• November 9

    Ultimate Roast Beef

    Preparation time: 1 to 2 hours

    Cooking time: 1 to 2 hours

    Serves: 6


    For the Yorkshire puddings:

    • 225g plain flour
    • 8 free-range eggs
    • 600ml milk
    • 50g beef dripping or lard
    • salt and freshly ground black pepper

    For the roast beef:

    For the roast potatoes:

    • 10 potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 or 3
    • 50g lard, beef dripping or vegetable oil
    • pinch salt

    For the vegetables:

    • 75g butter
    • 3 carrots, finely sliced
    • 1 head spring greens, finely sliced
    • 250g peas
    • wholegrain mustard, to serve


    1. For the Yorkshire puddings, put the flour in a bowl, season with salt and pepper. Add the eggs and whisk to a batter. Add the milk and whisk until smooth then place in the fridge for at least one hour, but preferably overnight.
    2. For the beef, preheat the oven to 200C.
    3. Heat a frying pan until very hot. Season the beef with salt and pepper. Fry the beef on all sides in the hot pan until nicely browned. Transfer to a roasting dish and place in the oven for 1 hour 30 minutes.
    4. Meanwhile for the roast potatoes, put the potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with water, add a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Drain the potatoes into a colander and shake around a little to rough up the edges.
    5. Put a deep roasting tray onto the heat and add the fat. Add the potatoes and fry on each side until they start to brown. Sprinkle with salt and place in the oven alongside the beef for 30 minutes until starting to turn golden and crisp. After 30 minutes, turn the potatoes over in the fat and return to the oven for a further 20-30 minutes.
    6. Remove the beef from the oven, cover with aluminum foil and rest for 15-30 minutes. Put the beef on board to carve then return the roasting pan to the heat, and heat over medium heat until bubbling, then add the wine and cook until reduced by half. Add the beef stock and cook until reduced by half again, season to taste.
    7. To cook the Yorkshire puddings, preheat the oven to 220C.
    8. Divide the dripping or lard between 2 x 12 hole muffin tins or Yorkshire tins. Heat the tins in the oven for 10 minutes, until smoking hot. Carefully pour the batter into the tins, filling them two-thirds of the way. Bake the Yorkshire puddings for 20 minutes. Do not open the oven door during this time.
    9. After 20 minutes, open the door to allow any steam to escape, then turn the temperature down to 190C. Cook the Yorkshire puddings for a further 15 minutes until crisp and golden-brown.
    10. For the vegetables, heat a frying pan until hot, add one-third of the butter and all the carrots. Stir to coat the carrots in the melted butter, add 110ml/4floz water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for five minutes, until the liquid has reduced to coat the carrots and they are tender. Season with salt and pepper.
    11. Repeat the process for the spring greens, cooking them for 2-3 minutes until tender.
    12. Meanwhile, bring a pan of salted water to the boil, add the peas and cook for two minutes until hot through. Drain the peas and toss them with the last of the butter.
    13. To serve, carve the beef and place onto serving plates, with the roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and a spoonful of each of the vegetables. Finish with a drizzle of the gravy and a spoon of mustard alongside.

  • November 9

    Slow-cooked Ham with Gravy

    Preparation time: overnight

    Cooking time: over 2 hours

    Serves: 10-12


    For the glaze:

    • 1 tbsp whole cloves
    • 4 tbsp black treacle
    • 4 tbsp demerara sugar
    • 1 x tbsp mustard


    1. Preheat the oven to 250C. Let your Christmas Ham come to room temperature.
    2. Line a large roasting tin with a layer of foil, and then sit a wire rack on top of this foil. Tear off a large piece of foil (big enough to wrap around the ham) and place this over the rack on the roasting tin. Tear off a second, large piece of foil and place on top, but in the opposite way to the first, so you have 4 corners of foil ready to wrap your ham in.
    3. Sit the Christmas Ham on the foil and then pour the black treacle over it, straight onto the rind, letting it run down both sides. Don’t worry too much about spreading it over the ham, as once it’s in the heat of the oven, it will coat the ham well enough.
    4. Now lift up the sides and ends of the first layer of foil and make a seal at the top, leaving some room around the Christmas Ham, then seal the ends. Then take up the other piece of foil and do the same: you are trying to create a good seal around the ham, so pinch together any open gaps that remain. Finally, tear off another piece of foil and put over the top of the whole parcel, making sure it’s well sealed.
    5. Put carefully into the oven and let it cook for 30 minutes, then turn the oven down to 100C and leave for a further 12–24 hours.
    6. The following day, take the ham out of the oven and open up the foil seal. It will have made some liquid, which you can reserve to moisten the carved meat later. Carefully lift the ham out onto a board, remove the string and peel off the rind to leave a good layer of fat.
    7. Increase the oven temperature to 200C. Using a sharp knife, cut a diamond pattern in the fat layer, drawing lines one way and then the opposite way, about 2cm apart.
    8. Stud the centre of each diamond with a clove, then mix together the black treacle, demerara sugar and Dijon mustard in a bowl and spread over the fat on the ham. It will dribble off a bit, so just spoon it back over the ham before putting back in the oven for 20 minutes, by which time the glaze will be burnished and blistered in the heat. Remove from the oven, and transfer to the board. Let it rest for 10–20 minutes before carving into thin slices.

  • November 9

    Boiled and Baked Special Ham

    Preparation time: 30 minutes to 1 hour

    Cooking time: over 2 hours

    Serves: 8-10


    • 5½ -7¼kg ham with the bone in
    • 2 onions, quartered
    • few cloves
    • few black peppercorns
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 4 tbsp mustard
    • 75g demerara sugar, depending on the size of ham
    • 300ml chicken stock (to make a gravy)


    1. Place the soaked ham in a large pan, with the onions, cloves, peppercorns and bay leaf.
    2. Cover with water, bring to the boil and skim away any impurities. Leave the ham to simmer, allowing 20 minutes per 450g(1lb).
    3. Pre-heat the oven to 190C.
    4. Once cooked, remove the ham from the pan and stand for 10-15 minutes before peeling away the skin.
    5. The fat can be left as it is or scored, creating a diamond pattern. Brush the ham with mustard and sprinkle well with the demerara sugar.
    6. Bake the ham for 30-40 minutes taking care to baste the ham with juices and the caramelised sugar. Once golden, remove from the oven and rest for 15-30 minutes before carving, or leave until cold.
    7. To make gravy, pour the chicken stock into the roasting pan to lift any residue in the pan and simmer until reduced by one-third to one-half and strain.

    Recipe Tips: The ham may need to be soaked in cold water for 24 hours, changing the water occasionally

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