What, no pressies?

We bought a pot-grown Christmas tree this year in an attempt to be more green and also, let’s be honest, to keep costs down a wee bit. After stripping it of all its festive glory yesterday, Kevin moved it into the half-way-house of the polytunnel, just to keep it sheltered from gales and torrential rain which refuse to leave us alone! You may remember that we opened the polytunnel some weeks ago as a ‘winter spa’ for the hens so that they can get themselves a decent dust bath during this soggy season. Whilst walking by today, the scene in the polytunnel made me smile when those chicken faces said it all, “Did Santa forget us this year then?”

“No, no, no…”, said one of the Wick Chicks, “Can’t you see, it’s the perfect gift, an umbrella in case this place springs a leak!”

The reason I was passing this festive scene, was that I was on my way to check on our curing processes. The hams are now ready, with their wonderful dark, treacly colour…

…and the chorizos are coming along nicely…

Should any of you out there happen to have a leg or two of pork handy(!), here’s the recipe for the Whiltshire cure which we use. (These quantities are sufficient for a 4.5 – 5 kilo piece of meat. For a full leg from a mature baconer, or two legs of the previously mentioned weights, the double the quantities)

1.5 kilo salt

50g saltpere (optional)

3 litres beer (bitter)

1 kg black treacle or molasses

20 – 30 juniper berries

30g black peppercorns, crushed

Boil all the ingredients together, stirring occasionally and then leave to cool. transfer to a suitably sized non-metallic container and chill to 3-4C. (I do this by adding two or three of those freezer packs used in cool boxes) Place your pork, also chilled,  in the brine and completely submerge using a non-metalic weight. Leave the pork in the brine for 3 days (minimum) or 4 days (maximum) for every kilo, changing the freezer packs a couple of times a day, or more if you live somewhere hot! The maximum time is if you’re intending to keep the ham for a long time, the minimum if you can’t resist tucking into it as soon as possible!


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