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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Exotic Twists on the Traditional Meal

One week until Christmas and here is a selection of recipes for the festive day.

Some esoteric ingredients are littered about the menu this year, but you do have a week to buy them.

Ginger marmalade is best for the ham, but you can compromise by using orange marmalade. Just make sure that you add one tablespoon chopped fresh ginger to the jam and fish out the largest pieces of orange from the marmalade.

Glazed Baked Ham

1.8 kg boned ham joint

750 ml cider

225 grams ginger or orange marmalade

2 tablespoons curry powder

4 tablespoons whole cloves

12 clementines or mandarins

2 tablespoons butter

1 level tablespoon superfine sugar

Soak the uncooked ham in cold water overnight or for at least four hours. Drain it and place in fresh water in a large pan.

Bring the ham to the boil and simmer for half an hour. Drain it and carefully return the joint to the pan. Pour the cider over the ham and add enough water to cover.

Bring the ham to the boil again, cover and simmer. Calculate the length of time at 15 minutes per 450 grams. Drain, allow to cool slightly and cut away most of the rind while the ham is still warm.

Score a crisscross pattern on the remaining fat with a sharp knife. Set aside, covered in foil.

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius. Mix together the marmalade, curry powder and two tablespoons water. Warm the mixture through (in a microwave or a saucepan) and spread it all over the top and sides of the ham. Press the cloves into the corners of each square of the scored ham. Roast the joint for 30 minutes, re-glazing it from time to time.

Meanwhile, peel the clementines and divide them into sections, dotting them with a bit of butter and sprinkling them with sugar.

After 20 minutes, add the prepared clementines to the baking ham and cook for 10 minutes longer.

If you are serving the ham hot, remove it from the oven and allow it to stand for 30 minutes before serving. Otherwise, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool to room temperature.

Salt-Crusted Baked Potatoes

20 small potatoes

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon sea salt

200 grams smetana or sour cream

1 tablespoon mustard

1 bunch freshly snipped chives

Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius.

Scrub the potatoes so they are clean, then leave them in a warm place so the skins can dry completely.

Prick the potatoes with a fork and toss them in the olive oil. Place the salt in a small bowl and roll each potato in it until completely coated.

Place the potatoes on a baking tray and cook for one hour or until soft but crisp.

Mix together the sour cream, the mustard and half the chives.

Score a deep cross in the top of each potato and squeeze to allow the steam to release. Dollop a spoonful of sour cream on top and garnish with the rest of the chives.

Julien's Pearl Onions with Raisins and Almonds

1 kg pearl onions

1 cup dry sherry

1 cup raisins

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon dried herbes de Provence

2/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted

4 teaspoons sherry wine vinegar or red wine vinegar

Bring pot of salted water to boil. Add onions; cook three minutes to loosen skins. Drain and cool slightly. Cut off the ends and squeeze the onions at the stem end -- the onions will slip out of their skins. Or use already peeled frozen onions and let them defrost.

Combine pearl onions, sherry, raisins, honey, water, butter and thyme in a heavy large skillet. Bring to the boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to very low, cover and simmer, stirring often, for about 45 minutes or until the liquid evaporates and the onions begin to caramelize.

Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat -- this dish can be prepared six hours ahead of time.

Let stand at room temperature. Rewarm over low heat before continuing. To serve, stir the almonds and sherry wine vinegar into the onions. Add a few teaspoonfuls of water if the mixture is too dry. Serve warm.