I remember when I was a young lad that a public holiday would always bring relatives scurrying together from all over the country to gather at my grandparents house. Chief amongst these holidays were Christmas and Easter. I think it had something to do with the double public holiday that meant (as was the case in late 1970s and early 1980s UK) that everything would stop, work, shopping and regular life. The only things that would occur would be cooking, eating, drinking and the playing of games.
The games were my favourite part of the festive season, particularly hours spent playing cards (and watching others playing). Card games would often go on until the early hours and would be sustained by my dear grandmother producing seamlessly endless platters of tasty sandwiches made with home made bread and home cooked meets. Favourite amongst these was the home cooked ham, so different from supermarket bought wet, flabby insipid pink blancmangey stuff that was in vogue at that time. Firm, with a hint of smoke, mustard and honey, it really only needed a smear of chutney to make a great sandwich.
Even though there will only be a few of us together for Easter in Gisborne, New Zealand this year, I still cant resist cooking a holiday ham – I justify that we will get plenty of meals from it, but really it gives me a chance to indulge in some introspective nostalgia and remember the laughter and fun filled holidays of my childhood – Happy Holidays.
Serves: Around a million rounds of late night sandwiches
2.5 – 3kg smoked gammon joint (size is not key here!).
About 20 peppercorns
Around 10 cloves
2 Star Anise
4 Bay leaves
2-3 Tbsp Maple syrup
2-3 Tbsp English mustard
For the glaze
2-3 Tbsp Manuka Honey
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 Tbsp English mustard
2 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp oil
Several good grinds of black pepper
- Get the biggest pan (cauldron?!) you can lay your hands on.
- Open your gammon from its vacuum sealed packaging and rinse under cold running water for a good two minutes, turning it frequently to get a good rinse all over.
- Place your gammon in your massive pan and pour enough cold water on to just cover it.
- Add all of the ingredients listed above (before glaze listing) to the pan.
- Bring to the boil and reduce heat to a simmer.
- Put lid on pan and leave to simmer for 2 and a half hours
- Take off heat and leave to cool
- Preheat oven to 180C
- Take out your boiled ham and with a small sharp knife remove any string and also the skin on the gammon. The trick here is to remove the skin, but leave as much fat as possible on the ham.
- Mix up all the ingredients for the glaze.
- Score the fat of the ham, and brush and pour the glaze over the fat of your ham.
- Place on a baking tray and straight into your hot oven for around 15 minutes until the glaze has browned/blackened and is bubbling on the fat.
Serve hot with eggs and chips or cold with your favourite salad, cheeses, crusty bread and chutneys.