Ham ‘n Eggs

Not just any ham and eggs; Ham in Coca-Cola, The Best Cornbread and Eggs. This meal satisfies me on a level that I can’t really explain – and it would be as good with chips, but part of the reason I make cornbread to go with the ham on a Friday or Saturday night is that the leftovers, served cold the next day for brunch – maybe with some grilled tomatoes and hopefully a bloody mary, are probably as good as the original meal. The ham in coca-cola is of course an adaptation of Nigella Lawson’s classic recipe.

Boiling a gammon is really easy. I never do it any other way than this, because I love it so, but if you don’t want the cola then you can use ginger beer, apple juice or even just plain water  if you like. Really though, if even just once, try it with the Coke. I don’t drink Cola at all, but for this meal it is absolutely right. The recipe for the cornbread is here – to be served warm, and you can serve the eggs how you choose. If you were serving it at breakfast, I might even suggest scrambled. I like brown sauce with this the best.

  • 1 gammon, mine was 1.6k. Most stuff that you get from the supermarket these days doesn’t need soaking, but check the packaging or ask your butcher.
  • 2 litres Coca-Cola
  • 1 onion, halved
  • 2-3 cloves (and some for studding the ham, if it takes your artistic fancy)
  • bayleaf
  • black treacle
  • english mustard or mustard powder
  • sugar (brown, or demerara is the best kind to use)

Bring your gammon to room temperature – take it out of the fridge a few hours before you plan to use it essentially, but if that isn’t possible, you can just add ten minutes to the cooking time. Put in a roomy cooking pot and add the bay leaf, onion and cloves. Pour over the coke to cover and put the lid on. Bring slowly to the boil and then simmer, for roughly 1 hour per kilo. Its done when you can push a skewer into the joint and it feels ‘firm but not rubbery’, which may sound fairly ambiguous, but you’ll know when it’s right.

Leave in the coke for about 10- 15 minutes off the heat and preheat your oven to gas 9. Take the gammon out of the pot, and remove to a stable surface. Carefully remove the skin, leaving the layer of fat behind. Now, you can take a sharp knife and cut a diamond pattern into the fat, and stud it with cloves if you like. Alternatively, if like me, you’re not so keen on that, spread a layer of treacle, a layer of mustard and a layer of sugar on. It may be that the fat on your gammon is at an awkward angle, like mine was, so some propping up might be necessary. Place the ham in a foil lined roasting tin (trust me, this is necessary) and put in the oven for ten minutes or so until the glaze has had a chance to melt. Remove from the oven, and rest for ten minutes or so whilst you do the eggs and warm through your cornbread.

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The Tastiest Cornbread

As comfort food goes, this is possibly the best, certainly best return on effort I’ve found in a long, long time.More akin to baking cakes than breadmaking as we understand it, I can usually knock one up in ten minutes or so, and I would usually make two of these loaves at a time just because they go so quickly in my house. It goes for an afternoon snack, straight out of the oven, it goes with ham & eggs for dinner, it goes at breakfast time and in packed lunches. I imagine it would be perfect with a bowl of soup too.

This is my own recipe, but I have taken inspiration from Momma Cherri’s Soul in a Bowl Cookbook, and Jamie’s America

  • 165g cornmeal (polenta)
  • 125ml full fat milk
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 30ml butter
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • half a large onion, thinly sliced
  • small bunch of spring onions, diced
  • 200g sweetcorn – fresh from the cob is ideal, but it is January – canned or frozen is fine.
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 80g cheddar or similar hard cheese, grated
  • salt and pepper (quite a lot)

Melt your butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the two onions and cook, stirring regularly until they are soft and starting to brown a little. Add your sweet ccorn and cook for a few minutes more. Take off the heat to allow to cool down for a little while.

Preheat your oven to gas 6. In a large bowl addd your eggs (beaten), cornmeal, flour and milk. Stir, until combined. Add your cheese, chilli, thyme and salt and pepper and then add the onions/corn. Put in your baking powder, give a final thorough stir and then pour into a greased and lined 2lb  loaf tin, or deep sandwich tin and put into the oven for 40 mins or so. The cornbread is cooked when you stick a skewer or thin knife in, and it comes out clean.

Paradise by the Fridgedoor Light (Meatloaf)

I’ve never made meatloaf before. Actually, I’m not even sure I’ve eaten meatloaf before. It just never appealed. But, in the interest of doing new and different things, this was a perfectly worthwhile experiment. I don’t believe there is a hard and fast recipe for this – most recipes I read before embarking on this project had plenty of ‘optionals’ and ‘preferables’  in them. After all, this is essentially a store cupboard dish. So, I’ve gone along and done what I wanted, mainly gaining inspiration from Momma Cherri’s Soul in a Bowl Cookbook. I guess the only real solid suggestion that I have, is that you could replace up to 25% of the beef for something like pork or veal mince. Oh, and that a slice of leftover Meatloaf would be delicious in a white bread sandwich with relish of your choice the next morning. This is enough to  serve four with buttery mashed potatoes, a green veg and some gravy.

Meatloaf cooked

  • 500g minced beef (Not economy, but not extra lean either)
  • 1/2 stick of celery
  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 1/2 green pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • three of pieces of stale white bread
  • 1 FREE RANGE egg
  • tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • tbsp mustard – I used dijon- probably anything apart from wholegrain would do. No, even wholegrain would do.
  • 1 tsp cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 6 rashers streaky bacon

Preheat the oven to Gas 4.

In the original recipe, Ms Jones suggests we roughly chop the veg, the onion and the garlic and put in a in a bowl, and using a handblender, chop the veg finely. I did this. Next time I would use a food processor with a lid or I would do it by hand, as  I didn’t find the suggested process any better than doing it those ways. But anyway, chop all the veg as finely as you can and put in a large bowl. Next, crumble in your bread, add your eggs, worcestershire sauce, mustard, seasonings and herbs and then your minced beef. Then roll up your sleeves and mix the lot with your hands until very thoroughly combined. The mixtures hould be fairly wet.  I must admit, reader, at this point I wasn’t completely convinced by the look of this. It looked pale and a bit.. unattractive. Battle on!

Get a 2 lb loaf tin and line it with the slices of bacon, leaving some hanging over the edges. Fill with your mince mixture and overlap the bacon pieces on the top, although, frankly, my bacon shrank  away, so don’t spend too much effort making it purty. Alternatively, you can get 4 slices of bacon and make two X shapes with them on a baking tray. Make two ‘loaf’ type shapes of mixture on top of these and overlap with the bacon. It will probably ooze a bit. Not the end of the world, by any means. Put in the oven and leave it to cook for about an hour for the big loaf or about 40 minutes for the two freeform ones.

meatloaf uncooked

To be honest, this was still a bit paler than I expected even when I cooked it, and was a bit sloppier than I thought it would be – I’ve addressed the quantities in the recipe in an attempt to address this. It was very tasty though.