Photo: a painting by me of a piece of Cansalada also made by me…


The Italians call it Pancetta, the French say Petit Salé and in local Patois it’s called Cansalada… Whatever way you say it, the homemade version has nothing whatsoever to do with the supermarket variety. Try making this – it’s super easy, tastes like magic and keeps for months.
2kg pork belly, skin on
500g salt
200g caster sugar
2 bay leaves, shredded
20 or so juniper berries, crushed
a few sprigs of thyme and/or rosemary
25g freshly ground black pepper
Mix the salt with the sugar and add the shredded bay leaves, juniper berries and thyme (and or rosemary).  Massage into the meat and put into a container, then place in the fridge.  It will secrete water which you may pour off every two days.
Leave for a week or so then rinse under the tap.  Carefully dry with kitchen paper, then sprinkle generously with freshly milled black pepper and press into the meat.  Wrap into a few layers of kitchen paper and refresh every day for a week. Then leave to air-dry for 3 weeks before using.