Food & drink

James St Recipes: Take the stress out of Christmas with Niall McKenna's ham and Christmas pudding

Niall McKenna's Christmas ham
Niall McKenna

NOW that the Christmas season is upon us, it is traditionally the time of year to reflect, relax and enjoy the company of our loved ones while we indulge in a festive feast.

Whether you are entertaining guests this December or have been nominated to cook Christmas Day dinner, this week's recipes should hopefully make the pressure of entertaining a bit less stressful.

The following are my tried-and-true recipes for a Christmas ham with mustard glaze and of course it wouldn't be Christmas without a traditional Christmas pudding.

For more recipes and cooking tips, follow me on Instagram @niallmckenna and feel free to reach out with any questions you have when it comes to cooking Christmas dinner.

For the food lover in your life, check out our cookery classes which make for a great Christmas gift.


(Serves 8)

1tbsp black peppercorns

2 onions, sliced

5kg unsmoked ham

10 cloves

Mustard glaze

2tbsp of Dijon mustard

2tbsp of American mustard

4tbsp honey

2tsp ground all spice


Start by heating the oven to 180C. Place the peppercorns, onions, and cloves in the bottom of a large roasting tray and pour in 2cm of water.

Next, sit the ham on top and bake for two hours.

To make the glaze, place all the ingredients into a pan and gently heat. If the glaze becomes too thick, add a splash of water and bring to a simmer.

Next, remove the skin from the ham, leaving a decent layer of fat and score the fat in a diamond pattern.

Using a brush, glaze the ham and cook for 15 minutes at 220C, reglazing throughout the cooking process, but make sure it doesn't darken too much.

The ham will need to be left out and covered in foil for 20 minutes before carving.

With the excess skin I like to make crackling - cook at 220C for 15 minutes until crisp and serve with your Brussels sprouts.


Niall McKenna's Christmas pudding



250g sultanas

250g raisins

250g currants

3tbsp brandy

Zest and juice of two oranges

2tsp mixed spice

50g almonds, chopped

200g light brown sugar

100g butter, softened

2 large eggs, beaten

75g fresh white breadcrumbs

75g plain flour


Start by placing the sultanas, raisins and currants in a large bowl and pour over the brandy, orange zest and juice of two oranges and mix well.

Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to sit overnight until the mixture absorbs.

Add the remaining ingredients and beat until combined.

Next, grease a pudding basin and line with a disc of greaseproof paper before spooning in the pudding mix. Cover the top of each pudding basin with a buttered piece of tin foil, with butter side down, and tie with a piece of string so that no steam can escape.

Arrange the basins in the base of a steamer and put the steamer on top of a saucepan filled with water and bring to the boil.

Simmer for four hours, checking the water regularly and topping up as necessary.

Once cooked, remove the foil and replace with a new piece of foil and store in the fridge or freezer.

To serve, steam again for up to 90 minutes until the pudding is piping hot and serve with a brandy cream.

Food & drink