I do enjoy a good pickle, and better still a vinegar based sauce, my home made plum and ginger stir fry sauce in my mind is the stuff of legends, and a bacon sandwich made with home made bread, home cured bacon and my home made brown sauce is for me the ultimate breakfast treat.
Unfortunately my family don’t agree. They don’t mind the end result, but their enjoyment is always tempered by the memory of the boiling vinegar and the aroma that permeates the house, causing them to rush around opening wide windows despite the external temperature, and light scented candles, the aroma of which then clashes with the acidic smell of hot vinegar. I am surprised the council don’t come round and declare us a bio hazard. Therefore you understand I have to pick my days.
The other day I added something new to my repertoire, which unfortunately is going to join family folk lore. I had been getting ready for the weekend where in amongst other things planned I shall be smoking some home cured bacon. It takes about a week to cure so as I was getting the bacon ready I remembered this time to cut off the pork skin and a thin layer of fat so I could try to make Pork Scratchings, I believe in America their known as Pork rinds. Basically is pork skin which is salted and then baked causing it to puff up.
The method is really simple. Take some pork belly skin, score it with a knife and then rub in salt on both sides. Leave it overnight uncovered in a fridge, after which you take it out, rub it dry, rub some more salt on the outer face and then cook. You cook it on a roasting rack above a baking tray at 180 degrees for 10 minutes, and then lower the temperature to 140 for the next 80 mins until golden and crispy. After which point you then take it out and leave it too cool. When its cool enough to touch break it into bite size pieces and enjoy. Very simple and absolutely superb providing of course you eat pork. I did read a reciepe that suggested dressing with some herbs or spices, but why mess with a classic.
The down side we discovered is the smell whilst cooking. I had been expecting the aroma of roast pork forgetting of course their wasn’t any meat, so what you actually had was the smell of hot smoking fat. Now I didn’t think it was so bad, but once again fragrant candles were lit, and doors flung open with scant regard to the arctic external temperature, and I can see this has become a boiled vinegar product, only to be made when the family is out.
The sad postscript to the story is that the pork scratchings were too good if that’s possible. Their very high in both salt and fat, a Heart Attack waiting to happen, but so very very good. With my own mortality in mind I had to give most it away otherwise I could have happily eaten all of it, which leaves the question was it worth it? to which I have to reply with a smile ( I cant speak or the crunching noise might give away the secret stash)