Christmas Recipe: Norwegian Juleskinke, or Christmas Ham

I received a box of Christmas foods from Creamline Dairies and I was asked to cook nice things with it, this Norwegian Juleskinke, or Christmas Ham is one of the nice things.

I’ve always had something of a fascination with all things Nordic, but in January I decided to put my money where my mouth is and learn Norwegian. It’s quite a fun thing to do, quietly learn a language by yourself. I’m confident that I could now tell you that a wolf is on the table and that the cook has several knives. I don’t think for one second that I yet capable of holding a whole conversation in Norsk, but it’s fun to try.

Alongside the language, I’ve been trying to watch Norwegian films and TV and given my slightly greedy interest in food, I’ve been reading up on that too. Each Christmas I usually make a ham for Christmas Eve, and it does us for cold cuts for many days after. This year I decided to give my Christmas a bit of a Norwegian twist and make Juleskinke – Norwegian Christmas ham.

Norwegian Juleskinke, or Christmas Ham

Last week I received a Christmas food box from Creamline Diaries. I chose a selection of foods from their Christmas range and it was delivered direct to my door, with no queuing or faff of any kind. The box is packed with brilliant locally produced food from independent producers. The meat is from my local butchers, the bread is from a fantastic local baker and fresh fish from the fishmongers. The fruit and veg are fresh from the market each day and you can even stock up your store cupboard. 

My Creamline box was brilliant and contained pretty much everything I needed to make this lovely festive Norwegian Juleskinke. It’s just the thing if you want to shop local, but don’t really have the time to visit all your local shops, or if you just can’t carry all your shopping home. It’s also a boon at Christmas, saving you slogging around a supermarket, or queuing up for ages in the cold outside the local independent shops you love best, who are all part of this scheme anyway!

I ordered the gammon half joint (1.5kg). Gammon has already been salted or brined, so if you buy gammon instead of pork, you can skip the first stage of the recipe. If you want to do the whole thing from scratch, then you’ll need to buy a boneless leg of pork!

Because we are a small household, we used a small joint of meat. This recipe is fine for up to 2kg of meat, any more than that and you’ll need to be doubling your recipe.

Norwegian Juleskinke, or Christmas Ham

Norwegian Juleskinke, or Christmas Ham

1 boneless leg of pork
150g salt
250g dark brown sugar
Dark beer, 2 bottles
Coriander seed, 1 tablespoon
Fennel seed, 1 tablespoon
Black peppercorns, 1 tablespoon

For the glaze
60g dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons of dry mustard
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 satsuma, or some fresh orange juice
Whole cloves

Norwegian Juleskinke, or Christmas Ham

To make your Norwegian Juleskinke, or Christmas Ham

Skip this step if using gammon instead of pork. Rub the leg of pork with 3 tablespoons of salt and 2 tablespoons of sugar. I put the meat in a large mixing bowl and covered it in the fridge, leaving it for 24 hours.

In a large pan, put the beer, sugar, salt, coriander seed, fennel seed and peppercorns and bring to the boil. Leave the liquid to cool fully. It’s best to do this the night before you need it, so it’s fully cool.

After 24 hours, take the meat and rinse some of the salt and sugar rub off. Once rinsed, place the meat in the spiced beer mixture. Pop this in the fridge and leave it for at least 24 hours. It will be fine for up to two weeks, making sure you turn it every day. I left mine for three days.

When you’re ready to cook the ham, put the meat in a large pan of unsalted water and simmer for around 4 hours.

Once cooked through, remove it from the heat and leave it to cool slightly so you can touch it without burning your fingers. Using a sharp knife, carefully cut a diamond pattern into the fat. Pre-heat your oven to 180°.

In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, dry mustard, paprika and cinnamon together. Juice your satsuma (or use a few drops of orange juice) into the spices and combine so it makes a thick paste which you can spread. Rub the paste all over the meat until it’s well covered. Place the meat into a roasting tin or oven proof dish and push a whole clove into each cross section of the diamond pattern.

Put the ham in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until you’re happy with the colour of the ham. It should go dark and the glaze should be a little bit crispy and nice.  Once cooked, remove from the oven, slice and serve.

Norwegian Juleskinke, or Christmas Ham

You can eat it hot, which we do with buttery mash and vegetables, or it’s great cold with pickles and crusty bread. It keeps for up to two weeks in the fridge. We sometimes slice it and put it in portions in the freezer for a rainy day too.

Merry Christmas, or as they say in Norway, God Jul!

Creamline also offer a £10 credit for new customers which can be redeemed by visiting and adding the code GLASS10.

If you enjoyed this recipe, you might also like to try my Norwegian Inspired Cauliflower Cheese Soup.

Norwegian Juleskinke, or Christmas Ham

How to plan an absolutely effortless Christmas Dinner

In a couple of weeks time families will be sitting down to enjoy Christmas dinner together. Christmas dinner is a real culinary highlight, it’s essentially the best roast dinner ever. Every family has their own favourites, some have beef or goose, most have turkey; I like Yorkshire puddings and several different types of stuffing. But one thing everyone has in common is Christmas dinner cooking nerves.

I take it in turns to host Christmas Day with my brother, this year is his turn, last year it was mine. I’ve been cooking Christmas dinner by myself since I was about 16. The two things that make it tricky are juggling everything for oven and hob space and getting everything cooked and ready at the same time.

How to plan an absolutely effortless Christmas Dinner

Each year there are typically around 8 people sat around our table for Christmas dinner. Out of this number, two are vegetarians and one of those has a number of intolerances to take into account. The meat eaters are very traditional, but whatever number of chipolatas your family eats, we have to double it. There’s a lot to juggle.

Typically our Christmas dinner includes –
  • Turkey
  • Veggie alternative, often a pie of some sort
  • Yorkshire puddings
  • Roast potatoes
  • Roast parsnips or sweet potatoes
  • Sprouts (obviously)
  • Carrots
  • Red cabbage
  • Stuffing – two kinds
  • Meat gravy
  • Veggie Gravy
  • Bread sauce

That’s just for the main course. We usually have a starter of soup and bread rolls and pudding is a selection of options (because each one of us is fussy) including Christmas pudding, mince pies, chocolate pudding, ice cream, and a selection of boozy creams and sauces. We also offer a cheese board and mints. It’s a huge meal!

Last Christmas I sat down and thought about it. I didn’t want to spend my Christmas Day stuck in the kitchen peeling sprouts and being a skivvy for everyone. I wanted to enjoy Christmas morning with my family and not have too much stress. With a bit of forward planning and prep the day before I managed to pull off my most relaxed Christmas in years.

Here’s what I did. I looked at what food I would be serving and planned what I could cook the day before and what would be better cooked on the day. Most of the food could be cooked ahead of time and warmed through before serving, even the roast potatoes. So this is what I did.


This had to be cooked on the day, but that’s fine. Getting ahead of myself meant there was plenty of oven space for it. We also got a turkey crown from the butchers which cut down the cooking time by quite some margin.

How to plan an absolutely effortless Christmas Dinner

Veggie alternative

Last year I served a nut roast, because I love nut roast. I found a nice ready made one and cooked that on Christmas Day.

Yorkshire Puddings

Yorkshires really need to be made just before serving, there are no cheats here. Also, there’s no shame in buying the ready-made ones. Yorkshires can be tricky and who needs the added pressure on Christmas Day?

Roast Potatoes

I’ve been cooking my roast potatoes on Christmas Eve for years. Everyone has their own way of doing them, I like fluffy potatoes cooked in groundnut oil, but cook them however you prefer. Take them out of the oven when they’re starting to colour, remove them from the roasting tin and put them on a cooling rack with some kitchen towel underneath. Leave them to cool, once they’re cool, put them as they are on a plain baking tray with no extra oil. They’ll take an extra 20-30 minutes to warm through and crisp up on Christmas Day, but they’re really crisp, fluffy inside and because they’ve not sat in oil for too long they’re not as oily as they could be.

Roast parsnips or sweet potatoes

Just like the roast potatoes, you can pre-cook your parsnips or sweet potatoes ahead of time. They come out just as good as freshly cooked ones, just do what I did with the roast potatoes.


If you’ve not put these on to boil at the end of summer, you might as well cancel Christmas. Not really, but it’s the old joke. Sprouts aren’t great re-heated, so I leave them to cook on the hob on Christmas Day. It’s worth allowing a bit of extra time for them to cook because somehow vegetables always take much longer to cook when you’ve got guests waiting.


Carrots really lend themselves to re-heating. I did almost all of my veg prep on the morning of Christmas Eve, all the peeling and chopping and par boiling and roasting. I boiled up my carrots with a bay leaf and once they were almost cooked through, I drained them, put them in a microwavable dish with a knob of butter and covered them with cling-film. Just before serving, I gave them a 5 minute blast in the microwave, a stir to coat everything in the little knob of butter and we had perfect carrots.

Red cabbage

I generally cook my red cabbage in the slow cooker, but I follow this recipe. Instead of cooking it on the hob I use the slow cooker, yes it takes a few hours more, but it frees some precious kitchen space and it’s the kind of thing which can happily sit and more or less look after itself. Last year I made this on Christmas Eve, then turned my slow cooker on low on Christmas morning, by the time Christmas dinner was being served it was heated through and delicious.


I love a good stuffing and as a vegetarian they are a good filling addition to my plate. I have traditionally used packet bought stuffings and pimped them up by stirring a spoon or two of cranberry sauce though before baking, but last year I made two different stuffings from scratch. Yes, it did take a bit more time, but they were so much tastier and the texture was lighter and less gluey. I’d urge you to find some time to make your own if you can. It was remarkably simple, especially if you’ve got a food processor to do the chopping for you. I made my stuffings on Christmas Eve and they just needed baking in the oven on the day. I’m converted to homemade stuffing now.

Meat & Veggie Gravy

I am a big old cheat when it comes to gravy. Sometimes I make my own, but even with my plan-ahead precision, Christmas Day is too hectic for me to be faffing about too much. You can either make your gravy ahead of time and freeze it, or go to your local shop and buy a tub of fresh ready-made gravy and heat it up on the day.

Bread Sauce

Bread sauce is one of my favourite things about Christmas Dinner. Weirdly only my husband and me really like it, so it’s not something I devote too much time to. I’m happy to cheat, cheat, cheat with bread sauce. Buy a fresh tub of it from a good shop, bang it in the microwave and serve. Half the table will pull their face at it anyway, whether you’ve spent an hour stirring a pan or 2 minutes waiting for the mircowave to ping.

I think Christmas Dinner is all about picking your battles. For me, freshly made stuffing is really worth it, but I don’t need to stress of flat as a pancake Yorkshire puddings on Christmas Day. My stress-free Christmas dinner planning was noticed, gone were fraught scenes in the kitchen with me looking hot and bothered, instead I served a very good dinner with all the cool control of a northern Nigella.

Next year it’s my turn to cook Christmas Dinner and I know that I’ll do exactly the same again. Maybe I’ll cook my gravies from scratch and freeze them, but spending Christmas Eve morning doing all the prep and most of the cooking is time very well spent.

Do you have any top tops for an effortless Christmas dinner?

How to plan an absolutely effortless Christmas Dinner

The Oven Pride Christmas Dinner Challenge

At this time of year there are a million things to do and a million more things to think about. It had been in the back of my mind that I should probably clean my oven before Christmas, but I’d not done anything more about it. It seemed like a chore I could do without. However Oven Pride got in touch and suggested my Christmas dinner might taste a bit better if I did give my oven a good clean, they sent me a box of Oven Pride and it seemed I had run out of excuses not to clean it. 

The challenge was to cook a Christmas dinner in my filthy oven, then give it a clean, then cook another Christmas dinner. Thankfully my family like turkey, so we were on!

I can’t remember the last time I cleaned my oven, I think it might’ve been sometime over the summer but I can’t be certain. Regardless it was filthy, the glass on the door was caked in brown stuff to the point where I struggled to see through it. The bottom of the oven had a slight dip in it, so anything that splatters or bubbles over pools there and quickly turns black, burnt and acrid. 

Oven Pride

I popped the turkey into the oven, and because our oven is used to fairly quick blasts of cooking we hadn’t realised how bad it was. After 45 minutes of the oven being on, the kitchen quickly filled with smoke and I had to keep the back door open. My eyes started stinging every time I went into the kitchen and regrettably I’d left a damp coat over a chair, so that stank of smoke and grease and had to be washed the next day. The kitchen reeked and it was very hard to spend any time at all in there whilst the oven was on. I hardly dared to imagine how the food would taste.

I’d cooked the turkey, stuffing, roast potatoes and roast parsnips in the oven. I’m veggie so I don’t know how the turkey tasted, but the roast potatoes and parsnips did have a slight smoky taste, and if I’m honest the whiff of the oven was still hanging in the air while we were eating, so I was very put off by it. I could only imagine what my guests on Christmas Day would think sat in an acrid, smoke-filled kitchen tucking into turkey and all the trimmings – not impressive. Action needed to be taken.

Oven Pride

I was so disgusted I could hardly wait for the oven to cool down enough for me to get cracking with the cleaning. In the box comes a pair of gloves to protect your hands, a large bag to soak your oven shelves in and of course a big bottle of Oven Pride. Read the instructions carefully before you start, but it is very simple to do. I would recommend leaving it overnight rather than the 4 hour minimum. We left it for four hours but our oven was so filthy it needed a longer soaking, so we did the oven again, the second time overnight. 

Oven Pride

Oven Pride

Oven Pride

The shelves in the bag were amazing – a revelation. You could see the grime coming off them almost instantly and once they’d been left overnight and rinsed clean they shone like I’d never seen before. I was very impressed.

Oven Pride

As you can see the oven is spotless, you could eat your dinner off it and those shelves are zingy clean and shiny! It was time to put it to the test, it was time to cook turkey number two!

I cooked the exact same Christmas dinner as before, only this time it was in a clean and shiny oven. This time there was no smoke, the kitchen was a nice place to be, all was as it should be. 

Oven Pride

The dinner was how it should be, the boys enjoyed the turkey, the roast potatoes and parsnips were really good (even if I do say so myself) and not at all acrid or smoky. Christmas dinner was a success!

Oven Pride

Oven Pride

I’m ashamed that I let my oven get in such a state. I promise to try and keep my oven clean from now on, knowing what a difference it makes to the taste of the food. Using Oven Pride is really simple, there’s very little elbow grease involved, and if you leave it overnight even the most stubborn oven grime is easily removed. I guess if you keep on top of it, cleaning your oven maybe twice a year then the filth doesn’t build up. Take it from one who knows, don’t let your oven get smoky and disgusting like mine.

Note: We are sent the Oven Pride to try for review purposes and we were compensated for cooking the meals, but all images and opinions are our own.