It's getting close to Christmas feast day. Who better to ask advice from about glazing our ham than our neighbour three railway arches down, Nathan at the Butchery. Especially as Christmas ham is Nathan's favourite festive food. Firstly, Nathan cleared up some ham basics:

"Gammon or ham – what’s the difference?

Broadly speaking, gammon is a pork joint that has been cured but is still raw. Once it is cooked, we call it ham."

"Should I get gammon or ham?

Hard to say. It's nice to cook your own ham from a gammon; you get to choose how to do it, and the spices you use. It's also the most cost effective - but it does take time and a big pot, often in short supply at Christmas."

If it's more convenient for you then the Butchery can cook you a ham and you can glaze it yourself at home. And if you're in their Forest Hill shop you can pick up a jar of our honey too.

"I have a gammon, how do I make a glazed ham?

To start, always use a meat thermometer. 

Very briefly: Soak it, simmer it, skin it, glaze it, bake it quickly; internal temp should be 65C.

More details, still easy: Soak the ham as needed. Place the ham in a saucepan large enough to hold it, and cover with cold water. Add a few bay leaves, a scant handful each of fennel seeds, coriander seeds and allspice berries, halved oranges if you like. Turn on the heat and bring to a boil, then immediately turn down to a bare simmer, until the internal temperature reaches 60C (65C if you're not going to glaze until later), this can take a couple of hours.

Preheat the oven to 200C. 

Lift the ham out of the water, and set aside. Take off the skin with a sharp knife, leaving a good layer of fat. Score the fat into a diamond pattern. Put in the oven for 5 minutes while you make the glaze. Pour/spread over the glaze and return the ham to the oven and cook till the glaze is sticky and burnished. Baste as necessary. You want the ham to have an internal temperature of 65C.

You can do the glazing stage later, on a cooled ham, in which case, simmer the gammon until 65C."

You can also stick a clove in each diamond of the fat before glazing and putting it in the oven if you want to keep it simple with a traditional honey glaze. But depending on the glaze you want to use, you can omit the cloves.

Variations for the honey glaze

There are lots of twists on ham glazes and no shortage of recipes out there. We like to use Ling heather honey in our glaze as it strong and aromatic, with caramel notes and bold enough to meet the spices the ham is cooked in.

The traditional honey glaze 

Simply honey and English mustard in equal quantities, 4tbsp of runny honey & 4tbsp of English Mustard 

The boozy honey glaze - Gordon Ramsey

  • 100g demerara sugar
  • 50ml Madeira wine
  • 25ml sherry vinegar
  • 125g honey

To make the glaze, put the sugar, Madeira, sherry vinegar, and honey into a pan and stir over a low heat. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for 3–4 minutes until you have a glossy dark syrup. Do not leave unattended, as it will easily boil over.

There are no shortage of variations. And do ask Nathan at the Butchery for further advice on choosing and cooking your ham.