I was surprised last night to find that I was having a harder time with New Year's Eve than I had with Christmas.
I suppose the symbolism of New Year's had something to do with it.
I think our little family managed to get through Christmas by avoiding many of our usual traditions. But New Years, well midnight arrives no matter how hard you try to ignore it. The calendar year rolls forward whether you're prepared or not.
SeaBass and I originally planned to go out for dinner and then see a movie that would run through the big moment - I like passive aggressive avoidance. It works for me.
But at the last moment neither of us could bring ourselves to leave my father.
I'm not sure yet if I'm glad we made that decision or not. Because it was a really rough one.
I'm glad it's over.
So, in the spirit of a new year and a renewed focus let's talk food, shall we?
My guanciale is ready. And it's a beautiful thing.
The finished product is really everything I hoped for.
It's like pancetta on steroids.
The strong pork flavour is perfectly balanced with the creamy fattiness.
I really like the cure I used this time. The heat of the crushed chili flakes is in harmony with both the saltiness and sweetness of the sugar in the cure. The rosemary and thyme enhance the natural porkiness and beautiful fat.
Today I fried some guanciale and enjoyed it on it's own to get a real sense of the flavours and texture.
By frying the pork on lowest heat you can see how you release all of the fat that will lend incredible flavour to any dish. The end product is crispy and wonderful and I am further in love with all things pork.
I hope the success of this experiment doesn't go to my head!