My nitrate free and smoke free home cured bacon

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Theres something irresistible about bacon.

Crispy, salty yumminess…

It sings Sunday mornings. School holidays. Summer. Family. Happiness. Freedom.

Yet the story behind bacon is not a good one.  Sad, forelorn pigs locked in cages far from the open paddocks they long for. Unable to turn around. Unable to walk; let alone run. Never having felt the sun on their skins. Our world is seriously f&@# up!!

The heart of my 40 year old self skips a beat every time I walk down the smallgoods aisle of a supermarket. Past the meat section with its open fridges containing long lines of cheap factory farmed meat.  The image in my mind of tortured pigs in cages in dark, cold, sterile piggeries to me are not unlike the pictures from genocide camps in WW2. I cannot, and WILL NOT ever buy this meat!!! I would rather go hungry.

Lucky for me there are choices. If you look hard enough there are options. I firmly believe that by the choices we make everyday within our food stores and our farmers markets we can change the way our food is raised.  Grown.  Produced.  And the way the human race treats it’s animals.

This is why I choose to buy only free range, organic where possible, ethically raised and slaughtered, grass fed and finished meat. The way meat should naturally be.  I don’t believe this is a financial choice only some can make. We all have options.  Reduce your portion size if you need to. Buy direct from farmers at your local market and cut out the middle man. You have a choice. We all have a choice. And if you care strongly enough, like me, have the guts to stand firm on it.

My nitrate free, smoke free, ethically raised bacon

  • A square piece of ethically raised, grass fed and finished pork loin or belly roughly 16cm squared; trimmed and rind scored thinly through to the fat
  • 1/2 cup Himalayan or sea salt
  • 1/2 cup Panela, Rapudura or coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tspn turmeric
  • 1 dash of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 dash of bourbon

Mix together the apple cider vinegar and bourbon I a bowl. Pour mix over the meat and rub in well, making sure it gets into the score marks in the rind. Then mix the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Cover the entire cut of pork with the dry mix, pushing it into every nook and cranny including the score marks. When you’re happy, place meat into a sealed container or glad bag. Place into the fridge for 3 days (longer for a bigger cut of meat). Toss and turn it everyday until it feels firmer to touch.

When cured, rinse the meat well under the cold tap and pat dry with absorbent paper. Place back into the fridge, uncovered and on a rack, for 24 hrs.

Roast slowly in the centre of your oven at 100 degrees Celsius for around 90 minutes. This is the time where you could also choose to smoke your bacon. (I choose not to due to the carcinogens found in wood smoke). Once cooked, chill again in fridge.

Slice and keep in fridge for a few days or freezer for a few months.  We have bought a meat slicer from eBay as it is a much easier way to slice your bacon. We have found the best results and taste with bacon sliced in 2-3mm slices. Thick slices seem to be quite firm.

Good luck!

xx

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My Merry Christmas

“Living Green in a Modern World” is not about going without.  It is not about foregoing quality and a modern way of life.  It is about choosing ethically, choosing responsibly, choosing with a conscience and most importantly living consciously through every moment in every second of every minute of every day.  And about being consciously aware of where we all sit in this web of life.  And this universe.

Christmas is a time of mass.  Mass consumerism, mass spending, mass expectation.  For the general population, everything is large!  For me, Christmas is much richer than that.  Christmas is a time to stop and celebrate life. Celebrate love.  Celebrate family.  Celebrate the fine thread of life.

Three years ago my family had a very different Christmas.  A Christmas spent in an Intensive Care ward, watching and waiting for that fine thread of life to choose whether it would hold on or snap.  This Christmas, 2012, is the first Christmas since that my family can and will all come together and celebrate that fine thread and the choice it made three years ago…. It chose “Life.”

I must say I am a tad excited!

Sure…. We buy presents for each other.  We have a big feast.  We stuff ourselves silly and then spend the rest of the afternoon rolling around on the grass trying to rid ourselves of the agony in our bellies.

In my house, we don’t have a different Christmas.  We have a responsible one.

Presents are chosen because they are actually wanted or needed.  They are bought responsibly, from independent quality retailers and small designers.  All Australian.  Beautiful wrapping paper is folded up and reused again.  Ribbon is collected.  Packaging is recycled or goes into our compost.

Our designer menu is selected with seasonal produce in mind.  Fruit and veges are bought through local farmers at our local Farmer’s Market.  Any cut of meat is chosen responsibly and ethically.  It is then bought directly from the farmers who raise the animal responsibly through a free range, organic method that has given THE best life to that animal. The meat is then cherished and respected for what it is.  A life that has been sacrificed for our table.

Off cuts of food feed our compost.  Leftovers are kept.   If not homemade, condiments are bought in jars not plastic.  Herbs and selected veges are picked fresh from our garden.  Food is prepared fresh, not out of a packet.  No food goes to waste.

The table is decorated with flowers from our garden and gorgeous beeswax candles.  Our tablecloth is linen.  Our napkins are linen.  Our crockery ceramic. Cutlery, a mix of stainless steel and silver.  Glassware always glass.  Nothing is landfill here.

Beautiful Christmas carols are downloaded online rather than bought as cds.  The atmosphere is euphoric.  We are comforted knowing that our electricity bill is going towards green power.

Of course, we know that we are lucky to be able to afford these choices.  But then for the small cost, what kind of world would we have if we didn’t?  We all have a choice…

At the end of the day, we will choose to sit outside under a beautiful star lit night.  Under the moon.  And remember our place in this universe.  And give thanks for that thread of life.  For life would not be worth living without it.

Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas.

xx

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Ethical Phone Apps for the Supermarket

As much as we try to avoid it, we all shop in supermarkets.  They are quick.  They are easy.  They are everywhere.

In this fast world of consumerism our supermarkets are a place of mass confusion to people like you and me.  Where do you start when it comes to choosing ethically??

Well there are two phone apps that I LOVE to rely on!

SHOP ETHICAL – $4.49

Available for iphones and androids, this app guides you through every aisle at the supermarket, rating every brand and giving you the choice of what you buy.  Featuring the most up to date data from the Ethical Consumer Guide, this app gives you information on over 3800 products.  It tells you who manufactures them, their principles, the ingredients they contain etc… So finally you’ll know which products contain palm oil!

You can also access this guide in hard print from http://www.ethical.org.au/shop/

SUSTAINABLE SEAFOOD GUIDE – free

“The fish we choose today will directly affect the health of our oceans tomorrow” – Australian Marine Conservation Society.

This iphone app is fabulous when you are looking longingly through the glass displays at your local fishmonger, giving you an insight into the sustainability of over 100 seafood species commonly found at our fishmongers and in our supermarkets, fish and chip shops and restaurants.  It tells you where the fish comes from, how it is caught and whether it is responsibly fished.  Once again, helping you to make an informed ethical and sustainable choice whilst saving the health of our oceans at the same time!

The app also includes the FABULOUS  “Greenpeace Canned Tuna Guide” to help you sort out your tunas in the supermarket aisle.  Absolutely priceless!!

The guide can also be bought in print form from http://www.sustainableseafood.org.au

I’m sure there are plenty more apps out there on the market that help us change the world one product at a time whilst we shop.  These are two that I use on a day to day basis.

I’d love to hear from you if there’s an app you’d like to share.

xx