aromatic spiced hamrating:
for the ham
2.25-2.75kg/4lb 15oz-6lb 1oz boneless mild-cure gammon
250ml/8¾fl oz red wine
3 litres/5 pints 5½fl oz water (approximately)
1 large onion, halved
2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 head fennel, halved
2 star anise
1 tbsp coriander seed
1 tbsp fennel seed
1 tbsp mixed peppercorns
for the glaze
approximately 16 whole cloves
4 tbsp redcurrant jelly
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp red wine vinegar
place the gammon in a large saucepan.
add all the ingredients for the ham to the pan, adding some more water if the ham isn't covered.
bring to the boil, before reducing the heat to a simmer and partially covering the pan. Cook for about two and a half to three hours - approximately one hour a kilo simmering time, plus an extra 15 minutes.
when you are ready to glaze the ham, preheat the oven to 230C/440F/Gas 8.
remove the ham from the liquid and sit the ham on a board. Strip off the rind, and a little of the fat layer if it's very thick, and cut a diamond pattern into the remaining fat with a sharp knife in lines of about 2cm/¾in apart.
stud each diamond with a clove. Put the jelly, cinnamon, paprika and red wine vinegar into a saucepan and whisk together over a high heat bringing it to the boil. Let the pan bubble away so that the glaze reduces to a syrup-like consistency.
place a layer of foil over a roasting tray big enough to hold the ham. Place the ham on top of the foil.
pour the glaze over the clove-studded ham and then transfer it to the oven. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until the glazed fat is burnished.
allow the meat to rest in a warm place for at least 15 minutes before carving it.
This reminds me of a far humbler recipe from far harder times. During the period of rationing which followed the end of the 2nd World War, my mother used to make Spam edible by cutting interecting diagonals all over the loathly 'meat', and marking the tip of each diamond with a clove. She then gave it a wonderful glaze consisting of honey, vinegar, and mustard powder. The Spam became imbued with the taste of this mixture, and it developed a glossy, crunchy and delicious crust. Instead of turning up our noses at this meat-substitute (as we would have had my mother offered it to us in its natural state) we ate it with delight, eagerly pushing our plates forward for second helpings.