Often simple food is the best. This is one of the dishes we regularly cooked and i think originally came from Gary Rhodes book Rhodes Around Britain. It really is simple and truly tasty.
We always get a much bigger ham joint than we need so that we have lots left over for sandwiches and shredded in soups.
You need (for the joint):
- ham or gammon joint – smoked or not as you prefer
- water/light stock/wine/cider – what ever mix appeals and enough to cover the joint when its in the pan
- onion, leek, celery, carrot
- bay leaf, peppercorns, thyme
Then you need to do this:
- soak the joint overnight in water if you think its particularly salty, lots of modern joints don’t need soaking, although it does help reduce the ‘scum’ when you start the boiling bit
- put the joint, in a pan, add the celery, leeks, carrot, onion all cut into largish chunks and aslo the herbs
- cover with fresh water/stock/wine/cider (don’t only use wine or cider but some added to the pan is great)
- bring to boil
- skim off an scum
- simmer for 1 1/2 hours….for some reason the size of joint doesn’t seem to affect the cooking time
- turn off the heat and leave for 30 mins in the liquid before carving and serving
- keep the liquid and use as a hammy stock in soups
For the lentils and barley you need:
- 1oz green or puy lentils per person
- 1oz barley per person
- some of the cooking liquid from the ham
then with just over 45 minutes before serving put the barley in a pan and add some of the ham cooking liquid, bring to the boil and simmer with 20 minutes left add the lentils and more liquid is needed, continue to simmer.
Serve the ham sliced on a bed of lentils and barley, with a vegetable such as steamed green or red cabbage and with pickles or mustard of your choice.
Anyway Mr Browners is fed up with pre-packed sandwiches and I’m fed-up with look-a-like Pret’s all over the place. Pret was good once (honestly) back in the days when it was just starting and only had a few stores, it was a revelation as well as independent. Like many good things they expanded and expanded then they needed big corporate money. I guess there might a place for that kind of thing when you visit a town you know nothing about and are desperate to eat and have no time to find real recommendations – it makes acceptable food on such occasions, but day to day it get a little dull.
But there are LOADS of independent sandwich shops out there (some good, some bad) plus you could always try your hand at making something yourself. Browners asked for people to go in search of great sandwiches – so we did.
I decided to do not just one but two sandwiches. One from a shop, one homemade.
First up the shop one. Its from Caradell in Red Lion Street, WC2. Caradell is a nice little deli close by where I used to work so I’ve been there often but having moved on job wise I’d not been in nearly a year – time to try it again. What I always liked about the place is that its busy, service is fast, the sandwiches are made to order and, most of all, pretty much everything is a variation on the classic ham and cheese. Well that might not be quite right but in my view you can’t easily beat ham (or salami, or chorizo, or jamon etc etc) and cheese so maybe I just home in on those choices. On this occasion I went for proper British cooked ham off the bone with Emmenthal (no British cheeses in sight boooooo) with Cumberland Sauce – on bloomer of course.
As you can see its pretty chunky and not for the delicate – its quite hard to eat (all their sandwiches are packed full of filling). It was a great combo but I’d prefer there to be some British cheese as an option. The Cumberland Sauce was nice and tangy, so good stuff all round. At £4.60 its pricey (but it is big and its quality ingredients) and in my view worth it. I can also vouch that their other ham/cheese variations are also excellent.
And on to today when I decided to rustle up a quick sandwich myself. I went for all English using Village Bakery Pain de Campagne (sourdough), Hawkston cheese from Suffolk (a bit like mild Lancashire), glass grown tomatoes from the Isle of Wight (via Waitrose) and some Stokes Lemon Mayonnaise. Yum – and probably not £4.60!