Pork and completed portrait

pork We had a varied weekend and I’m a wee bit late telling you about it because of Christmas card and parcel wrapping duties. Kevin collected a pig carcass from Paul, our regular pork provider, on Friday in the library car park of all places. They must have looked a shady pair! So, Saturday was a butchery day and I’m glad that the weather had warmed up slightly, because standing around handling cold meat is a chilly occupation. I’ve never envied butchers, or fishmongers come to that! Lovely pork from Paul’s well looked after pigs!


It took us most of Saturday to prepare the pork for the freezer as well as putting the legs and hocks into a Wiltshire cure. This year we aren’t making sausages but instead we’ve used the thin ends of the bellies to make dry cured bacon. Any other meat, usually from the shoulder, which we normally use in sausages, has been diced for casseroles instead. The dry curing is a simple technique with few ingredients; 500gm fine salt, 50gm brown sugar, ½ teaspoon saltpetre (optional), 1/tablespoon cracked black pepper.

Basically you just massage each piece of meat with the cure, stack on top of each other in a non-metallic container and place a heavy weight on top. After 24 hours, this is what it looks like…

dry curing

Each day, remove the bellies, pour the water away, massage with more of the cure and return to the container, making sure to put the bottom piece of meat on top this time. Continue this process on a daily basis, rotating the bellies as you go. After five days, there you have it! Generally I dice the finished bacon and use it in place of pancetta

BrawnThe only remaining task was the none-too-pretty boiling of the head to make brawn. Cooking takes about four hours with an added trotter, stock vegetables and a bouquet garni. When that’s done, remove all the meat from the head, shred it, season well and press it into a dish along with plenty of the lovely, gelatinous cooking liquor. Admittedly it doesn’t look the most appetising of culinary creations but after covering it, placing a weight on top, placing in the fridge for 24 hours, you’re left with a sliceable potted meat which is succulent and delicious!

So much for the porky part of the weekend, now we move on to the portrait! Only one person, Amy, managed to guess his identity before completion (or at least only one person told me that they had!) His name is Ton Ton, he lives with his family on a farm in Illinois, U.S.A  and is a regular star on Cecilia’s blog. He’s been the perfect model with his expressive face and I’ve enjoyed every minute of painting him. This particular expression is apparently worn when suitcases are being packed and he’s not invited! He’s going to be a hard act to follow!

Ton Ton


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23 Responses to “Pork and completed portrait”

  1. Seasweetie Says:

    What a fabulous picture of Ton Ton! At first, I thought it was a photograph. Lovely talent you have!

    • garybuie01 Says:

      Thank you – I think he’s turned out to one of my best paintings. Of course it was a lovely photograph to work from!

  2. Mad Dog Says:

    That’s a good likeness of Ton Ton and some very nice pork too 🙂

    • garybuie01 Says:

      When we’ve spent hours dealing with the raw meat, the last thing we want to do is eat any in the immediate future! (Excet maybe a piece of liver – if the abbatoir remember to send it that is! Not this time!) So tonight, we’re sampling the first pork proper tonight; pan-to-oven Pork Chops with garlic. Maybe I’ll post a picture/recipe tomorrow!

  3. Janet NZ Says:

    I love that you used the WHOLE pig! The portrait of Ton Ton looks just like him 🙂

    • garybuie01 Says:

      Hi Janet,
      Ooooh, you’ve just got to use everything! My uncle was a pig farmer and always said that you can use everything from a pig except the squeak! I must admit though, I struglle with the trotters (apart from the one in the brawn) and tail, but fortunately our neighbour is Brazilian and is happy to take them off us for the traditional Brazilian dish, Feijoada!

  4. Veronica Roth Says:

    Hi Christine, I’m glad Celi posted a link to your wonderful blog because now I can get to know you. You’ve done a beautiful job on TonTon. Do you paint much? I love to paint too. 🙂 Mostly I love to paint botanicals and landscapes.
    Now to find a bit more time to mooch around your site.

    • garybuie01 Says:

      Hi Veronica, lovely to ‘meet’ you! I’ve been painting on and off for about 12 years now but I’ve had no art education, just book learned, which has made the whole process a slow one. I’ve tried different subjects and mediums and I would love to be loose and impressionistic. After many disappointments though, I’ve decided to stick with what seems to be in my nature and consequently have more success. I have to say that I’ve only been painting animals since last year – they seem to respond wonderfully to pen and ink/watercolour.
      One problem is that I only have time to paint in the winter months as we run a Bed and Breakfast as well as rearing ducks and chickens and growing veg. So as you can imagine, summer’s out! Unfortunately, the six month gap means that any new skills which I’ve developed over the winter become very rusty, very quickly!
      I have to go and feed the afore mention fowl now, but on my return, I shall visit your blog and hopefully see some of your paintings! (Sorry to have gone on so long!)

  5. Chica Andaluza Says:

    Came over via celi´s blog – what a beautiful portrait of TonTon! Am now intrigued by your blog so am going to have a good look around 🙂

    • garybuie01 Says:

      Thank you! I do believe that we’ve crossed paths in the past when I first started Garybuie’s blog. I shall revisit and see what you’re up to!

  6. dayphoto Says:

    Oh! Yes! You caught him perfectly! Ton-Ton!


    ¸.•*¨*•♪♫♫♪Merry Christmas to you ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥

  7. vivinfrance Says:

    Tonton is my favourite (virtual) dog friend, and your portrait is wonderful.

    • garybuie01 Says:

      He certainly keeps us entertained with his antics on the Farmy! (And has kept me out of mischief for some days!)

  8. pixilated2 Says:

    You have amazing talent, Christine! What a generous and wonderful gift. ~Lynda

    • garybuie01 Says:

      Thank you! About the talent thing, believe me when I say that all my paintings don’t turn out as well as Ton Ton. However, he’s certainly helped me along my learning curve! How could I not give him? Cecilia is so generous with her photographs and if it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t have had such a wonderful model!

  9. Alice Says:

    Oh what a fine painting of a fine dog!

  10. EllaDee Says:

    You have done wondeful justice to the subject of your portrait 🙂

  11. bitsandbreadcrumbs Says:

    Am visiting via Cecila, and what a perfect portrait of Ton. I would have known him anywhere. Nice to see your blog here!

    • garybuie01 Says:

      Thank you for visiting and your complement too. I’ve posted him to Illinois today and I shall miss him!

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