For several years we have raised two Berkshire Black weaners and each year we celebrate with a Pig Night. This takes place about six weeks after the slaughter of the pigs as the ham takes some preparing.
It is soaked for three weeks in a brine which varies from year to year but nearly always includes honey from our bees. Then it is smoked for seven days and then I soak it for a further week in water to remove the extra saltiness. The water is changed each day as gradually the salt content reduces.
Then finally the big day arrives and it is cooked for five hours, finished with a glaze of mustard and brown sugar. Delicious.
Pig Night is designed to be a tasting of different parts of the pork. The ham is obviously central but we start with pâté and then I include a sausage and lentil dish and boudin (a French variety of black pudding). Some years I add liver but not this year.
Needless to say the table is dressed according to the theme with a central display of various pig ornaments and this year we also celebrated the 70th birthday of a good friend. Another friend played happy birthday on the piano as the cake was bought in.
A good evening was had by one and all and we were still singing around the piano at 2am. Enormous fun.