Weigh the joint of bacon. A piece about 4–5lb/2–2.5kg is a good size for a family meal and some cold meals afterwards. Soak in cold water overnight, drain and put in a saucepan covered with cold water. Add a bay leaf and a tablespoon brown sugar with 4 peppercorns. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer, allowing 25 minutes per lb/450g and 25 minutes over. Cool in the cooking liquid to eat cold, or eat hot with parsley sauce or Cumberland sauce.
To bake a bacon joint, cook it in water for half the cooking time, drain and strip off the rind. Wrap in foil and bake at 375°F/190°C/Gas Mark 5 for half the remaining cooking time. Unwrap the foil, score the fat into squares or diamonds and glaze before finishing cooking at 425°F/220°C/Gas Mark 7. To glaze the joint, either (a) sprinkle with brown sugar and stud the diamonds with whole cloves; (b) sprinkle with sugar and baste frequently with ¼ pint/125ml sweet cider; (c) brush with thick marmalade and garnish with slices of apple dipped in lemon juice. Baste often during cooking, adding a little more marmalade if necessary.
© 1978 Mary Norwak estate. All rights reserved.