Not that I want to frighten anyone, or indeed imply that I cook children, but I have a pan that a 4 year old can comfortably get into. That pan only comes out of the basement once a year and that is to cook my, now legendary, Christmas Hams.

It takes our family 3 days to polish off a full 12 – 14 lber. I have it for breakfast, then for lunch with some Tiger Bread and Lurpack, then possibly for dinner and then again the day, and so the cycle continues. It is most definitely part of my Christmas festivities. The best part for me is that it isn’t for a specific meal, in fact it’s there, on it’s wooden platter, to satisfy every hammy whim I have over the next few days.

Over the years I’ve tweaked the recipe to, pretty much, get a perfect ham every time. One thing you need, without question, is a meat thermometer. Guess work just will not do.


You will need to buy a Horseshoe Gammon weighing approx 12 – 14 lbs. Visit your butcher, get a great piece of meat, flirt outrageously if your must but please do not buy a frozen thing from the supermarket. They have their place, Christmas isn’t it. Now soak it for 24 hrs.

Next, fill a large pan with water, a jar of honey and half a bag of molasses and then add your ham or hams to this mixture. It’ll take between 2 and 3 hours to cook and this is where the meat thermometer comes into play. The optimal time (according to me) is to get the inner temperature up to 155f. This ensures a juicy, moist ham rather than a chewy, dry one.


Remove the ham/s from the water (DO NOT THROW WATER AWAY) and spend some time carving any excess fat off. Once you’ve given it the once over then you can create your masterpiece. Lovingly, yes lovingly, score diamond shapes into the skin and place a clove into the center of each square. In a bowl mix equal parts of honey, mustard and molasses, this bit isn’t an exact science, just mix enough to brush all over the ham.


Now you’re going to glaze the ham in the oven for approx 20 minutes at a temperature of 180. Let it rest for at least an hour before you even dream of cutting into that bad boy! It needs to rest, trust me, it’s been through a lot. Respect the ham, photograph the ham, scoff the ham. At least that’s how it is in my house. 😉

Now about the water I told you, nay shouted at you, to not throw away – it’s totally fabulous to cook some bacon ribs in the sweet honey, sugary, molassesy goodness. I know. You’re welcome.

Think big and reach for the stars,