And so it begins. Fridges up and down the country are filled with vast chunks of pork, some in fancy ham bags, others , like mine, in a old pillowcase doused liberally in vinegar. Chilled jenga, bottles balanced precariously on top of each other to make space for the porcine invader, hello Christmas Ham!
Last summer I declared it a personal challenge, could I get to the end of the ham, before a) we hated the sight of it, and b) it went off.
I am pleased to say Hamaggedon was a success, so I thought I'd share an excellent hammy recipe for when one more ham & salad meal might push you over the edge......
Note: unless you are a true devotee, maybe limit your ham consumption to once a day? If ham & eggs is breakfast, don't flog the horse with ham sarnies for lunch.........you might get away with it once or twice, but revolt will surely follow.
So I've made a traditional Breton pancake, a galette, made in a non traditional way. If you do have a proper crepe maker by all means, but I have a large fry pan and that works just fine to. Buckwheat flour is available in most supermarkets, it has a lovely nutty flavour which makes the galettes much more interesting than a crepe made with all white flour. Buckwheat flour is also a key ingredient in blini, a light fluffy yet substantial type of pikelet (in the New Zealand not Yorkshire sense) which is perfect for a party (New Years drinks anyone?), I'll be sharing the recipe later this week.
Buckwheat Galettes (based on a Rick Stein recipe)
makes 4 (enough for 2 people, easily scaled up)
50 gr buckwheat flour
25 gr plain flour
Pinch of salt
75 ml milk
75 ml water
15 gr butter, melted
butter for frying
Ham, chopped into thin strips
Cheese, grated (Gruyere is lovely, but any cheddar style is good to)
1 egg per galette
Put the flours and salt into a bowl , then whisk in the milk and water until the batter is smooth. Beat the egg with the melted butter, and beat into the flour mixture to combine. Leave the mixture to sit for at least 30 mins (you could pop into the fridge overnight for breakfast the next day if you wanted to)
When you are ready to eat , heat a large frying pan (non stick is best if you have one) over medium high heat. Your batter should be the consistency of double cream, so stir in a wee bit more milk or water if nessesary. Melt a knob of butter then add the batter, you want enough to make a thin coating over the whole pan. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the bottom is set and slightly browned
Flip over, and sprinkle on your ham and cheese. Break the egg into the middle of the galette , some people like the egg left whole, but if you prefer spread it out, try both and see what you like. Fold each edge of the galette into the middle, I use a spatula for this.
The galette is usually flipped at this point, but I find it much easier to just pop a lid on the fry pan and let the egg set, it will be ready to go in just 1-2 minutes
Slide onto a plate, sprinkle on the parsley and serve. Crispy pancake, creamy egg, salty ham, melted cheese.......yes, really.
These are pretty filling, so unless you are feeding a big eater I find one or two is enough, perfect with a sharply dressed crispy green salad and a glass of Chardonnay.
All hail the pig!
N.B While NOT gluten free, buckwheat is often ok for those with a gluten intolerance (but still no good for those with coeliac disease), in which case I would just use all buckwheat flour, the result will be slightly heavier, but still delicious.
For the non ham aficionados among us, sauteed mushrooms are a great substitute, let them get quite brown and crispy over a high heat, maybe with a tickle of garlic? Ditto char grilled asparagus, with a squeeze of lemon. Egg, cheese and asparagus being a match made in heaven.....