Traditional honey-glazed gammon

Traditional honey-glazed gammon

 

Since Christmas season is well under way and this particular holiday brings about such tasty dishes, Traditional honey-glazed gammon is one in every of our incomparable favorite meals of the year. Completely excellent for Christmas, or the other special dinner you would like to share with loved ones. They say that the honey-glazed ham is at its perfection once it melts in your mouth. The key to a delicious and tender honey-glazed gammon is in guaranteeing the meat is recent. The longer it’s marinated; This menu can have everybody licking their plates.

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Ingredients

For cooking the gammon
2kg/4lb 8oz unsmoked boneless gammon joint, tied
2 onions, halved
2 carrots, unpeeled, cut into 5cm/2in pieces
2 celery stalks, cut into 5cm/2in pieces
4 bay leaves
12 black peppercorns
small handful cloves
For the glaze
4 tbsp runny honey
4 tbsp English mustard

Method

Method

1. Place the gammon joint into a large lidded saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil over a high heat. Drain the water from the saucepan, add fresh cold water, the onions, carrots, celery, bay and peppercorns and bring to the boil once more. Reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer the gammon and vegetables gently for 20 minutes per 500g/1lb 2oz. (If your pan is not quite large enough to cover the joint completely, turn the gammon over halfway through the cooking time.)

2. Remove the gammon from the water and set aside to cool for 15 minutes. (The cooking liquid can be strained and reserved for making soup for another time.)

3. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6 and line a large roasting tin with kitchen foil.

4. Use a small knife to remove the rind from the gammon joint, leaving as much of the fat intact as possible. Score the fat in a diamond pattern, and push a clove into the centre of each ‘X’.

5. Place the gammon into the foil-lined roasting tray, ensuring that the sides of the foil come halfway up the joint to contain any roasting juices.

6. For the glaze, mix the honey and mustard together and brush half of it evenly over the gammon, including one side of the joint. Roast in the centre of the oven for 10 minutes, then take the joint out and brush the top and remaining side with the rest of the glaze. Return the gammon to the oven for a further 10– 15 minutes, rotating the tin so that the opposite side of the gammon faces the back of the oven.

Traditional honey-glazed gammon
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Christmas Brunch

Christmas Brunch

On Christmas Morning my children and grandchildren arrive at my house to open presents and have brunch, it’s another family tradition started when the kids were young.

Our usual routine is orange juice and cocoa or coffee in the kitchen before we head over to the formal living room to distribute and unwrap gifts.  This ritual takes at least 2 hours and I usually pop in to the kitchen to toss the egg dish in the oven during the last hour or so.
When the kids were younger we served a plated breakfast at the table, these days with in-laws and grandkids there’s just too many of us for a proper sit down breakfast, not to mention the unwrapping ritual takes us longer,  so we set up a brunch buffet instead.  Although times have changed the menu has not.  I like to keep it simple and easy to prepare so I look for things I can prepare the night before and throw in the oven before brunch.
Our traditional menu includes:
Chile Relleno Torta – a delicious baked egg dish, I got the recipe years ago from Diane Mott Davidson’s book “Dying for Chocolate”.  For recipe click here!
I serve this with fresh warm tortillas, salsa, and sour cream on the side.
French Toast – I try different types every year.  This year I will try this Overnight Creme Brulee French Toast recipe from Carl’s Bad Cravings.  For recipe click here!
Fried and Scrambled Eggs
Breakfast Meats
Hash Brown Potatoes
Coffee, Cocoa, and juice
Here a a few ideas I found around the web you may want to try this year.
BrunchCinnamon Cream Cheese Roll-Ups by Rindy Mae
Recipe here!

Strawberry Santas by Leanne Bakes

Recipe here!

 

 

OmeletOmelet Breakfast Bites by Raining Hot Coupons

Recipe here!

 

TrifleFruit Trifle from Chef in Training

Recipe here!

PancakesFunfetti Buttermilk Pancakes by Sally’s Baking Addiction

Recipe here!

 

 

 

Eggs BenedictEggs Benedict Casserole from All Recipes

Recipe here!

 

Buckwheat Pancakes

Buckwheat Pancakes

Meet my new favorite pancakes, buckwheat pancakes. I’ll admit they aren’t the sexiest pancakes around, but they make up for their humble appearance with wonderful flavor and texture. Buckwheat, a gluten-free relative of rhubarb, has a delicate, almost nutty flavor all its own.Thanks to the buckwheat flour, these pancakes possess a light and airy consistency that quietly surrenders to the pressure of a fork and soaks up maple syrup like a sponge.

The pancakes pair well with roasted strawberries, as shown here, or with a healthy swipe of peanut butter or almond butter.This recipe was adapted from a fun new cookbook called Pancakes, by fellow food blogger Adrianna Adarme of A Cozy Kitchen. I visit Adrianna’s blog any time I need some creative recipe inspiration or a laugh, which is often.

Adrianna’s new (and first!) cookbook is bursting with 72 brilliant pancake recipes, half sweet (honey and oat, ginger pear, cinnamon-sugar popovers) and half savory (jalapeño corn cakes, goat cheese quinoa cakes, sour cream and chive latkes). If sky-high, fluffy pancakes are your jam, she offers a ton of options based on her buttermilk pancakes recipe.

 

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Here’s a recipe from Buckwheat Pancakes I’m sure you’ll love. Click here for recipe.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup buckwheat flour (or ½ buckwheat and ½ flour of choice)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups buttermilk, shaken*
1 large egg
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Butter, for the skillet
Roasted Strawberries
1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced into bite-sized quarters or halves
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Roast the strawberries: preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, gently toss berries with the sugar and maple syrup/honey. Arrange the strawberries in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes, stirring halfway, or long enough for the berry juices to thicken but not burn (watch the edges in particular).
2. Make the pancakes: in a medium mixing bowl, mix together the flour(s), sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a liquid measuring cup, measure out the buttermilk. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract.
3. All at once, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. The batter should have some small to medium lumps.
4. Preheat your skillet over medium-low heat and brush with 1 ½ teaspoons of butter. Give the batter a light swirl with a spoon in case the buckwheat is starting to separate from the liquid. Using a ¼-cup measure, scoop the batter onto the warm skillet. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until small bubbles form on the surface of the pancakes (you’ll know it’s ready to flip when about 1 inch of the perimeter is matte instead of glossy), and flip. Cook on the opposite sides for 1 to 2 minutes, or until golden brown.
5. Transfer the cooked pancakes to a baking sheet and place in a preheated 200 degree Fahrenheit oven to keep warm. Repeat the process with the remaining batter, adding more butter when needed. Serve immediately.
Buckwheat Pancakes
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Roasting the Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey

Roasting the Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey

This time of year I get hungry for a juicy turkey dinner!  It’s no wonder, Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  It’s about the only time of year that I roast a whole turkey.

I still remember my first time roasting a turkey, I had no idea what to do.  Over the years I’ve perfected it, and my family expects a Thanksgiving feast every year.

In recent years deep frying turkeys have been real popular.  I’ve heard deep fried turkeys are delicious, but in our family you don’t experiment on a Thanksgiving turkey.  So I’ve always roasted my turkey in the oven using the brown bag method.  I’ve been roasting my turkeys this way for over 30 years.

It’s easy, no basting involved. You just place the turkey, roasting pan, and rack, in to a brown paper bag, slide it in to the oven and roast for the required time. You tear off the bag about 30 minutes before it’s done to get the nice golden brown color.  When the timer rings take the turkey out of the oven and let rest for 15 – 30 minutes before carving.

Trust me you’ll end up with a delicious juicy turkey everytime.  You’re family will love it!

Here are instructions for Savvy Nana’s Brown Bag Roasted Turkey!  Psst!  There’s a roasting chart on that post too!  Believe me it will come in handy!

My 24 pound bird last year.  Perfect!

Last year’s Thanksgiving feast at my house.

Thanksgiving at my daughter’s house in Colorado.  Smaller bird cooked the same way, perfect every time!

Sweet Potato Pie – Old Fashioned Comfort Food

Every year at Thanksgsweet potato pieiving I like to try something new to add to our Thanksgiving dinner menu.  If we like it then it becomes a permanent addition to our traditional meal.

This year my grandson Dion and I decided to try our had at a Southern Thanksgiving meal staple, Sweet Potato Pie.  I’ve never actually had Sweet Potato Pie, but Dion loves it.  He says it’s his favorite pie, specially the way his grandmother from Atlanta makes it.

Sweet Potato Pie is a Southern specialty that can be served instead of or beside the traditional Pumpkin Pie which graces just about everyone’s Thanksgiving dessert table.

So we searched online for a Sweet Potato Pie recipe; we found hundreds!  Each one touting that it was the best of course.  Well we experimented with a couple of different recipes and relied on Dion’s recollections of watching his Southern grandma make her pies.  In the end by tweaking and patching several recipes together we ended up with our own version which turned out quite nicely if I do say so myself.

We’ll share our version of Sweet Potato Pie below, but before we do here are a few things we learned along the way.  It might help you out and save you from making the same mistakes we made.

  1.  Use fresh yams!  Not canned yams preserved in sweet syrup!  Don’t get me started on this, just ask yourself, would your granny use canned yams?  I doubt it!
  2. Use Large RED Yams.  Not white yams, or purple yams, or Okinawan sweet potato.  Just plain old Red Yams!  And before you ask, yes there are many varieties of yams and sweet potatoes in the markets.  So don’t get fancy, keep it simple, RED Yams.
  3. Bake your yams DO NOT boil them!  This saves you from peeling and chopping raw yams.  BTW have you ever tried peeling and chopping raw yams or sweet potatoes?  No?  Well let me tell you peeling and chopping wood might just be easier!  Most importantly baked yams make a better pie filling, it’s not mushy or watery like boiled yams can be.  And you can bake yams for your Sweet Potato Pie up to a week before you actually make your pie.  Still not convinced or it sounds too tedious?  Remember even though it takes an hour to bake the yams it’s actually a hands off hour so you can do something else like making applesauce, doing laundry, or relaxing in the tub.
  4. Baking yams – Place 3 large yams (you wash them first of course) on a parchment covered baking sheet and pop them in a 375° oven.  Bake for 1 hour then remove from oven.  If you are using it to make Sweet Potato Pie right away peel off the skin and mash the yams to make 2 cups of mashed yams then follow the rest of the recipe to make the pie.  If you baked the yams in advance you can either mash it then store the mashed yams in the fridge in an airtight container or place the whole unpeeled yams in a ziplock and refrigerate until you’re ready to mash them for your Sweet Potato Pie.
  5. Just like Pumpkin and pecan pies, a Sweet Potato Pie is considered a custard pie; hence it must have some form of milk or cream.  There are recipes out there that call for milk, cream, or half-and-half; but since it’s a truly Southern specialty you should use canned evaporated milk.  That’s what they used in the Southern states.  Trust me on this you’ll end up with a creamier and smoother Sweet Potato Pie when you use canned evaporated milk.
  6. When you bake your pie pay close attention to the timer.  Test pie before removing from oven.  First nudge the pie – the center of the pie should be slightly softer than the rest of the pie so that it jiggles a bit when nudged.  Then insert a knife or a toothpick at the center – it should come out clean but moist.
  7. Let baked pie stand for about 30 minutes before cutting it.  This will firm it up so sliced don’t fall apart.  Better yet refrigerate the pie overnight then remove from fridge about 30 minutes before serving so it warms up to room temperature.  I like my custard pies cool I feel it brings out the sweetness.

Having said that here’s our recipe:

Ingredients:

2 Large Red Yams – Baked & Mashed to yield 3 cups (see tips for baking instructions)

1  Cup butter – softened

4  Cups Sugar

1 Can Evaporated Milk 12oz.

1 1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract

6  eggs – beaten

1 1/2 Tsp ground cinnamon

2 Unbaked deep dish pie shells – homemade or frozen

Proceedure:

Mix together first 4 ingredients until well blended.

Stir in Vanilla, Eggs, and Cinnamon.

Pour filling into unbaked pie shells.

Bake in a 350° oven for 1 hour or until filling is set and/or tester comes out clean but moist.

Let stand at least 30 minutes before slicing.

Garnish and serve with whipped cream if desired.

 

Sweet Potato Pie
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Sweet Potato Pie
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Mix together first 4 ingredients until well blended.
  2. Stir in Vanilla, Eggs, and Cinnamon.
  3. Pour filling into unbaked pie shells.
  4. Bake in a 350° oven for 1 hour or until filling is set and/or tester comes out clean but moist.
  5. Let stand at least 30 minutes before slicing.
  6. Garnish and serve with whipped cream if desired.
Recipe Notes

Baking yams - Place 3 large yams (you wash them first of course) on a parchment covered baking sheet and pop them in a 375° oven.  Bake for 1 hour then remove from oven.  If you are using it to make Sweet Potato Pie right away peel off the skin and mash the yams to make 2 cups of mashed yams then follow the rest of the recipe to make the pie.  If you baked the yams in advance you can either mash it then store the mashed yams in the fridge in an airtight container or place the whole unpeeled yams in a ziplock and refrigerate until you're ready to mash them for your Sweet Potato Pie.

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Brown Paper Bag Roasted Turkey

Brown Paper Bag Roasted Turkey

Thanksgiving foodMany years ago as a newlywed I was faced with making my very first Thanksgiving meal for myself and my new husband.  This of course entailed roasting a turkey.  I was clueless!

Seriously, in my single life Thanksgiving meals were prepared by mom, grandmas, and aunties; I think they took turns hosting the family for Thanksgiving each year.  Whatever the case may be I just popped in to where ever it was served and stuffed myself with all the yummy stuff they made.

Alas that year it was not to be.  Mom had moved back to New York where all the relatives were and I was alone in Hawaii, yup, just me and new hubby left to fend for ourselves on Thanksgiving. These days it probably wouldn’t have been a problem, one can just order a Thanksgiving meal for the entire family from one of the local restaurants or supermarket.  But back then this wasn’t an option.  So if I wanted a Thanksgiving meal I would have to figure out how to make it myself, starting with the turkey. (Yes that meant I had to stick my hand into the bird’s cavities and pull out its innards, seriously gross!)

Luckily I had a neighbor who showed me how to roast a turkey using a brown paper bag.  I was hesitant at first thinking the bag would catch fire, burn the house down, and we would be homeless on Thanksgiving day.  After all it was me roasting this bad bird and I could barely make toast unsupervised at that time!

Well my kitchen disaster never happened and I’ve been using this method to roast turkey ever since.  The only issues I’ve run into in recent years is finding large brown bags!

Years ago groceries were packed in large brown bags, perfect size for this roasting method.  The emergence of plastic grocery bags made it nearly impossible to find the paper ones.  Never one to give up I used brown craft paper when I can not locate large brown paper bags. Recently our state outlawed the use of plastic grocery bags and most supermarkets have started selling us large paper bags when we don’t bring our own grocery bags.  Umm that would be me, I always forget to bring the bags I have in my trunk into the stores so I end up purchasing even more bags.

I should mention however that I’ve only ever cooked using electric ovens, I’m told you can still use this method in a gas oven, just be sure to keep paper away from the flame.  I haven’t had the opportunity to try this so I would advise caution if you are going to try it in a gas oven.

Here’s how I do this using 2 large brown paper grocery bags or a very large shopping bag:

1.  Clean and wash turkey.  Be sure to remove the neck and giblets from the cavity.  Refrigerate giblets if you will be using them in your gravy.

2.  Salt the turkey cavity with about 2 tbls of salt

3.  Place a whole peeled onion in the back of the cavity.

4. Rub butter on top of the thighs, wing tips, and the breast; anywhere the turkey may come in contact with the paper bag.

5. If you will not be stuffing your turkey then place it on the rack inside the roasting pan.

If you will be stuffing your turkey then loosely place stuffing in both cavities.  Do not pack in stuffing.  Stuffing expands during cooking and you will have a big mess in the over and no stuffing.
Truss turkey using lacers and twine.  Place it on the rack inside the roasting pan.

6.  Insert one end of the roasting pan into the first brown bag.*

7.  Work the second brown bag onto the roasting pan.  Make sure the bag overlaps with the first bag.*

Brown bag
8.  Place the whole package in the oven using the chart below from allrecipes.com.

Bag in oven

9.  30 minutes before the turkey is done carefully tear off bags and remove.  Don’t jiggle the pan too much, you don’t want the drippings to spill, you will need the drippings for gravy.  Leave turkey uncovered to brown.

10.  When turkey is done remove from the oven and let rest on the rack for 30 minutes.  Do not transfer turkey on to serving tray immediately after cooking, it will fall apart.  Using turkey lifters makes transferring the turkey easier.

11.  If your stuffing is in the bird scoop it out onto a serving bowl before carving the turkey, it’s just neater than having everyone spoon stuffing directly out of the bird.

These times are based on placing the whole turkey on a rack in a roasting pan, and into a preheated 350 degree F (175 degrees C ) oven.

 

 Weight  of Bird

 Roasting Time (Unstuffed)  Roasting Time 
  (Stuffed)
10 to 18 pounds 3 to 3-1/2 hours   3-3/4 to 4-1/2 hours
18 to 22 pounds 3-1/2 to 4 hours   4-1/2 to 5 hours
22 to 24 pounds 4 to 4-1/2 hours   5 to 5-1/2 hours
  24 to 29 pounds 4-1/2 to 5 hours 5-1/2 to 6-1/4 hours

The only true test for doneness is the temperature of the meat, not the color of the skin.

  • The turkey is done when the thigh meat reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. To get an accurate reading, be sure that your thermometer is not touching the bone.
  • If your turkey has been stuffed, it is important to check the temperature of the dressing; it should be 165 degrees F (75 degrees C).
  • When the turkey is done, remove from the oven and allow to stand for 20-30 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, and makes for easier carving.

* If you can not get large brown bags you can use brown craft paper.  You can buy a roll at Walmart or any discount store.  Wrap the paper around the whole roasting pan.  Staple shut on both ends and on the top.

My Turkey

This is my turkey cooked using the brown bag method. This bird weighed 24 pounds.

Jaime's Turkey

My daughter in Colorado uses my method to make her Thanksgiving turkey. This is a small turkey weighing about 15 pounds.