If you are out in the Hampshire countryside you will notice the abundance of pig farms with the animals happily lying in the sun or snuffling around.
I love their comical ways, especially piglets with their smiley faces. I’ve often wasted time watching them play.
As a nation we produce great pork and from that we also make fantastic bacon and hams.
Pulled pork seems to be on every pub menu, but here’s a classic dish you could use as a dinner party starter or take on a summer picnic.
Ham hocks are a relatively cheap cut with little fat and great flavour but need a lot of cooking to tenderise the meat. Slowly cooked in water produces not only tender ham but also good stock to make a clear jelly for the terrine. Add piquant capers and that very British herb, parsley, for colour and flavour. It reminds me of summer days, cricket and beautiful countryside. A slice of English summer... served with piccalilli.
Ham hock terrine
Ingredients (serves eight)
2 ham hocks
1 leek washed and cut into 2cm pieces
2 carrots peeled and cut into 2cm pieces
2 sticks celery cut into 2cm pieces
3 onions cut into eight
2 star anise
2 onions finely diced
2 sticks celery finely diced
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Dessertspoon chopped capers
3 leaves gelatine
1. Place the hocks in a large pan. Cover with cold water. Bring to boil then discard water and run fresh cold water over hocks. Return to boil and simmer.
2. Remove any scum and add all the top ingredients. Now simmer for three hours or until meat is tender.
3. Allow to cool and remove the hocks. Strain the liquid and keep.
4. Pick meat from the bones and place in a dish.
5. Cook the diced onion and celery in a little butter for one minute. Add ladle of the ham stock. Cook until the stock has reduced away.
6. Add the onions and celery to the picked ham.
7. Bring 280ml of the stock to the boil. Add the softened gelatine.
8. Pour over the ham mixture. Add the other ingredients. Taste and season.
9. Put all this in a terrine and allow to set for at least eight hours in the fridge.
10. Turn out of the terrine, cut and serve.