Corned Beef – home cured

Corned beef.

Corned beef is a salt-cured product.  It was a staple in my home when I was growing up, but I’m sure Pegs, my Mom, never cured it herself, as she was definitely not that adept in the kitchen.  I am sure however, that my Granny would have cured her own, but I can’t remember.

Anyway, I loved corned beef then and I love it now.  Slow cooked and served with onions, carrots and potatoes, served hot with maybe a mustard sauce, sliced corned beef on sandwiches for school the next day or cold corned beef and salad for lunch. My absolute favourite was corned beef hash which we only ever had while on holiday in the caravan.  Yummy.  My mouth waters just reminiscing about it.

That was last century …

This century, I still love corned beef, hot or cold, and it’s freely available in supermarkets and butchers.  I do however, choose to corn my own as it is far healthier, with no nasties added and believe me, the home corned beef tastes like the one I remember from last century.  Yes, it takes about 10 days to corn, but once you’ve tasted your own, you will never buy a commercially prepared corned beef again.

The image below, from a commercially prepared corned silverside available in our local supermarket, lists a few ingredients other than the beef and water.  Salt, Mineral Salt (451,450,452), Sugar, Sodium Erythorbate, Sodium Nitrite, Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum, Canola Oil.   One bug bear for me is the Sodium Nitrite and I would suggest you read up on this chemical here .  This is a product I would choose not to eat, not only flavour-wise, but food additive wise.  I just don’t see the point in consuming chemicals in food when they can be avoided.  This is my own personal opinion.  I’m sure there are many who would not agree with me, but we are all open to our own opinions.

So, if you would like to know how I make my own Corned Silverside, my recipe is below.

My home-cured Corned Beef Silverside Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2kg Silverside (I chose free range and organic)
  • 2 litres filtered water
  • 1 cup Himalayan Rock Salt
  • ½ cup Rapadura sugar (you could use brown sugar or coconut sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon Ceylon Cinnamon
  • 3 star anise
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 3 bay leaves
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 springs of rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon grated lemon rind

Directions

  1. Add the water and all dry ingredients to a large stainless still stock pot, bring to boil.
  2. Reduce to simmer once boiled and continue cooking until the salt and sugar have dissolved – takes about 20 – 30 minutes.  Stir regularly.
  3. Your kitchen will start to smell divine, just like Christmas!
  4. Take stockpot off the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.  This takes a few hours.
  5. Pour the cooled brine mixture into a large glass container, preferably with a lid – funnily enough I use a Corningware dish!
  6. Place the silverside into the brine in the dish, making sure that the brine covers the beef completely.
  7. Cover and place in the fridge for at least 10 days.
  8. Check daily to ensure the beef stays submerged and turn the beef over, in the brine regularly.  The beef will start to change colour after a few days.

Once the beef is corned, you can either freeze the beef in the brine, or you can slow cook it.  If you choose to cook it straight away, the beef must be rinsed well before cooking.  I’ll cover the cooking of the beef in my next blog.

ENJOY!

 

 

Pirates of the Hage

Pirates?

Of the Hage?

Yes, you read that correctly.

Not Penzance, the Hage!

Saturdays were Pirates days.  In my family that is.  Particularly for me and my Dad… These were happy and special days and I loved Saturdays with my Dad.  And I’m talking about baseball and in particular, Pirates Baseball Club!  Not Red Sox, oh no, they were the arch enemy…..there was only one decent baseball club in The Hage and that was Pirates!

Lots of Uitenhage families were involved – Samuels, Wates, Krain, Snyman, Michaelides, Serrao – these are some of the names I remember – if you can think of any others, include them in the comments section please.  Did the Transell’s play for Red Sox?  Can’t remember, but I think so.

In the early to mid 1960’s I can remember going to baseball games with my Dad and Mom…this was before my baby sister arrived.  My Dad played baseball for years and I can remember watching baseball games all around the Eastern Cape.  I can also remember my Dad lost his two front teeth after being hit in the face with a baseball!  My Mom was not impressed but I remember my Dad still finished the game!

Once my Dad retired from playing baseball, he umpired, so for many more years, baseball was still a regular part of our weekend lives.  After my sister arrived, it was my Dad and I that continued the baseball tradition.  My Mom stayed at home with the baby…in fact I don’t remember my sister being at baseball games ever, even when she was a toddler.  Come to think of it, she was so naughty I don’t think my Mom could risk taking her to baseball.

In the 1970’s I can remember helping my Godmother Aunty Elaine, in the tuckshop at the Pirates field which was perfectly positioned behind the home plate.  We had a perfect view of all the balls that were pitched, a perfect view down to first base and a perfect view of who crossed the home plate .  My Godmother used to get so cross with the umpires if she thought they called the balls pitched incorrectly or if they gave our players out when she thought they were “safe” and “let them have it” in no uncertain terms.  I often wondered why she was not an umpire as in my eyes she seemed to know everything about baseball.

In the tuck shop we sold homemade ham rolls that I loved, sausage rolls, maybe two or three soft drink varieties, tea and coffee plus a few different lollies or sweets and packets of crisps.  Somehow the ham tasted different in those days and there was definitely butter on the beautiful soft bread roll (which most probably came from Flamingo or Ramona – if you are from The Hage then you will definitely know about the beautiful bread from Flamingo and the world famous sausage rolls from the Ramona!).  The ham rolls had mustard and lettuce on them too and all these years later, I can still taste them!

I wonder if baseball is still played in The Hage and if Pirates still exists?  If anybody knows, please leave a comment.

 

 

Pomegranates and The Hage

pomegranates

Pomegranates.

The Hage.

More childhood memories I said I would share.

As you know, I grew up in the street where the Flamingo Bakery was…so those of you from the Hage know exactly where I grew up!  We knew everyone in our street and all the streets around us – Victoria Street, Vida Street, aka the  “Back Street”, Cannon Street, Caledon Street, the whole block ….  This is so different from today where the kids usually don’t know anybody in their neighbourhood, not even the kids next door.

So other than my 3 older “non-blood siblings” that lived down the road, I also had 6 other “non-blood siblings” over the road that I spent many hours with.  Behind their house, extending from Cannon to Caledon Streets, was a huge field and on the other side of the field were the backs of the houses in Victoria Street.  This field provided endless hours of fun for us kids.  We only really played in this field in the winter months as we had no shelter from the mad man who lived down the bottom of the field in the summer.  There were also snakes in the summer, so we stayed away.  Winter time the liquorice grass grew up to about 4 or 5 feet tall and provided good cover for us kids.  We used to joke with each other that we needed to avoid the “yellow” liquorice grass as that was the grass that the neighbourhood dogs had pee’d on!  Just like you don’t eat yellow snow, don’t eat yellow liquorice grass!

During the winter months, the oldest of the 6 kids I played with used a lawnmower to mow tracks in the long grass of this field.  We would ride our bikes in here, we played cops and robbers in here, we sucked on the “liquorice” grass in the field and there were also a couple of empty dams in this field that provided fantastic props for our cops and robbers games!  Surrounding these dams were pomegranate trees and from memory some apple trees.  The apples were promptly picked by the mad man at the bottom of the field, but he obviously didn’t like pomegranates so they were left to rot on the trees.    This nasty old man didn’t like us playing in the field and he didn’t want us to enjoy his pomegranates either!  However, that didn’t stop us!  We used to steal the pomegranates and he used to shoot at us with a pellet gun!   How we never ended up with pellets in our bums or our heads or anywhere else for that matter, baffles me!  Winter was the best time in the field.  I will never forget the wrath of my Mom when I eventually got home with red stains on my hands and my clothes.  I don’t know why she didn’t put me in black or navy clothes all the time, but she didn’t.  It would have been much easier, for her!   She was never impressed, to say the least.

It’s funny how these neglected fruits have now been shown to have fantastic health benefits.  The rich, ruby red reminds me so much of  the colour of our blood.  Pomegranates are rich in Vitamin C and therefore powerful antioxidants, they contain Vitamin K and magnesium and they are rich in fibre.  Studies show eating the fruit and/or drinking pomegranate juice can help protect against disease, like certain cancers and Alzheimer’s.  They are anti-inflammatory too.   Make sure you wear old clothes or an apron when cutting open and de-seeding your pomegranates, but make sure you eat them, they are little powerhouses of nutrition.