Monday, 17 October 2016

Cold Smoking.......

We have a new toy, well to be more precise, my husband has a new toy that I wanted, so bought it for his birthday present and now I'm using it.............see that's planning!

It's a cold smoker - basically you light some wood shavings and use the resulting smoke to flavour all manor of foods! - I bought a few books on the subject as well (being always one for a new cook book!) - just to give us an idea of what we were doing and show us what we were aiming for!

.........the things one can flavour with smoke are very varied - it seems people will flavour almost anything with smoke from oysters, to salt, to potatoes and even peaches! All that seems to hold you back is your imagination!

We are no strangers to smoking food and will often smoke a piece of salmon on our cob barbecue, but this is hot smoking and is designed to cook the fish as well as flavour it.

The cold smoking differs from that hot smoking method. The food is smoked for a much longer time, usually 6 hours or more, and remains raw - the temperature stays below 20C - with the smoke infusing into the food all that time.

It's a simple piece of kit, just a wire spiral that you fill with wood shavings - we used oak, but fruit woods would work really well. The shavings are tamped down and you have to make sure they are below the rim so the burning doesn't 'jump' but follows the spiral. This one should burn for at least 6 hours.

To get it all smoking away, you need to light a small nightlight candle and placed it at the start of the spiral, it gets the shaving burning and smoke starts to develop. Once the shavings start to smoulder the candle is removed and the wood left to quietly smoke away........

We placed the cold smoker in our barbecue and arrange the foods we wanted to smoke on the rack directly above - no planning was done before we started the smoker - it just seemed like the perfect, autumnal Saturday morning with nothing much else to do ...... so no special trip to the shops or purchase of foods to smoke was made.

Therefore, before we started, we raided the kitchen, looking in the fridge and the veg rack - deciding to have a go at flavouring an eclectic group of foods - from cheeses (feta and stilton), to a few heads of garlic, a lone chilli, half a packet of sea salt and a couple of salmon fillets. The cheeses we wrapped in muslin to keep them from direct contact with the grid, the salt and salmon were on foil but the rest was just placed in 'any-o-how'

The lid was put on the barbecue, trapping in the smoke and all was left alone for 6 hours.

So the results - it was all pretty darn good. The salt and the stilton cheese were the best, in my opinion, the salt had a delicate smoky flavour and had taken on a slightly yellow colour - I think it's going to be good sprinkled on grilled aubergine. The Stilton was excellent, as good as any expensive, artisan smoke cheese.

The garlic looked good and had started to take on a smokey flavour but it hadn't flavoured that much - I think a lot longer than 6 hours smoking time is needed to get the flavours right into the cloves.

The smoked feta was my husbands favourite, it really tasted smokey and was perfect added to a salad of rocket leaves.

So, will we do it again? The answer to that is yes, we decided that it is something that we will do a lot more, but maybe limit it to just cheeses and garlic - unless inspiration strikes........and the wood smoke smell, on a sunny, autumnal Saturday morning was wonderful........

Have a great day
Love Lizx