Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Cookery and Food Column with Carol Taylor – Home cured Ham and Bacon.

Welcome to Carol Cook’s and this week I thought I would bring to you most people’s favourite meats now who doesn’t love a bacon sarnie a BLT or a nice ham sandwich with lots of English mustard ?

Can I get bacon or ham here well yes I can and it is of dubious origins and doesn’t resemble the lovely smoked back bacon I used to love or the lovely home cured ham on the bone which I used to buy from the deli…? It is rather slimy and not something I would want to eat.

Time to make my own … I did my research and I tried alternative cures which were ok just didn’t quite cut the mustard… The celery juice was the most successful and one I do use from time to time…

My research told me that the very small amount of salt petre that I use was not likely to be harmful especially as we don’t eat copious amounts on a daily basis …Our bodies can deal with it however if I tried alternative ways and the deadly botulism reared its head our bodies probably wouldn’t survive … Common sense rules and I decided that for the above reasons using salt petre was our preferred way of curing… Look at that sizzle!

Home cured Bacon


• 2 Kilo’s Pork Belly.
For every kilo of pork use:
• 2 parts rock salt to 1 part sugar.
• 4 cloves garlic.
• 2 bay leaves
• A bunch of Lemon Thyme.
• 20/30 Mustard Seeds,
• 12 Pepper Corns,
• Celery Juice.

Let’s Cook!

Finely slice the bay Leaves and lightly crush with other Spices in Pestle & Mortar.
Combine with Sugar and Salt and mix with Celery juice until damp then rub into the pork.

Place Pork in a sealed container or bag (I used a brining bag). Store in Fridge for 5 Days. I also turned the bag daily.

Remove and wash thoroughly. Cook in the oven @100c for 2 hours.

Completely cool and then slice to your desired thickness.

It also looks lovely and pink (no grey) which means the natural nitrates in the celery juice had worked their magic.

All I need now is a home-made smoker and some lovely flavoured woods. Maybe use some maple syrup, honey, someone suggested coffee…some nice tea springs to my mind so many options…A different blend of herbs or cut of meat…

Have you made your own bacon and if you did what did you use?


One of my favourite snacks with bacon is Jalapeno Peppers.

I have had an ongoing tussle with Jalapeno poppers and finally found a way which is easier than trying to keep the breadcrumbs on them when you deep fry them so a little healthier…

But everyone liked them and thought they were better baked and easier to eat.


• 12 Jalapenos halved
• 8 oz cream cheese
• 2 cups of mozzarella shredded (I didn’t have any) so omitted this.
• 2 tbsp coriander
• 2 chopped green onions
• 8 strips of bacon cooked and crispy
• 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
• Squeeze lime juice
• 2 tbsp parmesan cheese
• A little olive oil to drizzle

Let’s Cook!

Clean and halve the jalapenos (use gloves) I don’t I just thoroughly wash my hands after.

Place halves on a baking sheet or dish (I halved this recipe) so a dish was sufficed.

Mix the cream cheese, shredded mozzarella (if using) coriander, squeeze of lime, bacon pieces and season black pepper.

Fill the little Jalapeno boats with the mix. Then mix breadcrumbs and parmesan and spoon over the top of the mix.

Drizzle with a little olive oil and pop in a hot oven 200 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
When ready cool for 5 minutes and tuck in.


I personally don’t think it needed the mozzarella as they were cheesy enough.

The jalapenos were still quite crisp…I thought they could do with longer in the oven…I was however outvoted and the men folk liked them very much so I think it is down to personal taste…

This was also far easier and less messy than trying to keep the breadcrumbs on whole jalapenos and they were better to hold and eat.

Next as many of you seem to be having some salad weather is my recipe for Home Cured Ham

If it was Christmas or Easter or some other family occasion when you want a fair-sized ham I would do the leg… For us just for salad or sandwiches then I cook a piece of pork loin which is quicker to cure it only takes 5 days depending on how salty you like your ham and this is trial and error I cured two or three pieces before I got it exactly correct for us.


• A piece of Pork…top of leg……mine was 3 kilo.
A suitable plastic (not metal) container to brine the meat in.
Ingredients for Rub:
• 4 tbsp salt (coarse)
• 2 tbsp Sugar.
• 1/2 tbsp Saltpetre(saltpetre)
Ingredients for Brine:
• 5 litres water
• 900 gm salt (coarse)
• 2 tbsp Sugar
• 1/2 tbsp Saltpeter.

Day one:

  • Mix the dry rub, and rub the ham, making sure it’s well covered. If using a 7-8 kilo ham you will need a double batch.
  • Place the ham in a large container, cover with a clean tea towel and leave in a cool place, like the fridge.
  • Now mix the brine in a pot and cook up and cook for 10 min. remove the pot from the heat.
  • Remove the foam when it stops bubbling and leave to cool and save in a cold place.

Day two:

  • Pour the cold brine over the ham so it is covered.
  • Store the ham cold.
  • Turn the ham from time to time during the curing time. Use clean tongs and plastic gloves.
  • Let the ham brine for 14-20 days.
  • IF the brine goes cloudy, make new brine and replace the old brine with that and keep curing it.

Tip: Wear gloves even when dry rubbing. I didn’t the first time as I used my fingertips and thought I was being clever… I wasn’t… I had bad hands for about 10 days and now I always wear gloves… I learnt my lesson the hard way.

When the ham is cured use your favourite recipe to cook and voila a lovely ham.

I have cooked mine all ways usually I cover with water, bring it to the boil and then drain off all the water. Add fresh water and all my spices…I add a couple of bay leaves, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, about 3/4 cloves, a star anise and maybe a cardamom pod also about 2 tbsp of brown sugar…I cook for 20 mins per 500 gm of meat and then allow to cool overnight in the cooking water it is then ready to eat.

If it is a special occasion then once it has finished cooking I score the fat and stud with cloves, brushed with honey and put in the oven for 20 minutes.

Another way which I did last Christmas was to use loin of pork instead of the leg and scored the fat….when I got to the boiling stage I added water to just below the fat and then when it was cooked covered the meat with foil leaving just the fat exposed then oiled and salted the fat whacked it in a high oven to crisp of the crackling…

It went down a storm everyone loved it…A bit more work but crispy crackling with your ham…awesome!

That is my home cured recipes for bacon and ham… I have a plan to buy a small smoker and have a go at smoking some bacon but that will be for another day I am sure once I get it that it will take a few goes before we find the perfect recipe and smoke for us and I do think with cooking and curing your own ham and bacon it is down to personal taste and trying different cuts of meat and herbs and flavourings until you get it perfect for you…

Now as it is salad time for many of you I don’t think that a lovely piece of home cured ham needs anything else but a lovely salad with some homemade dressings and this is where I am handing you over to Sally as she has some perfect dressings and also one for home made mayo and you can’t beat that…

Doesn’t that ham look lovely and the crackling?

Someone has just looked over my shoulder and asked me to make another one with crackling…So once we have eaten this normal home cooked ham I guess I will be making that one …

I will now hand you over to Sally and her lovely salad ideas:

You could start with her lovely chilled Gazpacho soup.

Then Home cured ham with a lovely salad and homemade dressing.

Some home cooked bread… With a recipe to make your own buttermilk.

And if you still have room some lovely fresh fruit salad:

Who’s coming to dinner???

©Carol Taylor

I think that is lunch sorted for the next few days and I usually boil my own ham but I will whack it in the oven next time and get some of that crackling… thanks Carol… I always learn a new trick or two when reading your posts.

The other posts in the series can be found in this directory:

About Carol Taylor

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use have to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology:

Connect to Carol


If you have missed previous posts in the Cook from Scratch series you can find them here:

Thank you for dropping in today and Carol would be delighted to answer any of your questions and we always enjoy your feedback. Thanks Sally

26 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Cookery and Food Column with Carol Taylor – Home cured Ham and Bacon.

  1. You are welcome, Sally I am always experimenting, some works and some doesn’t but the ham with the crackling worked a treat… Hugs xxx Love your salad recipes and dressings we make a good team…Dynamite in the kitchen xxxx

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