Category: Charcuterie

chair 'flesh' and cuit 'cooked'

Nuclear plants ‘no cancer risk’

Nuclear plants’ no cancer risk


Child with leukaemia receiving hospital treatmentLeukaemia accounts for around a third of childhood cancers

Children living near nuclear power plants do not have an increased risk of developing leukaemia, a study says.

Experts looked at data on 10,000 children diagnosed under five between 1962 and 2007, and where they lived.

The British Journal of Cancer study is not the first to rule out a link – but previous studies’ methods were challenged.

Cancer Research UK said the results were “heartening” but added monitoring should continue.

Leukaemia is the twelfth most common cancer in the UK, but accounts for a third of all cancers diagnosed in children.

Around 500 new cases were diagnosed in children under the age of 15 in 2010 in the UK.

Concern over a link between nuclear power plants and childhood cancers was triggered in the early 1980s when a TV investigation reported a higher number of cases among children living near the Sellafield plant in Cumbria.

Since then, there have been conflicting reports from studies in the UK and the rest of Europe as to whether there is a link.

Some anti-nuclear groups have criticised the way previous studies have been carried out.

They point to a German study which suggested there could be a link.

In this latest study, carried out using the same method as the German one, experts from the Childhood Cancer Research Group in Oxford looked at data on almost 10,000 children who were diagnosed with leukaemia or similar cancers in Britain between 1962 and 2007 when aged five or under.

“The incidence of childhood leukaemia near nuclear installations in Great Britain has been a concern ever since the 1980s” Dr John Bithell,Childhood Cancer Research Group

The data was taken from the National Registry of Childhood Tumours, which has kept records on nearly all children diagnosed with cancer since 1962 and which is linked to birth records for children born in Britain.

They looked at where these children were born and where they lived when they were diagnosed.

They also compared the information with data on more than 16,000 children with different cancers.

The study found there was no apparent increased risk of developing childhood leukaemia or non-Hodgkin lymphoma among children living near nuclear power plants.

Dr John Bithell, honorary research fellow at the Childhood Cancer Research Group who led the study, said: “The incidence of childhood leukaemia near nuclear installations in Great Britain has been a concern ever since the 1980s when an excess of cancer in young people near Sellafield was reported in a television programme.

“Since then, there have been conflicting reports in the UK and Europe as to whether there is an increased incidence of childhood cancer near nuclear power plants.

“Our case-control study has considered the birth records for nearly every case of childhood leukaemia born in Britain and, reassuringly, has found no such correlation with proximity to nuclear power plants.”

Cancer Research UK said the study did support previous findings, but said its small numbers and the fact it did not look at plants which carried out other work such as fuel processing – plus the finding of an increased risk in the German study – meant more work was needed.

Hazel Nunn, head of health information, said: “It’s heartening that this study supports the findings of the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (COMARE), that being born or living near a nuclear power station doesn’t lead to more cases of leukaemia and similar cancers in children under five in the UK.

“But these results can’t rule out any possible risk, so it’s still important that we continue to monitor both radiation levels near nuclear power plants and rates of cancer among people who live close by.

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Does chocolate give you spots?

Does chocolate give you spots?

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Loophole lets banned meat into UK

Loophole lets banned meat into UK

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Golden Marjoram & Sage Pork Sausages

Golden Marjoram & Sage Pork Sausages

Here is my new recipe for golden marjoram and sage pork sausages. Instructions are…


  1. Mince the pork on the large setting and keep very cold with some of the ice cubes.
  2. Mix in all the ingredients excluding the breadcrumbs and herbs. Spend at least five minutes mixing until sticky then add breadcrumbs and herbs and mix again till evenly distributed.
  3. Chill mixture for 30 minutes until your skins have soaked then stuff!


Ingredients List

  • 4.1kg Old Spot Trimmings from whole pig.
  • 4 Large Free Range eggs
  • 5.4 tea sp Milled Black Pepper (38g)
  • 5.5 tea sp Milled Sea Salt
  • 1.5 tea sp Ground Nutmeg
  • 1 tea sp Ground Mace
  • 2 x Squirt Tomatoes Puree Concentrate
  • 1.5 table sp Maille Dijon Mustard
  • 330 gram Fresh White Breadcrumbs from Large white Tiger loaf (include crust)
  • 500ml water (including 8 ice cubes)
  • 15 ice cubes for adding later.
  • 32 grams of Supaphos emulsifier
  • Large bunch of golden marjoram and small bunch of sage, chopped.

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1st Cheese

This is my first cheese that I have ever tried so I thought I would share it!

This cheese is a soft roule style cheese which is relatively simple to make. However, you will need to assemble some items first.

Equipment / Ingredients

  1. Animal Rennet (100ml bottle) 12 drops (buy from
  2. Mesophillic Starter (1 sachet) about 1/6th roughly of sachet. I have used Choozit MA4002 in this case. This is a freeze dried starter, which is added directly to the milk and not incubated before use. Each sachet is sufficient for 50 litres of milk. Used with rennet. It is simple to use as you add it to the mil at 32°C and leave for 30 mins soft cheese and 60mins hard cheese. This will provide the “cheesiness” which naturally would happen over time if you left the milk for the natural bacteria to come. (buy from
  3. Large sheet of cheese cloth (buy from Amazon)
  4. Cheese matting (buy from
  5. Thermometer, sturdy glass standard science one will do. (Avoid mercury)
  6. Large metal saucepan at least 8 litres in size
  7. Large metal colander
  8. Stirring Device and Slotted Spoon (metal)
  9. Nice quality full fat Sainsbury Organic Milk 6.75litres or 12 pints
  10. Cream if required.


It is a simple process in which attention should be paid to the cleanliness to avoid bacterial contamination or your cheese (i.e. you are leaving it to grow bacteria) and also the temperatures for the enzymes as one denatured that is it!

  1. Clean your pan till it is spotless, best dishwasher as it heat drys. Add milk and heat gently to 29-32°C stirring as you go make sure this is stable (i.e. heat from bottom of pan has evened out). If you “cook” the milk you change the chemical composition and change the cheese product.
  2. Boil some water and then leave half a cup to cool covered.
  3. Add the right amount of the mesophillic starter. In this case 1 sachet does 50 litres so about the tip of the knife is about right. Stir in and leave covered for 45 minutes.
  4. Now if the temperature of the milk has dropped significantly you need to very gently heat it back to 30C for the rennet to work well. Check temperature of water is below 30°C Add 12 drops of rennet (no more or you get a nasty taint) to the water and then add to the milk stirring well. Now cover and leave for another at least 45 minutes without touching it (don’t be tempted to stir!). Now it might take more time than this as it is a natural thing. In this specific case it took 2 hours!
  5. Now you should have a curd set and separated from the whey. Use a sharp knife to cut the curd into 1cm cubes. Then fish them out with the slotted spoon and gently drain them in a muslin lined colander. Save the whey you lose for making ricotta later. We are trying to lose the whey but not all the moisture and fat from the cheese.
  6. Gently knot the cloth and hang up the cheese cloth to help draining (a hook might be helpful at this point).
  7. Now unknot and salt salt the cheese curds to taste and return to hang for the final extraction of whey.
  8. Now place into a metal bowl and mix in some cream if desired to make a creamy paste.

Seasoning / Ripening

It might be worth now dividing the cheese into separate bowls and mixing herbs, garlic, paprika, sesame seeds or crushed peppercorns to the outside of the cheese before placing into a mould and shaping.  Remember more is often less!


The cheese will take a better flavour if allowed to ripen in the fridge on a small piece of cheese matting overnight and then wrapping in cling film. In this case they have been put into a shaping mould.

Extra Information

Mesophile is an organism that grows best in moderate temperature, neither too hot nor too cold, typically between 20 and 45°C (68 and 113 °F)

The habitats of these organisms include especially cheese, yogurt, and mesophile organisms are often included in the process of beer and wine making.

The starter culture has a crucial role to play during all phases of the cheese making and maturation process. As the culture grows in the milk, it converts lactose to lactic acid. This ensures the correct pH for coagulation in both the press and final cheese curd. It also secures the final moisture level and yield in the cheese. During ripening, the culture enzymes have to give a balanced aroma, taste, texture, surface appearance and if required, eye formation.

Rennet contains many enzymes, including protease that coagulates the milk, causing it to separate into solids (curds) and liquid (whey).  The active enzyme in rennet is called chymosin or rennin but there are also other important enzymes in it, e.g., pepsin and lipase.

Whey is the liquid remaining after milk has been curdled and strained. It is a by-product of the manufacture of cheese or casein and has several commercial uses. Sweet whey is manufactured during the making of rennet types of hard cheese like cheddar or Swiss cheese. Acid whey (also known as “sour whey”) is obtained during the making of acid types of cheese such as cottage cheese.


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Buy a whole pig?

If you wish to buy quality free range pork and also get it cheaply then why not buy a whole pig?

We have one each year about Oct time. The one shown below is an Old Spot cross created in the natural method and not from artificial insemination. This one was grown by Barlows Butchers  who have two shops, in Nottinghamshire and a small holding. Their meats are always good and win awards all the time. They also hang their organic beef for a  very long time and their rib is amazing. This young female pig as shown below was £160 which is exceptional value. The cutting list I usually have is…

Shoulder – Jointed into mainly 3-4lb joints and 2 x 5lb joints rolled or left on bone as appropriate to the best cut skin left on and scored.

Leg 1 – Jointed into 3-4lb joints rolled & skin left on and scored.

Belly Pork (both sides) – left as full sides, bones removed and skin removed.

Spare ribs – cut singly.

Chops/Loin (both sides) – Cut to single chops.

Bones – All in box cut down to size (for stock).

Hand – Minced + any other spare bits on coarse setting.

Trotters – left whole to stock for pork pie jelly!

Jowl – left whole skin on for dry cure later.

It is a lot to take on and you can see the whole pig laid out on my worktop. Then I usually spend the afternoon making stock, vac packing and making sausage.

If you are thinking of ordering a whole pig this one was about 70kg which is a small one, some come at twice the size so be careful! Also some butchers charge a lot for a whole pig in fact their standard price. However, if you are buying the whole animal they should discount it to be more like trade prices!

Happy hunting.

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Italian Salami – Beef Intestines!


This is my lastest salami used on free range pork using beef intestines. It is made using the same method as before. However, this time I have put in in the fridge at 9C and 60-80% humidity with door shut. Then the temp and humdity has been very constant at the start.

    • 4450g Minced Pork – free range old white
    • 14.42g pepper milled
    • 14.42g fennel seeds milled
    • 113g sea salt fine milled
    • 11.33g Cure #2
    • 10g white sugar
    • 4 Crushed Garlic Cloves
    • 4 tablespoons live yogurt
    • 100ml Spanish Rioja

Now at 17 days they still seem a little damp on outside so I removed the bowl of water to allow skins to start to dry off. I am asssuming that after 17 days we are starting to get cured! I think it has helped having temp more even and has stopped any case hardening.

At 22 days still wet in there so I have opened the door a crack.

So at 4 weeks old with fridge off and open a crack for 1 week in the process to let some moisture come out they seem to be getting there. I have tested a smaller one and it is fine but I am going to leave that one for a week longer. Also the really long ones over a foot long are still quite soft towards the centre so they will need longer. However, if I slice a bit and rehang they will be ok. Also the temp has been between 10-15C and RH 60-75% approx.

Now found a tiny bit of green mold growing a few days later so I have wiped over with vinegar and dried off and then hung for a couple of days inside. They have gone all shiny and a bit harder as some fat ozzed out and melted. Now in the fridge for a week till back of holiday. Then back out for 24 hours to dry off again as they got a bit damp again and vac pack.

Total time = 5.5 weeks or 38 days.

Finished Weight = 3kg

Weight loss average = 33%

Each Salami is about 170g so I have about 18 little ones. In some cases the longer ones got cut in half before packing. Now in the fridge and some in the freezer!


Pork Meat = £20

Skins = Ox Runners (Hank £12.99) used about half of these so £7 for this batch. (Estimated)

 Herbs & Spices = £4

Total Costs = £31 / 3000 = £0.01 per gram or £1.7 per salami if the salami is 170g at cost price!

Hence each Salami…..  add a bit on for equipment and string etc..!





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Italian Salami

This is my second salami and it has gone rather well. It is Italian based from a guy called “Spuddy” on It is quite basic and seems to work fine with naturel starter.

  1. 2160g Minced Pork – general spare parts from whole pig
  2. 7g pepper milled
  3. 7g fennel seeds milled
  4. 55g sea salt fine milled
  5. 5.5g Cure #2
  6. 5g white sugar
  7. 2 Crushed Garlic Cloves
  8. 1-2 tablespoons live yogurt
  9. 50ml Spanish Rioja

Day 1 – All ingredients mixed ice cold and left till overnight 10pm to 2pm before stuffing in fridge. Stuff as normal sausage make sure they are really firm and make into either horseshoes or straight. Tie with string to leave a loop. (see image put on rail at 18C 50% RH above back door)

Day 2 – Next morning checked and range of conditions was 18-25C 30-47RH. It got warmer! At this point take a small camembert slice with god white mold. Scrape off outer mold and place in tepid boiled cooled water in mug with some sugar. Leave for a couple of hours to multiply. Strain solution and paint onto salami to promote white mould growth.

Day 3 – Hung in garage attached to house. The salami go in an old fridge (turned off) with door cracked open about 3cm. Conditions are 14.7-11C 71-43% RH. Also a bowl of water is placed at bottom of fridge which has a load of salt in it. This prevents it going bad and raises the RH.

Regular Checks

Wash your hands and then inspect daily at first give them a bit of a squeeze to promote moisture distribution. Push the horseshoe salami outwards to expose the crevice that forms. This prevents this staying wet and going blue moldy!

If you see any blue mold form, take out all the salami clean down fridge with bleach or similar cleaner I use flash wipes (make sure smell goes before putting back). Then wipe salami with vinegar (which stinks) and put back. This seems to work! But will kill the white mold too.


In the end it took only 19 days to finish, then I vacuum packed it and fridged it. Seems best to peel skin before slicing and the skins come off really well as vacuum packing makes them a bit more moist. In terms of flavour you certainly can taste the garlic but it is nice and not too strong. Also might be nice with some chili as well. Fennel simply goes into background which is interesting.

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