It is hard to imagine what life would have been like while growing up in Grasmere without our traditional family roast each Sunday.
No matter whose house you visited following Sunday Mass the aroma was the same - that well-recognised delight of a large joint of meat with a great selection of winter vegetables (at least around this time of the year) being roasted in the juices from the joint.
Interestingly enough what we now commonly refer to as roasting was once a very different cooking method. Roasting was originally the term referring to joints of meat or whole animals and birds that were placed on a spit which was turned continually during the cooking process either over or close to an open fire.
Dry heat cooking in an enclosed area such as an oven was known back then as baking. In fact, it wasn't until late in the 19th Century that the term roasting was reintroduced.
Back to our Grasmere days. The most common roasts were mutton, hogget and rolled beef, with chicken coming somewhat later and pork somewhat less common. Ham seemed to be reserved for feasting at Christmas time only.
To celebrate Vidal's National Roast Day 2012 on August 4, I managed to organise New Zealand's current champion ham on the bone to roast, which I glazed with a marmalade and whisky glaze (you can use orange if you prefer) and served with a tasty blackcurrant sauce.
Glazing a whole ham is simple and while perhaps once reserved for Christmas, ham on the bone really is enjoyable any time of the year.
ROAST HAM WITH MARMALADE AND WHISKY GLAZE
250ml whisky (or orange juice)
a generous cup of your favourite breakfast marmalade
cup of whole grain mustard
Method: Remove the skin then weigh the ham to calculate the cooking time, allowing 10 minutes per 500 grams.
Score the surface in a criss-cross pattern, around 2.5 to 3mm deep.
Place whole cloves in the triangles made by the diagonal cutting then cover with the glaze.
Pour the whisky over the ham.
Pile the marmalade mixed with the mustard on to the ham and spread it all over.
Place on a rack in a large baking dish and then roast in a preheated oven at 160°C for the calculated cooking time required.
Baste with the glaze three to four times during that cooking process.
For the sauce
4 shallots finely chopped
1 Tbsp Creme de Cassis (blackcurrant liqueur)
1 cup orange juice
1 cup chicken stock
1 Tbsp cornflour
1 tsp of grated orange peel
segments from the orange
1 cup frozen blackcurrants
Freshly ground black pepper
Method: In a heavy based pan saute the chopped shallots and deglaze with the Creme de Cassis.
Add the orange juice and the stock and continue to cook until the juices have reduced by a third.
Thicken with the cornflour mixed with cold water and then beat in a little cold butter.
Add orange peel, orange segments and blackcurrants and heat through.
Serve with the baked ham.
Graham Hawkes operates Paddington Arms at the Queens Dr/Bainfield Rd roundabout
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