Thursday 27 December 2012

Boxing Day ham

Like the majority of families in the UK, our Christmas Dinner is based on turkey. But in our family we have established a tradition that on Boxing Day we eat roast ham. As many of my readers will know, the Head Chef in our household is my wife Jane, and I have to admire her for the fact that only 24 hours after feeding the family the full Chistmas Dinner ensemble, she sets-to and produces another amazing meal. A roast ham demands a fair bit of work. Jane uses the Delia Smith recipe from many years ago, which involves removing the skin from the part-cooked ham, scoring the fat in a criss-cross pattern, basting it with a sweet mixture of honey (or in our case Sweet Freedom) and mustard, and studding each diamond shape in the fat with a clove, prior to finishing off with another spell in the oven. The result is stunning!

The photo above shows our ham just after coming out of the oven. After the photo, it was covered in foil and allowed to stand for the best part of an hour. During this time, Jane cooked the accompaniments. We always have Parsley Sauce with our ham. This is just as essential as the gravy is with the Christmas Day turkey - a non-negotiable feature. The other "trimmings" are variable. Sometimes we have Cumberland Sauce, sometimes not. This year we used up a bit of the Cranberry sauce left from the previous day.

Along with the ham we always have lots of vegetables. This year we had "new" (i.e. small) potatoes; baby turnips, and Cavolo Nero (the latter fresh from my garden), but it could easily have been carrots, peas and cabbage. Basically anything nice. My Cavalo Nero plants are looking severely depleted now!

One of the best things about this ham arrangement is that Jane always cooks a huge piece to ensure that there will be plenty left over for eating cold. In fact this year, there were only four of us to eat ham on Boxing Day, so we only got through about a third of it. Tonight we plan to have cold ham with chips, grilled tomatoes and fried eggs. How good does that sound??? Much less formal than our meals on the previous two days, but it will probably be just as nice, though in a different way.

Since we enjoyed our supermarket-purchased ham so much, I just want you to imagine how nice was the home-reared, home-killed, home-prepared, home-cured, home-cooked ham that my blogging friend Becky Whitford served on Christmas Day. Follow this link to see a picture of it...Simply Self-Sufficiency


  1. Glad to see you are having something cold too - to keep Martyn and I company!

  2. I saw Becky's ham. It looked wonderful. As does yours. I LOVE ham but rarely get to eat it as my husband isn't a huge fan. On Christmas we have turkey and ham because just one isn't enough to feed the crowd. Ours wasn't home reared or cured, but the farmer that raised it was at the party (a good friend of my townhouse mates).

  3. Oh that looks so good. It's one of the best bits of Christmas for me. Could just do with a slice and a few pickled onions.

  4. We had turkey and beef for Christams dinner, and I only cook on Boxing Day if we're having people over, which we didn't this year. I've got a ham to cook but the rest of the family aren't so keen on it so it'll be me who gets the lion's share. It looks delicious how Jane's cooked hers.

  5. Love a good ham. I agree... Becky's was spectacular!


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