Eats, Recipes
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Birthday Ham

Birthday Tree

Party in the backyard

I took the day off work for my birthday and The Koala came home a little early to help set up for my party. Our new outdoor table is getting plenty of use and the $20 I paid for it was a true bargain.

I cleaned up a junk corner of our house last weekend and uncovered some parasols that we used for our wedding over 2 years ago. They’re so pretty that we had to do something with them. The Koala decorated a tree with them and I am stoked with how they turned out.


Ham on the bone is one of my favourite porky products and I look forward to Christmas ham every year. But ham once a year isn’t enough! For my birthday, my sister gifted me a Hellers Free Farmed half ham on the bone.

From the Hellers website:

Hellers Free Farmed products are sourced from selected New Zealand farms.

The Sows are outdoors and once weaned, the piglets are raised in barns with no crates or stalls and are free to move around. No hormones are used and regular independent animal welfare audits are carried out.

This isn’t the same as free range, but it’s step in the right direction.

My friends came to the party armed with bread rolls, salads, pesto, aioli, apple sauce and cranberry sauce. There was a little meat left on the bone, though not much. Enough for some ham sandwiches the next day for lunch and a ham bone and vegetable soup for dinner the next night.

The ham was delicious. There were about 20 of us and a 4.7kg Hellers Free Farmed ham to conquer. We conquered it good.

At $14 per kilo, the ham cost about $65 and is really good value to feed a bunch of people. I’m already dreaming up my next excuse to have another ham party…

South East Asia Inspired

Pepsi dominates the Coke vs. Pepsi war in South East Asia and I wanted to do a ham glaze inspired by our SE Asia travels. I’ve eaten ham using tropical fruits and brown sugar in the past, so a variation of this using Pepsi, mango, pineapple and palm sugar sounded like it would well with savoury ham.

Birthday Ham

Serves about 20 people

Ham on the bone (half ham, approx 4.7kg)
1 can mango slices
1/2 cup Pepsi* 
3 pieces palm sugar
6 slices of pineapple 

I used Pepsi, but in hindsight, a Pepsi concentrate would have been better as the flavour of the Pepsi seemed to get lost after cooking. To make a concentrate, simmer a cup of Pepsi until reduced by half.


  1. Preheat oven to 150°C.
  2. Using a knife and your hands, carefully remove the thick skin of the ham. Get your fingers in there! The skin will peel off with a bit of coaxing. Reserve the skin for crackling if you like.
  3. Line a large roasting tray with tin foil. Put the ham in the tray.
  4. Score the ham with the knife all over diagonally in one direction, then diagonally in the other direction. Make the lines about 5cm apart. You will end up with a diamond pattern of criss-crossed slits. Optional: You can poke cloves into the intersections of the slits, but I find they are a pain to remove later.
  5. To make the glaze, open the can of mango and drain all the liquid from the can. Using a stick blender, puree the mango right in the can. No need for an extra bowl.
  6. Grind the palm sugar using a mortar and pestle. Add to the can.
  7. Top with Pepsi and mix well.
  8. Using a brush, baste the ham all over with the glaze mixture.
  9. Break toothpicks in half and pin the pineapple slices to the ham using 4 half toothpicks per pineapple slice.
  10. Baste pineapple slices.
  11. Bake for 1-2 hours, basting every 10-15 minutes.
  12. Slice ham thickly and enjoy with salads, breads, sauces and hungry friends.


  1. This looks amazing Genie!!! Just to add more evidence that we are the same person…is your bday in Nov as well?? I was the 9th!!!

  2. happy birthday to you. what a celebration you had! i am also a fan of ham and you put it to good use with your pepsi glaze (tho i am a coke fan, if i had to choose). i love your outdoor picnic area, so festive, bright and just lovely.

    • Bunny Eats Design says

      Thanks Lan. I’m usually a coke fan too but thought Pepsi would be more fitting with the theme I was going for. Maybe at Christmas time I’ll do a Coca Cola Christmas ham.

    • Bunny Eats Design says

      Yeah, I’ve only worked 1 birthday in my life and I had a miserable day. So I vowed to always take the day off for my birthday. It’s only 1 day.

    • Bunny Eats Design says

      Thanks Cassandra. I think eating and drinking is best done at home. I prefer the menu, the wine list, the company, the price and most of all, the location.

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