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Maple roasted ham










  • 1 boneless or bone in gammon, up to you if you regard it as a hassle or waste of money buying with the bone in. Over here in Sweden I find it’s more cost effective to buy off the bone, back home bone in is cheaper and no idea why…
  • Water to cover


  • Soak your joint of gammon in running water for 12 hours or over night to remove as much salt as possible.  In a professional kitchen, I run it under the cold tap for a few hours before putting it in the fridge overnight, then running it under the cold water again for 30 mins in the morning before cooking it. At home I place the gammon in a bucket, put that in the bath tub and place the shower head on a trickle of cold water for 24 hrs 😉
  • After the gammon has been well soaked, place in a saucepan and cover with cold water
  • Bring to simmer on the stove top and cook for approx 3-4 hrs topping up with water as and when required. You should ensure the ham is covered at all times with the water or if like me at home your saucepan is a bit on the small side, turn the ham over regularly during cooking, say every 30 mins til it’s done
  • To check your ham is cooked, insert a skewer into your joint and the skewer should slide off easily once the ham is cooked
  • When cooked, carefully remove from the cooking liquor which is best saved to make soup or whatever you fancy. Allow to cool for 15 mins or so then the joint is easier to handle, or just get stuck in when it’s fresh out the water, depending on how asbestos- proof your fingers are and how much/little time and patience you have 😉
  • Pre-heat oven to 180c
  • If the ham has skin on, carefully remove this along with as little or much fat as you like. For me the fat is the best bit as it’s so full of flavour so I keep a fair amount on 🙂
  • With a sharp knife, score the fat and cover with maple syrup. Honey works well too of course, I just had some maple to use up, hence my topping of choice on this occasion. There are many variations you can do as a tasty topping to glaze your ham before baking, just experiment with whatever you fancy but generally speaking, if the flavour goes well with pork or ham, it will work well as part of a glaze, i.e mustard, honey, treacle, cloves, brown sugar, chilli, etc, etc, just be creative and enjoy!
  • Bake in a hot oven for approx 20-30 mins  or until a nice caramelisation is achieved
  • Cool overnight before slicing to get the best shape to your slices where the natural gelatine in the joint has chilled enough to re-set the joint in shape. Unless you want it hot of course, just carve away!

Chef’s tips

  • The slices will freeze very well for home use, ideally vac packed in a professional kitchen or at home in between baking paper in freezer bags or cling filmed well is fine
  • You can also pull the meat from the bone to make terrines or patties or put the trimmings through a risotto or a pasta dish for example, or a simple salad
  • If serving hot it makes a delicious main course, lovely with mashed potatoes, parsley sauce etc being classics to serve with it from many European countries


Over here, it works out at approx 1 Swedish krona for my 30g breakfast portion which is what I use the ham for. That’s approx £0.10p back home, or cheaper of course with UK prices.

Happy cooking all 🙂

Daily breakfast

Along with plenty other people, I used to take the lazy route in the mornings (me lazy? now there’s a shock..) with breakfast and hardly ever used to make time for it, maybe grabbing a quick coffee and a bowl of cereal if I was lucky and making the excuse of no time to eat, can eat at work etc and basically my mind and body was for a while just running on adrenaline and stress at work to get through the day… That and grabbing the odd pastry or sausage sandwich here and there throughout the morning at work if I was lucky. Not best practice for sure so for the last couple of years I’ve been making time as it gives you more energy and lifts the spirits in the morning for you to get on with your day. It can also be a very enjoyable meal that you look forward to and doesn’t have to be only a necessity. All it takes is a little planning and advance prep and you can have a breakfast you look forward to and enjoy each day.

My current breakfast has evolved from rivita with phillidelphia, shop bought ham, chopped fresh tomatoes and a coffee for the last couple years to now having toasted home made organic Pagnotta bread,  home made organic candied tomatoes, home baked organic ham and cheese which is all briefly melted in the microwave. That and my cafetiere and that’s me set til lunch!

The cost for this in Swedish Krona, less the coffee comes to approx 6 krona or in £’s, approx £0.55p. Not bad seeing as its home made products from organic ingredients. To buy this in a nice deli or cafe in town would cost at least 7 or 8 times the price and the time to prep it is nothing if you enjoy making it all as it all stores well either in the freezer or fridge for a good while. For those who have been following my blog previously, or are creative and versatile with their cooking will know that all the elements  can be used to form many parts of different meals, not only for breakfast.

What are your favourite home made breakfast items?

Thanks for reading my post, happy cooking all 🙂

Recipe- Puff pastry

Filled with almond paste and creme fraiche


  • 500g T.55 flour, or best quality plain organic white flour
  • 50g melted butter
  • 225ml cold water
  • 13g salt
  • 360g best quality unsalted butter. (Don’t skimp on the quality of your butter as it makes a big difference in the flavour of your pastry, considering over 70% of the recipe is butter) I have been taught that French is best, but there are some fantastic English/Welsh butters out there too.


  • Mix all ingredients less the 360g butter and form into a ball
  • Make a x in the centre, then cling film and refrigerated for 30 mins
  • Take 360g of butter at room temp, roll out between paper into a square until 10mm thick and place in fridge
  • Roll out four corners of the ball leaving a small mound in the centre, as demonstrated in the photo below
  • Place the butter on top of the mound
  • Fold over all the rolled out corners of the dough to make a sealed parcel
  • Roll out the pastry into a long rectangle
  • Fold down the top half way, then fold up the bottom forming a rough square shape.
  • Each time you fold, brush off any excess flour
  • Turn the pastry a 1/4 of a turn to the right and repeat the rectangle roll out
  • Complete the folds again, turning the pastry to the right again, then push 2 finger imprints into the pastry to remind you how many turns you have completed
  • Place in the fridge for 30 mins
  • Repeat the rolling out process 4 times, each time remembering your finger indents and chilling the pastry for 30 mins in between
  • Make the 1/4 turn in the same direction each time to keep the evenness of the pastry. This will show when you bake the pastry as it will rise more evenly
  • Clingfilm the pastry and rest in the fridge overnight
  • Roll out at least 60 mins prior to use to rest the pastry, ideally overnight and using egg yolk, brush the pastry in the same direction taking care not to get any egg on the sides as this could impede the rising of your pastry
  • Repeat this again in the morning for an extra shiny glaze and finish
  • To cook, set your oven to 250c/500f/gas mark 9+
  • Place in the oven and spray some water on the base of the oven to create steam, this will assist in the rising of the pastry.
  • After approx 7 mins, lower the heat to 200c to avoid the base of the pastry burning.
  • Continue cooking for approx 10 mins until the pastry is cooked all the way through
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool
  • In the below picture, I split the pastry after it had cooled for a few mins, then filled it sandwich style with almond paste and creme fraiche and had it with my morning coffee!

Chef’s tips

  • Most are given in the method above but one more I thought of is when you are making the pastry and rolling out your turns, if the pastry feels a little dry and isn’t sticking together when you roll it, try a splash of cold water on the surface of the pastry and this will help seal the pastry when you roll it.
  • When the pastry is cooked it should almost feel weightless with all the air in the layers. Practice makes perfect as they say and I’m still in the practice stages lol but getting there! It is a very satisfying pastry to make, due to the complexity of the dough but well worth it and a thousand types better than store bought if you can fit the time in to make it.

    Happy cooking all! 😀



Recipe – Romesco sauce

Romesco sauce

Straight into it with this classic Spanish recipe..

Makes approx 200g of sauce

  • 1 x red pepper, preferably the elongated red peppers for maximum flavour. Roast, remove from oven, cling film the pepper whilst hot for 10 mins to loosen skin, peel off skin which can be dried and used as a garnish, remove and discard seeds, reserve fleshy part of pepper
  • 120g fresh tomatoes, ripest and best flavoured ones you can find
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1/4 fresh lime juice
  • 15 ml red wine vinegar
  • 30g almonds
  • 30g dried breadcrumbs
  • 2g paprika powder. (I used smoked)
  • Seasoning


  • Place all ingredients in food processor and blend until desired texture is achieved. Depending on what I am serving it with, i.e For home cooking I will do a rustic, coarse texture, in the restaurant I will generally go for a smoother, more refined texture depending on the use of the sauce

Chefs tip

  • The sauce will keep in the fridge for  a week and will freeze well too
  • As well as an accompaniment to many great Spanish dishes, also goes well with the following:
  • Can be mixed with pasta dishes or various salads
  • Great served up simply on a home made sour dough bread


Recipe – Potato and bacon cake

Potato, pata negra and mozzarella cake, Romseco sauce

How many variations on this wonderfully simple dish can there be I ask myself?

Part of the beauty of cooking for me is the fact that you are never too old to learn and gain new ideas from all types of avenues and this simple but very tasty combination of ingredients just works so well.  One of my favourite dishes to cook in a restaurant has been for a long time, the French Sarladaise potato which originates from the Perigord region in South West France. Classically it is just sliced potato, garlic and duck fat but as with many recipes over time they evolve and about 12 years ago I was taught one that also contained bacon and thyme. The potatoes were baked, scooped out, fresh thyme, crisp bacon (pancetta actually) duck fat and seasoning added, then the mix was pressed into small non stick moulds then placed in a sauce pan of oil bain-marie style and cooked until the outside were crispy and the inside was hot and soft. Truly delicious and anyway I had some mashed potatoes left and some pata negra and chorizo the other day, as well as a few other bits and pieces (as you do) lying around the kitchen and decided to make my own variation on this classic dish. I ended up doing something of a cross over between the French Sarladaise, the English bubble and squeak and the Italian gateau di patate” or “pizza di patate”

Recipe – Makes 2 main course size cakes approx 250g each

  • 300g Mashed potatoes
  • 50g bacon grilled until crisp. (On this occasion, I used Pata negra and chorizo left over from here, but any form of ham or pork sausage will work well, variations explained in the chef’s tips )
  • 60g Mozzarella sliced thin
  • 50g Peas and sweetcorn
  • 25g Melted butter
  • Seasoning


  • Pre-heat oven to moderately hot
  • Combine all above ingredients, less the mozzarella and form into patty/cake shapes
  • Place the mozzarella in the centre of the cake then press the potato mix around the cheese to seal the cheese in the centre of the cake
  • Dust lightly in seasoned flour
  • Pre-heat a non stick frying pan until just smoking, then add a touch of oil of your choice. I used olive oil as my preference.
  • Carefully place the potato cake into the pan and maintaining a moderate heat, cook the cake until golden, then turn and colour the other side.
  • Transfer to the oven and cook for 5 or 6 mins to heat through
  • I served this at home as a simple but very tasty main course with some home made Romesco sauce 

Chef’s tips

  • Any variety of ham or pork sausage will do, from a standard bacon or pancetta, ventreche, chorizos, kebanos, falukorv sausage etc, all will work well in their own right
  • Smaller, refined variations can be used in a fine dining dish too, or even smaller variations for canapes or finger food


Recipe – Candied tomatoes

Candied tomatoes

A lovely way to treat tomatoes for this time of year when in the Northern hemisphere they are still a few more months out of season and the store bought ones are still pretty tasteless.. When dried correctly, they give an intense, sweet tomato flavour and are much cheaper and tastier in my opinion than store bought variations of sun dried tomatoes.

By a little planning ahead and patience with the drying out time, these delights can be stored in oil for a month or so in the fridge and make a great as a garnish to a dish or thrown in a salad. Last time I used them at home, they were used on  a starter for our Nova celebration lunch, which I still have some left.


  • 1x 250g punnet of any type of tomato (I used Cherry for these)
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and sliced translucently thin
  • Icing sugar
  • Optional – Fresh thyme or rosemary leaves, pinch of celery salt


  • Set oven to 100c
  • Cut tomatoes in half horizontally with stalk at the top
  • Place tomato halves the cut side facing up on a baking sheet
  • Add a slice of garlic on top of each tomato half
  • Dust liberally with icing sugar and a pinch of Maldon sea salt
  • Dry in oven for approx 2 hours, or until reasonably well shrivelled and wrinkly. Or until the taste is nice and intense
  • Remove from the oven and peel off the garlic
  • Place in a container and cover with Olive oil. Any oil will do but pomace or olive are my personal preferences

My Variation on Pagnotta bread

Click on the photos for a slide show

I finally decided to make my own bread from my new born wild yeast . So I was looking through my trusty Dan Lepard Baking with passion book at his Pagnotta recipe and inspired from this style of bread, I did my own variation on that, based on Dan’s methods and procedures which were simple enough to follow, but using my own wild yeast as the starter.

In total, making the bread was an 9 hour process including dough making, proving and cooking, so just like the slow proving dough, the anticipation and excitement built along with making it too. The technique for making the bread involves making your dough from the initial wild yeast and folding the dough each hour for 3 hours, then shaping the loaf and proving for a further 3-4 hrs before baking.

I have to say it was a pleasure working with this particular style of dough and the smell that came out the oven during baking was just divine! I was taking Nova each time into the kitchen to check on the cooking, hoping she could take in the gorgeous smells emanating from the oven.. wanting her to have her own senses filled with this wonderful delight that one day will be able to taste and hopefully appreciate, perhaps with the same wild yeast too!:)


Wild yeast recipe

She's alive...!!

Loving the taste of a good sourdough or any bread made for that matter with wild yeast,  I decided to make my own wild yeast at home and see how long I can keep it going. Professionally I’ve played around a bit half -heartedly in previous years with them but never really gained a full understanding about them as I didn’t have the desire enough to really get into them until now. Wild yeasts are known in many kitchens as the beast, the bitch, the mother, the starter, whatever name you like to call it, they are a great asset to any kitchen, professional or at home and can last through generations if you really want to keep them going and gaining character as they grow. (Maybe I’ll pass it down to Nova one day for her to continue? ;))

So I was wondering shall I write a scientific, detailed post full of research here on wild yeasts as for those interested it is a fascinating subject but with little spare time to do so I’ll keep it simple and just mention that there are many great bread books/internet sites out there to give this kind of info and I took alot of knowledge from my trusty copy of Dan Lepard’s Baking with passion book and other bits of internet reading, plus chatting with a great Chef mate of mine about wild yeasts, I finally started my own.


I took approx 200g organic white flour, water to mix and about 30g organic syrup, mixed it all together to a  sloppy risotto/thick batter like consistency and left it for 5 days at room temp to grow.. I fed it each morning with approx 50g organic white flour  and water to keep the yeast growth and consistency going and throwing some of the wild yeast away when it grew too big, or flooded the work surface and made a bee line for the front door…!

I make fresh bread approx once a week then freeze it and in the meantime I’ll keep the Mother in the fridge where she will sleep til it’s time to come out again.. 🙂

Will post the first bread I made with it last night shortly..

There, there pet..

Feed the Mother...

Ready for bed..

Happy baking all! 🙂

Recipe – “Semla”

Semlor Ready to eat whilst still warm!

So whilst everyone and their dog, cat and pet mouse were busy celebrating Pancake day back in the UK yesterday , I did manage to whip up a batch of pancake batter to indulge in my childhood favourite with lemon juice and sugar but they took 2nd stage to a Swedish tradition for lent, “Semla” or “Semlor ” (singular and plural respectively) which I decided, albeit a bit last minute to make for my partner and me.

I found the recipe on google here and it was easy to follow, although the proving took much longer in my kitchen.  I made half the recipe which gave me 8 buns. The mix was a little dry and thus difficult to form into smooth, even shaped balls. I only used 300g of flour as opposed to 375g from the recipe and I think I could of cut back a few grams more but none the less, the results were very pleasing and most importantly they got the thumbs up or “tummen upp” as is known in Swedish from my girlfriend!

The semlor can traditionally be eaten submerged in warm milk but we ate them doughnut style just out of our hands, after first of all removing the “hat” so as to avoid things getting too messy.

Recipe for the bun

  • 37g butter
  • 125g milk
  • 12.5g fresh yeast
  • pinch of salt _ I used 3 grams
  • 5 tea spoons / 50g castor or granulated sugar
  • 300g flour (375g in original recipe but as stated earlier, mine came out dry so next time I am going to try 275g)
  • 3g ground cardamom

Recipe for the Filling

  • 100g almond paste
  • 65g milk
  • Crumbs from hollowing out the bun
  • 180g cream – whipped


  • Take milk and butter to blood heat and completely dissolve the yeast
  • Add salt, sugar, flour and cardamom and work into a smooth dough
  • Cover and leave to prove until double the size
  • Pre heat oven to 440f/225c/gas mark 7.5
  • Roll dough into balls, then cover and prove until double in size
  • Bake for 10 mins, then leave to cool
  • Cut off hats, then hollow out the bun
  • to make the filling, crumb the bun dough you just hollowed out and mix with the almond paste and 65g of milk
  • Spoon into the hollow bun, then add the whipped cream on top of that
  • Replace the Hat and dust with icing sugar
  • Enjoy!

Happy cooking all, thanks for reading 🙂

Nova celebration lunch

With a little routine starting to form in our day to day lives and our beloved Nova beginning to settle down a bit too, I have found a bit of free time to post again.. I fear for speaking too soon here that our dear Nova who is beside me asleep as I type, will wake at any moment for food or a nappy change so I find myself typing that little bit quieter, as opposed to the usual elephant stampede across my keyboard..

So, what could be more apt than to write a bit about the celebration lunch I cooked for my girlfriend and her parents at the weekend where they met their Grand daughter for the first time, thus welcoming Nova into the family?

Well the preparations of menu planning and ingredient sourcing started about a week before the visit and coupled with the desire to celebrate Nova’s arrival with her Grandparents and the restless urge to cook fine food again, I was keen to get cracking on the menu. I typed up a draft of the menu  below, along with my “mis en place” list at the bottom.

Nova lunch menu Sunday 19th February 2012

Iberico chorizo and Iberico pata negra
Aioli, romesco and pesto
Baby salad, candied tomatoes
Organic spelt flour foccacia

Slow roasted Swedish beef rib eye
Sweet potato and confit garlic puree
Fondant shallots, celeriac and white truffle oil puree
5 week aged beef and red wine vinegar jus

Organic 70% dark chocolate fondant, carrot cake
Carrot crisps, lingonberry and orange caramel
Coconut and lime ice cream, basil leaves

To Do – Thursday

Candied tomatoes, romesco, pesto, defrost bones and glace, choc fondant mix, puff pastry out


A day off cooking today so we went to this great little butcher/deli place in Stockholm called Oaxen skafferi to pick up  the beef. The shop is owned by the highly acclaimed restaurant Oaxen in Sweden (currently closed and moving location). This shop comes highly recommended if any Stockholm residents are reading this as the produce is just fantastic quality and they make alot of their own products too. Alot of the Beef is aged in their special chilling unit for 5 weeks but the rib eye I selected was not aged as I played it safe knowing aged beef flavour isn’t for everyone. The staff were friendly, highly knowledgeable and very helpful too.

(pics below are taken from their website)


Back in the kitchen for a couple of hours and this was my list for today

Beef jus, Foccacia weighed ready for sun morn. first stage in fridge, Coconut Anglaise for ice cream, Dry mash, lingonberry and orange caramel, Celeriac puree, Cut carrots for veg, cheese straws, Choc fondants in moulds

Sunday (I wrote times next to each job)

10 sort plates, 30 Bread done, 5 Pepper crisps, 10 Candied carrots, 15 Icing for carrot cake. Cut cake, 10 Aioli, 15 Ice cream, 15 Fondant shallots, 15 Finish starter plate up.2 meats, 3 dressings in dishes, cut bread, Oil and butter for bread. Main 10 Beef sealed, cook medium, 25-40 mins. 10 reheat mash, 5 Cook veg, 2 Celeriac puree, 2 Jus, 2 fondant shallots, Cook dessert,=  fondant, ice cream, caramel, anglaise, carrot garnish, carrot cake, basil

so that all went to plan whilst my partner took care of Nova for the morning.. then we sat down to eat for 12pm and here are the results.

6 month Iberico chorizo and 26 month pata negra, focaccia, aioli, pesto, romesco, home dried tomatoes, salad


Tuck in!

Swedish rib eye, fondant shallots, confit garlic mash, celeriac and white truffle oil puree, beef and red wine vinegar jus



Beef close up

red pepper crisps - peel then dry in oven

carrot cake recipe from Dan Lepard’s book – baking with passion

Carrot cake, coconut and lime ice cream, organic 70% chocolate fondant, lingonberry and orange caramel

carrot crisps

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed sharing 🙂

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