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6 January 2005

I cooked my Xmas ham today. A little late, I know, but there was no imperative once Iíd cancelled the party.

Anyway, itís all terribly easy - and you donít have to wait till Xmas. Take a gammon - whole or half, smoked or green, on the bone or off, it really doesnít matter - and soak it overnight. Rinse it off next day in a couple of changes of water, then cover with fresh cold water and bring to the boil. While youíre waiting - and it takes longer than you think - stud an orange with cloves, and drop that into the water.

As soon as it boils, knock it back to the slowest imaginable shimmer, just the lightest hint of movement in the water. If a scum rises, scoop it off. Give the gammon 25 minutes per pound, then lift it out and drain it.

Mix together equal quantities of dark brown sugar, redcurrant jelly and dry English mustard for the glaze; squeeze the juice out of half an orange and mix in to make a paste.

Peel the rind off the ham, and score the fat horizontally with the tines of a fork, to make ridges for the glaze to cling to.

Glaze, and then bake in a medium-hot oven for half an hour until the glaze has caramelised. Or, if youíre me, have a look after twenty minutes, decide it needs another ten, go off and do something absorbing, come back an hour later and find it carbonised. I think itís going to be okay, though. Wonít know till itís cold tomorrow, but I suspect I have just invented Ham with a Black Glaze.

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© Chaz Brenchley 2005
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.