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
Croutons:
♦ 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.

I want to hold your ham

[Recipe 1] PEA, ZUCCHINI and HAM SOUP (with leftover Christmas ham) and
[Recipe 2] 3-CHEESE MACARONI (with leftover Christmas ham)
……………..
Thought you might fancy a couple of recipes for using up your leftover Christmas ham next week. I typed up and photographed these earlier in the year, saving them for now in case I was too pooped to post anything this week. Well, as my mum would say (in her beautiful Dutch accent) Sanks god for dat. Apart from present-wrapping, shopping, baking, visiting the Myer windows, attending nightly Chrissie parties and squeezing in some work; I’ve been stung by a wasp on the bottom of my foot, slammed the car boot lid on my head (don’t ask) and dropped my new umbrella in a toilet. Pretty crazy (and occasionally embarrassing) week!
Anyhoo, back to cooking… I’ve made both these recipes many times, and they’re pretty excellent, even if I do say so myself!
If you’re having ham on Christmas day, don’t toss the bone with all those lovely bits of ham stuck on it – use it to flavour Pea, zucchini (courgette) and ham soup. This soup is beautiful, and perfect for freezing and taking with you on holidays. Soup is always exactly what I crave after gorging myself on Christmas day.
The 3-cheese macaroni is the ultimate mac n’ cheese. My boys just LOVE it. It’s full of veggies, and super tasty with the addition of Gruyère cheese. Gruyère is one of my favourites, so nutty and creamy – just a whiff of it casts me straight back to my childhood dinner table and the steaming pots of cheesey, winey fondue made by my dad.
Hope you all have a beautiful holiday season and New Year. I’m unplugging for a while, and looking forward to some serious relaxation. Ciao for now. See you next year. xx
PS: You’ll find my Glazed Christmas ham recipe here.

Pea, zucchini and ham soup[Recipe 1] Pea, zucchini and ham soup

Ingredients (serves 8–10):
500g (1 lb) dried green split peas, soaked overnight
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 brown onions, diced
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup frozen peas
2 large carrots, chopped into very small pieces
2 large zucchinis (courgettes), chopped into small pieces
2 full-length celery sticks, including leaves, chopped
1 large leftover Christmas ham bone, preferably double-smoked
8 cups (2 litres) water
2 bay leaves
♦ 1 cup (approx. 200g) chopped leftover Christmas ham (you may not need the full amount – see recipe)
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Fresh mint leaves, torn, to serve

Drain and rinse soaked split peas.
Heat oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onion for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 3 minutes. Add soaked peas, frozen peas, carrot, zucchini, celery, ham bone, water and bay leaves. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes, or until dried peas are very tender. Stir occasionally.
Allow to cool for one hour (leave the ham bone in). Remove ham bone. Discard bay leaves. Puree soup in batches in a blender, or with a stick blender.
Cut off any ham remaining on the bone, and return it to the soup with the chopped leftover Christmas ham. Season well with salt and pepper. Stir.
Note: If your ham bone is quite meaty, you may not need the extra cup of ham.
Re-heat the soup and serve, scattered with mint.

  • You’ll find my Glazed Christmas Ham recipe here.
  • Leftover Christmas ham be diced and frozen, for up to 6 weeks (cured meat can’t be frozen for as long as other meats). Freeze it in 2-cup lots, then you can whip it out for these recipes later! Defrost overnight in the fridge.
  • Pea, zucchini and ham soup can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. If using fresh (not frozen) ham, the soup can also be frozen for up to 3 months.
  • The quality of your ham will make a big difference to the flavour of this soup. Taste the soup after pureeing – if your ham bone was well-stripped of meat or only lightly smoked, you may need to add a crumbled beef stock cube dissolved in a little hot water. 

Ham and cheese macaroni

[Recipe 2] 3-cheese macaroni

Ingredients (serves 6–8):
400g (14 oz) dried macaroni
2 corn cobs
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into very small cubes (about 6mm/¼”)
1 head broccoli, florets removed, chopped into small pieces
1 cup (125g) frozen peas (or fresh – see notes below recipe)
1 cup (approx. 200g) finely chopped leftover Christmas ham
4 tablespoons (60g) butter
⅓ cup (50g) flour
2½ cups (625ml) milk
2 teaspoons wholegrain mustard
1 cup (100g) grated Gruyère
1½ cups (150g) grated extra-sharp cheddar
¾ cup (75g) grated mozzarella
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil for drizzling

Preheat oven to 200°C (390ºF).
Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add dried macaroni, corn cobs and carrot. Return to the boil and simmer for 8 minutes until macaroni is al dente (don’t overcook it, as it will continue to soften in the oven). Drain. Remove kernels from corn; and return to pan with macaroni and carrot. Set aside.
Steam broccoli and peas until just tender. Drain and add to the macaroni pot with the chopped leftover Christmas ham.
Place the butter in a medium saucepan and melt over a low heat. Add the flour. Cook over low heat for 1 minute, stirring often. Slowly stir in the milk, a cup at a time. Bring to the boil. Turn heat down to low and simmer for 4 minutes, until thickened and smooth. Stir in mustard. Remove from the heat and add Gruyère and cheddar. Stir until smooth, and season to taste. Add cheese sauce to the macaroni mixture and stir well.
Grease a 6cm (2″) deep, 32 x 22cm (12 x 9″) oven proof dish. Spoon in macaroni mixture.
Scatter mozarella over the macaroni, and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden. Stand for 5 minutes before serving.

  • Fresh peas can be used, instead of frozen. Drop them into the pot with the corn, macaroni and carrot, in the last 5 minutes simmering time.
  • Gruyère can be replaced with Swiss cheese or Jarlsberg if unavailable, although the overall flavour of your macaroni will be milder.
  • Leftover Gruyère can be grated and frozen in a ziplock bag for up to 2 months. It’s excellent on pizza or in fondue!
  • This recipe serves 8. Leftovers can be re-heated in the microwave, or in a low oven, covered with foil. If you’re using fresh ham (not frozen) you can cook two smaller macaroni dishes, and freeze one for later, for up to 2 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight, cover with foil and warm at 180°C (350ºF) for about 20 minutes.