A gammon joint is always good at Christmas or, in fact, any festive occasion. In the UK you can get gammon steaks (single slices of gammon which you can pan fry) or a gammon ‘joint’, which is the British term for gammon roast. Christmas and Thanksgiving are big holidays in the US for ham, as we call it, and a sizeable ham is a great choice for my family, especially since the boys are growing up so fast and so are their appetites – grab a nice, big juicy gammon joint and you will find it keeps for up to 5 days, making lots of salads and sandwiches for everyone! This meat is just as good served chilled as it is hot, so it is pretty versatile.
Gammon is not just for the big occasions either. You can serve it during picnic season or enjoy it for a birthday or even New Year’s Eve. If you are wondering what exactly a ‘gammon joint’ is, the main description is gammon is similar to ham but it is raw while ham is ready-to-eat. Also, gammon has been cured like bacon (ham is either cooked or dry-cured). So yes, cooked gammon is technically… ham! Talk about two nations separated by a common language.
My parents and grandparents would have soaked the gammon in water first, to get rid of the excess salt, but these days gammon joints are usually pre- soaked – go ahead and ask the butcher or check the label to make sure. Last time I made this recipe, I saved the liquid I cooked the meat in, and I found it made a great base for soup. I used it for pea and ham soup or you could choose something nice and meaty like that – just label and freeze the liquid if you are not ready to start making soup just yet. Continue reading
This delicious pie can be served hot, warm or even cold. In England it is typically served with baked beans (cooked white beans in a sweet tomato sauce) or a simple green salad. This is known as sausage plait because the pastry is plaited (braided) over the filling to make an attractive presentation. This dish can be compared to a grownup version of the humble sausage roll, but it is no harder to make; in fact the preparation is very similar. There are some hidden vegetables sneaked into this recipe, making it ideal for picky youngsters in your house. Mince the red bell peppers finely and the little ones will not know they are there.
Whether you are enjoying sausage plait for lunch or dinner, or taking a slice or two to work or a picnic, you are sure to love the different flavours and textures it offers. You can tweak the recipe however you wish, adding any herbs you happen to have or swapping the red bell pepper for another vegetables which needs to be used up. Leave out the chilli if you prefer a mild finish or add extra for added spice.
Try pork and leek sausages with sage and black pepper if you cannot get the pork and apple kind, or if you prefer something more savoury. You will need about 14 oz (400g) of sausages which is about 6 large ones. You will be using the meat and discarding the sausage casings. Why not get the kids to help make this? They can help squeeze the meat out of the sausages and even help plait the pastry over the filling. Continue reading
This stick-to-the-ribs type Irish recipe is perfect for those cooler months when you want something hearty and warming in the evening. Although you can use unsalted bacon, the traditional meat of choice is the smoked kind. We are cooking carrots and cabbage with the bacon (leave these out if you prefer) and making mashed potatoes on the side, along with a flavourful parsley and mustard sauce. Not only does the cooked bacon freeze, but there is never any waste with this recipe because you can use leftovers in sandwiches the following day, or just serve them with fried egg, chips (fries) and pickles.
You will need a large pot to make this, since the bacon and vegetables are cooked together in there with fresh herbs. When the bacon and vegetables are almost done, you can start the mashed potatoes. Mash butter into them, and perhaps some cream or milk too, depending on the consistency you prefer. The sauce is made with stock (from the bacon), cream, mustard and parsley, and it complements the meat just perfectly.
This makes a meal for 6 people, but because you can use or freeze the leftovers, you can make the full amount. If you are only feeding 3 people though, it is easy enough to halve the recipe. Else simply reduce the amount of mashed potatoes, since the bacon, vegetables and sauce will keep for several days and can be served cold or gently warmed back up for another taste of this delicious Irish dish. Continue reading
This is a really easy recipe, and it makes a delicious meal for the whole family. Actually you get about 8 servings out of this recipe, so you can use the leftovers to make sandwiches or other meals. You will need a pork loin with the top bone left in, along with onion, flour, stock, cider, and seasonings. Although the pork will probably already be scored, it is worth scoring some more lines in it, using a sharp knife. Then you can get more salt in between the lines and the salt is what turns the fat into crackling (according to some, the best part of the dish!) You can then add the onions and roast the pork.
Turn the temperature down after a while, and cook it for another couple of hours. When the pork is done, there will be no pinkness inside and the juices run clear. The crackling with be golden brown and crispy. Let the pork rest for half an hour while you make the gravy and prepare any side dishes you want to have, perhaps mashed potatoes and some vegetables, for a typical British roast dinner or ‘Sunday roast’ as it is known.
You might be wondering why the recipe does not tell you to baste the pork as it cooks, and the reason is there is enough fat in there to keep the meat moist during cooking, so you do not need to add more. We are cooking the onions under the pork so they turn dark brown. Use them to add flavour and colour to your gravy. This makes a filling and delicious dinner for the whole family and you will find the recipe very simple to follow. Continue reading
This is about as British as you can get, when it comes to starter recipes! Toad in the hole is a dish where sausages are cooked in a Yorkshire pudding batter. We have taken inspiration from that recipe to create these mini toad in the holes. You will need 4 Yorkshire pudding cups to make it, or else just use 4 large muffin cups or similar. The Yorkshire pudding batter is divided between the cups, and then you can add cooked sausages and perhaps some green peas too. Bake them until they are golden brown and crispy, then serve with lashings of brown gravy. They look nice garnished with herb sprigs too.
If you want to serve this as a main dish rather than an appetizer, you might like to add some cooked onion and carrots to the Yorkshire pudding cups, and consider adding sliced beef instead of cocktail sausages. Then serve each person a couple of these with hot, creamy mashed potato. You can get really creative with Yorkshire puddings actually; some people in the UK like to eat them with honey drizzled over them as a snack!
You can use cocktail sausages, frankfurters (chop them if they are the bigger ones) or cooked sausages (any kind) to make this dish, or you could use leftover roasted meat in gravy (or ‘au jus’) or anything else. You could even make vegetarian ones by adding extra veggies and leaving out the sausages. Yorkshire pudding batter is really versatile. You can make it any shape or size, and take your pick from various fillings.
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