Ham in Coca Cola by Nigella Lawson
Ham in Coca Cola by Nigella Lawson

I have a quiet obsession with all things retro-kitsch-trashy. You wouldn’t know it if you saw me. I mostly keep it to myself as I fear the sideways glance when people realise that I collect some of the stuff they tried to get rid of in their garage sale. I am not hardcore when it comes to going through vintage markets, I simply pick up items whenever I spot them. My obsession with cookbooks takes precedence.

Here are some retro-kitsch-trashy things in my kitchen or on my mind
* I have a timer in the shape of a hen with little chicks as the time guide
* Two chicken-shaped egg holders live next to two owl salt’n’pepper shakers that sit on a celery green soap dish.
* I have an ice cream scoop in the shape of an ice cream
* Most of the items in my kitchen do not match… and that’s deliberate.
* I like to make faces out of stuffed olives on hamburgers
* I dream of throwing a dinner party and presenting a 4-tier cold meat fake-cake decorated with proscuitto flowers
* Dial phones are still the fashion in my eyes
* I own and love kitsch cookbooks like Joy of Liberace, Elvis Presleys “Fit for a King” and Amy Sedaris’s I Like You.
* Any sort of pie baked in a fancy pie dish sounds marvellous to me
* Pineapple upside down cake appeals to me more than a cupcake *gasp*
* I hate dolls… except if they are missing a body part… or if they are obviously dead. (This is not a food related item but they happily sit by me whilst I enjoy my meals. I occasionally stroke their hair and tell them that they are pretty).

When I watched Nigella making this recipe on her TV Show I knew that I had to give it a go. I am happy to say that it lived up to all its retro-kitsch-trashy expectations and it also made a wonderful leftover ham star-shaped sandwiches and unmeatball spaghetti bolognese. Nice one Ms Lawson!

So tell me what trashy recipes or food items take your fancy?

Coca Cola Ham

Recipe adapted from Nigella Bites by Nigella Lawson

Ingredients for the Ham
2kg mild-cured gammon or ham
1 onion, peeled and cut in half
1 carrot, chopped into large chunks
2 garlic cloves, skinned but left whole
2 Litre bottle of Coca-Cola

Ingredients for the Glaze
Handful of cloves
1 heaped tablespoon of black treacle
2 teaspoons English mustard powder
2 tablespoons demerara sugar

1/ Mild cured ham usually doesn’t need soaking, but if you know that you are dealing with a salty piece, then put it in a pan covered with cold water, bring to boil, then tip into a colander in the sink and start from here.

2/ Put the gammon in the pan skin side down if it fits like that, add the onion, carrots and garlic. Then pour in the coke. Bring to the boil, reduce to a good simmer, put the lid on, though not tightly, and cook for just under 2 1/2 hours.

3/ When the ham is cooked preheat the oven to 240 degrees (450 F). Take the ham out of the pot and allow to cool a little for ease of handling.

4/ Remove the skin, leaving a thin layer of fat. Score the fat with a sharp knife to make fairly large diamond shapes, and stud each diamond with a clove. Then carefully spread the treacle over the bark-budded skin, taking care not to dislodge the cloves. Gently pat the mustard and sugar onto the sticky fat.

5/ Cook in foiled-lined roasting tin for approximately 10 minutes or until the glaze is burnished and bubbly.

Nigella Lawson Ham

Tips from the cookbookmaniac
* Make sure you line the roasting tin properly with the aluminium foil. If any of the treacle touches the pan whilst in the oven, it’ll be a son-of-a-bitch to wash off.
* smaller ham = smaller pot = less coke. I ended up using 4 litres of coke and 1 litre of water because my ham was long-shaped and therefore I had to use one of my mothers jail pots.
* We didn’t take particular liking towards the all the cloves. It lent a licorice taste to the ham that wasn’t very pleasant. The next time I make this I’m excluding them.
* I made the cornbread pudding as the side dish. It was very filling and delicious. It also upped the retro factor.

Ham in Coca Cola Nigella Lawson

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  1. Trissa

    Okay that’s it. Next time I make ham I am using this recipe. Retro dish? Hmmm… crepes suzette??

  2. Karen | Citrus and Candy

    Oh I love kitsch. Like, REALLY love it. I have Elvis Presley and Liberace cookbooks. ‘Nuff said 😛

    I’ve always wanted to make this but first, I need to get over the fear of using Coke for non-drinking purposes LOL.

  3. Amy @ cookbookmaniac

    Trissa, thanks for stopping by. I am super duper happy and jealous that you are in Paris 🙂 + 🙁

    Karen, I have those books too! I am adding them to the list. Do you have the Amy Sedaris book ‘I Like You’. That is so kitsch-trash!

  4. Angie

    Oooo coke and ham? How interesting! I’ve always read about coke being used for cooking, just never game enough to try it!

  5. Simon @ the heart of food

    Cola baked ham is such a classic 🙂

    Loved your list of retro-kitsch kitchen items. Though, one thing that puzzled me was the kitschiness of the ice cream scoop. Aren’t most ice cream scoops meant to be shaped like ice cream scoops?

  6. chocolatesuze

    i have a timer in the shape of icecream. and mini ping pong bats as salt and pepper shakers. i make faces with remnants of pasta sauce. i have made meat cupcakes frosted with mash potato and topped with bacon stars. im so tempted to buy old skool dial phone to attach to my mobile phone. i watched pushing daisies just to watch the pieman bake pies. i hate dolls too. tho i find headless ones amusing. HAHA LET”S BE FRIENDS.

  7. tigerfish

    We marinate chicken wings with coca cola and Chinese sauces and spices before BBQ-ing them! I bet this ham must be tasting very delicious :D….I am so hungry.

  8. Amy @ cookbookmaniac

    Hi Angie, when I was making the ham it made the kitchen smell like pho!

    Simon, oops that was a typo, it should say ice cream scoop shaped like an ice cream. I’ll change it now.

    Suze! an old skool dial phone attached to the mobile phone is genius! I friggin love Pushing Daisies! I wanna wear everything they wear.

    Tigerfish, I was gonna try the coke chicken wings later and them the pork spare ribs and then the coca-cola cake. who knew you could do so manyt hings with it!

  9. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella

    I love this recipe although I add a crust onto mine to give it a bit extra. My favourite Nigella book after HTBADG is Nigella Bites because of this Trashy chapter. There’s so much trashy goodness in it! 🙂

  10. panda

    did you eat all the ham? i’m usually not a big fan of ham but looking at your pics, i’ve changed my mind. that layer of fatty skin looks ever so scrumptious!
    and well, i don’t know if this counts as retro but i can’t stop myself from buying things that look like food! i have an icecream light, a cookie cushion, a hamburger cushion and even a mayonnaise soft toy!

  11. Conor @ HoldtheBeef

    Oh god this looks delicious!

    You HAVE to make a meat cake. Seriously.

  12. Rosa

    Retro maybe, but oh so good looking! That ham is irresistible!



  13. Juliana

    Hi Amy, thanks for visiting my site…and nice to meet you 🙂
    Your ham in coke, looks fabulous…love the color of the ham…will definitely try on my next ham 😉

  14. MaryMoh

    Looks really delicious. I bet the coca cola added much taste to the ham. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Lisa @ bakebikeblog

    ooooh this ham looks wonderful 🙂 And I agree – you MUST make that layered meat cake!!!

  16. Leona

    hey AMy! I love your site its sooo cute!!! and farrr out that HAM LOOKS sooo goooddd i want to eat and grab it off my screen!

    Great to meet you the other night ^_^

  17. sweetlife

    I have always wanted to try this…it looks super tasty oh my…love it


  18. Mark @ Cafe Campana

    Another brilliant recipe. I remember watching the episode of Nigella years ago where she cooked this. Anything cooked in coca cola is pretty funny.

  19. TasteHongKong

    You have produced lots of nice ‘diamonds’, besides the glazed layer looks great.

  20. Tuty @Scentofspice

    I totally agree with you that cloves stuck in the ham are a waste of spice. Did you taste any coke flavour in the meat?

    Perhaps, I will try this version the next time I cook a whole ham.

  21. grace

    i think your funky habits and collection of kitschy things sounds awesome–i love that sort of stuff! i also love the idea of using soda as a sugary soak for ham–it looks absolutely beautiful!

  22. tangerine eats

    I’ve always wanted to try this! I love that Nigella is a fan of all things fast and easy in the kitchen.
    Kudos to the kitsch kitchenware collection! I’m slowly accumulating a collection of mismatched cups, cutlery and crockery 🙂

  23. Amy @ cookbookmaniac

    Hi Panda, a mayonnaise soft toy… could this a kewpie toy? If it is, that would be so cute!

    Hi Conor & Lisa, the cold meat fake-cake shall be made especially for you!

    Hi Rosa, juliana, MaryMoh, sweetlife, TasteHK, Grace, Tangerine & Mark, thanks for stopping by!

    Hi Leona, it was really lovely to meet too! Its always good to put a face to the name.

    Hi Tuty, the ham did not taste of the coca-cola. It did however make the ham really juicy.