Food = nostalgia x memories x tradition
When I was a child, my grandparents’ Christmas gift to each of their children was a full leg ham. A generous gift which meant that we ate ham in many ways: baked ham, ham sandwiches, ham and salad and just thin slices of ham whenever one felt hungry.
Upon reflection, I can’t help but think that the tradition of gifting a ham goes back to my grandparents’ Catalan heritage and while every day of the year you will find cured leg hams in the markets of Spain, the Christmas period is when the range in quality of hams is on full display.
This is also the time of the year when the ceiling of shops will be jam packed with hams and the shop resembles an Aladdin’s Cave.
My mum’s baked ham recipe was a simple glaze of brown sugar (1 cup) mustard powder (1 tablespoon) and sherry (enough to make a paste). Simple but a perfect way to bake a ham.
My sister Louise’s recipe is the only way my family will now have the ham and while I use the same recipe, I don’t seem to be able to make it as competently as my sister. So the question has already been asked in my house,
“Is Louise making the ham this Christmas?”
Louise’s Nut Encrusted Baked Ham
1 ham (remove rind keeping layer of fat on ham, score fat)
100 g macadamia nuts, chopped
100 g slivered almonds
100 g pine nuts
½ cup orange marmelade
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Preheat oven to 180C.
In a small saucepan on low heat, combine marmalade and brown sugar. Stir to combine and melt.
Baste ham with ½ mixture and cook in oven for 50 minutes. If need be baste ½ way through.
Combine nuts with remaining mixture and stir until nuts are well coated.
Remove ham from oven and coat with nut mixture. Pack down nuts on ham.
Return to oven and bake for another 20 minutes.
Remove from oven. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.