ArchiveDecember 2008

Christmas Leftovers

After all the excitement of Christmas I’ve got lots of delicious bits to be eaten up. I am always full of good intentions to buy just what I need but despite my calculations all-be –it on the back of an envelope, I have a fridge and pantry full of miscellaneous bits, some will last but others need to be used up in the next few days. Provided they are not grey and overcooked, Brussels sprouts can be chopped and used in turkey and ham pies or fricassees, but I include an easier way to use them up deliciously. Try the bubble and squeak recipe and serve it on thinly sliced spiced beef or ham, if you’re only got a few morsels of the spiced beef add them to the mixture and you’ll have a whole meal in one. A dollop of grainy mustard mayo with each bit adds extra oomph.

Leftover ham is rarely a problem; it’s so easy to use in sandwiches or salads. When it comes to the end of the joint, there are just little scrappy bits left on the bone. None the less every last morsel can be used up in pasta sauces or added to soups, frittata or macaroni cheese (how comforting is a big dish of bubbling golden macaroni after Christmas)
Macaroni is a terrific basis for all sorts of tasty bits; its mild flavour is the perfect foil for a dice of smoked fish – smoked salmon, mackerel or eel.
Left over cranberries keep for weeks in the fridge and freeze perfectly. A few added to muffins give an appealing tartness and of course they can also be added to many salads including winter red and white cabbage coleslaw. The bitter sweet flavour of cranberry sauce also makes a delicious filling for a meringue roulade or a Christmas sponge.
Stale bread can be used up in a myriad of ways. Eggy bread, made in minutes can be sweet or savoury and will be gobbled up by hungry kids and peckish grownups alike.
Bread and butter pudding is another goodie, a terrific way to use stale bread and if you have half a pot of Christmas mincemeat still hanging around, slather it over the bread instead of butter and dried fruit. Serve it on hot plates with a dollop of softly whipped cream.
Slices of left over plum pudding are divine fried gently in a little sizzling butter on the pan. Left over brandy butter keeps for ages but why keep it, melt in over the plum pudding or spread it on toast.
A happy, healthy and delicious New Year to all our readers.

Bubble and Squeak

A little finely chopped left over ham is delicious added to the potato and sprout mixture.

left over mashed potato
cooked Brussels sprouts chopped
lots of chopped parsley
extra virgin olive oil
white flour with lots of salt, pepper and a little freshly grated nutmeg

Mix all together in a bowl. Shape in 2 ½ – 3 inch rounds about ¾ inch deep. Heat a little olive oil in a pan. Coat the bubble and squeak with seasoned flour. Fry until golden on both sides, serve hot with cold ham or bacon or a few crispy rashers.

Pannetone Bread and Butter Pudding

Bread and Butter Pudding is a most irresistible way of using up leftover white bread – this is a particularly delicious recipe. Here I use the Italian Pannetone but if you don’t have that use good quality white bread instead.

Serves 6-8

12 slices pannetone or good-quality white bread, crusts removed
2 ozs (55g) butter, preferably unsalted
½ teasp freshly-grated nutmeg or cinnamon
7 ozs (200g) Lexia raisins or plump sultanas
16 fl ozs (475ml) cream
8 fl ozs (225ml) milk
4 large eggs, beaten lightly
1 teasp. pure vanilla extract or a dash of Eau de Vie or brandy
6 ozs (170g) sugar
1 tablesp sugar for sprinkling on top of the pudding


Softly-whipped cream
1 x 8 inches (20.5cm) square pottery or china dish

Butter the pannetone or bread and arrange 4 slices, buttered side down, in one layer in a dish.  Sprinkle with half the nutmeg or cinnamon and half the raisins, arrange another layer of bread, buttered side down, over the raisins, and sprinkle the remaining spice and fruit on top.  Cover the raisins with the remaining pannetone or bread, buttered side down.
In a bowl whisk together the cream, milk, eggs, vanilla extract, eau de vie or brandy if using and sugar.  Pour the mixture through a sieve over the pudding.  Sprinkle the sugar over the top and let the mixture stand, covered loosely, at room temperature for at least 1 hour or chill overnight.
Bake in a bain-marie – the water should be half way up the sides of the baking dish.  Bake in the middle of a preheated oven, 180C/350F/regulo 4, for 1 hour approx. or until the top is crisp and golden.  Serve the pudding warm with some softly-whipped cream.

Goose, Pomegranate and Pecan Salad

You can also use up left over morsels of turkey or duck in this delicious way.

Serves 8

1 1/2-2 lbs(700-900g) freshly cooked goose, duck or turkey

a selection of salad leaves including watercress, frisée and rocket leaves
1-2 pomegranates depending on size

3-4oz (75/110g) fresh pecans or walnuts


6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or walnut oil
2 tablespoons best quality wine vinegar
1-2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon grainy mustard
salt and freshly ground pepper
If the goose has been refrigerated, bring back to room temperature.  Whisk all the ingredients for the dressing together. Cut the pomegranate in half and flick the seeds into a bowl – careful not to include any of the astringent pith.

Roast or toast the walnuts or pecans briefly, chop coarsely.  Just before serving, sprinkle a little of the dressing over the salad leaves in a deep bowl.  Toss gently.  There should be just enough dressing to make the leaves glisten. (Save the rest for later)  Taste.  Add a little dressing to the pomegranate seeds, toss and taste, correct seasoning if necessary.  Slice the goose into chunky pieces.  Sprinkle a little dressing over and toss gently.  Combine the three ingredients.  Divide pleasingly between 8 large white plates.  Sprinkle with roughly chopped pecans or walnuts and serve immediately with crusty bread.
Turkey and Stuffing Wraps

Serves 6

6 flour tortillas
12 – 16oz left over turkey cut into strips, try to include some crispy skin and stuffing
6 tablespoons homemade mayonnaise mixed
3 tablespoons of Ballymaloe Country Relish
2 avocados peeled and sliced and seasoned with salt and pepper
12 cherry tomatoes sliced and seasoned with salt and pepper
salad leaves and fresh coriander leaves

Warm the tortillas and mix the cooked leftover turkey meat and some stuffing if available with the mayonnaise and some relish. Taste and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Divide between the tortillas. Add some sliced avocado and tomato to each. Top with salad leaves and coriander and tuck into the ends and roll into a wrap. Enjoy.

Frittata with Ham and Cheese

Serves 6-8

A frittata is an Italian omelette.  Unlike its soft and creamy French cousin, a frittata is cooked slowly over a very low heat during which time you can be whipping up a delicious salad to accompany it!  It is cooked on both sides and cut into wedges like a piece of cake.  This basic recipe, flavoured with grated cheese and a generous sprinkling of herbs.  Like the omelette, though, you may add almost anything that takes your fancy.

10 large eggs, preferably free range organic
1 teaspoon salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper
75g (3ozs) Gruyére cheese, grated
25g (1oz) Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons thyme leaves
25g (1oz) butter
2 tablespoons basil or marjoram chopped
225g (8oz) diced cooked ham

Non-stick pan – 22.5cm (10inch) frying pan

Whisk the eggs in a bowl; add the salt, freshly ground pepper, fresh herbs, and grated cheese into the eggs.  Melt the butter in a non-stick frying pan. When the butter starts to foam, tip in the eggs.  Turn down the heat, as low as it will go.  Leave the eggs to cook gently for 12 minutes on a heat diffuser mat, or until the underneath is set. The top should still be slightly runny. Alternatively put it into a preheated oven at 160ºC (320°F) gas mark 3, for 15 to 20 minutes.

Preheat a grill. Pop the pan under the grill for 1 minute to set but not brown the surface. 

Slide a palette knife under the frittata to free it from the pan. Slide onto a warm plate.
Serve cut in wedges with a good green salad and perhaps a tomato salad.
Cranberry Muffins

A delicious way to use up left over cranberries.

Makes 8

225g (8oz) white flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 level tablespoon baking powder
140g (5oz) caster sugar
75g (3oz) butter
1 organic free range egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
170ml (6floz) milk
110g (4oz) cranberries, blueberries or raspberries

1 muffin tray lined with muffin papers

Preheat the oven at 200°C/400°F/Gas mark 4-5. Sieve the flour, salt, baking powder in a bowl. Stir in the sugar. Rub in the butter until it looks like breadcrumbs. Combine the beaten egg, vanilla extract and milk and add to the dry mixture. Combine with a fork to give a wet consistency. Fold in the cranberries gently. Spoon into the muffin cases. Bake for 20-25 minutes until well-risen and golden. Cool on a wire rack and dust with icing sugar.
Mincemeat Pear Tart

This is certainly one of the most impressive of the French tarts, it is wonderful served warm but is also very good cold and it keeps for several days. Splash in a little kirsch.

Serves 8-10

4-5 ripe pears, poached

Shortcrust Pastry

200g (7oz) flour
110g (4oz) cold butter
1 egg yolk, preferably free range and organic
pinch of salt
3-4 tablespoons cold water

3 tablespoons of homemade mincemeat

100g (3 1/2oz) butter
100g (3 1/2oz) castor sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 egg yolk, preferably free range
2 tablespoons kirsch
110g (4oz) ground almonds

25g (1oz) flour

To Finish
150ml (1/4 pint) approx. apricot glaze


23cm (9inch) diameter flan ring or tart tin with a removable base

First make the Shortcrust pastry

Sieve the flour and salt into a bowl, cut the butter into cubes and rub into the flour with the fingertips. Keep everything as cool as possible; if the fat is allowed to melt the finished pastry may be tough. When the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs, stop. Whisk the egg yolk and add the water.

Take a fork or knife (whichever you feel most comfortable with) and add just enough liquid to bring the pastry together, then discard the fork and collect the pastry into a ball with your hands. This way you can judge more accurately if you need a few more drops of liquid. Although slightly damp pastry is easier to handle and roll out, the resulting crust can be tough and may well shrink out of shape as the water evaporates in the oven. The drier and more difficult-to-handle pastry will give a crisper shorter crust.

Cover the pastry with cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for a minimum of 15 minutes or better still 30 minutes. This will make the pastry much less elastic and easier to roll.

Next poach the pears and allow to cool. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.  Roll out the pastry, line the tart tin with it, prick lightly with a fork, flute the edges and chill again until firm. Bake blind for 15-20 minutes.

Next make the frangipane. Cream the butter gradually beat in the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is light and soft. Gradually add the egg and egg yolk, beating well after each addition. Stir in the ground almonds and flour and then add the kirsch or calvados. Pour the frangipane into the pastry case spreading it evenly. Drain the pears well and when they are cold cut them crosswise into very thin slices, then lift the sliced pears intact and arrange them around the tart on the frangipane pointed ends towards the centre. Arrange a final half pear in the centre.

Turn the oven up to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6. Bake the tart for 10-15 minutes until the pastry is beginning to brown. Turn down the oven heat to moderate 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4 and continue cooking for 15-20 minutes or until the fruit is tender and the frangipane is set in the centre and nicely golden.

Meanwhile make the apricot glaze. When the tart is fully cooked, paint generously with apricot glaze, remove from the tin and serve warm or cold with a bowl of softly whipped cream.

Spiced Beef with Guacamole and Rocket leaves

Serves 8 to 10

8 – 10 oz  cooked spiced beef

1 ripe avocado
1-2 tablesp. freshly squeezed lime
1 tablesp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tablesp. freshly chopped coriander or flat parsley
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
wild rocket leaves

24 crostini

First make the guacamole, scoop out the flesh from the avocado.  Mash with a fork or in a pestle and mortar, add lime juice, olive oil, chopped coriander, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Serve immediately.  Otherwise, cover the surface of the guacamole with a sheet of plastic to exclude the air.  Cover and keep cool until needed.
 A little finely diced chilli or tomato may be added to the guacamole.
To serve put a blob of guacamole on each warn crostini, top with a little spiced beef and sprig of wild rocket, serve as finger food with drinks or three as a starter.
Fool Proof Food

Eggy Bread

Eggy Bread or French toast is so good that you forget how economical it is The French don’t call this French toast.  They call it pain perdu or “lost bread”, because it is a way to use up leftover bread you would otherwise lose – the only bread you’ve got on the baker’s day off.  French toast is actually better if the bread is a little old or sliced and dried out overnight, so perhaps for using up stale bread after Christmas.

Serves 4

3 free range eggs
175ml (6 flozs) whole milk
tiny pinch of salt
6 slices white or light wholemeal bread
4 tablespoons clarified butter

Whisk the eggs, milk and salt together until well blended.  Strain the mixture into a shallow bowl in which you can easily soak the bread.  Dip both sides of each slice of bread in the batter. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a frying pan.  Fry the bread over a medium heat until very lightly browned, turning once.  Serve warm sprinkled with cinnamon or caster sugar and alternatively, serve with crispy streaky rashers and a drizzle of maple syrup or honey. 

Serve with bananas and butterscotch sauce.

Thrifty Tip

Resolve to grow some of your own herbs, salad leaves and vegetables this spring. Pore through the gardening catalogues as sit by the fire. A great beginner’s book is ‘Going Organic’ by Bob Flowerdew, published by Kyle Kathie.
Hot Tips

Seville Oranges

Seville Oranges are now in the shops so pick some up. These bitter sweet oranges produce marmalade with a unique flavour. If you are making 2 or 3 batches you might like to add some freshly grated ginger to one and some Irish whiskey to another.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Give a foodie friend a New Years gift of a bottle of really good extra virgin olive oil to drizzle over salads, bruschetta and just about everything.
Mani from Greece, Colonna from Italy and from Spain Laudemnio and Marques de Valdueza. Morgenster from South Africa and Dundargan from Australia are all exceptionally delicious. Available at the Ballymaloe Cookery School shop, Urru in Bandon 023 54731 and other good delis.

Irish Panforte

One of my best finds this Christmas was a delicious Irish Panforte made by Richard Graham-Lee of Patisserie Regale in Dunmanway. For my taste it beats vitually all the mass produced Italian Paneforte hands down. Try to find one to enjoy over the festive season, it’s packed with candied peel, nuts and fruit, a tiny slice with a cup of coffee satisfies the urge for a little something sweet – – sublime. Tel. 023 55344

Christmas Eve Cooking

I’ve chosen some suggestions for a Christmas Eve supper menu from several new cookbooks which have been released for the festive season. The first is from Sarah Raven, a gardener/cook who has a cult following. She makes regular appearances on BBC Gardeners World where she shares her expertise on how to grow the beautiful vegetables, fruit and herbs that abound in her garden at Perch Hill in East Sussex. Somehow in the midst of all the sowing and planting she managed to write another cook book ‘Sarah Raven’s Complete Christmas Food and Flowers’. Inside the glitzy red and silver cover she guides us through the Christmas build-up, suggesting puddings, sauces and edible presents to prepare before everything becomes too hectic. She then offers maximum impact, minimum-fuss flowers and decorations, stylish party nibbles and a host of Yuletide meals for every palate, including a last minute recipe for the all important Christmas pudding. Finally, she sees us safely through Christmas, St Stephen’s day and beyond with fantastic ideas for the inevitable mountain of leftovers.
Simon Hopkinson has always been one of my favourite chefs – his first book Roast Chicken and Other Stories has become a modern classic. I only recenly came across ‘Second Helpings of Roast Chicken’ even though it was published in 2006. It’s a ‘must-give’ pressie for your foodie friends this Christmas. I’ve chosen two delicious soups from his book so take your pick; both would be delicious before Sarah Raven’s bagna cauda. This recipe which Sarah got from Antonia Carluccia has to be the most perfect and easy Christmas Eve supper, a selection of raw crunchy vegetables to dip into a delicious anchovy and garlic sauce. It won’t be too filling and will mean you and your guests will have room for pudding. If you’d like something more substantial with an extra feel good factor, choose a gorgeous piece of juicy free range pork. If you know a local organic farmer who rears heritage breeds, it’ll be even more succulent and delicious. The pig farmers and the entire industry have been through a very traumatic period so let’s all take every opportunity to support them in the real spirit of Christmas.
If life is not too hectic why not gather a few kids around, and have fun making Festive Jam Cookie Sandwiches from Rachel Allen’s new book Bake.
For pudding I have chosen Simon Hopkinson’s Swirly Mincemeat Suet Pudding with Brandy Sauce. Simon is a big fan of suet pudding, as am I – just the thing served on hotplates on a frosty night.
If that seems too much of a challenge or if you’d rather keep it simple and leave space for the Christmas feast, why not pick up a gorgeous gooey Vacherin Mont d’Or cheese and some Gubbeen crackers. There’s a wealth of Irish farmhouse cheese to choose from also. Or why not cut the Christmas cake (see recipe in Examiner Saturday 8th November, 2008) or a tuck into a wedge of Pannetone with a cup of espresso. A very happy and delicious Christmas to all our readers and many blessings for 2009.

Simon Hopkinson’s Almost Instant Creamed Bean Soup with Rosemary and Anchovy Butter

This soup can also be made with haricot, cannellini or pale green flageolet beans – or even chickpeas, I guess.

Serves 4

75 g (3oz) butter
2 large onions, peeled and sliced
3 sticks celery, chopped
2 sprigs of rosemary
2 x 400g tins of butter beans (Spanish ones are particularly good)
750ml (25 ½ fl oz) chicken stock
salt and pepper
150ml whipping cream

For the rosemary and anchovy butter

120g unsalted butter, softened
2 sprigs of rosemary, leaves only
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
50g (2oz) tin anchovies
juice of ½ a small lemon

Serve with Croutons

In a roomy pan, melt the butter and fry the onions and celery until lightly coloured. Add the rosemary, stir around and allow their aroma to lift. Tip in the beans, juice and all, add the stock and bring to the boil. Remove any scum that forms and then allow to gently simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the beans are all but falling apart. Add plenty of pepper and check for salt – but don’t add too much, as the butter will be fairly salty from the anchovies.
Meanwhile, make the rosemary and anchovy butter by combining all the ingredients together in a food processor until very smooth. Pass through a small sieve to remove any spiky rosemary bits. Tip into a small bowl and leave at room temperature until the soup is to be served. Lift out the rosemary sprigs and then put the beans, vegetables and liquor into a liquidiser and process until very smooth. Pour through a sieve into a clean pan, stir in the cream and gently reheat without boiling. The consistency should not be too thick; if it is, add a little water or maybe some milk. To serve, pour into  large soups plates or bowls, drop a spoonful of the rosemary and anchovy butter into each and serve with croutons.

Simon Hopkinson’s Black Bean Soup

This soup was first cooked for me several years ago by my sous-chef at the time Henry Harris. He adapted it from a Jeremiah Tower recipe, added a few of his own ideas and we put it on the menu. If is now called Henry’s Black Bean Soup forever more and is delicious. The recipe that follows is a mixture of his and the original. Please buy fresh spices before you make this soup as it makes all the difference. Tired old spices at the back of the cupboard will not do it justice.

Serves 6 – 8

500g (18oz) dried black beans, soaked overnight
2 large red onions, peeled and chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
3 sticks celery, peeled of strings and chopped
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and bashed
2 bay leaves
225g (8oz) piece of smoked bacon (Italian flat pancetta is ideal) skin intact
1 – 1 ½ litres (2 ½ pints) of stock – ham (favourite), chicken or beef, but good flavour is paramount
1 tbsp ground cumin (made from fresh cumin seeds dry-roasted in a small frying pan until fragrant and toasted)
1 tbsp chilli powder (this is not cayenne pepper, rather it is chilli powder mix made by Schwartz spices; it has ‘Chilli Powder’ on the label and is dark red in colour)
4 tbsp sour cream, loosened with a little milk to a pouring consistency

For the salsa

6 ripe tomatoes, skinned deseeded and coarsely chopped
1 small red onion, peeled and finely chopped
½ bunch of coriander, leaves only, coarsely chopped
juice of 2 limes
2 green chillies, deseeded and chopped
¼ tsp sugar

Drain the beans, rinse and put them in a large pot with the vegetables, bay leaves, bacon and enough stock to cover by 5cm or so (add more stock, or water, later on if there seems to be insufficient liquid) Simmer ever so slowly for 1 ½ hours or so, skimming off any scum that is generated and stirring from the bottom on occasion, to check that none of the beans are sticking.
Meanwhile make the salsa. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Cover with a plate or cling film and leave at room temperature for 30 minutes before using. When the beans are tender, lift out the bacon and allow it to cool. You can either chop it into small pieces and add to the soup later, or you can slice it thinly and use in sandwiches for instance, spread some fiery mustard. Now put the soup through a mouli-légumes (vegetable mill) on a fine setting. Do not be tempted to liquidise as the soup can become gloopy. Stir in the cumin and chilli. Reheat the soup and add stock or water until the consistency is thin porridge. Serve in shallow soup plates dressed with swirls of sour cream and salsa.


Christmas Bagna Cauda

Sarah Raven tells us that bagna cauda is one her very favourite party dishes.
To make this more of a meal serve it with plenty of good robust bread, or better still make a bowlful of bruschetta or croutons to soak up the sauce. In case you want to make it in advance, the bagna cauda freezes perfectly.
Use any or all of the following ingredients listed below, adjusting the quantities accordingly.

Serves 8 – 10

1 Trevisco chicory, stripped into leaves
1 Belgian chicory, stripped into leaves
½ celeriac, peeled and cut into matchsticks (and then doused in lemon juice to stop them discolouring)
3 Jerusalem artichokes, sliced
½ cauliflower, broken into small florets
2 carrots cut into batons
2 Florence fennel bulbs cut into chunks
1 celery head, broken into sticks and sliced
Selection of crunchy stemmed salad leaves, such as ‘Red Giant’ mustard, rocket or mizuna
1 large bowl of baked or fresh bread bruschetta or croutons

For the bagna cauda

200g (7oz) anchovies
milk, to soak the anchovies and to cover the garlic
16 garlic cloves
100ml (3 ½ fl oz) extra virgin olive oil
100g (3 ½ oz) butter, cubed
60ml (2fl oz) double cream

First make the bagna cauda. Rinse the anchovies of they are in salt. Leave them soaking in a little milk for half an hour. (This recipe makes a relatively mild sauce. If you like punchy strong food, you may want to up the anchovy count a bit)
Pre-heat the oven to 150°C/gas mark 2.
Put a little milk in a saucepan and bring it to the boil. Peel the garlic cloves, slice them in half and put into the preheated oven for about 25 minutes or until the garlic is soft. Mash the garlic cloves into the milk.
Retrieve the anchovies from the milk, put them into a bain-marie over a very low heat and using the back of a wooden spoon, and mash them into a paste. Add the garlic milk to the bowl. Gradually add the oil, the cubed butter and lastly the cream. Keep stirring until it’s all smooth. Pour this onto a small dish over a nightlight, if possible and put in the centre of the table. Serve with the vegetables and the croutons or bruschetta.

Roast Loin of Pork with Plums and Rosemary

Let’s celebrate Irish Pork and tuck into a gorgeous roast with lots of crackling. I’ve stuffed this loin with plums and rosemary and serve it with a Blood plum and Bramley apple sauce.

Serves 6 – 8

3 ½ – 4lbs (6 kgs) Loin of Pork with skin attached
2 tablesp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion finely chopped
½ lb (225g) Bramley apples peeled and chopped
¼lb (110g) sugar
2 teasps chopped rosemary
freshly ground pepper

First score the rind at ¼ cm intervals; a Stanley knife is good for this. Heat the oil in a sauté pan add the onion, toss and continue to cook on a gentle heat for 3 or 4 minutes, add the chopped apple, plums, sugar and chopped rosemary, stir. Cover and cook over a gentle heat until the apple and plums soften, taste add more sugar if necessary. Turn out onto a plate to cool.
If the belly is still attached, lay the joint of pork skin side down on a chopping board. Season the flesh side well with salt and freshly ground pepper. Spread a little layer of plum and apple paste on top, toll and tie with cotton string. If however the belly is not still attached make a pocket in the pork loin with a sharp knife. Spoon some of the stuffing inside, don’t be too generous or it will squish out
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/ 350ºF/Gas mark 4.
Place the pork in a roasting tin, rub sea salt into the rind and roast for one and half hour.
Increase the heat to 230ºC/450ºF/Gas mark 8 and continue to cook the pork for a further fifteen minutes or until the crackling becomes crisp and bubbly. Transfer to a serving dish allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving.
Warm the remainder of the plum and apple mixture add a little water if necessary to loosen the mixture.


Simon Hopkinson’s Swirly Mincemeat Suet Pudding with Brandy Sauce

I have always had trouble with my roly-poly puddings when cooked as a long log affair; whether steamed of baked, they always seem to spread out and go all flat and dull-looking. However, prepared in this way, not only does everything behave very well indeed, restricted within the confines of a pudding basin, but it also looks very pretty indeed when turned out.

Serves 4

For the mincemeat suet pudding

250g (9oz) self raising flour
125g (4oz) suet
a pinch of salt
cold water to mix
400g jar of mincemeat, or, of course, homemade
25g softened butter
1 – 2 tbsp soft brown sugar

For the brandy sauce

350ml (12fl oz) milk
40g (1 ½ oz) butter
40g (1 ½ oz) plain flour
a tiny pinch of salt
50-75g (3oz) caster sugar to taste
2-3 tbsp cognac or rum if your prefer
50ml (2floz) single cream

Mix together the flour, suet and salt in a roomy bowl. Add just enough water to mix to a cohesive mass: not too sticky, not too dry. Knead for a few minutes until supple. Flatten a little and leave to relax for 10 minutes. On a floured surface, roll the heavy pastry out fairly thinly (abut 30cm square). Spread with the mincemeat, leaving a gap of about 2cm around the edges. Roll up neatly, but not too tightly. Generously grease the  inside of the basin with the butter. Sprinkle the sugar all over the butter, pressing the residue that falls to the bottom against the sides all the butter must be well coated with sugar. Now cut the roly-poly into sections, about 1.5 – 2cm thick. Arrange 3 in the bottom of the basin , more up the sides, pressing them well against the butter sugar mixture, and the remaining slices in the middle (these do not matter so much as they won’t show in the final assembly, but try to make the final ones lie flat). Cover with buttered grease proof paper, then foil, and tie with string around the basin. Steam for 2 – 2 ½ ) hours or as long as 3.
Meanwhile make the sauce. Put the milk into a pan and heat through until hot but not boiling. Meanwhile, in a heavy bottomed saucepan, melt the butter, but do not allow it to froth. Stir in the flour until well blended. Cook over a very gentle heat for 2 or 3 minutes. Now carefully pour in the milk, whisking all the time. Allow to come up to a gentle simmer and stir for a few minutes with a wooden spoon until smooth and lightly thickened. Add the salt, sugar and cognac or rum. Let the sauce cook very gently, ideally on one of those diffuser pads, for several minutes. Stir occasionally. Pour in the cream, gently reheat and give it a final whisk.
To serve, carefully run a knife around the edge of the pudding and turn out on to a warmed serving dish. Hand the sauce separately.

Rachel Allen’s Festive Jam Cookie Sandwiches

These gorgeous little vanilla and lemon-scented cookies sandwiched together with the jam of your choice make a great Christmas cookie – the icing looks like snow.

Makes about 35 sandwiches

425g (15oz) plain flour
75g (3oz) caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2tsp finely grated lemon zest (from one large unwaxed organic lemon)
4 egg yolks
325g (11 ½ oz) butter, softened
raspberry or strawberry jam
icing sugar for dusting


6cm (2 ½ in) plain cutter
3cm (1 ¼ in) plain or flower-shaped cutter

Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF), gas mark 4. Sift the flour into a large bowl or electric food mixer and add the sugar, vanilla extract, finely grated lemon zest, egg yolks and butter. Mix until it all comes together to a dough. Remove from the bowl and flatten to a round with the palm of your hand or with a rolling pin to about 2cm (¾ in) thick and chill in fridge for about 30 minutes. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured work surface until it is about 5mm ( ¼ in ) thick, then using the 6cm (2 ½ in) plain cutter, cut the dough into discs. Take half the discs and using either the plain or flower shaped 3cm (1 ¼ in) cutter, cut holes out of the centre of each, like little round windows. Bring the discarded scraps together and make more discs and cut holes in the centre of these. You want to end up with about 35 whole discs with the centres cut out (equal amounts). Place the discs on several baking trays and bake in the oven for 8 – 10 minutes, then remove from the trays and transfer to wire racks to cool.
When the discs are cool, spread ½ – 1 teaspoon of jam on the whole discs and top with the discs with a hole in them so that you can see the jam through the little windows. Dust with icing sugar and serve.
Fool Proof Food

Sarah Raven’s Bloody Mary with Horseradish

There is nothing better than a Bloody Mary when you’re feeling a bit the worse for wear. In fact, I’m almost always on for a Bloody Mary however I’m feeling, and they can practically replace a meal. The best are spiced up with fresh horseradish and sharpened with plenty of lemon juice.

For four medium glasses:

175ml (6fl oz) vodka
dash of dry sherry
500ml (18fl oz)
juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon fresh grated horseradish
Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce, to taste
celery salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper
ice, to serve

Combine the ingredients in a shaker and pour into individual glasses. Serve with ice

Thrifty Tip

Make up your own home made mulled wine spices for Christmas gifts and parties. It’s so easy just tie the thinly-pared rind of 1 lemon, a small piece of cinnamon bark, a blade of mace and one clove into a little muslin bag with the instructions to add one bottle of good red wine and 110 grams/ 4 ounces of sugar.

Hot Tips

Organic Bronze Turkeys

Dan Ahern of Bornfree Poultry near Midleton may still have a few Organic Bronze turkeys and geese, for those who have left it to the last minute! For those who would prefer a smaller bird enquire about his delicious organic chickens and ducks. Available from Midleton and Mahon Point Farmers Markets or tel. 086 1659258
Baskets of Irish Oysters

Native Irish Oysters are my absolute favourite treat for a starter for Christmas day. I had some delicious natives recently from Dairmuid Kelly in Galway, who sells baskets of 25, packed in seaweed.  091796120.
Local Food Heroes
Midleton Farmers market calendar with photographs of the local food heroes along with recipes and what’s in season month to month, available from Midleton Farmers Market or tel. 021 4646 785

We have numerous requests for details of organic and artisan pork and cured meat producers. Here are few to choose from…

Fingal Ferguson – Gubbeen Meats – 028-27824
Frank Krawczyk – West Cork Salamis –
Caroline Rigney – Curragh Chase Farmhouse – 087 2834754
Noreen Conroy – Woodhouse Farm – 087-2767206
Jack McCarthy Butcher – 029 -50178
Caherbeg Bacon  086-8224415
Crowes Farm Meats 062-71137

Sarah Raven’s Complete Christmas Food and Flowers
Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.

Bake with Rachel Allen
HarperCollins Publishers Ltd

Second Helpings of Roast Chicken – Simon Hopkinson

Spirit of the Season

Few people can recall going into the festive season at a time of such doom and gloom. Many of us remember when little treats were much looked forward to – a tangerine, some plasticine, maybe a few balloons, colouring pencils, and doll dress up sets in our stockings. The Dandy or Beezer annual, a game of ludo or snakes and ladders – kept us amused throughout Christmas day. Many presents were home made. Mum secreted herself away in the evening for weeks before Christmas, knitting and sewing and making little felt toys. The making of the plum pudding and Christmas cake was a family affair, we all pitched in, stoning muscatel raisins, chopping candied peel, halving cherries and of course we all helped to stir and then we had a wish. We did little jobs for months before Christmas to save money for the annual Christmas shopping trip to Kilkenny, the excitement was unbearable. Sometimes Daddy would give us half a crown to supplement our savings. Out of our money we bought a present for mummy and daddy and for each other. The now endangered Woolworths were a terrific resource and the place where I bought my first plastic Cindy doll with hair, ooh the joy!
I digress this is a food column; at that time most of the food we ate came from local shops, local butchers, neighbouring farms, and our garden. It was always fresh and in season and we knew where the people who grew produced at least 50% of our food. In these credit crunch days our carbon footprint has much to recommend it. Lets try to source as much of our produce locally as possible. There are wonderful fresh red cabbage, Brussels sprouts and Bramley apples and a few pumpkins in the shops. Many local farmers have free range turkeys, geese and ducks but you’ll need to hurry if you haven’t already placed your order, despite the fact that this kind of poultry is more expensive the demand continues to escalate because of the greatly enhanced flavour of the meat.
If you are going to have a bird it might as well be delicious. The recipe for Mummy’s trifle can be made several days ahead but you’ll need to hide it! Don’t skimp on the sherry. The citrus fruit salad will be the most welcome dish of the Christmas Season, fresh tasting, light and delicious and virtually no calories enjoy!

Traditional Roast Goose with Potato Stuffing and Roast Bramley Apples

Nora Ahern rears wonderful free range ducks and geese on her farm in East Cork.
021 4632354.

Roast Goose with Potato Stuffing is almost my favourite winter meal.  However, a word of caution, a goose looks enormous because it has a large carcass.  Many people have been caught out by imagining that it will serve more people than it does.  Allow 450g (1 lb) in cooked weight per person.  This stuffing is also delicious with duck but use one quarter of the quantity given below.

Serves 8-10

4.5g (1 x 10 lbs) approx. goose

Neck, giblets and wishbone of goose
1 sliced onion
1 sliced carrot

Bouquet Garni

a sprig of thyme
3 or 4 parsley stalks
a stick of celery
6 or 7 peppercorns
cold water to cover

Potato Stuffing

30g (1 oz) butter
450g (1 lb) chopped onions
450g (1 lb) cooking apples e.g. Bramley Seedling, peeled and chopped
1 fl oz (25ml) fresh orange juice
900g (2 lbs) potatoes
1 teaspoon each thyme and lemon balm
3 teaspoons finely grated orange rind
salt and freshly ground pepper

Accompaniment – Irish Bramley apples (see fool proof food)

To make the stuffing: Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan.  Add the onions, cover and sweat on a gentle heat for about 5 minutes; add the apples, herbs and orange juice.  Cook covered until the apples are soft and fluffy.  Meanwhile, boil the potatoes in their jackets until cooked, peel, mash and add to the fruit and onion mixture.  Add the orange rind and seasoning.  Allow it to get quite cold before stuffing the goose.

To prepare the goose: Gut the goose and singe off the pin feathers and down if necessary.  Remove the wishbone from the neck end.  Combine the stock ingredients in a saucepan, cover with cold water and simmer for 1 1/2-2 hours.  Season the cavity of the goose with salt and freshly ground pepper; rub a little salt into the skin also.  Stuff the goose loosely and roast for 2 hours approx. in a preheated moderate oven, 180°C/350°F/regulo 4.
Prick the thigh at the thickest part; the juices which run out should be clear.  If they are still pink, the goose needs a little longer.  When cooked, remove the goose to a serving dish and put it in a very low oven while you make the gravy.

To make the gravy: Spoon off the surplus fat from the roasting tin (save for sautéing or roasting potatoes – it keeps for months in a fridge).  Add about 1 pint (600ml/2 1/2 cups) of the strained giblet stock to the roasting tin and bring to the boil.  Using a small whisk, scrape the tin well to dissolve the meaty deposits which are full of flavour.  Taste for seasoning and thicken with a little roux if you like thickened gravy.  If the gravy is weak, boil it for a few minutes to concentrate the flavour; if it’s too strong, add a little water or stock.  Strain and serve in a hot gravy boat.
Carve the goose and serve the Bramley Apple Sauce and Gravy separately.

Roast Duck with Traditional Potato Stuffing

Use 1/4 or 1/3 of the Potato Stuffing recipe depending on the size of the duck.  Serve with Brambley Apple Sauce.
Red Cabbage

This red cabbage can be made several days ahead or frozen for several weeks.

1 lb (450g) Irish red cabbage
1 lb (450g) Irish cooking apples (Bramley Seedling)
1 tablespoon approx. wine vinegar
4 fl ozs (120ml) water
1 level teaspoon salt
2 heaped tablespoons approx. sugar

Remove any damaged outer leaves from the cabbage. Examine and clean it if necessary. Cut in quarter, remove the core and slice the cabbage finely across the grain. Put the vinegar, water, salt and sugar into a cast iron casserole or stainless steel saucepan. Add the cabbage and bring it to the boil.

Meanwhile, peel and core the apples and cut into quarters (no smaller). Lay them on top of the cabbage, cover and continue to cook gently until the cabbage is tender, 30-50 minutes approx. Do not overcook or the colour and flavour will be ruined. Taste for seasoning and add more sugar if necessary.

Serve in a warm serving dish.

Note: Some varieties of red cabbage are quite tough and don’t seem to soften much, even with prolonged cooking. Our favourite variety is Red Drummond which gives best results.

Mummy’s Boozy Trifle

Sherry Trifle, can be a pudding to be avoided at all costs on a restaurant menu.  However when it’s made as Mummy made it, with good homemade ingredients and lots of best-quality sweet sherry it is a revelation.  Trifle was a Christmas tradition at our house and was served in a special “cut glass” bowl kept especially for the purpose with homemade custard.

Serves 8-10

1 lb (450g) approx. homemade sponge cake or trifle sponges
(trifle sponges are lighter so you will need less)
8 ozs (225g homemade raspberry jam
1 pint (600ml) custard made with:
5 eggs, organic and free-range if possible
1 1/4 tablespoons castor sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 pints (750ml) rich milk

5-6 fl ozs (150-175ml) best quality sweet or medium sherry
– don’t spare the sherry and don’t waste your time with cooking sherry.


1 pint (600ml) whipped cream
8 cherries or crystallised violets
8 diamonds of angelica
a few toasted flaked almonds

1 x 3 pint (1.7 litre) capacity glass bowl

Sandwich the rounds of sponge cake together with homemade raspberry jam. If you use trifle sponges, sandwich them in pairs.

Next make the egg custard.

Whisk the eggs with the sugar and vanilla extract.  Heat the milk to the ‘shivery’ stage and add it to the egg mixture whisking all the time.   Put into a heavy saucepan and stir over a gentle heat until the custard coats the back of the wooden spoon lightly. Don’t let it boil or it will curdle.

Cut the sponge into 3 / 4 inch (2cm) slices and use these to line the bottom of a 3 pint (1.7 litres) glass bowl, sprinkling generously with sherry as you go along.   Pour in some homemade egg custard and then add another layer of sponge.  Sprinkle with the remainder of the sherry.  Spread the rest of the custard over the top.  Cover and leave for 5 or 6 hours, or preferably overnight in a cold larder or fridge to mature.
Before serving, spread softly whipped cream over the top, pipe rosettes if you like and decorate with cherries or crystallised violets and large diamonds of angelica.  Scatter with a few toasted flaked almonds.


Smoked Mackerel Pâte

We use Frank Hederman’s locally smoked mackerel for this recipe. It’s a terrific standby to have in your fridge over Christmas. If you don’t have time to make your own Frank sells a delicious pate at the Midleton Farmers market. Delicious served with cucumber pickle and Arbutus crusty sour dough bread.

Store Up Sauces for Christmas

Try to snatch a few hours this week to stock up your pantry for Christmas.
Sauces, relishes and flavoured butters add magic to your cooking; they can enliven many otherwise mundane meals. Many are easy peasy to make and can be stored as a standby in a fridge or a pantry for weeks sometimes months. This week I suggested a variety of sweet and savoury sauces that you can stash away to make festive cooking less hectic. Many are also suitable for Christmas presents, pack them into little 6 fl oz (180ml) jars, make pretty or quirky labels and decorate with lots of twiddles and bows. Otherwise go for the thrifty chic look and use recycled newspaper and jute string with luggage labels. This year, ostentatious bling is definitely out. It’s all about re-making, recycling and re-gifting, always a bit dicey! Making homemade presents are no longer looked on as merely worthy at last it’s chic, so into the kitchen, we’ll all have fun.

Three good sauces to go with the turkey, goose and ham

Bramley Apple Sauce

Apple sauce can be frozen in little tubs. Serve with roast goose, duck or pork.
The trick with apple sauce is to cook it covered on a low heat with very little water.

Serves 10 approx.

450g (1 lb) cooking apples, e.g. Bramley Seedling or Grenadier
1-2 dessertsp water
55g (2 ozs) sugar, depending on how tart the apples are

Peel, quarter and core the apples. Cut the pieces into two and put in a stainless steel or cast iron saucepan with sugar and water. Cover and cook over a low heat. As soon as the apple has broken down, beat into a puree, stir and taste for sweetness.

Spiced Cranberries

Serves 10-12

450g (1lb) sugar
225ml (8fl oz) water
125ml (4fl oz) wine vinegar
½ stick cinnamon
1 star anise
6 cloves
5cm (2inch) piece of fresh ginger, peeled, sliced and tied in a muslin bag
1 chilli, split and seeded
450g (1lb) cranberries

Lemon juice

Place the sugar, water, vinegar and spice bag in a non-reactive saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the cranberries and simmer very gently until the cranberries become tender. Some will burst, that’s ok, add a little juice to taste.

Cumberland Sauce

Serves 8-12 approx.

This classic sauce is great with cold ham, turkey, chicken, guinea fowl, game or rough pâtés.

1 orange
1 lemon
225g (8oz) red currant jelly
3-4 tablespns port
a pinch of cayenne pepper
a pinch of ground ginger

With a swivel-top peeler, remove the peel very thinly from the orange and half of the lemon (make sure there is no white pith). Shred into thin julienne strips, cover with cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Strain off the water and discard it, then refresh the peel under cold water. Strain and keep it aside.

Squeeze the juice from the fruit and put it into a stainless steel saucepan with the jelly and spices; allow it to melt down. Then add the peel and port to the sauce. Boil it rapidly for 5-10 minutes.

Test like jam by putting a little blob on a cold saucer. When it cools it should wrinkle slightly.

Cumberland Sauce may be served in a bowl right away or it can be potted up and kept until needed, like jam.

Three good things to go with ice-creams or crepes

Three sweet sauces
Butterscotch Sauce

This irresistible sauce is delicious served with ice-cream or with sticky toffee pudding or crêpes on its own or even better with sliced bananas. It keeps for several weeks stored in a screw top jar in the fridge.

4 ozs (110 g) butter
6 ozs (170 g) dark soft brown Barbados sugar
4 ozs (110 g) granulated sugar
10 ozs (285 g) golden syrup
8 fl ozs (225 ml) cream
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Put the butter, sugars and golden syrup into a heavy-bottomed saucepan and melt gently on a low heat.  Simmer for about 5 minutes, remove from the heat and gradually stir in the cream and the vanilla extract.  Put back on the heat and stir for 2 or 3 minutes until the sauce is absolutely smooth.  Serve hot or cold.

Chocolate Sauce

Serve with ice-cream, crêpes, profiteroles or meringues

2 ozs (55g/2 squares) plain chocolate
1 oz (30g/1 square) unsweetened chocolate
6 fl ozs (175ml) syrup, approx. (see below)
½ to 1 tablespoon Rum or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over simmering water or in a low heat oven. Gradually whisk in the syrup. Flavour with rum or vanilla essence.

Stock Syrup

Makes 28 fl ozs (825 ml)

1 lb (450 g) sugar
1 pint (600 ml) water

To make the stock syrup: Dissolve the sugar in the water and bring to the boil.  Boil for 2 minutes then allow it to cool.  Store in the fridge until needed.

Irish Coffee Sauce

Brilliant with ice-cream, crêpes or chocolate mousse.

8 oz (225 g) sugar
3 fl oz (80 ml) water
8 fl oz (240 ml) strong coffee
1 – 2 tablespoons Irish whiskey

Put the sugar and water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan; stir until the sugar dissolves and the water comes to the boil.  Remove the spoon and do not stir again until the syrup turns a rich golden caramel.  Then add the coffee and put back on the heat to dissolve.  Allow to cool and add the whiskey.

Serve immediately or store in a glass bottle in a cool place – it keeps indefinitely.

Three good things to go with plum puddings and mince pies

Brandy Butter

Serve with plum pudding and mince pies – makes 180ml (6 fl oz)

3ozs (90g) unsalted butter
3ozs (90g) icing sugar
2-6 tablesp. Brandy

Cream the butter until very light, add the icing sugar and beat again. Add the brandy, drop by drop. If you have a food processor, use it: you will get a wonderfully light and fluffy Brandy Butter.

Brandy, Rum or Muscovado butter can be made several weeks before Christmas, store in the fridge

Moscovado Butter

Substitute moscovado sugar in the brandy butter recipe.

Jamaica Rum Butter

Follow the recipe above. Replace with 3 – 4 tablespoons of Jamaica rum.

Three good things to go with cold meats

Spiced Kumquat Relish

Serve with ham, duck, goose or pork.

Makes 1-2 jars, depending on size

340g (12oz) kumquats
300g (10oz) sugar
250ml (8fl oz) white wine vinegar
5cm (2inch) piece of cinnamon stick
8 whole cloves
2 blades of mace

Rinse the kumquats. Slice the kumquats into a stainless steel saucepan.  Cover generously with cold water. Dissolve the sugar in the white wine vinegar in a stainless steel saucepan, add the cinnamon, cloves and mace, and stir until it comes to the boil. Add the sliced kumquats into the vinegar syrup. Simmer until the kumquats look transparent and slightly candied, 10 minutes approx.
Put the fruit in a wide-mouthed sterilized glass jar, pour the boiling syrup over and cover tightly (not with a tin lid).  Label and leave to mature for 3-4 weeks before use.

Rory O’Connell’s Spiced Plums

Delicious served with goose, duck, ham or Pâte de Campagne.

Serves 8 – 10

10 blood plums quartered
450ml (1lb) white sugar
125ml (4 fl oz) white wine vinegar
225ml (8 fl oz) water
1 split chili
1 stick of cinnamon
2.5cm (1 inch) of ginger
4-6 cloves

Put all the ingredients except the plums into a stainless steel saucepan and bring slowly to the boil. Cut the plums into quarters and then cut each piece across into two.  Add to the saucepan and simmer very gently until tender, about 15 minutes.
Stored in a kilner jar or a covered bowl, the cooked plums will keep for several weeks in the fridge.

Three good relishes

Mango and Red Pepper Relish

Great with ham, bacon or vegetable pakoras.

50ml (2 fl ozs) medium sherry
50ml (2 fl ozs) water
50ml (2 fl ozs) white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
½  cinnamon stick
1 star anise
½ teaspoon salt
pinch of ground mace
1 mango, peeled and diced
1 small red pepper, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Put the sherry, water, vinegar, sugar, cinnamon, star anise, salt and mace into a small, heavy bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the mango, pepper, and lemon juice, lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes more. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Spoon into a screw top glass jar and refrigerate until required. Keeps for weeks.

Tomato and Chilli Sauce

Makes 2 to 3 small jars

2 oz (25g) green chillies, deseeded and chopped, or 2-3 depending on size
2 red peppers deseeded and cut in 1/4 inch (2cm) dice.
2 x 14 oz (400g) tin of tomatoes chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon castor sugar
1 tablespoon soft brown sugar
1 tablespoons white wine vinegar
salt and freshly ground pepper
4 tablespoons water

Put the chillies, pepper, tomatoes and garlic into a small stainless steel saucepan with the sugar, vinegar and water.  Season and simmer for 10 minutes until reduced by half.

Tomato and Chilli Jam

Makes: 1 large pot or 2 small pots

In season:

This zingy jam is great with everything from fried eggs to cold meat.  Terrific on a piece of chicken breast or fish or spread on bruschetta with goat’s cheese and rocket leaves.

500g (1lb 2oz) very ripe tomatoes
2-4 red chillies
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
about 2.5cm (1inch) piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
25ml (1 fl oz) fish sauce (Nam Pla)
300g (11 ozs) golden castor sugar
100ml (3 ½ fl oz) red wine vinegar

Peel the tomatoes and chop into 1cm (1/2 inch) dice. Purée the chillies, garlic, ginger and fish sauce in a blender.  Put the purée, sugar and vinegar into a stainless steel saucepan, add the tomatoes and bring to the boil slowly, stirring occasionally.  Cook gently for 30-40 minutes, stirring every now and then to prevent sticking.

When cooked pour into warmed, sterilized glass jars.  Allow to cool and store in the fridge.

Fool Proof Food

This simple sauce is a terrific standby to have in your store cupboard because it keeps for months and is delicious with ice cream and mousses.

Caramel  Sauce

225g (8oz) sugar
85ml (3fl oz) cold water
225ml (8fl oz) hot water

Dissolve the sugar in the cold water over a gentle heat.  Stir until all the sugar has dissolved, then remove the spoon and continue to simmer until the syrup caramelises to a chestnut colour.  If sugar crystals form during cooking, brush down the sides of the pan with a wet brush, but do not stir.  Remove from the heat, pour in the hot water and continue to cook until the caramel dissolves and the sauce is quite smooth.  Allow to get cold.


Hot Tips

Special Christmas Markets
Midleton Farmers Market on Saturday 20th December and Tuesday 23rd December, 2008.
Re-opens on Saturday 10th January 2009.
Mahon Point Farmers Market on Thursday 18th December and Monday 22nd December from 10am to 4pm.
Re-opens Thursday 15th January 2009.
South Aran House
Maria and Enda Conneely run Organic and Wild Café at Fisherman’s Cottage on the Aran Island, Inishere. Their menu incorporates organically produced foods as well as locally caught wild fish. They recently opeAned a guesthouse alongside and are offering some great Christmas breaks that include three traditional dinners in their Organic and Wild Café.
Wisteria Restaurant
This week’s restaurant gem is Wisteria.  In the little village of Cloyne, Colm Falvey always incorporates locally produced food into his menu. Don’t miss the grilled fillet of cod with West Cork Scollops. Better still, come early and stock up with home baked goods from the girls in Cuddigan’s shop around the corner.
Wisteria – 021 465 1444.  Cuddigan’s – 021 4652762
Thrifty Tip

Recycle your used plastic 1 litre milk bottles and get triple the value. Fill the empty bottle to freeze soups and stocks; don’t fill completely to allow for expansion. Cut the top off the bottle ¾ ways up and use as a handy funnel. You can then use the base as a container that is easily stackable.


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