Traditional Irish Christmas Ham

One thing I miss living away from Ireland is some of the amazing food we have access to at Christmas time.  Not the say there’s anything wrong with Canadian food but as an Irish man there are certain things that have to be in a Christmas Dinner.  One of those things is a traditional Irish Christmas Ham which I’ve been trying to replicate correctly since I moved here and I’ve had mixed results, so while back in Ireland last year eating my fill of it from NoIan’s Butcher’s in Kilcullen I resolved that Christmas 2015 I will make a perfect Christmas Ham.  A few of the butchers from The Healthy Butcher and I where discussing solutions for the last few months and finally Paul nailed it and produced an amazing result for his annual Christmas party.  We stood in his kitchen most of the night with a chefs knife carving lumps off of it and stuffing our faces, it was so good.  So in the fairness the credit goes to Paul for this although our prep methods and end results might be slightly different 🙂

Ingredients
1 full raw ham joint preferably organic or naturally raised like the amazing pork from Perth Pork

Brine Ingredients (Thanks Paul)
2 cups kosher salt
3 tbsp Insta cure 1 like this one from Amazon
4 bay leaves
1/4 cup mustard seeds
1/4 cup black pepper corn
1 cup pimento paste
1 cup honey

Other Essential Items
1 meat injector like this one from Amazon
1 Large cooler big enough to hold the ham
Big Green Egg BBQ or smoker

Method
Crush the Bay leaves, Mustard seeds and Peppercorns in a mortar and pestle. Add to a blender with the remaining ingredients for the brine and blitz well until nice and smooth.  Using the meat injector pierce the ham joint all over injecting the delicious brine until there’s none left, rub any remaining bits all over the outside.
Score the skin of the ham in a diamond pattern which will make it easier to remove later and will add to the crackling.
Place the ham in the cooler and cover with water and ice and leave for at least 48 hrs.  When removed the joint should have a slightly pinkish color.
Pat the joint completely dry and rub all over with olive oil, pepper and a small amount of salt on the skin.
Place on the Big Green Egg for a minimum of 12 hours or longer at 300°F or 150°C keeping an eye on the temperature and your charcoal levels (Top up if the coals get to low).  The smell will be amazing and is worthwhile going outside in the Canadian winter just for that.
Remove after required cooking time and allow to cool or serve hot.  This will last days and have the most amazing smoke flavor.  Whatever you don’t use vac seal it and you’ll have Christmas Ham for months.
Here’s a few pictures of my end result. Enjoy.

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Christmas Baileys Cheesecake

I’ve been making this easy and beautifully rich desert for years now and it’s perfect for entertaining without having to use every cooking skill you have.  Most American Style Cheesecakes are the caked style which is not my favourite.  This is beautifully smooth and takes only a handful of ingredients.  Enjoy

Ingredients

  • 100g/3½oz butter
  • 250g/8¾oz digestive biscuits, crushed
  • 600g/1lb 5oz Organic cream cheese
  • 25ml/1fl oz Baileys
  • 100ml/3½oz icing sugar
  • 300ml/10½oz double cream, whipped
  • 2 Cadburys Flakes, crushed
  • Mixed fresh fruit for decoration

Preparation method

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the crushed digestive biscuits.  Mix well until the biscuits have absorbed all the butter.  Allow to cool and add half a  crushed flake bar .
  2. Press into the bottom of a lined 18cm/7in spring form tin. Place in the refrigerator and allow to set for one hour.
  3. Meanwhile, knock together the filling. Lightly whip the cream cheese then add in the Bailey’s and icing sugar. Fold in the whipped cream and the other half of the flake bar. When smooth, spoon evenly onto the biscuits.
  4. Refrigerate and allow to set for a further two hours. Once set, remove and decorate with whipped cream, mixed fresh fruit and the remainder of the flake bars dusted over the top.

Enjoy the experience 🙂

Moved the Blog to Azure WebSites

Ever since joining Microsoft I’ve been determined to get rid of as much of the Google Services I use as quick as possible.  It’s actually a lot of work disconnecting your online existence from the GooglePlex but thankfully this was not the case with Blogger.
I moved my blog hosted on Blogger over to Azure Websites running a WordPress blog in under 5 minutes the other night with the least amount of clicks I’ve ever done for something like this.
I’ve redirected two domains at my Blog one hosted by GoDaddy and the other by Register365 in Ireland.  GoDaddy was simple as always which is one Google service I might stick with for now.  Register365 was another story with the worst DNS control panel ever which basically allows you to do nothing.  After 2 days I finally got it sorted.

For reference I found this step by step guide after completing the Custom Domain name changes myself for GoDaddy but these are the steps pretty much step by step that I did. http://www.matthewjdean.com/2012/10/18/custom-domain-on-azure-web-sites/

As for the Blog using WordPress, Besides a few minor differences and rethinking of layout, fonts etc its a nice interface and pretty simple to use.

It’s Azure for me going forward check it out at http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/