We have been trying lots of different recipes for glazed ham recently, in the run up to Christmas, and this one really delivers on flavour!

Always keen to support local businesses we came across a fabulous new drink called Dalston Cola, which is made just down the road from us. Unlike regular Cola (which is basically a bunch of sugar and additives), Dalston Cola is all natural (like our dressing) and has some wonderful aromatics and ingredients - including star anise, lavender, and cinnamon, which ,when paired with salty gammon, bring a lovely Christmassy flavour to this ham recipe. 

If you are looking for ideas for Christmas presents, and you like to support local producers I would thoroughly recommend purchasing a Hackney Hamper for a friend. The hampers are full of very special food and drink products - all made in the fair borough of Hackney. You will find both Dalston Cola and Gregor's Dressing in there along with lots of other goodies!


So, one dreich, drizzly day we went to meet the lovely Duncan who very generously armed us with bottles of his Cola to try out some recipes. To follow is our favourite and we believe you will love it. The first time we tried it we made enough for six people and ate the lot (forgetting to take any pictures!)

This time I took pictures but just on my phone so, unfortunately, they are not very clever.

To Feed Four (Simply double for 8)


  • 1-1.2kg mild cure gammon joint
  • 1 onion (cut in half)
  • 2 plump juicy oranges 
  • 3 star anise
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 3 bottles of Dalston Cola
  • 1 pouch of Gregor's Umami Dressing & Marinade
  • 4 tablespoons of demerara sugar
  • small handful of peppercorns
  • cloves (optional)


First zest the two oranges and juice one of them. Reserve the zest and juice for later.

Next put the gammon (skin side down) in a pot. Snuggle the onion, oranges (cut in half or quarters), star anise, cinnamon, and peppercorns around the gammon then pour over the Dalston Cola. It should look something like this...


Bring the concoction up to the boil, then reduce to a slow simmer and cover with a lid. Simmer for and hour to an hour and a quarter till cooked. Remove the ham from the liquid and allow to cool.

Next, to make the glaze, put the Gregor's dressing, orange juice, orange zest and 3 tablespoons of the demerara sugar into a small saucepan and heat. and reduce by about a third. It should be dark and quite 'treacley' - but don't worry if it's not too thick as next you want to put it into the fridge for ten minutes or so to cool down. It will thicken during this process!

It should look like this prior to going into the fridge!

Put your oven on to heat at 220-240, ready for the glazed ham to go in.

Now that your ham has cooled you want to remove the tough outer layer of skin, leaving a thin layer of fat intact. Try not to cut into the flesh if possible. With a sharp knife score quite large diamond shapes into the fat. If you are using cloves you can now stud the fat with them.

Ok, so this doesnt look terribly appetising, but I can assure you the end result is amazing!


Now take your thickened glaze out of the fridge and pour half of the mixture over all the ham. Sprinkle the final one tablespoon of demerara sugar on top of the glaze and put in your hot oven for fifteen minutes.

This is what the ham will look like after fifteen minutes.

Now, all you need to do is pour the remaining glaze over the ham and pop it back in the oven for a further fifteen minutes till golden and sticky. Sadly, which should have been the oustanding picture on this blog to show you how wonderful the ham was, I failed to get a decent piture. Sod's law, but this will give you an idea (albeit an out of focus one!)

This is lovely cold the following day in sandwiches - but I doubt any of you will be able to resist the wonderful, aromatic, sticky goodness that is Dalston Ham!

A huge thankyou to Duncan from Dalston Cola for helping to make this happen!






The last couple of days have been really dreich (as my dear Scottish Mum would have exclaimed). Skies the colour of dishwater, a continuous damp drizzle that isn't proper rain, but without an umbrella still manages to soak you through, and whipping winds that render an umbrella useless anyway. Urgh. Our recent ten day break staying in a tiny fishing village in South Corfu (sea water gently slapping the shore was about as loud as it got, and we spent our days guzzling freshly caught seafood and quaffing wine - bliss) seems so far away now. It's almost dark at six, the heating is on and so are the layers of jumpers. Now is not the time for grilling salmon and serving with a crisp salad, but more for the transition into proper belly-warming grub. This dish is very easy to make, inexpensive and is light-ish. Also fairly healthy so no need to feel guilty if you have an enormous portion (or three, as Gregor is wont to do)

To feed four (or in our case two)

4 large chicken thighs - we buy (very reasonably priced) meat from the brilliant MeatN16

3 chorizo - the uncooked variety

1 large onion - finely chopped

1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes

1 400g tin of chickpeas

3 generous handfuls of squash chopped into large chunks (I used Red Kuri squash but any squash or pumpkin would do - or, indeed, any starchy vegetable would work)

500ml chicken stock (or water will be fine)

Couple of teaspoons of smoked paprika (optional)

Teaspoon of turmeric (optional)

Couple of teaspoons of fenugreek seeds (optional)

A generous glug of Gregor's Dressing and Marinade (but I would say that - it's fine without if you dinnae have any)

A leek, 3 cloves of garlic, 3 red chillis (all chopped) and a glass of white wine - are all optional though I like a bit of chilli heat in my stews. If you opt for wine add less stock/water.



I cooked the stew in a slow cooker but you can easily do it in any ol' casserole dish in the oven so you don't need to fry stuff off first, necessarily. I just wanted to get everything going before I put in the slow cooker as I left it kind of late in the day.

In a big non-stick frying pan brown the chicken pieces so they are nice and caramelised all over. Remove and put to one side. In the fat that is left in the pan sweat off your onion, leeks and garlic then add the chorizo (chopped in big-ish chunks). Once the oil leaks out of the sausages bung the chopped squash in and cook until it takes on a bit of colour. Next add the spices and chilli and cook off for a couple of minutes. Once it starts to dry out a little add the wine (if using), then allow to evaporate, then add in the tin of tomatoes. If not using wine bung in the tomatoes at this point, along with a splash of water.












Onions, leeks, spices and chorizo getting 'browned off'.

Bring to an excited simmer then transfer to the slow cooker (or if you are doing it in a regular casserole just turn it down). Put your chicken thighs back in and pour in your stock or water, glug of 'Gregor's' and stir. Cook in the oven at 180 for 1 1/2 hours regular cooker - or high 3 hours slow cooker.  Half way through the cooking add the tin of (rinsed) chickpeas. Towards the end of cooking remove the lid and reduce to a consistency you like.

We had this with fresh bread to soak up the juices and a load of greens (kale, cavalo nero and sprouting broccolli stirred fired with ginger). Yum!


Here is a quick and healthy warm salad I rustled up one night for my friend, Brendan. He has recently found out he has type 2 diabetes so has been advised by his Doc to cut sugars and certain fats out of his diet. I probably shouldn't have put the potatoes in there but, considering his normal diet (which is - whatever he grabs downstairs in the supermarket to heat up in the oven, plus copious quantities of beer) this meal is kinda verging on Sushi for him! He was also advised to partake of twenty minutes brisk walk every day - so on enquiring where his 'brisk walk' took him the other day was rather bemused at his reply of "down to Best Kebabs on the High Street and back" Tut Tut.

Anyhoos, to cut a long story short, this tasty wee treasure is what I came up with the other night!

Feeds Four

Ingredients: rough quantities

4 fillets (8 if you are v hungry) of hot smoked salmon or hot smoked trout or smoked mackerel (they all work well)

roughly 5 small waxy new potatoes per person or less if bigger (just cut em in half)

a bunch of English asparagus

a head of brocolli

a couple of handfuls of frozen peas

a couple of handfuls of green beans

a couple of handfuls of sugarsnap peas

a couple of handfuls of radishes (cut in half)

a generous splash of Gregor's Original Umami Dressing & Marinade

The picture is pretty self-explanatory but basically:

...boil your spuds until cooked and allow to cool a little while you prep your veg. Snap any woody ends off of the asparagus and griddle in a very hot pan until nicely charred, then put to one side. Chop your broccoli into florets, then, with the peas and beans, steam until just cooked but still crisp.

To serve: simply toss your potatoes, asparagus, peas, beans and radishes together in a generous glug of Gregor's then arrange on a plate with your fish atop. Dead simple and actually very yum!

To prove it here is a picture of Brendan getting ready to dig in...


With the heatwave upon us, this is a fantastic light, crunchy, colourful dish that is a doddle to make and looks so pretty. We BBQ'd our squid but if you don't have a BBQ you can just as easily sear the squid for thirty seconds in a very hot pan for a similar result. As with any seafood, you want the squid to be as fresh as possible so try to source a decent fishmonger. We buy all our fish from Danny at The Fishery and would thoroughly recommend them for North Londoners. They are now open till 7.30pm so no excuse not to have fresh fish on your plate!

Serves 4


600gms of squid (ask yr fishmonger to prepare it for you to save time)

3 medium sized carrots

I large bulb of fennel

2 chioggia beetroot & 2 golden beetroot (if you can't get these, normal beetroot is fine but it will be a bit more messy: nb you don't cook the beetroot)

I cos lettuce (2 if they are small)

A bunch of coriander

1 small red onion

1 large red chilli (I like it hot but you can adjust to your liking)

Juice of 2 limes

Roughly 25ml Gregor's

pretty, pretty chioggia beetroot!

The Low-Down:

To prepare the squid, either cut the body into large rings or slice through one side, lay it out flat and cut into big chunks - then score the chunks in a criss-cross pattern with a sharp knife. Depending on the size of the tentacles, cut them in half or just leave whole.

Next, rustle up yr salad. I don't bother peeling veg, I just give them a good scrub under a cold tap. Into a bowl, tear your cos into largish chunks of leaves, add the onion (finely sliced), the fennel (sliced into chunks), the carrots (sliced into batons), and the beetroot (cut into slices, then halfed). Next, chop up yr chilli (I leave the seeds in) and add, along with the juice of the limes, to Gregor's Dressing and mix well.

Bung your squid on the BBQ until cooked (about 30 seconds) ,then add your squid to the salad. Pour over the dressing, then mix the leaves of coriander through the salad.

I like to serve this with fresh Turkish flat bread and BBQ'd corn on the cob. Mmm Mmm 






Not so much a recipe  - more of an idea...

I cooked this round at a friends the other night when we were in a hurry and starving hungry. We served it with a great dollop of fluffy mashed potato (with a lot of butter and seasoning), a handful of peas and a mountain of sticky caramelised onions - very basic, but very tasty.

Smear Gregor's all over your (room temperature) steaks and leave to marinade briefly while you get your griddle pan (or any heavy-based pan) smoking hot. Nb: there is no need to oil the pan or the steak as the oils in Gregor's Dressing are already there.


Sear the steaks for a few minutes on each side, until the surface is charred and caramelised.

Then take a clean chopping board, and drizzle more of Gregor's Dressing all over it. Grind a little salt and pepper to the board, then place your cooked steaks on the board to rest, letting all the steak juices mingle with the dressing, turning over a couple of times.


While your meat is resting in all its savoury juices, caramelise your onions in a heavy based pan (or re-use the griddle pan) until sticky, moist and just turning brown and crisp round the edges.

When your steak has rested you can slice into thick junks getting all the sides coated in the lovely juicy sauce. Any remaining juices can be bunged in with the onions for more savoury flavours.



Done! Serve with anything you's our dinner...

And... after our yummy goats cheese starter (see earlier blog) we tucked into this....

Being a bit fed up with potatoes, potatoes, potatoes we served up our salmon with roasted romanesco cauliflower and fennel (simply chopped up in chunks, drizzled with a bit of olive oil, seasoned and roasted for 30-40 min till crisy and caramelised).

romanesco cauliflower... so pretty


For the salmon - per person:

  • 200gms salmon skin on (filleted)
  • good glug of Gregor's Original Umami Dressing
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius

Make several slashes into the skin of the salmon fillets. Pour over Gregor's and massage into the flesh. Cover and leave to marinade. You don't need to leave it long as fish absorbs marinade fairly quickly. Fifteen minutes to half an hour is ample.

Place in a shallow oven dish and roast for roughly 8-10 minutes, till still pink in the centre, but with a lovely crisp skin. Leave to rest for a minute or so - then serve with vegetables of your choice, or salad and crusty bread.


We had this last night as a quick starter, round at our cobber Tony's place, but it would be grand as a main meal if you just double up the quantities. It's so basic that you don't really need a recipe, but here goes....


  • 200gms ripe goats cheese
  • bag of mixed salad leaves (peppery leaves are good to balance out the richness of the cheese)
  • ciabatta loaf
  • Gregor's Original Umami Dressing

Slice your bread into generous slabs and smear a little olive oil on each side, then grill lightly till the bread takes on a hint of colour. Top with thick slices of goats cheese and drizzle with Gregor's, then pop back under the grill until the cheese starts to melt and bubble. Pop the crispy, gooey cheesey toasts on top of a couple of handfuls of salad (dressed with Gregor's) and there. you're done! Mmm Mmm

Thanks to Shona for this tasty idea. It was delicious!

umami stew winter warmer sausage shiitake tomato

Serves 2 (If Gregor is eating) or 3 (Regular appetites)


  • 6 plump sausages (any type  - though we used Pork & Stilton from the superb butchers Stocks Bros at Stoke Newington Farmers Market)
  • A large onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 sticks of celery (ditto)
  • 2 large carrots (ditto)
  • 3 cloves of garlic (ditto)
  • A generous handful of shiitake mushrooms 
  • 400gm tin of chopped tomatoes
  • A good squeeze of tomato paste
  • A couple of handfuls of baby tomatoes
  • Splash of Worcestor Sauce
  • 200ml veg or chicken stock (or you can just use water)
  • Few twigs of thyme (leaves picked)
  • A couple of bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A good glug of Gregor's Umami Dressing (optional but does boost the flavours)

Preheat your oven to 180c (or turn your slowcooker on high)

Splash a little cooking oil in a frying pan and sizzle your bangers until the skins are a lovely sticky, burnished mahogany colour. Transfer the sausages to a casserole dish. In the same pan sweat down the onion, carrot and celery until they soften then add the mushrooms and stir round a bit just until the onion etc start to caramelise. Add the garlic, taking care not to let it burn. Next add the tin of chopped tomatoes, and a good squidge of tomato paste. Give it a stir then add the stock (or water), splash of Worcestor Sauce, the bay leaves, and thyme. Simmer for a few minutes for the flavours to merge then pour over the sausages. Give it a good stir then drop your baby tomatoes into the stew, lid on and pop in the oven for 2 hours (or longer. I cooked mine for 4 hours in the slow cooker). When you are ready(ish) to eat take the lid off and allow the sauce to reduce a little, then finally add a glug of Gregor's Dressings & stir.

Tip: Add your salt later as the stew will reduce and the flavours intensify. Stock is often quite salty so the reduction will affect your seasoning.

roast chicken quick recipe umami salad dressing


This is a really easy, delicious recipe for chicken legs. We served this with a watercress and rocket salad (also dressed in Gregor's Dressing - but then we are fans) and crunchy roast spuds, but it would work equally well with any other salad/vegetables you might have floating around.

Serves 2: Two plump, free-range, corn fed chicken legs with thighs attached (our pack was .6kg), a generous slug of Gregors Original Umami Dressing, coarsley ground black pepper and a pinch of sea salt

Heat oven to 220C/fan 200/gas 7. Dry the chicken thighs with kitchen paper then slash the flesh a few times - just give it a good few jabs. Pour over the Umami Dressing and give the legs a nice massage to get all the lovely flavours into the flesh and skin. You can leave the legs to marinade up to a day but we didnt bother as we were famished. Salt & pepper the skin then bung in your hot oven for roughly 40min.

The marinade will mix with the juices to make a lovely sauce and the skin will be crisp and sticky. Yum.

Apologies for the poor snap from my phone. I had planned to take a pic of the completed meal but Gregor was gnawing on his chicken bones by the time I located my camera.


Getting excited about our new cards!