Thursday, 6 March 2014

Ham, egg and chips (when I say chips I mean real)

After a two day bout of the dreaded stomach bug my body was craving salt, carbs and anything deep fried! 

I saw that gammon was a third off in Sainsbury's so that was that, dinner decided. The wonderfully simple but up there in my top 10 meals, gammon (ham), egg and chips. Sounds a cliche, but a few components and the very best quality. Who can argue with that!!!!

I couldn't wait to unleash my treasured 'Pampered Chef' crinkle cutter. Well I'd say it's more like a mezzaluna with ridges. Actually quite large, as are all Pampered Chef utensils, they're American - what do you expect? Think big!!! One of my ovenware 'stones' of the same brand is a huge square dish, makes a great lasagne for a dinner party, in fact it will take a whole pack of lasagne sheets if you let it. 

The trick here is to cut your spuds (whether straight or crinkly) and soak in very cold water for a while to extract any excess starch. For the best chips I use a Maris or King Edward. 

Now there are lots of schools of thought on this, do you blanch in oil/fat or water? Well honestly, I've tried both methods and actually don't think it matters. Gary Rhodes recommends water to make edges go slightly fluffy to then turn crisp and golden on the last fry. On this occasion I did this method. But the misconception that it's "healthier" is wrong, as the almost cooked chip is looser in texture and therefore absorbs more fat in my eyes. Nothing wrong in that I say! Might try the other method next time. 

I've faffed around with deep fat fryers over the years, they are a pain to clean, remove oil and store. Nowadays if I want to deep fry (which isn't that often) I just get out my largest stainless steel saucepan. The important thing is to get it to the hottest temperature possible. Between 180-190 degrees is good. 
Then place blanched chips (making sure they're really dry from blanching, any excess water will cool down oil temp) in hot oil just until light golden. Do a few batches at a time. I tend to always use Sunflower oil for deep frying. Might try beef dripping one day, like they do up North. My favourite fish and chips from The Magpie CafĂ© in Whitby suggests that their chips are "not for vegetarians". 

Now for my ham glaze. I've already boiled for a few hours in the Le Creuset or slow cooker. 

About a tablespoon of dark brown sugar. A squirt of honey. 

About a tablespoon of marmalade.

And about a tablespoon of English mustard powder. Or you could use whole grain if you prefer. 
I prefer the contrast of sweet and hot. 
Combine all of these ingredients together and spoon on ham. Place in a 180degrees oven for 30 mins or so, until glaze is nicely caramelised but not burnt. It helps to spoon and baste every so often. 

And here is the result, beautifully cooked ham with a sweet sticky glaze. 
Will last for days in the fridge. Or might use in a recipe to use up - gammon and cheesy leek pasta bake? Who knows. Also goes wonderful with a roast chicken for an easy Sunday roast. 




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