines and also in the essential oil of Rosemary, which is not such a surprise.

Also in juniper are scents that contribtue to eucalpytus oil and orange peel oil. Others compaounds are found in many medicinal mints, sweet basil, hops and cannabis, another has an aroma similar to lilac, and is found in lapsang souchong tea too, many others have the typical pine-like aroma.

Black pepper and nutmeg are also linked by a scent-family bonds to juniper, as is limonene, which has a "bright" orange scent (so beloved of the ultra natural, neo-cosmetics companies). Other relatives are camphor (a tree from the same family as cinnamon) and nerol, which is a fresh, sweet rose scent also found in lemongrass.

So a headily exotic mix, all from a tiny berry on an unspectacular bush in the woods.

Scottish juniper is recognised as having its own distinctive quality and scent, not least by the authors of “Gin: The Art and Craft of the Artisan Revival” and this, apart from anything is the single most valuable reason for saving it from extinction.

If only there was enough Scottish juniper then we would recognise that our charcuterie or gin expresses very clearly our own local flavours and terroir. However, until Scottish juniper is abundant enough for me to put in my charcuterie I must use German seeds, and enjoy a close, but not perfect joy of tasting sweet native mutton and wild venison lifted and illuminated by the bright, rainbow spark of juniper.

By Rachel Hammond, Feb 4 2015 12:27PM

My recipe for Chorizo Fresco

This is a Mexican breakfast sausage - have it with eggs or in a burrito or with tacos.

1kg good fatty pork mince (almost frozen) about 20% fat

1 tablespoon salt

4 teaspoons smoked paprika

2 teaspoons chipotle (freshly roasted and ground, remove the seeds for a cooler sausage)

1 tablespoons acho chilli (freshly roasted and ground)

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano (can use dried, but it's not very jolly)

1 teaspoon cumin (freshly roasted and ground)

1 tablespoon tequila, chilled (to make this taste smokey, infuse to taste with some lapsang souchong tea, strained before use)

1 1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar, chilled

Mix everything in a mixer (too cold to do by hand) the colder the mixture the better the texture, until nicely sticky-looking. Fill your pork casings, rest overnight in the fridge, twist into links and fry gently.

By Rachel Hammond, Dec 8 2014 10:31AM

Thumbing through a copy of Mrs Cleland's Scottish Cookery (kindly lent by Martha at Paxton House) I discovered this receipt for "Pig, the French Way" and in light of the Auld Alliance and my own keen appreciate of the French nation's love of the beast, here it is (I'm including the long "s" as an "f" because it makes it look more like the original).

To drefs a Pig the French Way

Spit your pig, la it down to the Fire, and let it roast till it is thoroughly warm ; then take it off teh Spit and divide it into twenty Pieces ; fet them to ftew in white Wine, and ftrong Broth, feafoned with Nutmeg, Pepper and Salt, two Onions, and two anchovies cut fmall, and a little Butter and Vinegar; frew them all and when enough disfh it in the Liquor it was ftewed in, with a sliced Orange or Lemon.

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