When it comes to Christmas lunch (or dinner, or breakfast), it’s tough to beat a classic ham. The glossy, dramatic centrepiece for any prototypical Dickensian festive banquet, a well-prepared ham should be moist, but not wet, and strike a delicate balance of salt and sweetness – something Chiswick’s head chef, Daniel Cooper, knows all too well.
In the lead up to the holidays, T Australia stole a few minutes of Cooper’s time to talk about his pathway to the Sydney hospitality institution, his favourite ingredients to cook with at the moment and, of course, the secrets to the restaurant’s Berkshire Honey Glazed Ham, Mustard and Spice.
On becoming a chef…
I started in the Hunter Valley, once I started with such a diverse kitchen team, hearing their stories of travel and food discovery along the way, I was hooked.
On maintaining drive…
Hospitality is an exciting and rewarding industry, working closely with top producers and seeing just how hard they work to give us incredible ingredients and showcasing them. They definitely make us look good.
On unwinding after service…
After a busy service, nothing beats a nice piece of cheese and stone fruit relish.
On his favourite ingredients to cook with…
Spring-summer is an amazing time to be cooking, the garden at Chiswick is full of produce. Malfroy’s honey from the Blue Mountains is one of the first producers I was introduced to in Sydney, amazing honey!
On cooking at home…
I keep it simple and fresh at home, usually something inspired by the Mediterranean coastline and cooking on the BBQ.
On other venues on his radar…
Recently moving from Melbourne, I’m excited to discover the Sydney food scene on a more local basis. There are some great things happening in the hospitality world and plenty more yet to find.
On the chefs he’s following…
Jac Challinor from the Nomad Group is doing great things across Sydney and Melbourne, including the recently opened Reine & La Rue.
Chiswick Recipe for Berkshire Honey Glazed Ham with Mustard and Spice
Leftover tip: The great thing about Christmas ham is you are still eating it for breakfast, or on sandwiches, for a week after Christmas! Storage notes below.
1 good quality leg of ham (3-4kg) – I prefer black Berkshire hams
30 cloves, for studding
250g brown sugar
1tsp star anise powder
1stp coriander seed, crushed
2tbs mustard powder
60ml pineapple juice
60ml cider vinegar
60ml Malfroy’s gold yellow box honey
Pre-heat the oven to 180-degrees. Remove the skin from the ham, leaving the fat on.
Score the fat with a knife in a criss-cross pattern, then place a clove in the centre of each diamond.
Mix the sugar, mustard, spices, pineapple juice, vinegar and honey, and place into a saucepan. Bring to a simmer until the sugar is melted.
Place the ham on a baking tray. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the fat starts to brown.
Reduce oven to 150-degrees and brush the ham with the glaze. Continue to bake for 20 mins (or until caramelised).
Repeat this process – a rich caramelised glaze should be building over the ham fat. Keep doing this process until the entire glaze has been used and ham has a nice rich caramel colour.
Remove the ham from the oven and allow to rest for hour before carving.
If storing leftover ham, place in a ham bag or pillowcase and store in the fridge for up to four days.