Where growing, making & good living come together

Cold smoking eggs – first attempt

Posted by on Friday 3 September 2010 in cooking, smoking | 0 comments

Last week I mentioned in passing that I had another go at cold smoking using my fantastic cold smoke generator. We very much enjoyed the cheese so I wanted to do more of that – but I also wanted to try a couple of other things too, namely eggs and chillis.

Following the directions in my smoking book (Home Smoking and Curing by Keith Erlandson), a week or so earlier, I put some of our girls’ eggs aside to age (since super fresh eggs are rather difficult to peel) then hardboiled them to perfection even if I do say so myself. Then they went in my make-do smoke house, with the cheese and the chillis, and the CSG loaded up with some lovely smelling hickory.

Because I was distracted during the day (carrying 1.5tonnes of woodchips down to the chicken coop then by a comic-book-bringing visitor), I didn’t turn everything as dutifully as I did the first time. I think I first turned the eggs after about six hours – they were a peachy orange on the top side but surprisingly still white on the side facing the CSG and the remaining four hours. (The CSG runs for 10hrs, not the 12hrs recommended by the book, but I don’t think two extra hours would have made a lot of difference in this instance.)

Read More

Cold smoking cheese – taste testing the first batch

Posted by on Tuesday 3 August 2010 in cooking, smoking | 30 comments

My last post about cold smoking cheese left off when the cheese was coming out of the smoker. All the guides I read recommended leaving it to rest for the flavours to develop – at an absolute minimum overnight but ideally a least a week. So I wrapped up the smokey sticks in parchment paper, labelled them and into the fridge they went.

Occasionally, we’d take the packages out & sniff them but it was only today that we got to open them & dig in.

Let’s first remember what the cheeses looked like to start with. There was a Double Gloucester (the orange one), and two cheddars (a mature and extra mature).

And after the smoking, they looked like this. The left most batch was in for 3hours, the middle for 6hours and the right batch for 9.5hours. Check out the colour difference!

And so to the taste test…

Read More

Smoked cheese – my first attempt at cold smoking

Posted by on Sunday 25 July 2010 in cooking, eating, smoking | 3 comments

I’ve been intrigued by the idea of curing & smoking food for a while but I only started to seriously consider doing it when Martin from Old Sleningford Farm mentioned a) how cheap cheddar can be transformed by a little time in a smoker and b) how easy it is to build a garden smokehouse.

About a month ago, I decided it would be a perfect project for this year’s birthday new fun craft/experience/skill and started reading into it in more detail. It’s a lot easier to build a hot smoker and there were a number of smokers-cum-bbqs on eBay – but that wouldn’t let me do cheese, and I like smoked cheese a lot. I thought I’d have to build a smoker with an external firebox, feeding the cooling smoke into the chamber via piping – and the thought of that overwhelmed me a little. Then by complete chance, I stumbled upon the ProQ Cold Smoke Generator.

The ProQ Cold Smoke Generator was only developed last year but it’s a wonderful combination of simplicity & genius. Obviously I’m new to smoking so I can’t compare it to other methods – but every other method I’ve read about was way more complicated that this. It’s a carefully (but not overly) engineered spiral of metal mesh. It doesn’t use gas or electricity – just a few seconds of a tealight to get started, then the sawdust smoulders away of its own accord for up to 10hrs, without any further intervention, stoking or encouragement. I think what finally won me over though was the instructions on the ProQ/Mac’s BBQ site showing how, with the CSG, you could make a smokehouse from a cardboard box, two bits of dowel, an old baking tray and some cooling racks. Recycling and frugal!

Read More