The Perfect Glazed Ham


I remember very clearly the first time I went with my friend Sarah Thorowgood to visit her family for the weekend. Sarah’s mother, Sue, had asked if I was one of those people who ‘ate like a sparrow’ and was quickly reassured that was most definitely not the case. I can still picture the family sitting around a large kitchen table and everyone laughing over words that each of them found annoying; ‘pamphlet’, ‘capsule’, ‘foliage’ etc. while Sue carried over the most enormous and delicious looking ham. Ham was not something we ever had at home growing up and my only experience till then was overly salty slabs of ham covered in tinned pineapple – classic 80’s England. I have seriously never had a ham that came close to the one that Sue made that night and has had me searching unsuccessfully for the last 17 years. That was the first of many happy weekends at their house in Berkshire until I moved to America. I remember my last visit and being given Martini glasses by the family for my ‘Sex and the City’ new life that I was embarking on with great trepidation. Would anyone see the humor in the word ‘pamphlet’? Where could I go to play Articulate? My favorite board game first introduced to me by the Thorowgoods and the source of hours of laughter. I’m glad to say that I’ve found all of the above in New York.


But back to that ham. I’ll admit that I never tried to make it myself as I was always slightly intimidated by the idea. It sounded so complicated and I was always unsure of what ham to buy in the stores especially since they all appeared to be precooked or smoked in some way. It wasn’t until recently when we started selling Schaller & Weber that I received a proper education on the different types of hams on the market. As soon as I tasted their Swedish Party Ham, I ran home and emailed Sue for her recipe. Although there were a lot of steps, it wasn’t nearly as complicated or intimidating as I had originally thought. As the ham was in its last stages in the oven, my entire flat was filled with a smell so delicious that it took me right back to the Thorowgoods kitchen all those years ago. We had to photograph it before I was allowed to taste it and the smell was driving me crazy. I couldn’t wait to find out if it tasted as good as it smelt and looked. It did!


What makes this recipe so delicious is how juicy the ham stays – you can almost cut it with a butter knife. The glaze is both sweet and salty and for a ham cooking novice like myself, very easy to make a large crowd happy. Getting through 7lbs of ham on your own though is no mean feat even after you’ve packed your friends off with multiple slices. So get ready for a post soon on my favorite ways to use up that delicious leftover ham.



Glazed Ham


1 Swedish Party Ham or Bone-in Holiday Ham– approx. 7.5lbs

2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns

3 large cloves of garlic (sliced)

4 bay leaves


For Glaze

1 cup of dark brown sugar

3 tablespoons of dry mustard powder

3 cloves of finely chopped garlic

Balsamic vinegar



1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large pot, cover ham with water and bring to a boil – boil for 3 minutes.

2. Discard all the water and cover again with fresh water (this step helps remove excess saltiness from the finished ham).

3. Add peppercorns, garlic and bay leaves.

4. Bring back to the boil and simmer on a low heat, covered for 1 hour.

5. Remove ham from the pot but reserve the water.

6. On a cutting board, place ham flat side down. Remove any tough skin and much of the fat from the top, leaving about 1 inch of fat remaining. Score the remaining fat with shallow diagonal lines creating a diamond pattern.

7. While ham is simmering, prepare the glaze. In a medium bowl, mix all the dry ingredients thoroughly and then very slowly, drop by drop. Add balsamic vinegar, stirring as you go, until you have the consistency of a sticky paste.

8. Coat the whole ham with the glaze and place flat side down in an ovenproof dish.

9. Add about 3 or 4 ladles of the reserved water to the bottom of the dish. (Freeze the remaining water to use for stock and soups)

10. Cook for about an hour or until the surface of the ham is golden brown and the sauce is bubbling.

11. When ready, remove the ham to a cutting board and transfer juice to a saucepan.

12. Reduce the sauce by half (it is ready when it easily coats the back of a spoon). Serve the sauce separately in a gravy boat and pour over carved ham at the table.

NB: I found it very useful to pre-slice my leftovers and freeze in individual bags. That way when I was making a new recipe, I could defrost only what I needed.


A Day Trip to Hudson, NY


Sometimes I forget to take advantage of being my own boss. The 9 to 5, Monday to Friday structure is still so deeply ingrained that the idea of going to a museum on a Tuesday to avoid the crowds still feels like I’m playing hooky. So when Frances Janisch, the über talented photographer, food blogger, Many Kitchens producer and now dear friend asked me to join her on a day trip last week, I jumped at the chance. She had been commissioned to write and photograph a story on Hudson, New York.



I can’t think of many such beautiful towns (though technically it’s a city) that you can get to so easily from New York City (but would love to hear about them if you know of any!). Frances and I caught an early train and the ride itself was stunning as we hugged the Hudson River almost the whole way and could enjoy the spectacular leaves from the comfort of our Amtrak seat.



We had a full schedule of places to visit before catching a 4pm train home so up and down Warren Street we went with me being pathetically unhelpful except for holding the tripod for a few minutes every now and again. We stopped into the very eclectic Trout & Co antique store (below) on the way to our first appointment at Olde Hudson Deli; a food store to rival any in the city with huge jars of olives, mountains of cheese and freshly baked pies.



We then went from establishment to establishment learning more and more about the history of Hudson from the various owners that Frances charmed. A few of my favorite stores are photographed below: The linens at Rural Residence, the table settings and furniture at Finch and the apothecary jars and mid century chairs stacked high at Hudson Supermarket.


The proximity to the city, gorgeous shops, restaurants and countryside, while no longer offering much in the way of bargains, is a far cry from the Hudson of even 5 years ago when you could (apparently) still buy crack on street corners.



In the 1800’s, Hudson was the 4th largest city in New York State and was one vote away from being the State’s capital but by the late 19th Century, it had fallen on bad times and for much of the 20th Century, it was known for its vices and even nicknamed The Little Town with the Big Red Light District. It was heartening to see a city restored to its former glory days! (Below is a view from the very chic Hudson Merchant House)



I’m definitely going back if only to eat at some of the incredible looking restaurants. Top of my list would be Fish and Game who were setting up for dinner when we arrived. They are housed in a beautifully converted blacksmith shop and have an entirely seasonal and local menu that changes weekly. This Pork Roast turning on the spit, dripping fat onto the potatoes below, had me seriously considering trying to find a bed for the night – it might be the only way to stop me drooling. Sadly, we had heard from the two Inns that we visited that they didn’t have a spare room until January – it seems Hudson is no longer a well kept secret!


Torrone Molle


I do not come from a family of bakers. Great cooks, yes, but not bakers. My first attempt at baking was when I was about 7 years old and my mother wanted to keep me occupied so sent me to the kitchen with some baking ingredients. I decided to put my “cake mix” in a fish shaped tin and was beyond excited when I removed it from the oven as I thought I had struck gold with the idea of a fish shaped cake. As I turned it out on to the serving plate, my “cake” slipped and fell to the floor only to bounce an impressive foot before wobbling to its final resting place. In my defense, I think the whole meal flour was to blame.


That’s why I love this recipe so much – you literally mix the ingredients and put it in the fridge – no baking required and no fear of rubber fish. My mother made Torrone Molle for me every year on Valentine’s Day having got the recipe from her friend Anna Del Conte. Saint Names Days are a big deal in Italy and being called Valentina, I’ve managed to have a lifetime of cards on February 14th even if they are rarely from romantic admirers. My father once got all the assistants in his office to sign cards for me and send them from their homes. I got 15 cards that year from all around England.


I made Torrone Molle for the first time the other week – it’s very rich but also very delicious. A little goes a long way. Since it’s raw, please make sure to use the freshest of eggs and you might want to leave out the alcohol if you’re serving it to children! As far as portions, it is a versatile dessert. You can cut in slices as you would biscotti, cube as you would for bite size brownies or slice a larger portion to be served with a dash of whipped cream after dinner.


Torrone Molle


8oz. unsalted butter, softened

8oz. granulated sugar

4oz. good cocoa powder

1 egg plus

1 egg yolk

4oz. almonds coarsely chopped (blanched peeled cooking almonds work well)

4oz. plain cookies crumbled (you can use Lu’s Le Petit Beurre)

2 or 3 tbls. Brandy or rum (optional)



1. Cream together butter and sugar till light and fluffy.

2. Add cocoa (a little at a time) until all is absorbed.

3. Beat egg and egg yolk together lightly and add slowly to the mixture until well mixed.

4. Add all the rest, mix well and spoon into a 12” loaf tin lined with greaseproof paper.

5. Refrigerate overnight or for at least for 4 hours.

6. Turn out onto serving dish. It is not the most beautiful looking of deserts so I recommend cutting it into cubes or slices before serving.


Lamb and Chorizo Stew with Royal Corona Beans


I’m so ready for Autumn. I’ve got a bunch of hearty dishes that I want to try, not to mention a beautiful new turquoise coat that it’s been too hot to wear. Today it finally felt like Autumn had arrived so I wanted to post the first of a few dishes that will warm the cockles.


A couple of weeks ago, I finally managed to give a long overdue ‘thank you’ dinner for my “Nightingales” (as in Florence). The Nightingales are three incredible women who nursed me back to health after I had my tonsils removed last year. I won’t go into the gory details but I really needed help and the three of them were absolutely amazing. They rallied a group of friends, sat with me and arranged scheduled visits with strict instructions to the point that our friend Hal renamed them “The Gatekeepers.” This year, during another tough time, I discovered they had all been back in touch with each other to once again work their healing magic.


So how to begin thanking three people who have cared for me like family and feel like sisters? I’m not sure they’ll ever know how grateful I am but I thought an evening with all of us where we weren’t discussing medical issues might be a good start. And what to cook? Selfishly, I wanted to be part of the fun so it had to be something that was all done ahead of time and I’m not brave enough to risk something new. I’m a big believer in having as much as possible ready before guests arrive so you can enjoy the evening too. No last minute flambéing for me! An old classic it would have to be; one that would conveniently let me use up packs of Rancho Gordo beans and Schaller & Weber Chorizo left over from testing.


I’ve been making this Lamb and Chorizo Stew with Royal Corona Beans which I’ve adapted from the Dean & Deluca Cookbook for years and it’s great for a big group and stays true to the Nigel Slater philosophy of a successful dinner having the focus on the people and not the food. A large casserole with a big salad and hunks of bread seems to usually do the trick.


So a big shout out to great friends and friendship which as corny as it sounds are, in my opinion, what make the world go round.


Lamb and Chorizo Stew with Royal Corona Beans

Serves 8


8 tablespoons of olive oil

3lbs of boneless leg of lamb (ask your butcher to cut it into 1”cubes)

1lb of chorizo cut into 1/2 “ slices – you may need to peel the chorizo first.

2 medium onions, thinly sliced

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

2/3 cup of red wine

3 tablespoons of sherry vinegar

1 ½ cups of beef stock

2 cups of canned plum tomatoes

1 teaspoon paprika

3 cups of cooked royal corona beans

1 teaspoon arrow root (optional)



1. Heat half the oil in a large Dutch oven and sauté the chorizo until it’s brown on both sides.

2. Add the onions and garlic and reduce heat so that they sweat and become translucent.

3. Remove everything from the pan and set aside – I use the lid of the casserole dish upturned next to the stove.

4. Add the rest of the olive oil and heat.

5. Add the lamb in batches and brown thoroughly. Don’t overcrowd the pan as the meat will steam rather than get that nice crust that keeps all the flavor in.

6. As each batch is browned, you can add to the chorizo and onions.

7. When there’s no lamb left, you can put everything back in the pan along with all the juices that have collected.

8. Increase the heat and add the wine and vinegar whilst scraping the bottom of the pan.

9. Add the stock, paprika and tomatoes along with their juices and season.

10. Bring to a slow boil and reduce heat to a simmer.

11. Cover partially and let cook for at least 1 ½ hours.

12. Remove lid and cook until sauce begins to thicken and lamb is tender. Approximately 45 mins.

13. Add beans, stir and heat through.

14. If the sauce is still too thin, add a teaspoon of arrow root dissolved in a little water and bring stew to the boil. This will thicken the sauce in just a few minutes without affecting the flavor.

15. Check for seasoning and serve with French bread and a large salad.


Cooking dried beans:  It is, in fact, one of The Nightingales who taught me how to cook dried beans. Bring the beans to a boil in a large pot of cold water. Add a handful of salt, cover and turn the heat off. Let them soak as long as possible – I did overnight. Rinse the beans and replace with fresh water before bringing to a low simmer and cooking for at least an hour until beans are ready. You can add more salt when you’re cooking and other aromatics.

75 Years of Schaller & Weber


My godmother’s husband, a foodie in the truest sense of that overused word, has been buying his sausages and smoked meats from Schaller & Weber since he first moved to Manhattan over 50 years ago. Walking into their store on the Upper East Side, which has been open since 1937, is like stepping back in time. Everything from the floor tiles and ceiling to the friendly expert butchers behind the counter make you feel like you’ve not only walked into a different era but a different country too.



Aurora and I had the same experience when we visited their factory in Queen’s. On the office’s wooden planked walls hangs a wonderful photograph of the company’s founder, Ferdinand Schaller with his wife Marianne and you get the feeling that he is still presiding over the daily activities and ensuring that the standards he put in place in 1937 are maintained to this day.



Ferdinand was a master butcher who emigrated to the US in 1927 from his hometown of Stuttgart in Germany. Today it is his grandson, Jeremy Schaller, who runs the business like his father did before him – making sure that, even as their reputation has grown to receive International awards, it still has the feel of a family run business.



Seeing the operations behind our producers has been one of the most rewarding parts of starting this business. The Schaller & Weber factory tour was no exception and the tasting that we were given in the (now retro chic) office of Jeremy’s grandfather was definitely the highlight. The obscene amount of products laid out before us, made me wish I had skipped lunch and the goody bag I was given as we left, will feed me and my friends for weeks!



Everything from the Swedish Party Ham to the Bratwurst was superb but if I had to choose just one thing to leave with, it would be the Double Smoked Bacon. I have used it in every pasta sauce and then also simply sliced and fried for a couple of minutes on each side along with creamy scrambled eggs and hot buttered toast. I come from a long line of bacon lovers and it is without a doubt the best bacon I have ever tasted. UK Customs Officials please avert your eyes – I’m taking some home to England for the holidays!