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Canberra Chefs Do Christmas: Soy and Maple Glazed Christmas Leg Ham by John Leverink

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It’s been a strange and challenging year for Canberra’s beloved hospitality scene.

After a marathon 12 months of smoke, bushfire, hail and COVID-restrictions, we’re wishing Canberra hospos a very merry Christmas, filled with food, wine and family.

But while they’re sitting down to their favourite dish on Christmas Day—you can be too!

We’ve asked six Canberra chefs to dish on their favourite Christmas recipes, so you can have the best of Canberra’s food scene at your Christmas table.

Today, it’s John Leverink—the gourmet creative behind the food at both The Boat House and Ramen Daddy—and his exceptional Christmas ham recipe. Thank us later.

Tell us about your dish. Why did you choose it?

This is my favourite way to glaze a ham at Christmas. The aroma of the soy and spices is enough to remind how amazing Christmas time is.

To me, Christmas is…

Busy. It means traditionally The Boat House is closed for a few weeks, so we can all get some rest, but [December] is one of the busiest months of the year with everyone having their end of year parties.

Most of all, Christmas means family.

What are your plans for Christmas 2020?

This Christmas is exciting for a few different reasons because The Boat House isn’t open for the first time since I can remember.

We decided to close The Boat House due to restrictions, so this will be the first Christmas I’ve had off since I was 15—I’ve been working at The Boat House for 20 years this year.

It’s also exciting because we also have Ella, our newborn, so it’s pretty exciting that I get to spend Christmas with her for the first time.

We’re also building a new house, so my parents are in town from Adelaide to help us build. I think we’ll just have a Christmas lunch—less of a normal Christmas lunch with all the roasts and more of a fresh summery vibe.

I assume Kate [Hibberson, John’s partner who works at Mount Majura Vineyard] will take care of the champagne and I’ll do the seafood!

Tell us about one ‘high’ and one ‘low’ of 2020

Low: Shutdown. Having all the businesses stop trading was definitely the low.

High: Definitely the birth of my first child, Ella.

What are you looking forward to in 2021?

Seeing the potential of Ramen Daddy now that restrictions are starting to ease. On a personal note, finishing the house build and having more family time.

Soy and Maple Glazed Christmas Leg Ham


  • 200ml maple syrup
  • 80ml light soy sauce
  • 40ml sherry vinegar
  • 1 orange zest
  • 2 cloves
  • 4 star anise
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 large skinned ham


Mix together the maple syrup with the soy sauce, sherry vinegar, cloves, cinnamon, orange and star anise and reduce by half.

Be sure to use a larger pan than you think as the soy and maple will boil over very rapidly.

Brush a skinned ham with the mixture, spike it with some cloves and cook for almost two hours, glazing every 20 minutes.

Serve with a salad of orange, radicchio, mixed leaves and green almonds, lots of good quality vinegar and extra virgin olive oil and crusty bread.


Belconnen Fresh Food Markets has the freshest ingredients for your Christmas.

Before you make John’s Soy and Maple Glazed Ham, make sure to pick up ham from Market Meats, your oranges from Growers Market Express and your light soy sauce from Tom’s Superfruits.

For details on all the vendors at the markets, head to belconnenmarkets.com.au/stores and stay up to date on Facebook.


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