Saturday 5 January 2008

Family Roast Ham

One of my all time favourite things to eat when I get home is roast ham. Partly because in its own right it is divine. But also for all the extraneous reasons that I associate with it. Mum always cooks it when I'm home for any length of time. She knows I love it and for that reason it conjures up a great feeling of family togetherness. Our dog, Milly, and cat, Coco, go beserk when we cook roast ham. They just love the sweet, salty smell of the ham resting on top of the aga. When Coco used to be able to jump up to the aga he used to be a nightmare. Now arthiritis has set in he is more sedate and tends to simply sit on a spare chair and joins us for lunch. That the beauty of Siamese cats. They're civilised. Pop him in a morning jacket and you could happily take him for tea at the Ritz!

The other reason I love ham so much is that Mum normally wraps it up in foil and slips it in my bag before I head back to London to keep me going for the rest of the week. Typically I land up eating the world's most enormous ham and mustard sandwich and then pass out having overdosed on salt and meat!

This ham was perfect. Mum cooked it in our trusty old Le Cruesset pot with an inch or so of water around the base to add some moisture and with half an eye on makeing some soup for supper. 3 hours elapsed whilst it cooked and we shoveled smelly compost in the garden. What a treat to return to!

With 20 minutes to go, Mum cut the rind off and spread a mixture of honey and mustard over the exposed fat which transformed into a sticky, crispy, brown crust which could not have been tastier. Sister Suz had left for Bristol earlier which, whilst sad, was great news, because she doesn't like mustard! Sorry Suz! But ham tastes better when you are not here!

Carving the ham was a joy. It was firm, well held together and yeilded well to the sharp knife. Cowie's new carving board did a great job of holding the meat in place and also caught the juices well in the little grooves.

Mum also proudced a colourful salad of shredded beetroot, peppers, tomato, cashew nuts, primrose flowers, olives and whatever else you can see in the photo below!

Coco looked on like a spectator at one of today's FA cup matches. Eagerly watching the ham like a hunter.

Milly opted for a more dog like attempt to get some ham and simply pined at Dad when he went to get a pint of beer from the kitchen!

A more striking contrast between canine and feline behaviour is hard to imagine. The closest thing I can think of is Eddie Izzard's hysterically witty sketch about Pavlov's cat...

I love roast ham. It's worth coming home for all by itself!

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