Prep Various
Cooking Various
Serves Various

Gimme, gimme gammon! With the possible exception of turkey, nothing shouts Christmas lunch or dinner more than gorgeous gammon. Nothing beats it for versatility either, because you can serve it either hot or cold - ideal for our summer Christmas. What else makes it tops in our Christmas cookbook? The fact that it marries incredibly well with a whole range of flavours, so it’s just perfect to experiment with some of our spice blends. But first the basics…

-Cooking your gammon-

Gammon is brined, so salt levels can be quite elevated, depending on the brand you buy. Have no fear, because our two-step cooking process takes care of that. 1) Pop your gammon into a large stockpot and cover it with loads of water. 2) Add some extra flavour in the form of a large quartered onion, a few quartered carrots and even a Cape Herb & Spice Bouquet Garni. 3) Cover and bring it to the boil. How long it needs to boil depends on the size of your gammon, but 30-40 minutes would do nicely. 4) Remove the gammon and cool. (Cook’s tip: You can prep your gammon the day before Christmas up to this stage and store it in the fridge, making Christmas day cooking a breeze!) 5) Now peel off the skin of the gammon and trim the fat layer so you only have about one centimeter of fat. Use a sharp knife to score a diamond pattern into the fat layer. 6) Pop it in a roasting tray and place in a 180° C oven for about 20 minutes to give the fat layer some colour. (You could also do this in a kettle braai using the indirect cooking method.)

Now it’s ready for some spice love - here are our three favourites:



Dressing up a gammon used to involve tinned pineapple rings and glacé cherries – so 1970. But don’t throw the baby out with the bath water – give this retro favourite a modern makeover with dried pineapple roses and fresh cherries. To make the dried pineapple roses, peel and thinly slice pineapple (a mandolin works best here). Place on a sheet tray lined with baking paper and place in a 110° C oven. Turn the rings over after 40 minutes and continue baking for another 20-30 minutes. Then, slip the pineapple slices into muffin moulds to cool and shape into flowers.

Rub the gammon’s fat layer generously with Cape Herb & Spice Chinese 5-Spice Exotic Spice – get into those cuts too – then brush with melted orange jam or marmalade. Place back in the oven until gorgeously caramelised. Top with pineapple roses and fresh cherries. Why not dip those cherries into edible gold dust or glitter? It’s Christmas after all!


The rosemary notes of our Cape Herb & Spice Mediterranean Roasts Rub Seasoning just beg for something apple-y to complement it. Apples don’t come much cuter than baby tinned ones, especially when turned into mini toffee apples. To make them, drain a tin of baby apples and place on kitchen towel to dry completely. Place 1 cup of sugar, a quarter cup water and a quarter teaspoon vinegar in a saucepan. Boil over medium heat until the sugar has reached hard crack stage (150° C.) You could add some red food colouring if you wish. Holding them by the stems, dip the baby apples into the caramel and place on baking paper sprayed with non-stick cooking spray to set.

Rub the gammon’s fat layer generously with the Cape Herb & Spice Mediterranean Roasts Rub Seasoning, then brush with melted honey. Place back in the oven to caramelise and serve with baby toffee apples and a platter festively garnished with fresh rosemary and sage.


Slice red and yellow peppers into thin strips and fry over low heat in extra virgin olive oil until soft. Add a clove or two of crushed garlic towards the end of frying, along with a pinch of Cape Herb & Spice Smoked Spanish Paprika. Add loads of fresh chopped coriander just before you serve it.

Rub your gammon with our Cape Herb & Spice Portuguese Peri Peri Rub Seasoning, brush with melted apricot jam and into the oven it goes to caramelise. Serve slices of gammon topped with peppers.

Happy holidays! 

Recipe concept & photography by Lizet Hartley.

Lizet Hartley is a freelance stills and reel food stylist, food photographer and recipe developer. In her spare time she – rather predictably – cooks. Get more of her recipes on her blog at