Thursday, 31 January 2008

The ham

The first time I saw Ina Garten (aka The Barefoot Contesa) on her cooking program I watched in horror as she flattened feminism with her rolling pin, swanned about her enormous house in the Hamptons preparing excessive amounts of rich food for her sweater wearing cheesy friends and doted upon husband Jeffrey. But for some reason, I am intrigued by her and her complete lack of irony. I've even started to try her recipes and mimic her favorite expressions: "let's have a party", "it's going to be so much fun" and "why does everything start with a stick of butter?"

This is Ina's recipe for ham glaze and like everything Ina makes, it's "so good".


6 garlic cloves, peeled
3/4 cup good mango chutney
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
zest of 1 orange
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

Put all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Score and stud the fat of the ham with cloves. Spread with the glaze and cook in a preheated 160 degree oven for 20-30 minutes.

If you want to cook the ham from 'green' rather than buy a cooked ham, here is what you do before glazing.

Soak the gamon in a basin of cold water overnight. To cook, place ham in a pot large enough to hold it. Place it on the stove and fill with cold water, then add a handful of cloves and peppercorns, several bay leaves, a couple of star anise and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar. Put it over a medium heat and bring slowly to the boil, for about 30 minutes. Watch it carefully - as soon as the first bubble breaks the surface, turn the heat right down. It is very important that you don't let the ham boil. Allow a cooking time of 20 minutes per 500g. Cook in the water for two thirds of the cooking time. Remove from the water, remove the rind and glaze the ham as above. Transfer to a preheated 160 degree oven and cook for remainder of the cooking time.

Of course, ham is the perfect way to indulge in some chutney loving.

For this occasion I cracked open a jar of pear and capsicum chutney.

I had managed to let the chutney mellow for a whole 2 weeks and it was delicious. Not too sweet and not too sour but just right.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

It's a girl

Happy birthday Evie, love Aunty Shelagh

Monday, 28 January 2008

C'mon Aussies

Could it be that the cold weather and bad coffee is starting to get to me? For some reason I felt a little homesick and even stirrings of patriotism when I saw these familiar faces in the Harvey Nichols Foodhall on Saturday.

Then I noticed the date. 26 January. The invasion of Australians onto the British food scene- that's worth celebrating.

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Christmas crack

I have a theory about christmas and the tendancy to over indulge. Because most of the food we associate with christmas only makes an appearance once a year, our primal instincts kick in and we make sure that our bodies store enough mince pies, turkey, christmas pudding and brandy butter to see us through the next 11 months of the year. Easter and hot cross buns provide only a brief respite for anglos and our 'one trick pony' culinary calendar. Oh to be Jewish, Greek or Indian and spend the year celebrating events with food.

Usually I spend christmas in sweltering heat in Queensland so this year it was nice to be able to indulge in a hot Christmas lunch with a fire, turkey, roast veg and all the trimmings.

The highlight of the feast was an incredibly juicy, tasty glazed gamon.

All digested over a post lunch walk.