Honey Glazed Gammon
Traditional honey-glazed gammon Christmas isn't complete without this festive favourite - serve hot or cold for family and friends.
- 2-4kg/4lb 8oz-9lb unsmoked boneless gammon joint, tied
- 2 onions, halved
- 2 carrots, unpeeled, cut into 5cm/2in pieces
- 2 celery stalks, cut into 5cm/2in pieces
- 4 bay leaves
- 12 black peppercorns
- small handful cloves
- Place the gammon joint into a large lidded saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil over a high heat. Drain the water from the saucepan, add fresh cold water, add the onions, carrots, celery, bay leaves and peppercorns and bring to the boil once more. Reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer the gammon and vegetables gently for twenty minutes per 500g/1lb 2oz. (If your pan is not quite large enough to cover the joint completely, turn the gammon over halfway through the cooking time.)
- Remove the gammon from the water and set aside to cool for fifteen minutes. (The cooking liquid can be strained and reserved for making soup for another time.)
- Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6 and line a large roasting tin with aluminium foil.
- Use a small knife to remove the rind from the gammon joint, leaving as much of the fat intact as possible. Score the fat in a diamond pattern, and push a clove into the centre of each 'X'.
- Place the gammon into the foil-lined roasting tray, ensuring that the sides of the foil come half way up the joint to contain any roasting juices.
- For the glaze, mix the honey and mustard together and brush half of it evenly over the gammon, including one side of the joint. Roast in the centre of the oven for ten minutes, then take the joint out and brush the top and remaining side with the rest of the glaze. Return the gammon to the oven for a further 10-15 minutes, rotating the roasting tin so that the opposite side of the gammon faces the back of the oven.
- The gammon is ready when the fat on top is glossy and golden brown. Cover loosely with foil if the top begins to look too brown. Remove the gammon from the oven and set aside to rest for 15 minutes before carving.
- Pour any juices that have collected in the aluminium foil into a small pan, and warm through gently.
- Carve the gammon, serve on a large platter and spoon over the warmed juices .
Honey and Fig Christmas Cake
- 750g mixed dried fruits
- 100g blanched whole almonds, roughly chopped
- 100g chopped peel
- 200g dried figs, roughly chopped
- 100g glacé cherries, well rinsed and quartered
- 300g plain flour
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp grated nutmeg
- zest 1 lemon
- 250g lightly salted butter
- 250g light muscovado sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp clear honey
- 1 tbsp black treacle
- 4 large eggs
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tbsp milk
- 3 tbsp brandy, plus extra to feed
- Heat oven to 140C/120C fan/gas 1. Line the base and sides of a 20cm cake tin first with a double layer of brown paper, then with a double layer of baking parchment. In a large bowl, mix the fruit, almonds, peel, figs and cherries. Turn well and add the flour, spices and lemon zest. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar thoroughly, then add the vanilla extract, honey and treacle. Still beating, incorporate the eggs, then stir in the fruit and flour mixture. Dissolve the bicarbonate of soda in the milk and stir in thoroughly. Add the brandy by the spoonful, until you have a soft dropping consistency.
- Turn the batter into the cake tin and make a dip in the middle using the back of a spoon. Bake for 3½ hrs, then insert a skewer – if it comes out clean, it’s ready. If there is any cake mix on the skewer, give it 10 mins more and test again. When it’s done, remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool in its tin. The next day, remove from the tin, wrap in fresh greaseproof paper, then put it into an airtight tin or wrap tightly in foil. The usual thing is to keep the cake for at least a month before icing it, and to unwrap and sprinkle it occasionally with more brandy.