An Ode to Pork
A porcine tribute to Uncle Baz
My older brother, Warren Iain Oldroyd, (aka Baz, Uncle Baz, Pip, Woz, Wozzle, Wozzie) passed away early on Thursday 20th February 2020, after losing a very short fight with ferocious oesophageal and liver cancer. He was unquestionably the most beautiful man I have known.
As I struggle to come to terms with my heavy sadness, my bereaved brain has me seeking out tangible things to help soothe me; his new blue sneakers to wear, his favourite sweat top, holes under both arms and full of the smell of him, or his sailing jacket to keep me warm whilst fishing far offshore for tuna.
It is through cooking and providing nourishment, that I struggle to make sense of my world – the touch, feel, taste and smell of ingredients, the act of caring for another, enables me to pretend that there is some semblance of order. On another level, I can drift through the comforting menial tasks that so much restaurant cooking requires, quietening my mind and connecting with my emotions.
So when Warren’s Memorial required a plate of something from those who felt up to it, I immediately thought of crafting a meat terrine, something he loved eating when we visited the gastropubs of West London together in the late ’90s. Cooking something he loved somehow allowed me brief respite from my own tears and offered renewed focus to make it through the Memorial service in one piece.
He loved a hefty slice of pork belly, my brother! Here follows my tribute to Warren, a country pâté of the finest pedigree, for the most special of occasions!
Gammon terrine with Parma ham, drunken fruits & pistachios
aka Woz’s terrine
1 x smoked gammon hock, about 2 kg
500 g coarsely ground pork mince
250 g chicken livers
10 x slices Parma-style ham
100 g pistachios, roughly chopped
1 cup chopped parsley
2 tbs chopped thyme
2 tsp ground mace
1 tbs salt
2 tsp cracked black pepper
1 tbs drunken fruits (see recipe)
50 ml brandy
A terrine mould or loaf tin, approximate dimensions 30cm x 10cm, lined with clingfilm
A piece of thick cardboard box, cut to fit the top of the terrine mould, wrapped securely in foil.
1-2 brick sized weights wrapped in clingfilm, to press the terrine after cooking
An oven (bain-marie) dish big enough to hold the terrine dish when its 1/2 submerged in water
Simmer the gammon in water to cover, flavoured with bay leaves, onions, carrots & celery
The gammon is cooked when a skewer pierces the meat with little or no resistance
Cool the gammon and shred it into chunky pieces
Reserve the edible fat (not the tougher skin)
Finely chop the livers and reserved fat
Mix the pork mince, gammon, livers, fat, drunken fruits, pistachios, herbs and seasonings
Cook a small ball of the terrine to check seasoning, adjust accordingly
Lay the Parma ham down, each strip overlapping the next, to completely cover the mould, making sure to overlap the ends
Press the terrine mix into the mould, firmly pushing out any air pockets
Once filled, flap over the Parma ham to seal the terrine
Place the terrine dish in the bain-marie, fill up to 1/2 the level with warm water
Bake in a 130c oven until the internal temperature of the terrine is 72c or the juices run clear
Baking time should be approximately 1 hour
Allow the terrine to cool to room temperature
Place the cardboard lid on top of the terrine and weigh it down.
Refrigerate for a minimum of 24 hrs
Remove the terrine, scrape clean and trim the edges and wrap in wax paper for safe storage
1 kg mix of the following dried fruits:
Raisins, pears, peaches, nectarines, apricots, cherries, cranberries, prunes
1 ltr cold strongly brewed Rooibos tea
1 cup brandy
Chop the dried fruits into raisin sized pieces
Submerge in the tea & brandy
Leave in a sealed Kilner jar for 3 months
Top up the tea/brandy mix to ensure the fruit is always covered
Slice a thick 1 cm slice
Season with good salt crystals and a splash of finishing olive oil
Toast your best sourdough or ciabatta.
Serve with chutney, cornichons or pickles & dressed leaves.
Drink most (or all) of the bottle of expensive Chenin Blanc.
Remember Warren fondly, he would be pissing himself laughing!