Make It Your Own

Make it unique. Make it yourself. Make it your own

Homemade bacon failure 12 May, 2010

Filed under: Home cooking,Thoughts — makeityourown @ 9:48 pm

Bacon fails

I’ve had a go at making my own bacon. Just a small piece of belly pork to give it a try. I followed a recipe from the River Cottage Family Cookbook. I followed it very carefully. It looks like good streaky bacon and is nice and tender but it is saltier than the Dead Sea and I’ve been to the Dead Sea and accidentally swallowed some of it. I put some cubes of it in a beef casserole and didn’t need to add any salt. I think the only thing it will be good for is supplying the salt in pea soup and such things. Good thing it lasts for weeks. I think mine will last forever with all that salt.

After looking at some other bacon recipes and curing instructions that I have I’m pretty sure there is a mistake in the River Cottage recipe. It calls for 500g salt for 1.5kg of meat where other recipes use about a quarter of that or less and also more sugar. I’m willing to give bacon another go with another recipe and over time I might cobble a recipe together from various instructions and come up with something I like.


My local supermarket is locally owned and so often has things for sale that you’d never find in Coles or Woolies. Today I bought a forequarter of lamb cut into chops including the neck, shank and ribs. It was $6 a kilo and the total cost was $20.30. After dividing up the chops into packs of 2 for the freezer I had 5 packs of chops, a neck in one piece, a shank, a set of ribs and a couple of chops that were too bony and fatty for grilling. All except the packaged up chops went into the pot with carrots, onions and celery and a few herbs and cooked gently for two hours. I strained it and continued to cook the stock to reduce it and took all the meat off the bones and chopped it up. I think I’ll make a pie with it tomorrow. 10 chops, a pie and a pot of stock isn’t too bad for $20.


All this cooking takes time and energy. I still need to keep the house clean, do all the washing (including nappies), keep J entertained and happy, visit people, go to Kindergym, Bible study, hydrotherapy and so on. I need to remember that there are more important things than saving money and home cooking everything we eat. If I buy biscuits I have not failed. If I buy some new clothes I have not failed. If J eats something out of a jar I haven’t failed either. What are the more important things? Spending time with God. Spending time with my family and giving them my undivided attention for some time every day. Seeking God’s approval and not the admiration of other people. My worth is not tied up in the things I do. I have to keep reminding myself of these things.


Think I Might Start Blogging Again 6 May, 2010

Filed under: Home cooking,Thoughts,Uncategorized — makeityourown @ 9:24 pm

It’s been a long time since my last post but I have a very good reason for this. J is now 15 months old and has just started walking. He is real cutie and loves his Dad. He is very sweet and has a gentle nature. I’m a stay-at-home Mum and after a year or so I feel that life has a rhythm and  an improvement in my health and energy levels means that I’ve doing and thinking and changing a few things. I’ve been having the urge to get a few things out of my head and onto a page so I thought I’d use my already existing blog as a kind of journal. You can read it not as you please but I hope some of my thoughts might inspire or inform someone.


The vegetable garden is going well at the moment. We’ve been eating butternuts and capsicums and a bit of New Zealand spinach occasionally as well as lots of herbs. We had the usual heatwaves over summer so the beans didn’t so well and butternuts almost died. The tomatoes were good though and the basil too. We decided that beans would grow better when the weather is cooler so we planted some at the beginning of autumn in a newly manured bed. Success! I picked a huge bunch of beans today and they were as sweet and crisp as you could want. I think beans are my favourite vegetable. Tonight for tea we had risotto with butternut and grilled capsicum, basil and thyme and beans on the side. The vegies were all fresh from the garden, except the onion and garlic. J likes risotto. It makes excellent baby and toddler food.

Speaking of onion and garlic, we have planted out a bed of onions, garlic and carrots. The onions were from a punnet, the garlic from the organic green grocer and the carrot from seed M saved a year ago. The garlic is up and the carrots have germinated along with lots of weed seeds but we’ll pull those out once they are bigger. We also have some spinach, lettuce and broccoli in the beds and some more brassica seedlings in the shade house. I’ve made a bed ready for podding peas but we haven’t planted them yet.

Make it your own…FOOD

I’ve been thinking about where our food comes from and what goes in it. Food these days is an industry with factories and machines, preservatives and palm oil. Highly processed food is not the kind of food I want to eat. It might be cheap to buy in many cases but it isn’t cheap for our bodies or the earth. God has given me the skills and knowledge to cook my own food and large garden to grow it and I want to do more of it. I also don’t want to put highly refined sugars and vegetable oils into the little body of my son. Below is a list of some of the things I’ve been doing myself…

Bread (in the bread machine)


Herbal tea (herbs grown in the garden and used fresh or dried)



Chutney and pickles

Stock (usually chicken)

Some vegetables and fruit

Eggs (we have six chickens)

Baking (biscuits, cake, scones etc)

Chicken patties (I use chicken thighs, bread and vegies and put it through my Kitchen Aid mincer attachment)

These are all fairly easy things for me to do, except for the heavy stuff in the garden of course. I think the two most important things here are the bread making and the baking. Industrial bread and biscuits are filled with all sorts of awful things and a lot of the time I don’t like the taste anyway. Our homemade wholemeal bread is heavy and dense and make excellent toast. It has no preservatives or fillers and tastes delicious. Homemade cakes and biscuits are made with butter, flour, eggs and sugar and one or two other things. They have no colours or “numbers” in them and definitely no highly refined vegetable oils which are very bad for you. They also taste homemade which is good thing when it comes to home baking. I would far rather give my little one a buttered homemade scone or a piece of homemade cake for morning tea than a bought biscuit.

My Empire Red Kitchen Aid stand mixer makes light work of mixing, kneading, mincing and slicing. It sliced 4 kilos of cucumbers in about 10 minutes!

I’ve just started to get my own bacon going but I’ll talk about that another day…

It might only be 9:20 but I’m tired. Being a full time Mum with a bee in her bonnet about home cooking makes for a tiring day. I’m going to bed with a book.

Here’s a happy snap of my little guy.