Homemade coleslaw – to serve with that delicious leftover Christmas ham

Yes, Christmas has come and gone for another year.

It’s a funny old time, Christmas. Although things are always on the move and changing in our society a few constants remain, especially around this time of the year. The shopping will always be chaotic, finding a park at the mall nigh on impossible and many fridges will be groaning with leftovers come Boxing Day.

When I was living in London I was surprised to discover that my husband’s family tackle the leftovers on Boxing Day by cooking another roast dinner. I thought it was a joke when this tradition was first presented to me. The idea of doing it all over again the very next day filled me with dread – and still does. And this is from someone who loves to cook!

Admittedly there are always going to be differences in traditions when Christmas falls at opposite ends of the seasonal calendar. My treatment of the leftovers tends to be lighter and more sprightly, but then it is summer in New Zealand.

I’d have to say that one of the things I look forward to most around Christmastime is the ham. It never fails to impress me how superior a traditional Christmas ham tastes to what we buy in little tubs from the supermarket. And for me, having ham in the fridge over the holidays is like a security blanket. A delicious meal is never far away. This year I went so far as to buy a small ham post-Christmas just to use for sandwiches and lunches.

I thought today I’d share one of my favourite ways to eat delicious leftover ham and that is by serving it with my homemade coleslaw. This coleslaw has always been a hit with my family, in particular my husband’s family in the UK. My sister-in-law always asks me to make it when we’re staying with her.

I realise coleslaw is easy and cheap to buy ready-made but it involves only a small effort to make yourself and is far better than anything you could buy. The fresh crunch of the vegetables paired with the smooth tangy dressing is a divine combination. And I keep the dressing very simple – only three ingredients with a bit of seasoning. Couldn’t be easier.

Before I get started I’d like to make a small suggestion. Please, please, please use a good-quality mayonnaise and the proper full-fat version. Low-fat mayonnaise just doesn’t do the job here.


Homemade Coleslaw

Serves 4

½ Savoy cabbage, sliced into thin strips

1 small red onion, peeled, halved and sliced into thin half moons

1 large carrot, peeled and grated

Handful of fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped



4 tablespoons mayonnaise

1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard

1-1½ tablespoons lemon juice

Sea salt

Freshly ground pepper


Add the prepared cabbage, onion, carrot and parsley to a medium-sized salad bowl.

Now make the dressing. Spoon the mayonnaise into a bowl or glass jug. Add the mustard and stir together to combine. Add just one tablespoon of the lemon juice, stir through and have a taste. It might be enough. Or you might need to add a little more. Add salt and pepper and taste until you’re happy with the seasoning.

Pour the dressing over the prepared vegetables and toss together well to ensure everything is coated in the dressing. How easy is that?


Serve this coleslaw with some of that lovely leftover ham, a good dollop of mustard on the side, a hard-boiled egg and fresh crusty bread – a seriously delicious lunch that’s perfect for the holidays. Or indeed any time.






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