Glaze of glory

[Recipe 1] GLAZED HAM with ORANGE GINGER SAUCE transforms into
[Recipe 2] CAULIFLOWER, THYME and HAM SOUP (with leftover Christmas ham) and CROUTONS (from leftover Christmas bread)

If you celebrate Christmas, you’ll no doubt be way too busy for blog-reading, so I’m going to attempt to keep my preamble short and sweet. A difficult task for moi!
Hands up who has glazed and studded a ham. Me! Classic ham-glazing has been on my list of food techniques to try for years, and last Christmas I finally tackled it. I feel the need to drop a bold OMG here. OMG! It was sooo easy, looked impressive and was totally lip-smacking. I’m whipping up another one next Tuesday.
I hung onto this recipe, and the photos, knowing I’d have zero time for blogging this week. I’ve been rushing around like the proverbial headless chook; shopping, crafting, working, cooking and wrapping; but weirdly I love this pre-Christmas flurry. The boys are so excited, counting sleeps; and frankly, so am I.
Now, where was I? Ah yes, the ham! My tasty sticky glaze is a classic orange/mustard/brown sugar concoction, inspired by this one; and livened up with a dash of fresh ginger. One cup of the glaze is reserved for a beautiful (even if I do say so myself) Orange ginger sauce for serving.
After feasting, be sure to save the ham bone with all those flavoursome little bits of meat – it can be put to good use as a tasty base for hearty Cauliflower, thyme and ham soup. This is ridiculously easy to make, and is based on my friend Kym’s fab cauli and bacon soup. I’ve been making it on and off for the last couple of years and my boys love taking it to school in little thermoses for lunch. Swapping the bacon for leftover Christmas ham is just as delicious; and I’m sure you’d agree – everything tastes better with croutons.
You’ll find two further uses for leftover Christmas ham here; a lovely Pea, Zucchini and ham soup and our family favourite, 3-cheese macaroni.
Seasons Greetings to you all, lovely readers. See you next year! Mwah. xxxxx

How to prepare a Christmas hamGlazed Christmas ham[Recipe 1] Glazed ham with orange ginger sauce

Ingredients (serves approximately 18 people, plus leftovers):
1½ cups orange juice (from 2–3 oranges)
2 tablespoons orange zest
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
1 cup firmly packed (200g) brown sugar
½ cup (150g) honey
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon sea salt
Whole cloves, for studding
8kg (16 lb) cooked leg of free-range ham
Ingredients for orange ginger sauce:
1 cup reserved glaze (see recipe for instructions)
1 cup chicken stock
½ cup (125ml) dry white wine
¼ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons corn flour

Glaze (note: you’ll be reserving 1 cup of glaze for the orange ginger sauce):
Combine orange juice, zest, ginger, brown sugar, honey, mustard and salt in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and cook for 6–8 minutes. Strain. This recipe yields approximately two cups of glaze – reserve one cup for the Orange ginger sauce (recipe as follows). Refrigerate until required.
Orange ginger sauce:
Place one cup reserved glaze (see above) into a small saucepan. Add chicken stock, wine, allspice, pepper and corn flour. Bring to the boil, turn heat down to low, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring continuously. Strain. Allow to cool, and refrigerate until required (sauce will thicken slightly in the fridge).
Preparing and glazing the ham (see photos above):
1. Using a sharp knife, cut around the hock end of the ham, about 8cm (3”) along. At the other end of the ham, run your fingers (or a small wooden spoon if you’re squeamish) along the outer edge of the skin. Gently loosen and peel away the skin, leaving a layer of white fat. When you reach the scored hock end, pull the skin flap off in one piece and discard.
2. With a small sharp knife, score a shallow (5mm/¼” deep) diamond pattern into the fat, at 1.5cm (½”) intervals, taking great care not to cut down to the actual meat, or your diamonds will unattractively split apart. Push a clove into each diamond.
3. Brush the scored fat thickly with the prepared glaze.
Preheat oven to 180°C (350ºF). Place glazed ham on a rack in a large roasting pan. Pour 1 cup of water into the base of the roasting pan. Bake for 30–40 minutes, until golden brown. Baste ham with fresh glaze every 10–15 minutes.
Carefully remove ham from the oven and place onto a large plate. Tip: Wrap foil around your oven mitts and grasp the actual ham, rather than attempt to lift the baking pan full of splattering liquid and the ham all at once.
To carve, steady the ham with a large meat fork. Use a sharp carving knife to cut slices of ham away from the bone, following the grain of the meat. Transfer slices to a platter as you go. Continue slicing, working around the bone. Turn ham over and repeat on the other side.
Serve ham warm or at room temperature with a jug of warmed Orange ginger sauce on the side, and crusty sourdough bread.
Reserve ham bone and 1 cup ham for the cauliflower, thyme and ham soup.
Reserve uneaten Christmas bread for the croutons.

  • Glaze and Orange ginger sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead, and stored in the fridge.
  • To serve ham warm on Christmas day, you can score and stud with cloves the day before. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate until ready to glaze and bake.
  • To serve ham cool or at room temperature on Christmas Day (my preference – far less stressful), ham can be baked and glazed the day before. Store glazed ham in the fridge, covered with a pillowcase rinsed in a solution of ¾ cup white vinegar and 1½ litres (3 pints) water.
  • If you’re celebrating Christmas in Summer, glazed ham is also delicious served with Mango and mint salsa on the side. Amelia’s Boxing Day mango chutney looks like a lovely accompaniment too.
  • Leftover ham on the bone can be covered in a vinegared pillowcase (see tip above) and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. Rinse out your pillowcase every 3 days with prepared vinegar solution, to keep ham moist.
  • Leftover ham can be frozen, cut into pieces, for up to 6 weeks (cured meat can’t be frozen for as long as other meats).

Cauliflower and ham soup

[Recipe 2] Cauliflower, thyme and ham soup (with leftover Christmas ham)

Ingredients (serves 8–10):
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 small brown onions, diced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 heads cauliflower, florets removed and chopped
♦ 1 leftover Christmas ham bone
8 cups (2 litres) chicken stock, home-made or low-salt store-bought
3 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves (or 1½ teaspoons dried, if unavailable)
♦ 1 cup (approx. 200g) chopped leftover Christmas ham (you may not need the full amount – see recipe)
1 cup (250ml) cream (I use light cooking cream)
Freshly cracked black pepper
Chopped parsley, to serve
♦ 3 slices leftover sourdough bread, crusts trimmed, cubed
1 tablespoon olive oil, extra

Heat oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over low–medium heat. Cook the onion for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 3 minutes. Add cauliflower, ham bone, chicken stock and thyme. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is soft.
If time permits, allow soup to sit for one hour with the ham bone in.
Remove ham bone. Puree soup in a blender or with a stick blender.
Cut off any ham remaining on the bone, and return it to the soup with the cream, pepper and leftover Christmas ham. Stir well.
Note: If your ham bone is quite meaty, you may not need the extra cup of chopped ham.
To make croutons, preheat oven to 220°C (425ºF). Toss bread cubes and extra olive oil in a bowl until evenly coated. Spread cubes on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake for 10 minutes until crunchy and golden brown. Set aside.
Re-heat soup and serve, scattered with croutons and parsley.

  • Cauliflower, thyme and ham soup can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. If using fresh (not frozen) ham, the soup can be frozen for up to 3 months.
  • Croutons can be stored in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.
  • If you’re keen to try this soup, but don’t have a handy leftover Christmas ham bone lying around, you may be lucky to score one from your delicatessen or smallgoods store. Ham bones are often discarded, so if you ask nicely they may be quite happy to sell you one for a nominal price.

55 thoughts on “Glaze of glory

  1. You made that ham look so perfect! Damn. It’s like you had a ruler and lined up all of those tiny squares. Well done 🙂 I remember when my Mum would do the ham and it would go into the ‘ham bag’ for the next 2 weeks. It was the only time of year that the bar fridge needed to be on. Should have just called it the ham fridge!

    • Thanks heaps Cass. Gosh, lucky I checked my wordpress spam folder today as bizarrely, your comment was in there. I feel sick at the thought of others I may’ve missed! I really should check it more often as the spammed comments get deleted after a certain amount of time…. Yikes!
      I didn’t use a ruler for the ham although I must confess I did actually toy with that idea 🙂
      Ha, I can relate to the ham bag situation – not much room for anything else in there. I had food piled on top of it!

  2. Happy New Year Saskia. Your ham looks spectacular! I’ve never scored my ham and bejewelled it with the cloves before…although I’ve admired the technique and wanted to try it. I’m sure it impressed your guests (as usual). I haven’t had much success in getting the girls to eat cauliflower, but if there ever was a recipe that could be successful I’d say it is your soup recipe. I must give it a try! Hope your new year is off to a good start. Here’s to sharing and swapping lots of good food ideas this year!

    • Happy New Year Barb! Hope you’re coping ok with Canada’s cold snap – can’t even imagine that kind of weather. We’re facing the opposite extreme here. Won’t be leaving the house for a few days…
      Yep, I find the only way I can get the boys to eat cauli is to add ham; or mountains of cheese. They both love this soup. Good luck!

      • Saskia, I’ve just been playing around on Pinterest for the first time (slow I know) but I think I’m doing something wrong in how I post my pictures since it just links back to the photo and not the blog post. Any advice? Any tips on how to navigate this new world would be appreciated since you seem to be a pro!

        • Oh yay, welcome to the addictive world of Pinterest! I just LOVE it. It’s like being let loose in a bookshop and being told you can tear out whatever pages you like. The trick is to first select the actual title of your desired post, and use the ‘pin it’ button you would’ve installed on your menubar. If you select the actual picture and pin that, the pin will link back to your media file, rather than the relevant post. Happy pinning!

          • Thanks so much! I did manage to figure it out through a little trial and error. Saskia would you mind if I email you to ask your opinion and insights on blogging/ Pinterest etc? Won’t be right away but sometime soon. I think I still have your email…

            • Hey Barb! Of course! I do love a good cyber chinwag, especially when it’s regarding blogging and/or Pinterest. Email me at[at] (using the @ symbol!) and I’ll respond with my private email. Cheers, Sas.

    • Thanks Ali! We had a lovely, noisy, food-filled Christmas day with lots of family members (including 7 Dutch relatives, here for their first sunny Christmas). Hope yours was great too. Happy New Year!

  3. 2 wonderful & very festive recipes, dear Saskia. I love them both so much but that special soup is calling my mouth, straight away. A Happy 2014 for you, your loved ones & your cool blog too. Xxx

  4. Your ham looks beautiful! I have for several years thought to try a glazed ham but for some reason when Christmas comes by it is so busy that I always pass the job off to my husband who prepares it in the traditional Finnish way. No complaints, it tastes wonderful! But I would love to try your recipe someday! Happy New Year!

    • Thanks so much! The traditional Finnish way sounds beautiful too, and that’s definitely a method I’d like to try one year (my husband is of Finnish descent). Happy New Year to you too, and hope you had a beautiful white Christmas.

  5. I wish I’d seen your ginger glaze before Christmas! I went with a maple/ cranberry affair but yours looks so good (and I’ll bet it smelt sensational!). I love your title for this post – glaze of glory. Gave me a chuckle! Merry merries to you, Saskia. x

    • Thanks Maxabella! Early 90s song titles always seem to be perfect pun fodder! I plan to go through Jon Bon Jovi’s entire back catalogue one day for inspiration.
      Your maple/cranberry glaze sounds spectacular – the colour must’ve been magnificent too. x

  6. I asked my sis-in-law what she was making for Christmas dinner and she said she was glazing a ham! I thought…Huh? Now I know, this is fabulous and I must do one myself. I think I would find this so satisfying especially lining all the whole cloves up so beautifully! Your soup sounds so wonderful too. Seems as though ham and beans are very typical for soup, however, I am not too keen on beans in my soup so this is a fabulous alternative. Beautiful clean photographs. 🙂

    • Hope your sis-in-law’s ham was pride of the table, and that you had a lovely day. I did enjoy lining up all those little cloves. It was quite meditative concentrating on such a precise task in the middle of all that mad Christmas prep! Thanks so much for the photo compliment – the clean aspect was mostly thanks to having insufficient time for fancy propping! Happy New Year!

  7. Dear Sass,
    Ham is one of my favourite things in life and the first thing I would bawl over if I ever became a vegetarian (OK that and bacon). I have always wanted to make a Christmas ham but thought it seemed just too grown up. But NEXT YEAR, GODAMMIT, I will! And I LOVE that you took those photos last year to save for this year — brilliant. I hope that as I write the boys are in post Santa heaven and that you will ALL have a fantastic, fantastic day.
    Thanks for the inspiration & see you in 2014!!!

    • Dear Sandra. Absolutely with you there – as a vegetarian it would be all things porky I’d miss the most too. Ha, ha yes – I did feel like a proper grown-up glazing a Christmas ham. There was something very ’50s housewife’ about carrying that enormous platter over to the table too. I even kept my apron on.
      Yesterday’s ham was part of an amazing spread at my cousin’s house; including 2 chooks and a gigantic turkey! I don’t think I will eat for weeks. See you next year. xx

  8. merry christmas sas! i’m supposed to be wrapping gifts now while the kids sleep but the blogs are so good with the morning coffee and your ham is the most gorgeous of all the blog visuals! xxx

    • Hey Kim! Thanks so much. Merry merry Christmas to you too. Hope you and your fam had an awesome day, and you managed to wrap those pressies! We spent yesterday with family, including 7 newly-arrived Dutch relatives. The sun was shining, the table was full and it was wonderful. Today I’m officially pooped, and we’re heading out to another family gathering. Crazy days!

  9. Oh yummmm…. I love myself a bit of baked ham! We’re not doing ham this year which is a bit of a disappointment. The glazing and studding is definitely one of my favourite parts of Christmas prep. Love these two variations Saskia, the soup sounds delicious in spite of our present heatwave! I wish you and your family a gorgeously merry and peaceful Christmas, full of good things xxx

  10. This is a bit of a coincidence but I made orange and ginger jam (not glazing, lol) the other day!
    I’m so impressed your ham looks really really AMAZING! Congrats on getting it made! Your soup with the left over ham must have been also an impressive soup.
    Merry Christmas, enjoy these days with your family xxx
    PS pieces of ham bones are sold in Spain because it’s heavily used in the traditional spanish stews.

  11. Truly beautiful presentation, Sas, that’s one good looking ham! I love the clove studding, it really makes it, doesn’t it. I love the sound of the glaze and must try this for my family as they are definitely ham lovers. We’re going with roast beef AND roast venison this Christmas, but ham could be our new year’s meal perhaps! That soup sounds lovely. A very merry Christmas to you and yours, and see you in 2014!

    • Thanks df. LOVE the clove-studding too – so retrotastic! Roast venison sounds amazing. Looking forward to seeing the photos. Wishing you and your family and Reggie a lovely white Christmas.

  12. Wow Sas, thank you! This looks/sounds amazing & I’ll be giving it a go this Xmas! Leftover tips also greatly appreciated; there are only so many cheese & ham toasties one can eat over the summer holidays….you are a GEM xxx Merry Xmas & safe holidays to you & the boys xxx

    • Thanks lovely Rosa. Oh that’s ACE you’re going to give the ham a go! I have another absolutely enormous leg in the fridge for Wednesday – it only *just* fits in there; no idea how I’m going to get it in the oven…
      Happiest of Christmases to you and your clan too. xxx

  13. Sas as a foodie and blogger you are a true artist in every sense of the word. Thanks for a super yummy year! Merry Chrissy to and the clan. Ketchup in the new year. CXX

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