ArchiveDecember 2009

Christmas Leftovers

It’s a very busy time in the kitchen now so don’t forget a big hug for the cook! By now most people will have planned their menu for the festive season. Let’s hope the lesson learned from the excesses of Celtic Tiger era will mean that fewer people will totter out of the supermarket with trolleys piled high as though the shops were never ever to open again. Despite all my good intentions I’m just as guilty as anyone else, I always seem to over estimate what I’ll need and despite the best laid plans, I succumb to spontaneous invitations which are too tempting to resist. The result of changing plans is that my fridge and pantry overflow with the ingredients from cancelled meals. Lots of friends seem to be in a similar situation and there are regular conversations and even outright arguments on the lines of “You are so kind but please please can you come over to our place instead and eat up the remains of the ….” There are unquestionably people in dire straits and actually hungry this Christmas so one can’t help feeling guilty if even a scrap of food is wasted. St Vincent de Paul, Simon, Quaker Penny Dinners…are all delighted to hear from anyone who has food, or clothes or a myriad of other essentials to share.

This Christmas instead of a ham I’ve decided to serve a piece of streaky bacon deliciously glazed with pineapple juice, brown sugar and cloves. I’m also going to make a piece of spiced beef using an inexpensive bit of flank – even more delicious than silverside. A piece of spiced beef keeps for several weeks and its totally delicious cut in thin slivers. Serve it with slices of avocado, Ballymaloe relish and a potato and scallion salad. This recipe has been handed down in Myrtle Allen’s family for generations and is the most delicious I know. The meat is not corned first as in some other recipes just rub the spice into the meat and leave for a couple of days before cooking.

Left over streaky bacon also keeps well but can of course be cut into cubes and added to a delicious Turkey and Ham pie or into a frittata or pasta sauce.

Mincemeat made with suet keeps for months so you needn’t be in too much of a hurry to use it up. It is delicious in bread and butter pudding (uses up stale bread also) or in the base of an open tart with a topping of apple of frangipane, I’ve also added it to muffins and used it to stuff Bramley apples with delicious results.

Left over Brussels sprouts make a delicious fresh tasting soup and even cooked ones provided they weren’t overcooked at the initial stage, make a bubbly gratin when covered with parsley sauce and some freshly grated cheese – a fine accompaniment to liven up some cold turkey or ham.

I love cold duck and goose just in a sandwich but if you have enough make a Red Cabbage with Dried Cranberries, Walnuts and Apple Salad cut the duck or goose into thin slivers, don’t forget to include some of the crispy skin; it’s packed with flavour and a little won’t do you a bit of harm.

The turkey carcase makes the best stock of all so make sure to chop it up and let it bubble away in a pot for a few hours with a few carrots an onion and a stalk or two of celery, the resulting broth is good enough to eat on it’s own, so light and soothing after a series of rich meals. Alternatively use it for soups or stews and of course it freezes perfectly – here I suggest using it in the celery soup if you have a head or two left over after Christmas.

Left over plum pudding, cut into thick slices and cooked gently in a little sizzling butter on a heavy pan is irresistible. Mrs Hanrahan’s sauce keeps for months but you have already mixed it with whipped cream and aren’t planning to eat it minced pies or apple tart, simply freeze it – the result is an irresistible boozy ice cream.

Cranberry sauce will keep but is surprisingly good with chocolate mousse or in a meringue roulade. Finally left over roast potatoes make a tasty roast potato salad tossed with lots of spring onions, parsley and a few dollops of mayonnaise. Every morsel can be used up in a delicious way so enjoy. A very merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year to all our readers.


Winter Celery Soup with Cashel Blue and Toasted Hazelnuts


This soup is delicious served on its own but a little crumbled blue cheese make a delicious addition if you have some to spare.

Serves 8-10

13 lbs (560g) celery, finely chopped

12 ozs (45g) butter

5 ozs (140g) onion, chopped

5 ozs (140g) potatoes, cut into 3 inch (5mm) dice

salt and freshly ground pepper

12 pints (900ml) homemade chicken stock



2 pint (150-300ml) creamy milk


2 tablesp. hazelnuts, skinned, toasted and chopped

2 tablesp. Cashel Blue or Crozier Cheese, crumbled

a few tablesp. whipped cream

sprigs of chervil or flat parsley

Use a potato peeler to remove the strings from the outside stalks of celery.

Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan. When it foams, add the potatoes, onion and celery; toss in the butter until evenly coated. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Cover with a paper lid (to keep in the steam) and the saucepan lid and sweat over a gently heat for 10 minutes approx., until the vegetables are soft but not coloured. Add the chicken stock and simmer until the celery is fully cooked, 10-12 minutes approx. Liquidise the soup, add a little more stock or creamy milk to thin to the required consistency. Taste and correct the seasoning.

Serve the soup piping hot with a little blob of whipped cream on top. Sprinkle with the crumbled Cashel Blue, chopped hazelnuts and a sprig of chervil or flat parsley.

Red Cabbage with Dried Cranberries, Walnuts and Apple


Serves 6

A simple winter salad – so good with cold duck, goose, pork or ham.

450g (1lb) red cabbage

3 Cox’s Orange pippin apples

75g (3oz) dried cranberries

50g (2oz) fresh walnut halves

Small handful of flat parsley leaves

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar e.g. Forum

6 tablespoons walnut oil

1 small teaspoon honey

Salt and freshly ground pepper

First make the dressing. Whisk the vinegar, oil and honey together and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Dice the apple (unpeeled) and toss in a little of the dressing, add the dried cranberries. Quarter the red cabbage and slice across the grain. Put into a large serving bowl, add the diced apple, dried cranberries, flat parsley and some more dressing. Toss gently to coat evenly, add the walnut halves, taste and correct the seasoning. Serve on its own or as an accompaniment to cold duck, goose, pork or ham.


Ballymaloe Spiced Beef


There are lots of recipes for spiced beef, traditionally eaten at Christmas, and many of them corn or brine the beef first. This recipe, which has been handed down in Myrtle Allen’s family, is for dry-spiced beef. Initially, the recipe called for silverside, but I prefer to use flap (also known as flank) a less expensive cut. The recipe also includes saltpetre, which should only be used in moderation. If you can’t find it, just leave it out. The meat will be slightly greyer in colour rather than the rosy pink that comes from the saltpetre cure. The recipe below makes enough spice to cure five flanks of beef, about 1.8kg (4lb) each in size. Spiced beef keeps for immeasurably longer than ordinary cooked or roast beef. Store the spice mix in a screw-top jar. It will keep for months, so make the full quantity even if it is more than you need at a particular time. To serve, cut it into thin slices and serve in sandwiches or with freshly made salads and homemade chutneys.

Serves 12–16

1.8kg (4lb) lean flank of beef

Ballymaloe Spice for Beef

225g (8oz) Demerara sugar

350g (12oz) salt

10g (1⁄2 oz) saltpetre (potassium nitrate) optional

75g (3oz) whole black pepper

75g (3oz) whole allspice (pimento, Jamaica pepper)

75g (3oz) whole juniper berries

Grind all the spice ingredients (preferably in a food-processor) until fairly fine.

Remove the bones from the flank and trim away any unnecessary fat. Rub a little spice well over the surface of the beef and into every crevice. Put into an earthenware dish and leave in a fridge or cold larder for 3–7 days, turning occasionally. (This is a dry spice, but after a day or two some liquid will come out of the meat.) The longer the meat is left in the spice, the more spicy the flavour and the longer it will last.

Just before cooking, remove the spiced beef from the earthenware dish. The salt and sugar will have extracted some liquid. Discard this spice mixture. Roll and tie the joint neatly with cotton string into a compact shape. Put it into a deep saucepan, cover generously with cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for 3–4 hours or until soft and fully cooked. If it is not to be eaten hot, then press the meat by putting it on a flat tin or into an appropriate sized bread tin and covering with a board and weight. Leave it for 12 hours in a fridge or cold larder. Spiced beef will keep for 3–4 weeks in a fridge.


Glazed Streaky Bacon with Cloves and Pineapple


Serves 12-15

4-5 lbs (1.8-2.25 kg) streaky bacon, either smoked or unsmoked

14 ozs (400g) 1 small tin of pineapple -use 3-4 tablespoons approx. of the juice

3/4 lb (340g) brown demerara sugar

whole cloves 20-30 approx.

Cover the bacon in cold water and bring slowly to the boil, if the bacon is very salty there will be a white froth on top of the water, in this case it is preferable to discard this water. It may be necessary to change the water several times depending on how salty the bacon is, finally cover with hot water and simmer until almost cooked, allow 15 minutes approx. to the lb. Remove the rind, cut the fat into a diamond pattern, and stud with cloves. Blend brown sugar to a thick paste with a little pineapple juice, 3-4 tablespoons approx., be careful not to make it too liquid. Spread this over the bacon. Bake in a fully preheated hot oven 250°C/475°F/regulo 9 for 20-30 minutes approx. or until the top has caramelized.

Turkey and Ham 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

2 lbs (900 g) cold turkey meat

1 lb (450 g) cold ham or bacon

1 oz (30 g) butter

1-2 teasp. grated fresh ginger (optional)

12 ozs (340 g) chopped onion

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

1 clove of garlic

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

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1 tablespoon chopped chives

2 teaspoons fresh marjoram or tarragon if available

¼ pint (150 ml) cream

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

2 x 2 pints (1.1 L) capacity pie dishes

Cut the turkey and ham into 1 inch (2.5 cm) approx. pieces. 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.

Mincemeat Muffins


Makes 8


225g (8oz) white flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 level tablespoon) baking powder

140g (5oz) caster sugar or caster sugar and soft dark brown sugar mixed

75g (3oz) butter

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

170ml (6floz) milk

110g (4oz) mincemeat

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 mincemeat 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.

Countdown to Christmas

Cranberry Sauce


Cranberry Sauce is 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 approx.

170 g (6ozs) fresh or frozen cranberries

4 tablespoons (60 ml) water

85 g (3ozs) 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.

Brandy Butter


3ozs (75g) butter

3ozs (75g) icing sugar

2-6 tablespoons brandy

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


Hot tips.

A gift token for a cookery class

make a great pressie, there are so many to choose from. Paul Flynn at the Tannery in Dungarvan, Co Waterford 353 (0)58 45420 . Carmel Somers of Good Things Café in Durrus Tel: 00 353 27 61426, as well as Catherine Fulvio of Ballyknocken House in Co Wicklow or Linda Booth of Dublin Cookery School Tel: (01) 2100 555, (the latter are both past 12 Week Certificate Students) Ballymaloe Cookery School new seasons brochure is now available also with lots of temptations. The afternoon cookery demonstrations are open to the public. 021 4646785

Fans of Café Paradiso will be thrilled to know that the restaurant will be in full swing again from Sunday 20th December after extensive repairs following flood damage. Telephone 021 4277939 or

Urru in Bandon has also bounced back. Ruth Healy has many temptations for foodie friends 023 8854731 as has Claire Nash, the dynamo behind Nash 19, I particularly love their Confit of Fig 021 4270880.


Good Things with Carmel Somers

Carmel Somers, owner of the iconic Good Things café in Durrus developed her love and appreciation of good food in her childhood ‘while surrounded by lavish roast dinners, meticulous baking and too much butter’ In her late teens she was tossing around trying to decide which direction to follow so on a friend’s suggestion, she decided to flex her wings and head to Paris, the source of so many gastronomique delights. There she met and trained with John Desmond who now owns the Island Cottage Restaurant on Heir Island off Baltimore in West Cork. She soaked up all that Paris had to offer; bistros, brasseries, food markets, and worked her socks off at Lous Landes.

Stints in several of UK’s top kitchens followed; Whites, Markwich’s, Bibendum and Sally Clarke’s lovely restaurant in Kensington Street in London. In 2001Carmel decided it was time for a change so she packed up her possessions and moved to Ireland with her young daughters. Soon the Good Things Café whose name is taken from Jane Grigson’s beautifully written classic cook book ‘Good Things, published by Penguin.

Carmel originally envisioned a small café cum deli but the business quickly developed into a much loved summer restaurant and cookery school. Carmel’s food is stylish and simple based on the beautiful fresh ingredients produced all around her in West Cork. The organic salad leaves come from Clovisse & Ferguson who has created a Garden of Eden at Gubeen near Schull. The fish comes from local fishermen, the meat from traditional butchers McCarthy’s in Bantry and O’Flynn’s in Cork. Butter is from Glenilen in Drimoleague and fresh berries from Shirley Hosford,

(last year she supplied 82 kilograms of gooseberries in just two of the summer months) West Cork has a myriad of wonderful farmhouse cheeses, the most local being Jaffa Gill’s washed rind Durrus. The latter is the star ingredient in one of Good Things most frequently ordered dishes Durrus Cheese, Spinach and Nutmeg pizza.

Well after eight hectic years Carmel has written her first book aptly named Eat Good Things Every Day. Fans will be thrilled to find that all 90 recipes are typical of the type of food served at the Good Things café and the food that Carmel has been feeding her own children over the years. Carmel is quite rightly passionate about the importance of feeding our children well for optimum health and energy. She invited one of her great heroes, Myrtle Allen to launch her cookbook—Myrtle 85, going on 18, recalled in her childhood (pre penicillin) all parents’ priority was to feed the children, like ‘fighting cocks’ so they would have a healthy immune system to resist disease, no bottles of vitamins or minerals in those days—your food had to be your medicine—a valuable lesson to absorb and still as vital and relevant today. Some of the recipes can be cooked in advance to have as a standby in your freezer.

To make it easier to cook food from readily available seasonal produce, there are four weeks of summer recipes and four weeks of winter recipes. All recipes are designed for the busy person who wants to eat well; week-day recipes are short and easy to prepare with lots of helpful tips and ideas to vary the dishes for another time. Each menu is balanced between meat, fish and vegetarian recipes and are also suitable for when you have friends around without spending too much time in the kitchen. Each week has a simple soup and a dessert, if you feel like a treat. This food which is fresh and light, using no flour and just a little dairy, with a hint of spice here and there to brighten up our good basic ingredients. Some of the dishes use those forgotten cuts of meat that are easier on the pocket but no less flavoursome.

Eat Good Things Everyday is published by Atrium – Cork University Press.

Here are some delicious recipes for you to try from the book…

Red Lentil Stew (Dhal)

I do find lentil stews heavy going and boring, but a Dhal I can eat every day, even cold from the fridge.

250g red lentils

Olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1tbsp coriander seeds, ground

1tsp cumin seeds, ground

1⁄2tsp fennel seeds, ground

1⁄2tsp chilli powder, or to your taste

1tsp turmeric

4 cloves of garlic, chopped

A strip of cinnamon

1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes

1⁄2 bunch coriander leaves, if you can find some

Salt and pepper

2tbsp vinegar

Put the lentils in a pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and cook until soft, about 15–20 minutes. Drain. They will now look like thick porridge. While the lentils are cooking, warm a saucepan, add some olive oil and cook the onions first on a medium heat for a couple of minutes, then lower the heat for a further five minutes. Add the spices, mix well and cook for another minute. Add the garlic, vinegar and the cooked lentils. Add the strip of cinnamon. Next add the tomatoes, bring to the boil, turn down to simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if necessary and scatter coriander leaves on top.

Braised Green Peas

50ml (3tbsp) olive oil

750g frozen peas


Warm a heavy-based casserole (with a lid). Add the olive oil and tip in the peas. Toss well in the oil and season with salt. Turn the heat to low, place the lid on top and leave the peas to braise for about 15 minutes.

Durrus Cheese, Spinach and Nutmeg Pizza

This is our most popular lunch dish at Good Things and the idea came about when all I had was a bag of spinach and an old Durrus cheese. Makes two large pizzas, enough for four people.

1 recipe of pizza dough (if you manage to roll the dough very thin, you will have extra for another day)

4–5 large handfuls of roughly chopped spinach, stalks removed

salt, pepper and lots of freshly grated nutmeg

12 thin slices Durrus cheese (about 200g) with rind removed

Olive oil

Handful of fine brown flour for rolling

Heat the oven to its hottest temperature and heat two flat baking trays with no sides. This is essential for a crispy base. Divide the pizza dough in half and roll each piece very thinly, using the fine flour to dust the worktop. Place on the hot baking tray and top with the spinach. Season with salt, pepper and grated nutmeg. Arrange the slices of cheese on top. Drizzle with olive oil and bake in the hot oven for 8 to 10 minutes until the base is golden and crispy and the cheese has melted.


Instead of spinach you can use Swiss chard, beetroot tops or seabeet. If you cannot get Durrus cheese, use a strong semi-soft cheese, preferably unpasteurised, as the flavour is better for cooking.

Oxtail with Wholegrain Mustard

I had to include this recipe as it is so simple with amazing results. Don’t be put off by the tail; you are in for a real treat. This is another dish that improves when cooked at least a day in advance. Don’t forget to pick up the bones and have a good chew!

Olive oil

2 oxtails, chopped

Salt and pepper

2–3 large onions, sliced

3 bay leaves

200ml white wine

2tbsp wholegrain mustard

400ml double cream

Preheat the oven to 150Ëš/Gas 2.

Heat a shallow pan with a lid and in the meantime season the oxtail well with salt and pepper. When the pan is very hot, add a good splash of olive oil and start browning the oxtail. You will have to do this in about three batches, transferring the meat to a plate as you go. Add another drop of oil to the pan and soften the onions for a few minutes, as they clean the pan. Place the oxtail on top of the onions, add the bay leaves and pour in the wine. Bring to the boil and let simmer for a minute. Cover with a disc of greaseproof paper followed by the lid. Cook in the oven for at least two hours, maybe three, or until the meat is leaving the bone. Remove from the oven. Transfer the oxtail to a plate. Place the pot on a medium flame and add the mustard and cream. Mix well and let simmer for four or five minutes. Return the oxtail to the pan, coat well in the mustardy cream sauce and simmer for a further five minutes. Serve with mashed or boiled potatoes.


If making in advance – remove from the oven, cool down and keep in the fridge. When needed, bring the cream and mustard to the boil, add to the oxtail, simmer for 15 minutes on a low heat and serve.

Stolen Cuban Dish

Olive oil

2 very ripe bananas

4–8 eggs

500g cooked rice

400g homemade tomato sauce

Cook the rice and the tomato sauce or reheat if you have them already made. Heat a frying pan and add some olive oil, cut the bananas in four lengthways and fry quickly on both sides until nicely brown. Remove from the pan and keep warm on a plate over the rice or sauce. In the same frying pan add a little more olive oil and fry the eggs to your liking – nice runny eggs work well here. On a large serving plate layer the dish, starting first with the rice, followed by the tomato sauce and topped with the fried eggs. Finally arrange the bananas around the dish.


Every student should know about this dish before they leave home. You can use up the unwanted brown bananas at the bottom of the fruit bowl.

Baked Sweet Potatoes with Chilli and Lime Butter

4 large sweet potatoes

A medium-sized red chilli pepper or a dried chilli soaked in boiling water for 5 minutes

Juice of a lime

100g butter, very soft

A small handful of coriander leaves

Heat the oven to its hottest; this should take about 10 to 15 minutes. Sweet potatoes tend to leak a sugary juice when they are baked, so put a tray on the bottom of the oven to catch the juices and bake the potatoes on the oven rack for about an hour. Meanwhile, chop the chilli finely. Put the chopped chilli, lime juice and butter together in a bowl and mix well with your hands. Split the cooked potato in half, stuff with the chilli butter and eat while hot.


Try this with the lentil salad instead of a regular potato. If the chilli is too hot for you, remove the seeds.

Coconut Chicken with Spices and Herbs

1tsp cumin seeds

1tsp coriander seeds

4 cardamom pods (optional)

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 celery stick, finely chopped

Thumb size of grated ginger

4 cloves of garlic

2 limes – one for zest and juice, the other for serving

1 chilli, finely chopped, or use a dried chilli that has been soaked in boiling water

A big bunch of coriander (or parsley); separate the stalks from the leaves and chop the stalks finely

Salt and pepper

400ml tin of coconut milk

Coriander or parsley leaves, lightly chopped

400g (or as near as possible) chicken picked from the leftover roast chicken

1 bunch of spring onions, finely chopped (optional)

500g cooked rice Wok, saucepan, or big frying pan

Heat the wok and toast the cumin, coriander and cardamom for a couple of minutes. Next add a little oil to the toasted spices and add the onions, celery, ginger, lime zest, chilli and herb stalks, season with salt and pepper and soften over a low heat for about five minutes. You might need a little more oil but make sure you do not brown the vegetables Add the coconut milk, bring to the boil and let it simmer for a few minutes. Finally add the chicken and let it warm through without letting it boil. Add the lime juice and sprinkle the top with the chopped coriander leaves and spring onions. Reheat the rice by heating a pan to very hot and adding a drop of oil to coat the bottom. Stirfry the rice until very hot. Serve with segments of lime.


This is a great way to use up bits of odd vegetables that are hanging around in your fridge. To bulk it out, add a bag of frozen spinach (defrosted) towards the end or serve spinach separately with a good squeeze of lemon juice.

If you get to shop at an Asian supermarket, you can buy lots of nice things to add to this dish. Lime leaves, lemon grass, Thai fish sauce, shrimp paste and big bunches of fresh herbs.

Continuing our Countdown to Christmas

A Gorgeous Christmas Cake Suitable for Coeliacs

A particularly moist and delicious cake which has the added bonus of being gluten free – it keeps brilliantly.

Serves 8 – 10

3 large or 4 smaller clementines, mandarins or Satsumas

225g (8 oz) butter at room temp

150g (5 oz) raisins

75g (3 oz) currants

110g (4 oz) real glace cherries

2 tablespoons whiskey or brandy

225g (8oz) soft dark brown sugar

3 organic eggs

1 teaspoon mixed spice

small pinch ground cloves

150g (5 oz) ground almonds

110g (4 oz) polenta or cornmeal

1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder


225g (8oz) marzipan

12 oz gluten free icing sugar

2 tablespoons water

diamonds of candied peel

dried cranberries


toasted almonds

1 x 20cm

Put the citrus fruit into a stainless steel saucepan, cover with cold water bring to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes to one hour or until tender. Drain off the water and allow to cool.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/ 350°F/ Mark 4/ moderate. Put the dried fruit and quartered cherries in a bowl. Cut the citrus fruit in half, discard the pips, whizz for a few seconds in a food processor or chop coarsely, add the whiskey or brandy, stir and pour over the dried fruit cream, the soft butter add the dark soft brown sugar and beat until soft and pale, add the eggs one by one, beating well between each addition, stir in the ground almonds, polenta, baking powder and spices. Finally add the fruit and fold in gently but thoroughly. Pour into the tin and smooth the top with a wet spoon.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes then reduce the heat to 140°C/ 275°F/ Mark 1 for a further 40 or 50 minutes or until fully cooked. You could loosely cover the top of the cake with a sheet of parchment for the final 20 minutes to prevent it from burning. Allow to cool before turning out of the tin.

Icing the cake

Sieve the icing sugar into a bowl, add the water and mix to a stiffish icing. Pour into the centre of the cake, it will spread to the edges and drip appetizingly down the sides, Decorate with diamonds of angelica, candied peel, dried cranberries and toasted almonds. every Friday, Saturday and Sunday until Sunday 20th December 2009 on Grand Parade in the city centre from 12 noon until 8:00 pm. Local artisanal food and local crafts. When you are doing your Christmas shopping, stop in for some hot mulled apple juice and mince pies. You’ll find some interesting gift ideas with delicious handmade food. Contact JC Collery 0866055023


Christmas in Cork Market

The Crescent Farmers Market in Limerick

now has even more stalls for you to do your food shopping. Caroline Rigney sells her award winning Curraghchase pork products, try her excellent white pudding 087 2834754. Colette O’Farrell of Natures Bounty Preserves, makes jams, preserves and chutneys from home grown and foraged fruits 086 3936768. For more information about the Farmers Market contact Gareth Granville 0868069605.

An Cruibin and the Silk Purse restaurant

serve really good authentic locally produced food with a continental twist. Try their delicious tapas and the atmosphere is wonderful. Open Thursday, Friday and Saturday. 021 4310071

Congratulations to Midleton and Mahon Point Farmers Markets for details of the 26 markets around the country who have been awarded this special seal of approval

both of which have been awarded the Bord Bia Good Practice Standard initiated by Minister Trevor Sargent. Visit

Book Signing – December 5th

Darina will be signing copies of her new Book ‘Forgotten Skills of Cooking’ on Saturday December 5th from 1pm if you are in the area.  Darina’s new book has over 700 recipes using all the traditional methods and flavours.


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