Clean the head of cabbage, removing any damaged or bruised outer leaves. Place the cabbage on a cutting board with the core facing vertical to the board. Cut the cabbage in half straight through the core and then halve each half. Cut in half each quarter piece leaving as much core as possible to hold the sections together.
Take each peeled potato and cut off the ends by 2-3 inches, then cut the remaining large center piece into quarters.
Take the solid block of ham and trim off the rind. Cube the block into 2-3 " pieces. I cut out any gristle or large pieces of fat. Pre sliced packaged ham really doesn't work well with this cooking method as it falls apart or becomes very dry and tastless.
Place cabbage in the bottom of a large stock pot with one bay leaf, add the potatoes and then place the ham on top. Fill the pot with water to the top of the potatoes. put in the remaining bay leaf, salt, pepper corns, garlic and cloves (if using). Bring the pot to a boil, cover the pot and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 1-1hr 15 min. or until a knife/skewer easily pierces the cabbage core.
Serve in large bowls with broth and hearty slices of bread with butter. I usually serve a block of cheddar cheese and apple slices on the side, allowing everyone to cut what they want.