Christmas Traditional Dinner

Christmas TurkeyPhotographer: Jorg Koster
Christmas TurkeyPhotographer: Jorg Koster

It seems like most of our readers are total traditionalist because the requests have come flooding in for recipes for a time honoured Christmas dinner. Well here we are.

As well as the traditional roast turkey bolstered up with lots of our best loved fresh herb stuffing and all the trimmings, I’ve included a goose with our favourite potato stuffing, lots of gravy and tons of roast potatoes cooked in the goose fat – you’ll need to do twice the amount as they are so crunchy and irresistible. Slow cooked red cabbage will complement the goose deliciously but so too would a dish of cauliflower cheese or creamed celery – a bit 70s but so delicious.

Don’t forget to make a bowl of Bramley apple sauce – all of these vegetables, sauces, herb stuffings can be made ahead to lighten the pressure and work load on Christmas day. Brining the turkey also makes a phenomenal difference to the flavour, (see recipe).

Many families have a favourite starter. We love native Irish oysters as a starter on Christmas day. But I can well understand that they don’t tick everyone’s box.  So how about another timeless favourite,  Grape, Melon and Mint. It’s light and refreshing and loved by everyone from toddlers to aged great aunts.

A green salad is essential after a rich meal. It has the magic potential to make you feel less full so you have room for pudding.

Make it with organic leaves for extra deliciousness and a few foraged greens, a subject for lively conversation.

There’s lots of navelwort or pennywort, wintercress, wood sorrel and watercress in season at present, these little gems are available in the urban areas as well as the countryside.

Christmas Desserts are easy, hopefully you have already make a juicy plum pudding, but if you haven’t managed to get to it,  it’s still not too late to whip it up.  Alternatively, there are still some available – Peter Ward of Country Choice in Nenagh, Co Tipperary, make some of the best one I know and people are also talking about Clare Nash’s puddings…..

We also love to have a trifle, this too actually benefits from being made ahead but wait until Christmas morning to add the final embellishment of cream, cherries, angelica, hundreds and thousands, silver and gold baubles.

A citrus fruit salad would also be an inspired idea, if not for Christmas day certainly on St Stephen’s Day or Boxing Day when despite you’re good intentions you’re probably be feeling a touch bloated.

Either way, have lots of clementines, mandarins, satsumas and walnuts in stock for nibbling.

Leftovers are my absolute favourite, so hopefully there will be some tasty morsels to provide, an opportunity to make some delicious dishes.

Don’t forget a make a turkey stock with the carcass and giblets, it makes the very best broth and basis for warming soups, sauces and stews. We love this turkey broth with orzo, pea and spring onion. There a ton of ways to use up morsels of turkey, ham and goose, that’s if there’s anything left in the carcass after the family have tucked into turkey sandwiches on Christmas evening.

Boxing Day pie is a winner but the mixture can be also be piled into popovers or pastry cases to make yummy bites.

The revised edition of A Simply Delicious Christmas, published by Gill and Macmillan to celebrate it’s 25th anniversary is choc a bloc with traditional  and alternative recipes.


Hot Tips

Watch out for RTE’s Christmas cookery programme s.  My brother Rory O’ Connell  and I have just shot two programmes, first of will be shown on Tuesday December 22nd 2015.

Glebe Gardens in Baltimore, West Cork have an enticing range of Christmas gift vouchers and hamper delights, the website is worth a browse

Friday Night at The Granary Foodstore in Midleton 4th, 11th and 18th December 2015. Casual and family friendly evening menu, the perfect venue for a relaxed bite to eat after the Christmas shopping.  The Granary also has a tempting array of Christmas cakes, Chocolate Biscuit Christmas Pudding, gluten free Christmas cakes and mince pies, hampers…….

Tel: 021 4613366 or email


Everyone around here is looking forward to the East Cork Christmas Market at Garryvoe Hotel on Sunday December 13th from 11.30am-4.30pm.  Delicious Christmas treats, order your Christmas poultry, baking, handmade crafts for the Christmas stocking, face painting and fun for the children. Admission by voluntary donation with proceeds to Cancer Care Support

O’ Connell’s Restaurant in Donnybrook, Dublin have the iconic O’ Connell Sherry Trifle back this year. A perfect gift for trifle devotees.  Available in three sizes. The trifle comes in a glass bowl, topped with berries, gift wrapped and ready to serve. Tel: 01 269 6116 or


Old-fashioned Roast Turkey with Fresh Herb Stuffing, Cranberry Sauce and Bread Sauce

Serves 10-12


Brining the turkey ahead is so worthwhile. It adds immeasurably to the flavour, wrapping it in muslin means you don’t need to baste it during cooking. We are finding a turkey that has previously been brind is taking a little less time to cook.

This is my favourite roast stuffed turkey recipe. You may think the stuffing seems dull because it doesn’t include exotic-sounding ingredients like chestnuts and spiced sausage meat, but in fact it is moist and full of the flavour of fresh herbs and the turkey juices.  Cook a chicken in exactly the same way but use one-quarter of the stuffing quantity given.


(4.5-5.4kg) 1 x 10-12lb, free-range and organic, turkey with neck and giblets



6 litres (10 1/2 pints) water

600g (1 1/4lb) salt


Fresh Herb Stuffing

175g (6oz/3/4 stick) butter

350g (12oz) chopped onions

400-500g (14-16ozs) approx. soft breadcrumbs (check that the bread is non GM) (or approximately 1lb 4oz of gluten-free breadcrumbs)

50g (2oz) freshly chopped herbs eg. parsley, thyme, chives, marjoram, savoury, lemon balm

salt and freshly ground pepper



neck, gizzard, heart, wishbone and wingtips of turkey

2 sliced carrots

2 sliced onions

1 stick celery

Bouquet garni

3 or 4 peppercorns


For basting the turkey

225g (8ozs/2 sticks) butter

large square of muslin (optional)

Cranberry Sauce (see recipe)

Bread Sauce (see recipe)



large sprigs of fresh parsley or watercress


Frist brine the turkey overnight, not essential but it makes for moist, tender and flavourful eat.

*Add the salt to the water and stir to dissolve.  Put the turkey crown into a clean stainless steel saucepan, plastic bucket or tin.   Cover with the brine and a lid and chill for 24 hours.  Drain and dry well.  This is of course optional, but it hugely enhances the flavour of the turkey.

Remove the wishbone from the neck end of the turkey, for ease of carving later. Make a turkey stock by covering with cold water the neck, gizzard, heart, wishbone, wingtips, vegetables and bouquet garni. (Keep the liver for smooth turkey liver pate).  Bring to the boil and simmer while the turkey is being prepared and cooked, 3 hours approx.

To make the fresh herb stuffing: Sweat the onions gently in the butter until soft, for 10 minutes approx., then stir in the crumbs, herbs and a little salt and pepper to taste.  Allow it to get quite cold.  If necessary wash and dry the cavity of the bird, then season and half-fill with cold stuffing.  Put the remainder of the stuffing into the crop at the neck end.

Weigh the turkey and calculate the cooking time. Allow 15 minutes approx. per lb and 15 minutes over. Melt the butter and soak a large piece of good quality muslin in the melted butter; cover the turkey completely with the muslin and roast in a preheated moderate oven, 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4, for 2 3/4-3 1/4 hours.  There is no need to baste it because of the butter-soaked muslin.  The turkey browns beautifully, but if you like it even browner, remove the muslin 10 minutes before the end of the cooking time.  Alternatively, smear the breast, legs and crop well with soft butter, and season with salt and freshly ground pepper.  If the turkey is not covered with butter-soaked muslin then it is a good idea to cover the whole dish with tin foil.  However, your turkey will then be semi-steamed, not roasted in the traditional sense of the word.

The turkey is cooked when the juices run clear.

To test, prick the thickest part at the base of the thigh and examine the juices: they should be clear.  Remove the turkey to a carving dish, keep it warm and allow it to rest while you make the gravy.   .

The turkey is done when the juices run clear. To test, prick the thickest part at the base of the thigh and examine the juices, they should be clear. Remove the turkey to a carving dish, keep it warm and allow it to rest while you make the gravy.

To make the gravy: Spoon off the surplus fat from the roasting pan. De-glaze the pan juices with fat free stock from the giblets and bones. Using a whisk, stir and scrape well to dissolve the caramelised meat juices from the roasting pan. Boil it up well, season and thicken with a little roux if you like. Taste and correct the seasoning. Serve in a hot gravy boat.

If possible, present the turkey on your largest serving dish, surrounded by crispy roast potatoes, and garnished with large sprigs of parsley or watercress and maybe a sprig of holly. Make sure no one eats the berries.

Serve with Cranberry Sauce and Bread Sauce


Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Sauce is also delicious served with roast turkey, game and some rough pâtés and terrines. We enjoy this simple Cranberry Sauce best.  It will keep in your fridge for several weeks.  It is also great with white chocolate mousse, as a filling for a meringue roulade.

Serves 6 approximately


175g (6oz) fresh or frozen cranberries

4 tablespoons (60 ml) water

75g (3oz) granulated sugar


Put the fresh cranberries in a heavy-based stainless steel or cast-iron saucepan with the water – don’t add the sugar yet as it tends to toughen the skins.  Bring them to the boil, cover and simmer until the cranberries pop and soften, about 7 minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar until dissolved.

Serve warm or cold.


Note: Fresh cranberries keep for weeks on end but also freeze perfectly.

Note:  It should be soft and juicy, add a little warm water if it has accidently over cooked.


Bread Sauce

I love Bread Sauce but if I hadn’t been reared on it I might never have tried it – the recipe sounds so dull!  Serve with roast chicken, turkey and guinea fowl.




600ml (1 pint/2 1/2 cups) whole milk

75-110g (3 – 4oz) soft white breadcrumbs

2 medium onions, each stuck with 6 cloves

35 – 50g (1 1/2 – 2oz) butter

salt and freshly ground pepper

75-110ml (3-4 fl oz/scant 1/2 cup – 1/2 cup) thick cream

2 good pinches of ground cloves or quatre epices


Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3.

Bring to the boil in a small, deep saucepan all the ingredients except the cream. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Transfer to the preheated oven and cook for 30 minutes. Remove the onion and add the cream just before serving. Correct the seasoning and add a little more milk if the sauce is too thick. Serve hot.

Note: The bread sauce will keep in the fridge for several days – the remainder can be reheated gently – you may need to use a little more milk.

Quatre Epices is a French spice product made of equal amounts of ground white pepper, cloves, nutmeg and ginger.


Traditional Roast Goose with Potato Stuffing and Bramley Apple Sauce


Roast Goose with Potato Stuffing is almost my favourite winter meal.  However, a word of warning.  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/1/4 stick) butter

450g (1 lb/4 cups) chopped onions

450g (1 lb) cooking apples e.g. Brambley Seedling, peeled and chopped

1 fl oz (25ml/1/8 cup) 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


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 sauteeing 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 a 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.


Rose Geranium and Bramley Apple Sauce

1lb (450g) cooking apples, (Brambley Seedling)

1-2 dessertsp. (2-4 American teasp) water

2oz (55g/â…“ cup) sugar approx. depending on tartness of the apples

2-4 rose geranium leaves

Peel, quarter and core the apples, cut pieces in two and put in a stainless steel or cast iron saucepan with the sugar, water and rose geranium leaves.  Cover and put over a low heat.  As soon as the apple has broken down, stir and taste for sweetness.  Serve warm with the duck, goose or roast pork.


Turkey, Orzo, Pea and Spring Onion Broth

This broth can be the basis of a flavoursome light soup to use up delicious morsels of cooked poultry.

Serves 6


1 litre (1 ¾ pints)well-flavoured turkey, chicken or pheasant stock

pinch of chilli flakes (optional)

50g (2oz) orzo pasta

2 tender stalks celery, finely sliced at an angle

150 – 175g (5 – 6 oz) shredded cooked turkey, chicken or pheasant

110g (4oz) frozen peas

4 – 6 spring onions, sliced at an angle

lots of fresh coriander and/or fresh mint


Bring the stock to the boil; add the orzo, celery and chilli flakes. Cook for approximately 10 minutes or until the pasta is just cooked, add the peas and shredded turkey. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes, correct the seasoning. Ladle into soup bowls, sprinkle with lots of spring onion and fresh coriander and/or mint.


St Stephen’s or Boxing Day Pie 

Try to keep some left-over turkey and ham for this delicious pie – it’s the most scrumptious way to use up left-overs and can be topped with fluffy mashed potatoes or a puff pastry lid.

Serves 12


900 g (2lbs) cooked organic or free-range turkey, white and brown meat and crispy skin

450 g (1lb) cooked ham or bacon

30 g (1oz) butter

1-2 teasp. grated fresh ginger (optional)

340 g (12oz) chopped onion

225 g (8oz) flat mushrooms or button if flats are not available

1 clove of garlic – crushed

900 ml (30 fl.oz) well flavoured turkey stock or 568ml (20 fl oz) stock and 300 ml/10 fl.oz) turkey gravy

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1 tablespoon chopped chives

2 teaspoons fresh marjoram or tarragon if available

150 ml (¼ pint) cream

450 g (1lb) puff or flaky pastry or 900g (2lb) Duchesse or mashed Potato

2 x 1.1 L/2 pint) capacity pie dishes with a lip.


Cut the turkey and ham into 1 inch (2.5 cm) approx. pieces and shred the crispy skin.  Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan, add the chopped onions and ginger if using, cover and sweat for about 10 minutes until they are soft but not coloured.  Meanwhile wash and slice the mushrooms.  When the onions are soft, stir in the garlic and remove to a plate.  Increase the heat and cook the sliced mushrooms, a few at a time.  Season with salt and freshly-ground pepper and add to the onions and garlic.  Toss the cold turkey and ham in the hot saucepan, using a little extra butter if necessary; add to the mushrooms and onion.  De-glaze the saucepan with the turkey stock.  Add the cream and chopped herbs.  Bring it to the boil, thicken with roux, add the meat, mushrooms and onions and simmer for 5 minutes.  Taste and correct the seasoning.

Fill into the pie dishes, and pipe rosettes of potato all over the top.  Bake in a moderate oven, 190C/375F/regulo 5, for 15-20 minutes or until the potato is golden and the pie is bubbling.

Alternatively, if you would like to have a pastry crust, allow the filling to get quite cold.  Roll out the pastry to about 1/8-inch (3 mm) thickness, then cut a strip from around the edge the same width as the lip of the pie dish.  Brush the edge of the dish with water and press the strip of pastry firmly down onto it; wet the top of the strip again.  Cut the pastry into an oval just slightly larger than the pie dish.  Press this down onto the wet border, flute the edges of the pastry with a knife and then scallop them at 1 inch (2.5 cm) approx. intervals.  Roll out the trimmings and cut into leaves to decorate the top.  Make a hole in the centre to allow the steam to escape while cooking.

Brush with egg wash and bake in a preheated oven, 250C/475F/regulo 9, for 10 minutes; then turn the heat down to moderate, 180C/350F/regulo 4, for 20-25 minutes or until the pastry is cooked through and the pie is bubbling.

Serve with a good green salad.

Turkey and Ham Frittata

Serves 6-8

My eternal standby.

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.  One could substitute grated mature cheddar but Gruyére and Parmesan give you more ‘bang for your buck’ and all sorts of tasty bits from the fridge, smoked salmon, mackerel, chorizo, bacon or ham……..


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 (2 American tablespoons + 2 teaspoons) parsley, chopped

2 teaspoons thyme leaves

25g (1oz/1/4 stick) butter

2 tablespoons (2 American tablespoons + 2 teaspoons) basil or marjoram chopped


To Serve

Rocket leaves

Tomato and Coriander Salsa (see recipe)


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

Whisk the eggs in a bowl, add the salt, freshly ground pepper, fresh herbs, diced ham 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.

Preheat a grill. Pop the pan under the grill for 1 minute to set but not brown the surface.  Alternatively after an initial 3 or 4 minutes on the stove one can transfer the pan to a preheated oven 170ºC/325ºF/gas mark 3 until just set 15-20 minutes.

Slide a palette knife under the frittata to free it from the pan. Slide onto a warm plate.

Serve cut in wedges, arrange some rocket leaves on top of the frittata and top with a blob of tomato and coriander salsa or alternatively you can serve with a good green salad and perhaps a tomato salad.


Ham & Cheese Frittata

Add 225g (8oz) diced cooked ham or bacon or a mixture of cold turkey and ham to the frittata and cook as above.


Darina Allen's Traditional Sherry Trifle
Darina Allen’s Traditional Sherry Trifle

Mum’s Traditional Irish Sherry Trifle

Trifle was a Christmas tradition at our house and was served in a special “cut glass” bowl kept especially for the purpose.  Our mother Elizabeth O’Connell’s trifle was legendary, she made huge bowls of trifle at Christmas, with trifle sponges, (later she used sponge cakes when they were unavailable), home-made raspberry jam and custard, and lots and lots of good sweet sherry.   She had to become more and more inventive about hiding places, because the boys would search high and low to find it when they arrived in from a night out on the town.  Eventually she hid it in her wardrobe to keep it intact for Christmas Day.

This is now a favourite item on my brother Tom O’Connell’s dessert menu at O’Connell’s in Donnybrook.


Serves 8-10


450g (1lb) approx. homemade sponge cake or trifle sponges (see recipe)

(trifle sponges are lighter so you will need less)

225g (8oz) homemade raspberry jam

600ml (1 pint) custard made with:

5 eggs, organic and free-range if possible

1 1/4 tablespoons castor sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

750ml (1¼ pint) rich milk

150-175ml 5-6 fl.oz) best quality sweet or medium sherry

– don’t spare the sherry and don’t waste your time with cooking sherry.



600ml (1 pint) whipped cream

8 cherries or crystallised violets

8 diamonds of angelica

a few toasted flaked almonds


1 x 1.7 litre (3 pint) 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 2cm (3/4 inch) slices and use these to line the bottom of a 1.7 litre (3 pint) 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.


For a posher version, line the glass bowl with slices of swiss roll.


Great Grandmother’s Butter Sponge

A buttery sponge cake was standard fare to serve with afternoon tea at my Grandmother’s house in Donoghmore, Co. Kilkenny and a great many other Irish houses also. When it was taken out of the oven of the Aga it was cooled on a wire rack by the window in the back kitchen. Thick yellow cream spooned off the top of the milk in the dairy was whipped and as soon as the cake was cool it was sandwiched together with homemade jam made from the raspberries picked at the top of the haggard.  This is the best sponge cake you’ll ever taste.


175g (6oz) flour

175g (6oz) castor sugar

3 eggs, organic and free-range

125g (4½ oz) butter

1 tablespoon milk

5g (1 teaspoon) baking powder



110g (4oz) homemade raspberry jam

300ml (10 fl.oz) whipped cream

castor sugar to sprinkle

2 x 18cm (7 inch) sponge cake tins


Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5.

Grease the tine with melted butter, dust with flour and line the base of each with a round of greaseproof paper. Cream the butter and gradually add the castor sugar, beat until soft and light and quite pale in colour. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well between each addition. (If the butter and sugar are not creamed properly and if you add the eggs too fast, the mixture will curdle, resulting in a cake with a heavier texture). Sieve the flour and baking powder and stir in gradually. Mix all together lightly and add 1 tablespoon of milk to moisten.

Divide the mixture evenly between the 2 tins, hollowing it slightly in the centre. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until cooked – the cake will shrink-in slightly from the edge of the tin when it is cooked, the centre should feel exactly the same texture as the edge.  Alternatively a skewer should come out clean when put into the centre of the cake. Turn out onto a wire tray and allow to cool.

Sandwich the two bases together with homemade raspberry jam and whipped cream. Sprinkle with sieved castor sugar. Serve on an old fashioned plate with a doyley.


Raspberry Jam

Makes 3 x 450g (1lb) pots

Raspberry jam is the easiest and quickest of all jams to make, and one of the most delicious.  Loganberries, Boysenberries or Tayberries may also be used in this recipe.


900g (2lb) fresh raspberries

900g (2lb) white sugar (use 110g/4oz) less if fruit is very sweet)


Wash, dry and sterilise the jars in a moderate oven 180°C/350°F/regulo 4, for 15 minutes. Heat the sugar in a moderate oven for 5-10 minutes.

Put the raspberries into a wide stainless steel saucepan and cook for 3-4 minutes until the juice begins to run, then add the hot sugar and stir over a gentle heat until fully dissolved. Increase the heat and boil steadily for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Test for a set by putting about a teaspoon of jam on a cold plate, leaving it for a few minutes in a cool place. It should wrinkle when pressed with a finger. Remove from the heat immediately. Skim and pour into sterilised jam jars. Cover immediately.

Hide the jam in a cool place or else put on a shelf in your kitchen so you can feel great every time you look at it! Anyway, it will be so delicious it won’t last long


Turkey, Ham and Mushroom Popovers

This is little gem of a recipe is an excellent standby, it can be made in seconds, the ingredients are inexpensive, sweet or savoury fillings work.


For 14 popovers


4 ozs (110g/1 cup) flour

2 eggs

10 fl ozs (1/2 pint/300ml/1 1/4 cups) milk

1/2 ozs (15g/1/8 stick) butter, melted



See Boxing Day Pie recipe

Parsley sprigs


Sift the flour into a bowl, make a well in the centre of the flour, drop in eggs.  Using a small whisk or wooden spoon, stir continuously, gradually drawing in flour from the sides and, add the milk in a steady stream at the same time.  When all the flour has been mixed in, whisk in the remainder of the milk and cool melted butter.  Allow to stand for one hour.  Grease Hot Deep Patty Tins with pure beef dripping or oil and fill half full.  Bake in a hot oven 230°C/450°F/regulo 8, for 20 minutes approx.

Remove from the tins.  Cool, fill with hot turkey, ham and mushroom filling. Pop a sprig of flat parsley on top of each one and serve ASAP.

Cheese Popovers: Add 2 ozs (50g) grated Cheddar cheese and 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard and a good pinch of salt to the mixture, season well and proceed as above

About the author

Darina Allen
By Darina Allen


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