Alongside the killing is another miracle of cooking. As the parts come off, a series of parallel dishes are prepared. (I probably didn’t follow all of these as closely as I should have.)
The blood is kept but not stirred. Instead it’s allowed to coagulate and finally cut into neat cuboids. The consistency is of jelly, but it stains. The lumps are simmered in garlic water. A pot of onions and slices of quince are tried, and the lumps of blood are then added along with the brains of the pig and a large tub of rendered pig fat. This is our breakfast.
The head, ears, cheeks, caul fat, heart and lungs go into one pot for boiling. I lose track of this one, but some of the meat is picked off for the liver sausage while the broth forms the basis of a thick soup to which pickled cabbage is eventually added.
A clear soup is made from the shoulder blades and some lean meat. Consommé clarity and intense flavour. Towards the end vegetables and small pasta spirals are added.
Parts of the back fat, sliced thickly, are placed in a large pot over a propane burner. A little water is added and it’s stirred continuously for about 30 minutes. Some of the fat begins to reduce and over a couple of hours lumps of fat are deep fried until brown and crispy. Cooled, they are eaten with salt and paprika in a deadlier version of pork scratchings.
The head meat is processed and eventually stuffed into the inner lining of the stomach. Extracting the lining is a real skill and our version needed patching with thread after it was stuffed.
Two types of sausages are made; one is based on simple minced meat and fat, to which garlic and paprika are added. The other mix is more liver and rice with large quantities of black pepper and dried marjoram. Both mixes are spooned into a massive syringe and piped into casings. (These were rehydrated from a packet, given the reluctance to process our own.) The liver sausage is poached. Both are later grilled on the barbecue.
Pork ribs were simmered before having some improvised marinades. They are finished off on the BBQ.
A final dish was lardy cake; a southern counties cake dough that uses lard rather than butter. Our version used the waxy pink pig suet and created an almost puff pastry biscuit. Served with pureed raspberries from local gardens.