Baked ham with Finnish mustard

baked ham and finnish mustard

This post originally featured in the Wells Journal on Thursday 5 December 2013.

I’ve succeeded in not thinking too much about Christmas until the last week or so. I’m one of those who dislike getting Christmassy too early. I’m the one tutting when I hear a festive song on the radio before December’s even started.

But there’s no denying we are now galloping apace towards the big day and it’s time to get organised. Thankfully, on the present-front I’ve not too much to do, having made big batches of pickles and chutneys back in the autumn, which will make lovely homemade gifts this year for friends and relatives. And we don’t have to think too hard about our children; they drew up their wish list months ago.

On the food-side, it helps we all have such firmly rooted family traditions that the Christmas grocery shopping list practically writes itself. There are those things you simply must have or Christmas just wouldn’t be the same in your house.

One of our essentials is the ham. I enjoy baking a large ham just ahead of Christmas to last us through the festive period. A simple meal of sliced of home-cured ham alongside the remnants of whatever bird we opted for that year, with delicious cheeses, pork pies, pickles and chutneys, is one of my favourite things about Christmas.

How I prepare the ham is the part that varies each year. I have used Nigella Lawson’s ham in cola recipe in the past. It sounds revolting but I assure you it is delicious, and you really can’t judge it until you’ve tried it.

Another recipe I’ve tried and loved is this one from Falling Cloudberries by Tessa Kiros, who was born in London to a Finnish mother and a Greek-Cypriot father and spent her childhood in South Africa. Her cookbook is full of delightful recipes that bring together these various culinary influences.

Baked ham with Finnish mustard would be eaten by her Scandinavian family on Christmas Eve, and it is ever so good.

Finnish mustard

Finnish mustard

45g English mustard powder
115g caster sugar
1 tsp salt
250ml single cream
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp cider vinegar
juice of half a lemon

Mix together the mustard powder, sugar and salt together in a small saucepan until smooth.

Put the pan over a low heat and add the cream, oil, vinegar and lemon juice. Bring to the boil, stirring continuously. Cook for about eight minutes and remove from the heat when the mustard has thickened and darkened.

Leave to cool in the pan, stirring every now and then. Pour into sterilised jars and keep in fridge.

As well as delicious as a glaze for ham, you can serve Finnish mustard with smoked salmon or sausages.

baked ham

Baked ham

1 x 6kg cured gammon joint
80g fresh breadcrumbs
95g brown sugar
Finnish mustard
15 whole cloves

Cover the gammon with cold water and soak overnight or according to your butcher’s instructions.

Preheat the oven to 220°C / gas mark 7.

Rinse the gammon and pat dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and wrap in foil. Place in a roasting tin and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, then turn down the oven to 180°C / gas mark 4 and bake for another three and a half hours, turning the joint occasionally. Remove the foil and leave to cool a little before glazing.

Place the ham on a rack in a roasting dish. Mix together the breadcrumbs and brown sugar. Spread the Finnish mustard all over the ham, using a knife or your fingers.

Sprinkle the breadcrumb and sugar mixture all over the ham, pushing it down to make it stick. Spike cloves in the top to form a rough diamond pattern.

Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until the top is golden and crusty, increasing the heat towards the end if necessary. Leave to cool before slicing. Serve with Finnish mustard and lingonberry jam (if you’re in Finland) or cranberry sauce.

Warm pea and chilli salad

warm pea and chilli salad

It is Open Farm Sunday this coming Sunday (9 June) and as I mentioned in an earlier post, we’re looking forward to spending the day at Wookey Farm, meeting the goats, enjoying tractor rides and wanging a few wellies!

In the run up to Open Farm Sunday, many of the initiative’s sponsors have created recipes to celebrate British farming by showcasing British produce. I was invited to try out this warm pea and chilli salad, courtesy of Asda magazine.

It’s a lovely summery dish, also  featuring new potatoes, spring onions and green beans in a tasty mustard dressing. We ate ours with some simple chicken satay, but it would be equally good on its own with some crusty bread to mop up the dressing, or as an accompaniment for a barbecue.

warm pea and chilli salad

Warm pea & chilli salad

Serves 4

350g new potatoes
350g peas (frozen or fresh)
200g fine green beans, trimmed
3tbsp olive oil
4 spring onions, trimmed and sliced
1 or 2 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
1tbsp cider vinegar
1tsp clear honey
1tsp Dijon mustard

Boil the new potatoes until just tender, then drain. When cool enough to handle, halve or quarter them, depending on size. Put in a bowl.

Add the peas and beans to the pan with enough boiling water to just cover them. Bring back to the boil and simmer covered, for 4 minutes. Drain and add to the potatoes.

Heat 1tbsp oil and cook the spring onions and chillies over a low heat for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the rest of the oil, the vinegar, honey and mustard. Season.

Add the warm dressing to the potatoes, peas and green beans and toss together before serving.

Open Farm Sunday

The eighth annual Open Farm Sunday on 9 June 2013 provides a great opportunity for the public to truly get to know how their food is produced and how the countryside around them is cared for.

For more information and to find a farm near you that’s taking part visit