recipes

Upcycle

baked glazed ham

It’s heartening to observe the recent trend of repurposing old goods into workable, worthwhile objects of value and especially so, if you were the one responsible for the transformation. We have had the pleasure of watching Kirstie pick up furniture orphans from junk yards and resourcefully transform them into prized family members on her weekly program. Clothing, toys and linens have all been fair game for the passionate upcycler, with vintage and charity shopping now a popular pastime. So after a beautifully baked leg of ham had served its dinnertime purpose, but still boasted a plentiful supply of succulent meat to carve, it was time for some upcycling in our kitchen.

Being well out of the festive season, purchasing a leg of ham is very affordable – in fact quite a canny choice. Simple to prepare and quick to bake, this is an overlooked roasted ‘joint’ with the potential to be so many other meals.

When you bring your ham home, carefully run the knife around the narrow end and gently work off the outer skin, leaving the fat underneath in place. Once the skin is peeled away, score the fat in a cross-hatch fashion. Warm a small jar of marmalade and brush this over the ham generously. Poke a whole clove into the centre of each diamond shape. Sit your decorated leg in a large baking tray and bake in a moderate oven (ie 180 degrees celsius) for 45 minutes or until it is nicely browned. Your ham is ready to carve.

My carnivorous family barely makes a dent on a baked ham in one sitting, so throughout the week rolls are filled, grills are served and finally I unwrap a calico covered shape that begins to resemble a bone. Still well covered, this joint is upcycled once again – pea and ham soup.

Traditional Pea and Ham soup

A plentiful soup can be produced by plonking the bone holus-bolus into the pot and using this recipe  (which I discovered on the back of my McKenzie’s Green Split Peas packet). Put your ham bone in, follow McKenzie’s steps and lunch/after school feeding frenzies are covered for the rest of the week.

As your ham leg makes its way through all of its various mealtime identities, it can be stored very effectively in the refrigerator in a calico ham bag. No ham bag? No problem – because you too are a resourceful upcycler, a dampened tea towel repurposes wonderfully.

Traditional Pea and Ham soup

Postscript: and just when you thought the upcycling was complete, the long simmered soup bone, after cooling on the bench, became a happy dog’s chew on a sunny afternoon.

recipes

Ham

slow roasted beans

By this stage of the season, simple is the adjective we reach for when thoughts turn to the day’s upcoming menu.

On recent supermarket visits, I notice basic items – the likes of yoghurt, eggs and honest loaves returning to people’s trolleys in an attempt to restore equilibrium after lavish seasonal feasting. Lovely as it is to enjoy the spoils of Christmas, we eventually seek out the familiar constituents our system and soul relies upon throughout the mainstay of the year.

Delectable leftovers must not be ignored either – so constructing a meal that incorporates feast remnants in a toned-down fashion, is the aim. Our succulent ham, after featuring as the celebration table hero, took a backseat to some lovely baby tomatoes and the pantry staple – beans. Here’s how it went:

750g small tomatoes
bulb of garlic separated into individually peeled cloves
200g chopped ham of the bone (small chunks, not thin slices)
salt and pepper
2 cans of beans (butter, cannellini or whatever you prefer) drained and rinsed
1/2cup chicken or vege stock
small bunch of oregano sprigs
feta cheese to serve

Place tomatoes, garlic and ham in a roasting pan, and cook for 30 minutes in a 180 degree celsius oven for 30 minutes. Season with pepper and a little salt. Once the tomatoes are shrivelling and the ham has crisped a little, add the beans, stock and oregano and cook for a further 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and crumble feta over the top. Serve with warmed pita bread.

pita beans hamPostscript:Ham still in plentiful supply, any further suggestions welcome…