5 years cancer-free: time for a ‘small party’ & Baked Ham

Viburnum in Murray Edwards college garden

That’s what my surgeon said I should do ‘if’ I reached the five-year mark. Ten years, he said, calls for a ‘big party’. According to the experts I have defied the statistics; m’learned friend the Doc said to me only this morning, ‘I didn’t think we would see this day’. So in many ways I am blessed, despite all.

The Doc and me in Murray Edwards garden this week

As I say time and time again when I hear of others facing cancer and poor prognoses, the only answer is to decide who’s in charge (me/you) and change your lifestyle to boost the immune system.

In my case I gave up dairy, and followed a largely Traditional Chinese Medicine diet of hot vs cold foods (see the my diet tab on this website), rarely eat meat and do as much yoga and pilates as time and budget allows (I have bought a reformer which sits majestically in Louise’s bedroom!). Taking control of your body in turn gives you control over your mind and I’m sure makes you healthier.

Doing Pilates with Pickle – she particularly likes bridge pose…this is before the reformer arrived

So to celebrate today I cooked up a storm: a wonderful baked ham for the family feast on Sunday, and an elaborate Ottolenghi dinner for tomorrow. Here’s how you cook the ham. Ok I know its meat, but sometimes you have to think of others! And everyone likes ham at Christmas…

5kg smoked gammon off the bone
6 tbs black treacle
2 tsp cloves
2 tsp allspice
some dried mace
a couple of bayleaves
2 tsp black peppercorns
the peel of one orange.

First I brought the gammon to the boil twice in a huge pan, changing water in between, before covering for the third time with fresh water and chucking in the aromatics.

I boiled it for 3 hours before removing it, and reserved the stock to freeze for lentil soup, Boston baked beans etc.

Once cooled slightly I lifted off the skin with a sharp knife, and then scored the fat in diamond criss-crosses.

In a separate bowl I mixed up 

4 ozs/120g brown sugar
juice of 2 oranges
zest of 2 oranges
knob of ginger, grated
3 tbs honey
3 tbsp marmalade
3 tbsp mixed mustard – English, wholegrain etc

I then  coated the ham with this paste and popped it in the oven at 180C and roasted for 45 minutes, checking and basting every 15. And – tada! Looks so scrummy don’t know how I will be able to wait until Sunday

2 responses to “5 years cancer-free: time for a ‘small party’ & Baked Ham

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