The Whole Hog – The Agrarian Kitchen

The reason we went to Tasmania was to go to cooking school.  It was our first part of the Tasmanian experience, which stayed with us on the trip.   As we got to take some of the goodies we made with us.  The cooking school is run by Rodney Dunn, who writes for the Gourmet Traveller.  The school is The Agrarian Kitchen, just an hour outside of Hobart in New Norfolk.  They have there 5 acres, where they grow their own fruit and veg, and pigs and chooks.  So what did we get up to, lots of cooking and eating.  Never have I been so full!  The menu above is what we made over the 2 day class.

Day 1

Roy: I have a strong opinion about meat. I think meat should be naturally raised and every part of the animal used in one way or the other. So it was good to turn up at our class with one pig hanging and a whole bunch more snuffling around up the back.

The pigs are a Wessex Saddleback breed, which is a rare breed, but has been making a comeback as more farmers are rasing pigs the old school way.

Just to tease us a bit Rod showed us his meat drying room full of salami, prosciutto and other jealousy causing meats. We did try a few of these as part of dishes and just for trying sake, damn good.

After coffee, some more coffee and some brownies it was time to get down to work. And the first task at hand was the butchering.

First the pig is cut in half.

The pig had great fat content. You love fat, I love fat, but apparently joe average doesn’t. Thus your standard piggery pig doesnt have much. How did we go so wrong?

Then various cuts of meat taken out. I find this quite interesting as our asian butcher down the road has a much different way of splitting up a pig to the traditional way we did it here.

Form the menu we stared on a few items. Here we roll out some tortillas. Bit thin and crispy for my liking, but I aint in Mexico no more (such a shame).

The highlight of the first lunch was defiantly the rolled pork roast. Just look at that, tell me you don’t want it.

And just to keep us in check we got a bit of air-dried salami.

We made short work of the whole pig and soon had it diced for the sausages we would be making the next day. The meat needs to be quite cold to extrude, so this got a night in the cold room before the next machine encounter.

The pig’s head got boiled in a very asian style broth to make head cheese. It ended up being a bit too clovey for me.

But i did enjoy the making of the head cheese as you can see.

Then we moved onto bacon. Bacon is really easy to make, if you don’t do any of that fancy smoking business.

Roy in Boots

DAY 2

Boris. Aint he pretty.

Lizi was in love with the chickens.

The mince then got its adventure through the next machine.

Into one big sausage. These were fennel and mace flavoured.

Then converted to smaller sausages. Easy.

Well maybe not for everybody.

Lunch on the second day was enormous.  But we all ate every single last bit.

Pigs ear salad.

Chorizo and chickpea soup with pork broth. I made this one. I do like soup, did you know?

Lizi’s spinach stuffed pork chops.

And the pie. Trotters, liver and potato. The pastry was awesome, which got lizi very excited that she got to learn puff pastry from scratch.

Not bad warm. But even better later cold.

Some interesting dessert made of lard and carbs of some sort. I was just about to exploding point here when this landed on the table.

lastly our take home bags, filled with goodies like sausages, Cold pressed pigs head (head cheese) and rillettes. The rillettes is just pulled pork eaten cold really. We ate it on the move on top of cruskets, awesome.

All in all it was a fun 2 days. We learnt lots, drank some good wines and ate way to much food. I will relate some camper cooking stories with the take home ingredient along the way.

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