Baked ham with cranberry honey sauce is your best bet for a delicious festive meal this season. The cranberry pairs beautifully with ham to give it not only a sweet-sour flavour, but also a festive colour. Why not give it a try?
(Serves six people)
1⁄4 cup of honey
700g cooked centre-cut ham slice ((1 inch thick and trimmed)
1 tablespoon whole cloves
1⁄2 teaspoon ground ginger
1⁄2 cup dry red wine or orange juice
1⁄4 teaspoon ground allspice
11⁄2 cups cranberries
1 cup small whole onions
Preheat the oven to 1770C / 3500F. Score the top of the ham slice into diamonds and stud the ham with the cloves. Slash the edge of the ham at 1-inch intervals.
Next, place the ham on a rack in a shallow baking pan and bake for 30 minutes or until heated through.
Then combine the wine, honey, ginger, and allspice in a medium-size saucepan. Bring to a boil and then let it boil gently over moderately high heat for five minutes or until the cranberry skin pops.
Finally serve the cranberry mixture over the ham.
Add an old-fashioned, decorative touch to baked ham by scoring the top and studding it with cloves. The scoring also allows the glaze to penetrate the meat.
To score the ham, use a small, sharp knife to diagonally cut 1⁄4 inch deep parallel lines in the top ham about 1 inch apart. Make another series of cuts at right angles to form diamonds.
Using your fingers, insert a whole clove in the middle of each of the diamonds. You may find it easier to pierce the meat first with the point of a skewer and then insert the clove.
Safety measures for accident free Christmas cooking
Early preparation is necessary
Between shopping for ingredients, prepping foods, setting the table, and cooking several dishes, it is very easy for foods to get contaminated and hence put people’s health at risk. Prepare the foods you are going to cook in advance to avoid last minute rush especially when preparing many dishes at once.
While it is nice to have multiple cooking tools at hand, having too many appliances plugged in and surrounded by potholders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, hand towels, and other flammable objects on the counter can be a fire hazard. Try to minimise the decorations in the kitchen and keep flammable objects away to prevent any misfortunes.
Don’t leave your cooking unattended
Be mindful of what is on the stove or in the oven as you are prepping other foods in the kitchen. It is very easy to forget that a burner is on and before you know it soup might be overflowing from the pot or the food gets burnt. If you are easily distracted, turn down the Christmas music and avoid talking on the phone while cooking. Also stay in the kitchen until cooking is finished.
Exercise crowd control
The kitchen is especially busy during the holidays, but as the host, don’t be afraid to exercise crowd control. People tend to gravitate to where the action is and it may be difficult to control them. But if you plan ahead, you are not going to have many people cooking different dishes in the kitchen at once. If your kids are eager to lend a hand, have them set the table or answer the door for guests instead of being in the kitchen.
Published December 2016 issue