Kirby Gordon, Knysna
Christmas fare has been the same for as long as I can remember. A feast fit to feed a force of 30-strong, with enough for leftovers. The star of the show is undoubtedly the gammon.
Mom mixes about 2½ cups of cake flour with an equal amount of maize meal. She then adds enough water for a fairly crumbly paste. She places the gammon on a piece of tin foil inside a roasting pan and then packs the mixture around the gammon to make a shell. The key is not to add any salt. The gammon is pretty salty as it is and the mixture serves to draw a lot of that salt out, leaving you with delicious tender meat.
She bakes the gammon for about 3 hours at 180°C. Our gammon is usually about 2.5 to 3kg, so one would need to adjust the cooking time relative to the size of the meat.
When time is up, she removes the meat from the oven and pries off the now-hardened shell. One can then cut off the skin if that’s the preference (we usually do) and then she glazes the ham with a mixture of apricot jam with a little hot English mustard powder. If you like, you can pop it under the grill for a few more minutes just to caramelise the glaze.
The pièce de résistance is, however, the sweet mustard sauce that accompanies the ham. The sauce is best made to taste, but the ingredients are a tin of condensed milk, about six teaspoons of Coleman’s Hot English Mustard powder and about three tablespoons of white spirit vinegar.
Mix the powder into the condensed milk until you get a fairly strong mustard flavour coming through. Once the sauce has stood for about 10-20 minutes, the mustard matures and becomes stronger, so you don’t want to overdo it. The vinegar rounds it off, but also serves to thicken the sauce, so you end up with something slightly thicker than apple sauce.
Every year the gammon is the first to go from the leftovers stash. We have a family joke about the “phantom ham” because it goes into the fridge after dinner but it’s seldom there in the morning!