Cooking for Christmas - some recipes


BAKED GLAZED HAM


Many New Zealand families buy a ham to eat over the holiday period. Of course a ham is just fine served "as is" but if you want it to look really special, why not try glazing it?

1 medium-large ham

about 20g whole cloves

Glaze: 1/2 cup brown sugar; 1/2 cup orange or pineapple juice; 1-2 tbsp wholegrain mustard; 1/2-1 tsp ground cloves

Heat the oven to 150C. Measure the glaze ingredients into a frypan pan or pot. Heat to boiling then simmer, stirring frequently, until the mixture has thickened a little, then remove from the heat.

Place the ham on a clean board. Starting at the cut end, slide your fingers just under the skin, loosening it from the flesh and fat until you can remove it from most of the surface (leave a little at the shank end if desired).

Score the surface of the ham diagonally (cutting just through the fat) in two directions to create a diamond pattern. Press a clove into the centre of each diamond.

Place the ham in a large, foil and/or baking-paper-lined roasting pan. Brush the surface generously with the glaze. Put the roasting pan in the oven so the top of the ham is as close to the middle of the oven as size will allow. Bake for 1 1/2-2 hours, brushing the surface of the ham with remaining glaze and/or pan drippings every 20-30 minutes. (It may also pay to rotate the pan once or twice for even browning.) If the surface appears to be browning too fast, reduce the heat to 125C.

Place hot or warm ham on a serving platter and serve. Once cooled, refrigerate and store the leftovers as you would an unglazed ham.

CHRISTMAS PUDDING TRUFFLES


We like these truffles dressed up so that they look like mini-Christmas puddings. If you feel that this is too time-consuming, serve them as plain truffles rolled in coconut. They taste very good both ways.

1 cup currants

2 tsp very finely grated orange or tangelo rind

1/4 cup rum, whisky, brandy or citrus juice

250g (2 1/2 cups) crumbs from a chocolate or plain cake

125g (5/8th cup) chocolate chips

For decoration: 75g white chocolate, 1 tsp oil, about 6 red cherries, about 6 green cherries

Put the currants in a sieve and pour boiling water through them, then put them in a bowl with the very finely grated rind from a tangelo or orange, and the spirit of your choice or the same amount of juice from the orange or tangelo.

Leave the currants to stand while you crumb the cake, and then melt the chocolate chips, heating until liquid. This will take about 4-5 minutes on medium in a microwave oven, and a little longer in a large metal bowl standing over a pot of hot but not boiling water. When the chocolate has melted, stir it into crumbs, then the currant mixture.

Mix well together, then roll into small, walnut-sized balls, or balls which will fit nicely in small foil or fluted paper confectionery cups. Roll in coconut if not decorating further. Refrigerate until cold.

Warm pieces of white chocolate with the oil in a clean bowl, in a microwave oven for about 3 minutes on medium or over hot water, as before. Stir until smooth.

Chop the cherries. Have red cherry pieces chunky, and the green pieces pointed like leaves.

Spoon a little of the warm white mixture on top of a little pudding, helping it to look as if it is flowing, if necessary.

This takes a little experience, but is mainly a matter of having the truffle cold and the melted mixture semi-liquid. Before the white chocolate sets, put about three little red berries in the middle of the icing, and a couple of green leaves around them.

- Hamilton News

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