Red Currant Glazed Ham | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Red Currant Glazed Ham

Red Currant Glazed Ham | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I was supposed to write about Red Currant Glazed Ham about a week and a half ago. Every day I’ve looked at my to do list and saw “write red currant ham post” at the top and thought to myself, “ugh, I don’t have anything to say about ham today,” then I skipped to something else. It’s time to stop. 

Look, I still don’t really have anything to say about ham, other than it’s awesome and you shouldn’t wait for a holiday to make it. Just get a small one, and use the leftovers in everything ever. This ham has a lightly spiced, slightly sweet glaze that makes it extra awesome. Go get it.

Red Currant Glazed Ham | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

In other news completely unrelated to ham, one of my long time favorite bloggers, Jessica from How Sweet Eats, has started a series on blogging with a massive post about building an audience. I’ve been writing this blog for over five years now, and I still don’t have an audience, so clearly, no amount of advice is going to help me, but I’ve still found it inspiring. 

One of her first bits of advice is to create content you like. You’re saying, well duh, Jessica. But it’s easy to get caught up in wanting to please people or wanting to attract attention so people will notice you. Part of embracing my failure as a blogger and accepting that I’m writing this mostly for myself is remembering that I should just write about what I want. Nobody’s reading anyway, so what difference does it make? 

Maybe I’ll write more general life nonsense. Maybe I’ll start writing about how I don’t understand makeup the way the rest of the blogosphere seems to. Maybe I’ll start being boring because that’s who I really am.

Red Currant Glazed Ham | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I still don’t know what I’m talking about, but I have to just say something and stopped being paralyzed by a self-imposed need to be interesting. Sometimes it’s the simple things, like Red Currant Glazed Ham, that are really the most comforting and perpetually awesome. Who knows.

Red Currant Glazed Ham
Serves 6
No need to wait for a holiday. Red Currant Glazed Ham is awesome enough to be served up any day.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 kilogram gammon or ham joint
  2. 1/4 cup red wine
  3. 1 onion, quartered
  4. 1 clove garlic
  5. 1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
  6. 1/4 teaspoon peppercorns
  7. 1/4 teaspoon whole cloves
For the glaze
  1. Whole cloves for studding the ham
  2. 2 tablespoons red currant jelly
  3. 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  4. 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  5. 1/4 teaspoon red wine vinegar
Instructions
  1. Take all the wrappings off your ham and pop it into a pop where it can be completely submerged but otherwise fits relatively snugly if possible.
  2. Add all the ingredients (not including those for the glaze) to the pot with your ham, then top it up with cold water until the ham is covered.
  3. Clamp a lid on and bring this to a boil, then reduce the heat to gently simmer for about 90 minutes. Your ham should cook for 30 minutes per 500 grams plus an extra 30 minutes, so just check to see how big your ham is, and do the math.
  4. When the time is up, gently removed your ham to a board and allow it to cool a bit (long enough so that you can handle it without incinerating your fingers) before cutting away the rind and most of the fat on the outside.
For the glaze
  1. While your ham is cooling, make your glaze by adding the jelly, cinnamon, paprika, and red wine vinegar to a small saucepan. Heat and whisk until it starts to bubble. Allow it to bubble away for a minute or two to thicken and get properly glazey.
  2. When you're ready to bring your ham and glaze together, preheat your oven to 400F (200C) and cover a baking sheet with foil. Your glaze will get really sticky, so make your clean up life easier with the foil. Transfer your ham to your foil-lined baking sheet.
  3. Use a sharp knife to cut a shallow diamond pattern in the thin fat layer of your ham. Pierce the corners of your diamonds with a whole clove.
  4. Use a pastry brush to cover the whole thing in your red currant glaze.
  5. Pop this in the oven for about 12-15 minutes or until your glaze goes sticky with a few deliciously burny bits.
  6. Allow your ham to rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing. This will be delicious hot, cold, or anywhere in between
Adapted from Nigella Christmas
Adapted from Nigella Christmas
http://awesomeon20.com/
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Cheddar Cheese Risotto | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Cheddar Cheese Risotto

Cheddar Cheese Risotto | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Is Instagram the best thing ever, or is it totally ruining our lives? It’s the only social media platform I still follow, and I love looking at gorgeous images from around the world, but I worry about what it’s doing to us sometimes. We now have an expectation that everything from our food to our faces has to look absolutely spectacular. What started out as snaps of real life has evolved into highly edited and curated images portraying utter perfection. Yet I can’t look away.

I see the teenage girls in my school putting so much effort into piling on pounds of makeup with varying degrees of finesse. I see restaurants serving food that looks absolutely stunning but tastes like cardboard. I see the Instagram aesthetic washing over every part of our lives, homogenizing everything from apartments to cheeseburgers to female faces. It’s beautiful, yes, but is there something else we might not be seeing?

I saw a style blogger talking in her Instagram story recently about how she finally put on makeup and then she felt normal? That struck me as a little bit insane. We paint our faces, cover up our unique features to look more like everyone else, and that’s when we feel normal? Look, I’m sure I’ve said something similar many times. I wear makeup to work every day. But for once I stopped to wonder what would happen if we were all just satisfied with ourselves exactly the way we are. What if we didn’t need to enhance, find the perfect lighting, edit away our “flaws?” What if we were just good enough already and the rest was just for fun? 

Cheddar Cheese Risotto | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

With that nonsense rant in mind, I’m sharing a dish that is truly delicious and pretty ugly. I have to confess that the first time I made it, I used orange cheddar instead of white, and the color was slightly more appealing, but the flavor was exactly the same. I thought about not sharing it because it wasn’t pretty enough, but then I realized that you would be missing out on something truly tasty. Not everything needs to be Instagram ready.

I assure you, this Cheddar Cheese Risotto will be a joy to eat. It will fill you up with its cheesy heartiness, and you’ll want to come back for more again and again. It’s not remotely difficult to make, but you do need to tend to it. Make sure you have all your ingredients measured out and waiting before you turn the stove on because once it starts cooking, you need to stay with it to the glorious end. But all you have to do is dump and stir. And stir and stir and stir until you achieve the creamy and chewy goodness that is risotto.

Cheddar Cheese Risotto | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

The face you woke up with is already beautiful. Your body is already a powerhouse. Your food does not need to look like a unicorn. There’s more to life than what shows up on Instagram. Be real. Eat real. Live real. It’s gonna be awesome.

Cheddar Cheese Risotto
Serves 3
Cheddar Cheese Risotto may not look beautiful, but it's super tasty, and that's what counts.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 tablespoon butter
  2. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  3. 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  4. 300 grams risotto rice
  5. 125 ml white wine
  6. 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  7. 1 litre hot vegetable stock
  8. 125 grams sharp cheddar cheese
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, heat the butter and oil over medium heat. Add the white parts of your green onions to the pot, and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Save the green part of the onions for later.
  2. Add the rice and give it a good stir to coat the grains in the fat. Add the wine and mustard, and stir until the liquid is absorbed.
  3. Start adding the vegetable stock a little at a time, stirring all the while until the liquid is absorbed before adding more. It will take about 18-20 minutes to work in all the stock. Taste it as you get toward the end until the rice is cooked through and chewy.
  4. Turn off the heat and stir in the cheese until melted.
  5. Serve right away, and sprinkle some of the green tops of your onions over the top of each dish.
Adapted from Nigella Lawson
Adapted from Nigella Lawson
http://awesomeon20.com/
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White Cheddar Polenta Souffle | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

White Cheddar Polenta Souffle

 

White Cheddar Polenta Souffle | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day Recently we went on holiday to Greece and did practically nothing for three days. Even though I’m generally a lazy person, I tend to struggle with doing nothing. Not accomplishing things makes me feel guilty and anxious, so initially, the thought of being halfway up a huge hill in the middle of nowhere seemed stiflingly boring. Usually when we travel, I’m rushing to pack in as much sightseeing as possible, but in Kefalos, we saw the whole town in a couple of hours. 

But when I finally accepted that there was nothing to do but read, nap, and eat, I let go of the guilt and embraced the boredom wholeheartedly. Laying in the shade by the pool with my kindle all day and only leaving the hotel in search of hummus and halloumi was pretty spectacular. My only regret is that we didn’t discover the gelato place sooner. I definitely would have gone every day to try all the different flavors. 

Since we’ve returned home, our house has been in utter chaos because of some renovations we’re having done, and I’ve just been reverting back to that do nothing mode. Given that things have gone back to utter chaos at work as well, I can’t think of a better way to spend an evening than reading in bed.

I’ve finally put down my book long enough to tell you about a delightful recipe we enjoyed recently, White Cheddar Polenta Souffle. I know, you think souffle is fiddly and complicated, and while there is a tiny bit of technique involved, it’s really much harder to screw up than you’d think.

This souffle has tons of flavor from the sharp white cheddar and a great texture boost from the cornmeal. Don’t be a doof like me and forget to butter your dish right to the top so that you can get the ultimate rise in your souffle. This is best served right away, but as there are only two of us, we ate the leftovers for lunch the next day and still enjoyed it. 

White Cheddar Polenta Souffle | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Sometimes trying new things means doing next to nothing, other times it’s cooking a souffle to impress no one other than yourself. This White Cheddar Polenta Souffle is definitely worth it.

White Cheddar Polenta Souffle

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces unsalted butter
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal (stone-ground if possible)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 6 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon warm water
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Make sure you've removed any racks from the top of your oven and that you've placed a rack in the bottom third of your oven, then preheat it to 375F.
  2. Butter the bottom and all the way up the sides of a 1.5 quart souffle dish, and make sure you get right into the corners.
  3. Add the grated parmesan to the souffle dish, and cover it tightly with plastic wrap. Tap and shake the parmesan all the way around the pan to coat it completely in the cheese. Remove the plastic wrap, pour out any remaining cheese into a dish and set aside for later. Place the souffle dish in the fridge until you're ready to fill it with souffle.
  4. Place the butter, 2 cups of water, cornmeal, garlic, and salt in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Stir together and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring often for about 10 minutes until thickened. Remove from heat.
  5. Place the egg yolks in a large mixing bowl and beat until light in color and slightly thickened.
  6. Ever so slowly, add bits of the polenta mixture to the egg yolks, whisking continually until you've worked in about a third of the polenta. This allows you to raise the temperature of the egg yolks slowly so your eggs don't scramble. After you've worked in about a third, you should be okay to add in the rest of the polenta and whisk it together until smooth. Add the cheddar, cayenne, and the rest of the parmesan. Stir it all together and set aside while you get on with your egg whites.
  7. In a large mixing bowl, beat your egg yolks and 1 tablespoon warm water with an electric mixer (using the whisk attachment if that's an option) until foamy. Add in the cream of tartar and continue to whisk to medium peaks.
  8. This is the perfect time to remove your souffle pan from the fridge.
  9. Add a quarter of your egg whites to your polenta mixture and fold gently until combined. Keep adding egg whites about a quarter at a time until everything is incorporated being as gentle as possible. The bubbles in the eggs is where you're going to get all the lift, so be careful with them.
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http://awesomeon20.com/white-cheddar-polenta-souffle/

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