"There are two elements in this recipe. The salted hock, or knuckle, from the pig, and the pickled cucumber. Together they are astonishingly good. The sharp, sweet vegetable does its job so well to cut through the rich, salty meat. I like to add other seasonings to the flaked meat like Arran mustard and lots of curly parsley. This is where you can have fun and do your own thing. Try different herbs that you may be growing, or play with different veg to go with it. Remember to keep the stock from cooking the hocks as it makes the best soup in the world. Just add a handful of peasemeal or red lentils."
Serves 6 to 8
Cooking time: 4 hours plus overnight; Prep time: 45 minutes
3 unsmoked ham hocks
1 stick celery
2 carrots, peeled
1 onion, peeled and halved
2 bay leaves
1 sprig thyme
2 spring onions, finely chopped
125g unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons curly parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon Arran mustard, or any grain mustard will do
500ml good cider vinegar
500g caster sugar
500ml cold water
2 star anise
Good salt and pepper
A few mustard seeds
A few handfuls of salad leaves
A few radishes, sliced
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Arran mustard
A splash of vinegar
Place the hocks in a large pot and cover with cold water. Add the celery, carrots, onion, peppercorns, bay and thyme and bring to just below a rolling boil and simmer for 4 hours, skimming off any residue and adding more water if required. Don’t over boil.
Once cooked and the meat is falling off the bone, remove the hocks from the pot and allow them to cool slightly, before flaking all the meat off the bone. Retain the celery, carrots and onion. Keep the fat for another dish and retain the stock for soup.
Roughly chop the carrots, onion and celery from the stock pot and add them to a bowl with the flaked meat, melted butter, mustard, spring onions and parsley. Mix thoroughly and check the seasoning.
Line a terrine mould or plastic tub with oiled cling film - oiled side down. Pack the terrine mix into the mould and fold over the cling film so it covers the terrine entirely. Place something heavy on top to press it down and refrigerate overnight.
To make the pickled cucumber, bring the water, sugar and vinegar to the boil then add the mustard seeds, star anise and a teaspoon of salt. Add the cucumber to the pot - you may have to halve the cucumber if it’s too long - that’s fine as it won’t affect the final taste. Cover with a lid and simmer for about an hour until the cucumber is just soft. Then turn off the heat and leave it to cool in the pickling liquid. Once cooled, cut into slices and set to one side.
Make a dressing by mixing 4 tablespoons of olive oil, one teaspoon of Arran mustard and a splash of vinegar.
To serve, place a slice of the terrine in the centre of a plate and arrange the pickled cucumber around or on top. Garnish with a few salad leaves and slices of radish trickled with the dressing. Serve at once.