Monday, 25 December 2006

Christmas (Eve) Dinner

MacMan requested that we have roast ham this year for our Christmas dinner. As already mentioned, we had our family dinner on Christmas eve as we're going to friends Christmas Day and Boxing day. I've been on the look out for a special ham recipe, as I haven't cooked a ham before. I've heard lots of recommendations for Nigella's coca cola ham, and so decided to try this one - if only out of curiosity! As usual a couple of 'adaptations' have been made to the recipe. This is not meant in anyway to try and prove that I can better the Goddess herself, but sometimes I don't have the exact ingredients in my larder, so use the nearest equivalent.

Nigella’s Ham in Coca Cola
Serves 8

2kg gammon
2 litre bottle coca-cola (not diet)

For the glaze
1 tbsp black treacle
2 tbsp brown sugar (I used soft brown)
2 tbsp grainy mustard (Nigella calls for 2 tsp English mustard powder, but I don't like English mustard)

  • Place gammon joint in large pan, and pour over the coca-cola. Put lid on - though not tightly. (I didn't have a pan deep enough, so used our biggest pot, and had to use another pan as a lid! Worked just fine).
  • Bring to the boil, and reduce to a simmer for 2 and half hours. (Note - if ham has been cooked straight from fridge, it is advised to simmer joint for a further 15 minutes to ensure cooked through).
  • Allow to cool for a short while - for ease of handling.
  • Preheat oven to 240 C.
  • Transfer to roasting dish - without coke liquid. (Nigella recommends the liquid is retained to use as a base stock for black bean soup at a later date. I have duly stored the stock in the freezer, and just have to remember to buy some black beans when Christmas is all over!)
  • Use a sharp knife to score a criss cross pattern into the fat of the ham.
  • Stud each diamond with a clove. Spread the treacle and mustard over the skin.
  • Roast for 10 minutes.

This was a HUGE success! The ham literally slid off the bone when being carved, and almost melted in the mouth. It was sooo tender. It does sound a little 'out there' cooking a roast in coke, but it doesn't taste out there at all. We served it with roast kumara, roast potatoes and broccoli in a white sauce.

Until the last couple of years, my favourite pudding was Christmas pudding. Not just for Christmas either! Very strangely, I’ve found my tastes have changed, and I’m really not so keen these days. It therefore seemed obvious to make a Pavlova, seeing as it’s regarded at NZ’s national dish!

This recipe comes courtesy of my favourite Kiwi. I adapted it slightly, using soft brown sugar rather than the suggested white. And thank goodness I now have an electric whisk. I once tried to make pavlova in the UK and my electric whisk had broken. I was knackered -but I guess I did at least burn off some of the calories!!

Minky’s Pavlova

4 egg whites
2 tsp vinegar
2 cups of soft brown sugar
4 Tbsp cold water(the recipe also called for vanilla extract – but I’ve run out.
  • Beat egg whites until frothy.
  • Add other ingredients. Beat for 10 minutes.
  • Spread on a baking sheet lined with baking paper
    Bake at 130 for 20 mins, turn oven off and cook a further 30 mins. Don't use a fan oven! Slow cooking is everything.
The pavlova came out really well – so well that I think Minky would hopefully have approved. Using soft brown sugar rather than white sugar gave the meringue a sort of toffee taste - lovely. I filled the centre with whipped cream with toasted coconut and chopped nuts stirred through, and topped with the obligatory Kiwi fruit. The Princess of Power has developed a real passion for Kiwi fruit. Awkwardly Twirly Boy has not – but then he doesn’t like strawberries either so must be a freak of nature! He picked his kiwi off and ate the rest - so not too much of a problem.

No comments: