A classic glazed ham to feed the crowds and feel the Xmas vibe

  • SERVES: 8
  • PREP TIME: 5 mins
  • COOKING TIME:  2.5 hrs
  • DIFFICULTY: easy
  • IDEAL FOR: family, crowds, Christmas, summer holidays
  • BUDGET: ££

The classic Christmas ham.

It’s one of my favourites.

Southern hemisphere

It takes me back to when I was little, running around with my brother and the usual random kids you picked up when you were on holiday.

It was standard practice for Kiwi’s to head off on their summer holidays and spend Xmas camping.

I distinctly remember our parents hooking up a little trailer-sailer boat to our old white Holden HR.

Holden HR

The family car. Holden HR.

Ahhh, the family car.

With its red (very slippery) vinyl seats. And seat belts made of metal which could take your teeth out if they swung up and hit (remember, back then, you never used them).

There was no such thing as AC, Bluetooth or even radio (in our car), no airbags or electric windows.

We were a step up from Fred and Wilma using their feet!

So, the ride itself meant you just had to use your own imagination, sleep or be bored as you headed off on holiday.

Our car was always packed to the roof.

Mum and Dad would pack the car full of camping essentials.

Our tent pretty much took up over half the car. They were BIG and heavy back then… and very complicated to put up.

The rest of the packing was made up of the cooker, gas, stretches (aka our beds), sleeping bags, food, the Xmas ham 😊… and a Christmas Tree!

Prep for the coke cola ham and the next stage of glazing

Yes, they would tie a Xmas tree to the roof of the Holden or the boat and hide our presents amongst all the chaos.

It was pretty cool, really.

Except, when we arrived.

My brother and I would leap out of the car, thankful the 5 hour journey was over (I guess they were too) and want to rush off to play.

But no. Dad had other plans.

The tent

THE most over-complicated tent you’ve even come across.

Dad had even colour coded all the poles to make it ‘easier’.

All it did was cause a bit more tension when his day-dreaming-children kept getting it wrong or weren’t strong enough to lift the poles and tent for the final push.

But, we’d get there in the end and I did love that tent.

Next was the Xmas tree which would be tied up outside the door to one of the tent poles and decorated.


The rest of the week was pure freedom.

We could run around the campsite, down to the beach, do whatever we wanted.

The only rule was to be back for lunch and supper.

That was easy. I loved camping foodinstant mash, yum.

But the ham….ooooh, that ham.

Lovingly made by Mum before we set off and was always available for us to eat.

It took pride of place in the tent under a muslin cloth.

We could run back and forth and cut a slice off just to keep us going during the day, no questions asked.

And then in the warm evenings it would be instant mash, peas and ham!

Amazingly simple, incredibly satisfying and it always brought our family together.

Could camping possibly get any better!?!

Northern hemisphere

Now I’m in England… and it’s cold and dark at Christmas.

But it’s different. It’s cosy and everyone is super festive with the lights and pubs buzzing.

But the ham. That remains the same.

The ultimate (and easy to do) family ham

It still brings the family together… this time it’s me who’s the adult though.

Same rules apply. Just be back for lunch and supper… and help yourself to the ham to keep you going.

Here’s our ham recipe. Give it a go.

And I hope it creates as many memories as I have to it.

Know of a different recipe… drop me a line.

Glazed ham cooked in coca cola

Course Main Course, Snack
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes
Servings 8 people
Cost ££


  • 2 kg mild cured gammon joint
  • 1 onion (quartered)
  • 2 litres coca-cola (not diet)
  • 2 diced celery sticks
  • 1 tbsp pepper corns
  • 1 stick of cinnamon

Honey glaze

  • 1 handful of cloves i.e. enough to put all over your ham
  • 150 g clear honey (you can be liberal)
  • 2 tsp English mustard powder or whatever you have in the fridge
  • 2 tbsp demerara sugar


The Ham

  • NB: Cook your gammon from room temperature if possible or add 15 mins to the timing if from the fridge.
    Place the gammon, skin-side down if you can, and add the onion, cinnamon stick, peppercorns, celery, and then pour over the Coke.
  • Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to a steady simmer and put the lid on.
    Leave for approx 2½ hours.
    Note: you can work out the timing to cook your gammon by basing an hour per kilo. But remember, it's going to get a quick blast in the oven later.
  • Preheat your oven to 240°C/gas mark 9/450ºF ready for the glazing.

Glazing the ham

  • Remove your ham from the pan and let cool a little in a roasting dish lined with tin foil or you can let it cool completely finish off the cooking at some later time.
    Remove the skin but leave as much fat on the ham as you can.
    Score the fat with a sharp knife to make fairly large diamond shapes, then stud each diamond with a clove.
  • In a small pan, add the honey, sugar, mustard and put over a medium heat so everything mixes and the glaze mixture thickens… approx 8 mins.
    Let cool for a few minutes, carefully pour your glaze over the ham.
  • Pop in the oven for approx 40 mins or until you think it's golden and done.
    Check on it several times to re-glaze.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 mins, then spoon more glaze over the top.
  • Enjoy with family and friends!


Can be roasted on the day or up to 2 days ahead and served cold.
You can keep a glazed ham in the fridge for up to a week