Sunday, 2 January 2011

Shilling's New Years Day Ham

... so here it comes... twenty-eleven... two-thousand-and-eleven.. two-oh-one-one... however you say it, here it comes, relentless in it's stubborn way of trampling all over your tired and alcohol-fuelled brain and delicate, 'why am I such a failure?' emotions...

...'oh yes' you promise yourself, this year will be a better year, you will lose weight, you will spend less and save more... you will finally get round to changing the light-bulb in the oven hood extractor...

... or... to HELL with all that crap... be good and kind to others... treat all living things with the respect you'd wish upon yourself and eat lovely things that make you happy...

... it's now Sunday and we've just come out of a four day alcohol-fuelled fugg into a brighter, better world... somehow we managed to spend most of our waking hours playing a board-games marathon in between eating copious amounts of cake and chocolates whilst drinking our way through most of the Northern hemisphere's supply of grain and grape based intoxins... all whilst nursing a dearest friend through heartache... which is why this ham is dedicated to her... I know it's an unusual dedication, but it was sweet and delicious, just like her...

Honey and Mustard Glazed Ham

... so ever since ordering my ham a couple of weeks ago i've been scouring through my books and the internet for a suitable glazed ham recipe... i've never cooked one before and always thought they looked so festive, so I wanted to give it a try... most of the recipes are pretty much the same... soak, boil, glaze then bake... it's all about what you boil it in and what you glaze it with that makes the difference.  I wanted to boil it in either cider or ginger beer a la Nigella's coca-cola boiled ham but everytime I went to the supermarket I forgot to pick up the fizz... so it was just water this time... anyway here's what I did and it was totally moist and tender whilst amazingly having that 'slow-cooked' taste and texture too...

for the boil
a ham (I think it's called a horseshoe gammon)
cold water
1 medium onion
1 large carrot
1 star anise
a teaspoon of fennel seeds

for the glaze
whole-grain mustard

- place the ham in a very large pan and cover with cold water and leave to soak over-night... this isn't always needed nowadays as the preparation method for butchers has changed over the years... but the soaking draws out any excess salt... I soaked my ham anyway as I thought it wouldn't hurt and in fact i'm sure it added to the moistness and fabulous texture... and it's hardly like hard work...

- the next day, tip the water out and put fresh cold water in with the quartered onion, roughly chopped carrot and the spices... the star anise and fennel seeds add a wonderful warm but subtle aniseed taste to the flesh but also make the house smell amazing and less like your boiling a ham...

- bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer gently for 1 hour per kilo

- once this process is finished, remove the ham from the pot (keep the liquid to make a tasty gravy) and let it cool slightly before removing the top layer of rind.  Score the remaining fat and smother it in your honey and mustard mix... many people place cloves in each diamond shape on the flesh but I honestly think the cloves totally overpower the ham flavour and i'm not mad about them anyway... of course this is your choice.

- bake in the oven for 40 - 50 mins until the honey glaze turns dark golden, if not a little black... keep your eye on it though because you don't want it to totally char... I removed it from the oven after 30 mins, covered it in foil and left it whilst I made my mash then poured on some of the boiling juice before placing it back into the oven for a further 30 mins... god it was good!

eat and of course enjoy!



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