Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Hamming it up for Christmas.

The Christmas ham has not had its fair share of attention on this blog over the years, it has been overwhelmed by puddings and cakes and mince pies. Today I aim to redress the balance somewhat, with a selection of recipes from old Australian newspapers.

Firstly, my favourite, a real ‘from scratch’ recipe starting with a leg of fresh pork, and using traditional early Australian cooking utensils – a kerosene tin and the washhouse copper (with a fire underneath – not one of your fancy gas or electric ones.)  Unfortunately, it is a bit late now to make it by this method in time for this Christmas, as you need to start at least three weeks before. Make sure you put the recipe aside for next year.

The Christmas Ham.
Take a new kerosene tin, cut off the top, and thoroughly cleanse. Make a pickle of 1 lb. salt, 2oz. salt petre, 1 lb. brown sugar, 1 packet spice, l oz. carbonate soda, and 1 teaspoon of pepper to 1 quart of water. Boil all together until dissolved. A ham weighing 10 lb., win require about three or four quarts of pickle. Get a leg of absolutely fresh pork from a reliable butcher, and get him to cut out the knuckle bone from the thick end. Immerse as soon as possible in the prepared cold brine, cover well, and keep under with a weight. At the end of a week lift the meat out and reboil the brine, strain through a fine sieve, and let it become cold. Again immerse the ham. Repeat for three weeks, then take out the ham, wipe thoroughly, and hang to dry in a cool draughty place for a day or so.
When you are ready to cook the ham try the following method, and you will be delighted with the result: Fill the washhouse copper to the top late in afternoon, bring the water to boiling point, and let it boil fast for 10 minutes. Now draw off a full bucket of boiling water, and replace with one of cold water. Put in the ham, and put a bag over the copper, then the lid, then another bag. Now draw the fire out and leave undisturbed until early next morning, when the ham will be perfectly cooked, and very juicy. A ham cooked by this method only loses about 4oz. to 6oz. to a 10lb. weight ham. The housewife who does not object to the little extra work in the preparation of this ham will have a tender and juicy joint to place before an appreciative family, as well as a much lighter expense than when purchasing a ham from the grocer.
From Mrs. V. H. Wooster, c/o the Post Office, Charters Towers, N.Q.
The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld.) November 15, 1928.

To Cook a Ham.
Simmer it in water to which a large cupful of coarse brown sugar and a pint of sherry have been added. It is incomparably superior in taste to one that has been cooked in the ordinary way.
Burra Record (SA) Aug 6, 1882

Baked Christmas Ham.
Soak your ham overnight in cold water. In the morning drain and wipe dry. Meantime make a paste of just flour and water (judge the quantity of paste to make by the size of your ham), then roll out paste about ½ inch thick, and place, ham in the centre of paste, and completely cover it with tbe large piece of the paste, pinch edges together to keep the steam in. Nowplace in a nice oven (on bottom of oven),
and allow it to cook half an hour to the pound. When cold, crack the paste (which will have got hard) and place on a dish ready for use. Ham cooked in this manner is far superior to boiled ham, as it retains the juice and goodness, which you lose by boiling.
The first prize-winning recipe, submitted by Mrs. R. H, Barnes. The Sunday Times (Perth, WA) December 18, 1910.

Christmas Ham.
Wash a 10 lb or 12 lb ham, and plunge into a large pot of boiling water, which must cover the meat completely. Add one tablespoon cloves, a stick cinnamon, and one clove garlic, one cup vinegar, and one cup sugar. Leave over a low heat for three and a half hours. The water must not boil after the ham is in the pot. Leave in the pot until it is cold. Skin and put in a baking dish and put in one cup brown sugar and one tablespoon mustard. Cloves can be dotted on the fat if liked. Add one cup vinegar an one cup water. Don’t baste until the ham is browned.
Sauce for Ham: One teaspoon mustard, pinch powdered cloves and cinnamon, and two tablespoons vingetar and ½ cup of apple jelly. Heat until jelly is melted, and pour over ham.
Cairns Post (Qld. Dec 10,1953)

Ham with Pineapple.
One ham, one cup brown sugar, two cups pineapple juice, one teaspoon mixed spice, whole cloves, sliced pineapple.
Parboil ham by placing in cold water. Bring to boil, and simmer gently two hours. Remove skin, and stick surface of ham with whole cloves. Make a syrup of pineapple juice, sugar, and spice. Pour this over the ham. Bake in a moderate oven, allowing half an hour to every lb. Baste frequently during cooking. Garnish with pineapple slices, which are baked with ham during the last half hour.
Cairns Post (Qld. Dec 10,1953)

Quotation for the Day.

I do not like green eggs and ham, I do not like them Sam I am!
Dr. Seuss

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