Well here it is, Merry Christmas, everybody's having fun. Well we are here in Pudsey, Leeds because - as for most of the UK - we are having a proper white Christmas.
Hope all of you are having a good one.
The plan this year is to not have a turkey, but three different meats: ham, beef and pheasant. We all decided as a family to not do turkey, but now the time is here there are some that are having a bit of a complain. Well tough tits - you should have piped up at the time.
So the the first to report is the Bradenham ham from Dukeshill. I actually did this for Christmas Eve dinner and that's why it is being reported to you good fellows.
Bradenham ham is apparently the best of the dry cured hams - so good in fact that the Queen has it every year herself. It's quite pricey, but it is Christmas.
The story of the creation of the Bradenham cure is that the Lord of Bradenham invented it in 1781 - so it is pretty old - but his butler took umbrage saying he had invented it and nicked the recipe. What a card. Anyways, he stowed the recipe to Dukeshill and they still make it today. It is dry cured for 3 months in a briny bath of spice, molasses and cochineal of all things.
The hams can be bought whole or in halves. I went for the half ham as the whole one is absolutely huge and I had to buy a huge pan for the half one anyway. Griggers gives instructions for a whole ham so I had to go for the cooking times give by Dukeshill themselves.
Start off by soaking the ham in cold water for 2 days (Griggers reckons four, but since mine is half the size, I went with Dukeshill method. Put the ham in a large pot and cover with water. Add half a jar of mollases and half a hanful of pickling spices (double up, if a whole ham). Bring slowly to a bare simmer and then turn very low on the hob and allow to keep ticking over for 20 minutes per pound.
When done, remove tentatively from the opt and remove the black skin. Cover the sticky fat with breadcrumbs and bake in a medium oven until they go nice and brown. Allow to cool. Serve the ham sliced with nice mustard or Cumberland sauce.
#213 Bradenham Ham. Absolutely delicious; very salty and very sweet. The spices are sublime. When you eat it, your mouth waters. Alot. It may be pricey, but it is worth it. The only problem was that because I bought a half ham, some meat - rather than skin - was exposed to the water and dried out a little. However, anything behind fat or around bone was deliciously moist. If you buy one and you don't want a whole one, buy an already cooked one instead, I reckon. 8.5/10.
I have more to report over the rest of the festive period. Hope you are all having a great time and eating good food.
FYI: to make your own pickling spice mix use: 2 teaspoons each of black peppercorns, allspice berries, coriander seeds, cloves, mace as well as two dried chillies and two pieces of dried ginger.