Yule have a smokin’ good time

Fancy learn­ing how to cure and smoke for the fes­tive sea­son? Then why not head to the leg­endary River Cot­tage where ex­pert Steven Lamb is wait­ing to teach you

Country Smallholding - - On Course -

IF YOU want to learn how to brine your own turkey and make your own fes­tive ham, what bet­ter place than at the fan­tas­tic cook­ery school at River Cot­tage HQ, which nes­tles on the Devon/Dorset bor­der.

This fes­tively-minded course is per­fect for any­one want­ing to cre­ate some­thing re­ally spe­cial for the ta­ble this yule­tide. The day is led by meat and cur­ing ex­pert Steven Lamb, who has been a pop­u­lar River Cot­tage sta­ple from the out­set. As well as learn­ing butch­ery skill ba­sics and key tech­niques, at­ten­dees will leave brim­ming with the knowl­edge needed to cre­ate such del­i­ca­cies as glazed ham, smoked salmon and pork and or­ange salami, all of which are mak­ing me feel both fes­tive and peck­ish just writ­ing about them.

“Cur­ing and smok­ing is not just for Christ­mas,” Steven says. “It’s a culi­nary tra­di­tion that stretches all the way back to the begin­ning of cook­ery, but it is to­tally ac­ces­si­ble to any­one will­ing to en­joy the craft — whether they are a keen do­mes­tic god, god­dess or fas­ci­nated foodie.

“The tech­niques that un­lock the sweet, savoury, spicy and smokey notes of some of our favourite prod­ucts, such as ba­con, prosci­utto, salami and gravalax, are easy to grasp. Once you’ve mas­tered the sim­ple, tra­di­tional, an­ces­tral ways to in­no­vate good in­gre­di­ents, you will be­gin a jour­ney that will in­crease your knowl­edge of food. The tech­niques that in­clude dry cur­ing, brin­ing, fer­men­ta­tion and smok­ing en­gage you deeper than sim­ply cook­ing be­cause you have to tap into the an­cient skills.”

It is worth point­ing out that Steven has been work­ing closely with Hugh Fearn­leyWhit­tingstall for the past 10 years, rep­re­sent­ing the well known train­ing school both at home and abroad, so you just know that this course is go­ing to be very good.

“Steven Lamb and I go back to the early days, when River Cot­tage HQ was a scrubbed-out cow barn with a sec­ond-hand kitchen rammed into a shed next door,” Hugh ex­plains. “Steven’s knowl­edge is as broad as it is deep, and that’s why he’s in such high de­mand.”

The ex­pe­ri­ence comes with all the high qual­ity and fun trim­mings you would ex­pect, in­clud­ing a trac­tor and trailer ride up the hill to start the day, a lo­cal and sea­sonal lunch served in the UK’s most fa­mous farm­house and lots of re­fresh­ments and ad­di­tional culi­nary treats along the way.

“All of my cour­ses are hands on and prac­ti­cal, which gives a deeper learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. The main in­ten­tion is to get peo­ple feel­ing con­fi­dent and in­spired,” Steven adds. “On this spe­cific Christ­mas ver­sion of the Cur­ing and Smok­ing course, peo­ple will learn how to make their own ba­con [which they might like to lat­tice over the brined turkey, also cov­ered], or they could make pigs in blan­kets from the sausages we cre­ate on the day. Per­haps they would just want to add their home- cured ba­con to the fes­tive pork liver pate doused in cider ap­ple brandy. For the re­ally ad­ven­tur­ous, we make cured, cold smoked sides of or­ganic wild salmon, so pair that with a salted, drained yo­gurt — per­fect for Christ­mas Day break­fast. We also cover coppa and bre­saola as these clas­sic cold cured meats make any buf­fet board stand­out. And, of course, it wouldn’t be a com­plete yule­tide feast with­out a cooked, smoked honey glazed gam­mon.”

The course is led by meat and cur­ing ex­pert Steven Lamb INSET: Cur­ing and smok­ing is not just for Christ­mas — it’s a culi­nary tra­di­tion

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