A cold kitchen floor at 3am is a strange place to spend Christmas morning………especially when that floor is the one you mostly work on. Why am I on the floor? Why is there there a egg-lifter in my mouth? Those a good questions…..and they’re pretty much down to bad luck and money…or more accurately to much of one and not enough of the other…..that’s a bad situation to find yourself in by the way.
Me and Tony sat in the Anchor bar sharing badly rolled cigarettes and nursing the 2 flat beers we’d been staring into these for the last 2 hours. It was white-out Christmas Eve, we were broke….and that evening we’d been evicted.
Our Eviction went relatively smoothly all things considered ……our stuff (mostly bongs and cheap ashtrays) left smoothly enough via the front door… me and Tony however left much more awkwardly and more nakedly via the first and second floor windows pursued in earnest by large bellied bald men looking for blood or money or both….my bets were on blood.
Needless to say, being two skinny half naked chefs we were easily able out-wit and and out-run our fat-arsed evictors gathering up some of what we could in the way of strewn clothing and high-tailing it to the only place we knew we would be welcome…The Anchor Bar
Little Maggie agreed to let us squat there as long as there was beer in the glass in front of us but by closing time we had to be gone….fucking harsh. Our situation was grim….Christmas Eve…evicted…no money and The Kitchen was closed today – not due to open until Christmas morning…so we couldn’t even bunk down in work…….that was until Tony came up with the most brilliant of plans to get us out of the shit…..he lobbed a house brick through the back window of The Kitchen and we broke in…..
It was a Christmas miracle.
We crawled through the tiny window and fell into the relative warmth and security of our own Kitchen – the joint was deserted and would remain that way until at least 9am – we had more than enough time to get ourselves back on track with some food and a wash in the staff showers and figure out what the actual fuck we were going to do next. Two beaten down chefs, no money, no place to live….but surrounded by booze and food…….it was time for our priorities to be straightened right out….
In the very same kitchen we had just broken into we had spent the entire morning prepping an unholy amount of food for Christmas lunch – 6 full Turkey Crowns with boned, rolled and stuffed turkey legs……6 hams glazed with Whiskey, Sausage meat stuffing roulades, 4 Silver- Sides of beef, 4 poached salmon and enough prawn cocktail to sink a sub……plus the bar was fully and criminally loaded with Champagne.
Now – in times of great need, great men step up and do great things…honorable men do honorable things…….neither myself nor Tony were great men nor were we honorable…..so in total silence and with the precision of surgeons we went about setting a Christmas table for ourselves and prepared a full Christmas lunch right in the middle of the restaurant……then proceeded to eat our way through an entire turkey crown, baked ham and Poached salmon in tandem with drinking our way through a bottle of champagne each and half a bottle of brandy
WHAT YOU NEED – serving 8-10 with left overs
1 boned, un-smoked Ham – 5kg
For the glaze:
250 grm English mustard
100 grams maple syrup
1 tbs cracked black pepper corns
1 tbs coriander seeds
200mls Jack Daniels whiskey
2 tbs slat flakes
300 grams dark brown sugar
HOW YOU DO IT
First to your equipment, you will need a very deep pot at least 1 third higher than the ham. You also need a small heat proof plate that will sit in the pot to form a trivot – that’s it.
To kick things off, leave the ham sitting in a big bowl of cold water mixed with the brown sugar overnight – this is a slight brine and it’s totally optional.
Next to cook – place the large cooking pot on the heat, pop in the heat proof saucer and set the ham, (drained from the brine) on top. This will prevent the ham from contacting the bottom of the pot and sticking.
Cover with cold water fully and bring up to a boil, then straight down to a medium heat for 4 hours. You want the ham to get to 75c – nothing under this. Now – no messing around here, the best and only way to get your ham perfectly cooked is to use a thermometer…so get one and every hour or so check the temp – drive the thermometer into the middle of the ham.
As soon as you hit 75c get the ham out and leave it to cool completely, you can keep the ham water for cabbage or other veg cooking – do not sling it out!
Next to glaze and bake – pound the salt flakes, coriander seeds and black pepper corns into a rough powder then mix in the whisky, mustard and syrup and mix well into a glazey paste.
When the ham has cooled you can remove the rind to expose a pearl white layer of fat, criss-cross the fat with a sharp knife then paint it all over with the glaze – do this a few times to make sure the glaze takes.
Then finally roast in medium high oven for about 30 minutes or until golden – you will also note that I don’t use cloves…I friggin’ hate ’em……