Piglets, Finally!

Number 1 farrowed June 18 and her piglets are weaned and ready to go. These are all Bootleg’s piglets too. We’re keeping Pinky and Brownie 3, both male piglets, and the rest can go. Folks here are starting to buy piglets for fattening for Baclayon town fiesta in December. If you’re interested in buying our piglets, please come and visit us. Piglets in our village sell for PhP2,500 each.

Here’s a video of the piglets with Number 1, taken when the piglets were about 6 days old. This is Number 1’s first litter and she has proven to be a wonderful caring mother!

Here’s a video of the piglets enjoying the garden. They are about 3-4 weeks old here, learning to root and forage for the first time.

Their father, Bootleg is half-duroc, and the mother, Number 1, is a mix of Landrace and Large White. There’s probably some Pietrain or Philippine Native Pig mixed in there too. Our attempts at cross-breeding and keeping pigs in natural environment has been quite successful. These pigs are strong and hardy, able to enjoy the outdoors. They are never mutilated (no castrating, ear notching, or tail docking, etc). They are also never injected with antibiotics or supplements. I’ll post more about our pig breeding experiences later.

We hope to have piglets more next time! 🙂

Hello, my duck!

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Duck Burgers

A few days ago, I got some ground beef and ground pork from the supermarket. I wanted to make some burger patties. They are great served with salad vegetables. Here, the burger patties are served with lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, onions and grilled red bell peppers.

fatsburgers

The spices and seasonings added to making these patties are:

Flour or oatmeal or bread
Egg, salt, pepper and sugar
Curry powder blend (yellow)
Fresh milk or cream
Dijon mustard
Soy sauce
Minced onion
DIY Nutritional Yeast (instead of MSG)
Phosphate dissolved in water and a bit of salt

Mix with 500 grams of ground pork and 500 grams of ground beef.

Sugar and phosphate should be kept at a minimum (1/2 tsp). You can opt not to use phosphate which may result in a drier meat burger. If you do use phosphate, remember that maximum usage levels in meat products are 0.5% (8 oz per 100 lbs, 500 grams per 100 kg) of your finished products.

Now what is DIY nutritional yeast? “Nutritional Yeast” is available in shops and is often used as an ingredient in cheese-like sauces in vegan dishes. If you cant find it you can make your own. It is simply active dry yeast that was made to rise then cooked until dry in a non-stick pan. The thin crepe-like yeast is then crumbled and kept in a sealed container until use. The taste of “nutritional yeast” is very similar to the unami taste of monosodium glutamate. Therefore it is a great and healthier flavour enhancer.

The result are delicious, tender, juicy burgers! And of course I just had to try making these burgers using duck!

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Pork/Beef Burgers on the left and Duck burgers on the right!

I took out some duck from the confit pot, took the meat off the bones. To this is added the phosphate dissolved in water and placed in a chopper (or blender/food processor). The processed duck meat will look a bit like pâté. Place the processed duck meat and add the rest of the ingredients. Take a teaspoon of the mixture and fry it and taste. Add necessary ingredients to suit your taste.

Place the mixture in the fridge to firm up, then shape into patties and fry. Keep the rest of the patties in the freezer.

The burgers are fantastic! I love them and I’ll make thicker ones to go wth bread. Although the taste of the two different types of burgers are quite similar because of the same spices used, the textures are different. Duck burgers have a more chewy texture, a bit like using corned beef or pulled pork to make burgers. I am thinking that perhaps it is better to chop the meat with a knife rather than mincing them in a food processor. Next time!

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Making Balut from Muscovy Duck Eggs

 

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I finally did it! Made my own balut! A duck hen has been sitting on a nest of eggs and for some reason she decided to push out two eggs. So I took the eggs and tried candling them with a small LED flashlight in a dark room (the bathroom, actually). I saw just next to the air sac what seemed to be large dark areas, the embryo of the egg.

Turning these eggs into balut is easy — just boil them! Hard boiled! Here are the results. Cracked open, they look like balut, smell like balut and taste like balut, delicious! I was wondering of Muscovy duck eggs could be made into balut, since most of what I read say it has to be the mallard. Well, these eggs are good enough!

I think that the main reason why mallards (and pekin ducks) are often used for balut is that the hens are not as broody as the Muscovy duck hen. The Muscovy will try to hatch out ALL her eggs and she will get upset if anybody keeps stealing her eggs!

Anyway, if you’re new to balut, you can learn more about it on Wikipedia! Oh, by the way, don’t look at the photos below if you’re squeamish! ?

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The Versatile Duck

Since butchering 8 ducks two weeks ago, I’ve been able to explore more duck dishes, certainly, finding the best and most convenient way of cooking duck. Since being busy with sow Number 1 and her piglets, I don’t really have the time to prepare and cook complicated duck dishes.

The most convenient way to keep duck is by cooking and preserving it in oil. The French call it “confit.” Here, the duck fat is rendered and this fat is used to cook and preserve the duck. If not enough fat is produced, it is acceptable to use suitable cooking oil.

The process of making duck confit involves salting the duck with salt and a variety of herbs, keeping that overnight or so, then cooking in oil. In my case, not having the leisure of such preparations, I simply cut up the duck and put it in a pot of coconut oil.

A small amount of aromatic herb is placed in the oil — some thyme, star anise and a bit of laurel leaf. A bit of salt and pepper. And that’s it — the pot is heated up every now and then over the next couple of weeks, adding new duck in as the pot is emptied, keeping the oil and adding extra oil if necessary.

The best thing about this method is that you can take out a bit of duck meat and prepare that in any way you wish. Because the duck has been cooked in oil until tender, it doesn’t take much time to whip out a duck dish.

duckstewwithvegetables

duckconfitpanfriedwithkashmirchillies

duckbreastwithtomatosauce

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Some of the dishes I’ve prepared are these (see photos). The easiest is to get some duck legs or breast and braise that in oil, tomatoes, salt and pepper, or some kashmir chilies. I have also made duck stew with vegetables which has a brown duck sauce base and some potatoes and carrots. Here, the duck meat can be shreds of meat off the backbone, wings and neck.

One of my favourite experiments is “corned duck.” I love corned beef and I really just had to create that same taste and texture with duck meat. I selected duck breast now truly tender from cooking in oil. This meat is flaked and set aside. Next is chop up some onions which will be browned in oil to caramelise. You can add garlic here if you wish. Next, the shredded duck breast is added together with salt, pepper, a bit of sage, a bit of allspice powder and star anise. The result is absolutely fantastic. Duck meat resembles beef and using shredded duck meat with spices commonly used in corned beef or salted beef preparations produce such a remarkable dish. I love the long shreds of duck meat! I only regret that I didn’t have enough duck fat to add to this!

Other ways of cooking duck I’ve tried are: duck curry, duck noodle soup and duck spring rolls. All coming from a pot of duck confit!

So there — over the last 2 weeks we’ve cooked and consumed 4 ducks and served guests as well. We still have 4 more ducks to go and I don’t get tired of eating duck because it can be prepared in a variety of ways. Bon appĂ©tit!