Food that evokes memories

This weekend (28th, 29th of Nov) has been a busy one, I made 4 Salami sausages, 4 Saucisson Sec (Fig 1), 12 links of Pork and Leek Sausages (Fig 2) and have started a large chunk of a dried Pork called Coppa (Fig 3), however, the food that had the most impact on me this weekend, is a simple Broth with Pease Pudding.

The taste of the Broth with the Pease Pudding evoked such memories of being back in my mothers' kitchen whilst she made, what was a cheap winter meal. I can remember her using a large pressure cooker without the weight on to boil the Ham and the absolute heavenly smell of the Broth cooking on her Raeburn cooking range. Even more so, I remember the taste of hot home made Ham and Pease Pudding sandwiches; whereby she took two thick slices of home made bread, buttered them and then spread hot Pease Pudding and Ham on them – so delicious and comforting. My memories were then transported around the kitchen, the colour of the walls etc. I can even feel the heat of the cooking range on my face – what fantastic memories of when I was 14 or 15 years old.

Only now, having cooked the Broth myself, do I appreciate the love, skill and attention to detail that went into what I always assumed was a simple meal.

The journey to this reverie started when, as an "off the cuff" decision whilst in the local butchers shop we purchased a 'Ham Knuckle'; this led to us also purchase some Pearl Barley and Split Peas with a plan to doing a broth and Pease Pudding dish – little did I know the journey it would take me on.

I have often made simple Broths using Bacon or Lardons, however, using a Ham Knuckle is something else altogether and is to be recommended. Added to this is the simple act of tying together a cheesecloth bag half full of split peas and dropping them in with the boiling Knuckle and allowing them to boil together for an hour or so – Alchemy happens, the Peas turn to ham flavoured paste (Fig 4) and the effect of the boiling water straining through the Peas results in a thickened sauce; no need for stock in this Broth.

Remove and defat/debone the knuckle and return to the pot; throw in some Potatoes, Swede Turnip, Carrots and Leeks, red lentils and a good handful of Pearl Barley then boil until the Barley is soft (Fig 5), serve with a good dollop of Pease Pudding on the side and chunky bread, delicious (try some Pease Pudding and Ham on the bread).

Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 3
Figure 4 Figure 5