A Special Christmas Lunch

editorial image
Here’s a fantastic Christmas lunch receipe from Edward Hayden and Ann Neary.

Here’s a fantastic Christmas lunch receipe from Edward Hayden and Ann Neary.

Hope you enjoy.

Sweet Chilli & Lime Prawn Cocktail

(Serves 6)

This is such a classic starter that so many homes enjoy over the festive period. This is my take on the classic prawn cocktail and the kick of sweet chilli may be just the trick to start your Christmas lunch.

½ head iceberg lettuce-shredded finely

1 large handful fresh rocket

2 shallots-finely sliced

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

3 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce

30-36 cooked prawns

Pinch paprika/cayenne pepper

1 lemon-cut into thin slices

Put the shredded lettuce and rocket leaves into a large mixing bowl and add the sliced shallots and mix well. Divide the mixture between 6 individual presentation glasses or place into a large shallow bowl.

In a seperate bowl mix together the mayonnaise and the sweet chilli sauce until well combined.

Neatly arrange the prawns on top of the shredded lettuce in the chosen glasses or bowl and then pour a little of the sweet chilli mayonnaise on top of each. Sprinkle with a little pinch of paprika or cayenne pepper and garnish with some sliced lemon.

Turkey with Apple & Sausage Meat Stuffing

You just can’t beat the traditional Christmas turkey. Everyone’s perspective is different with regard the stuffing but I think it is fine to stuff the actual bird. However I would remind you to ensure that the turkey is completely cold before you stuff the bird (unless you are cooking the turkey immediately)

10lb/4.5kg Turkey

6 smoked rashers of bacon


1 medium onion-diced

3oz/75g butter

½ medium sized onion

1 cooking apple-grated or finely chopped

¾ lb/350g sausage meat

12oz/350g fresh white breadcrumbs

4 tablespoons of chopped mixed herbs –parsley, sage, thyme etc

Seasoning-Salt and Pepper

Additional Ingredients:

3oz/75g softened butter

1 tablespoon of chopped mixed herbs –parsley, sage, thyme etc

Heat the butter in a medium sized saucepan and gently fry off the diced onion for 4-5 minutes until it has softened but yet not coloured. At this stage add in the chopped mixed herbs and immediately turn off the heat. Allow this mixture to cool completely.Add this ‘buttery onion’ mixture to a large mixing bowl and add in the grated apple, breadcrumbs and sausage meat. Season with salt and pepper. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 Using some cold damp kitchen paper, wipe out the cavity of the turkey.Line the cavity with baking parchment and loosely pack the stuffing into the bird. Now weight the turkey again, once it has been cooked to get a true estimation of the cooking time.Put the Turkey onto a large roasting tray. Mix the remaining butter and the remaining mixed herbs together.

Gently manoeuvre your hand under the skin of the turkey and spread the flesh with the softened herb butter, trying to get it spread evenly over the breasts.

Lay the streaky rashers of bacon across the buttered breasts to protect the meat and prevent it from drying out. Put the turkey into the oven and begin to bake. If you feel the turkey is browning too quickly you can cover down the turkey with some tin foil for the first two hours. After the first hour reduce the temperature to 150C/300F/Gas Mark 2. Allocate 20 minutes per pound and then an additional 20-30 minutes in the oven. In total it should take about 3½-4 hours. When a skewer is inserted into the meat nearest the bone (ie-the Leg) the juices should run completely clear and the leg, when pulled, should feel loose and ready to fall away.

Allow the meat to rest when it comes out of the oven and carve as required.

Sugar Crusted Loin of Bacon

(Serves 6-8)

A delicious accompaniment to the Christmas feast. I simply adore bacon either hot or cold and leftovers of this recipe are great to use for a delicious sandwich or why not just make this gazed bacon and serve it hold for home christenings or confirmations.

1 loin of bacon (approx 4lb/2kg)

2oz/50g brown sugar

2 dessertspoons of honey

12-15 cloves

2floz/50ml water

Place the bacon in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 1 ½ hours until completely tender.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Remove the bacon from the water and allow to cool for 15 or 20 minutes. Transfer the meat to a baking dish or roasting tray.

With a sharp knife make some incisions in the fat of the bacon in a criss-cross pattern. This will give a nice professional finish to the dish later on.

Stud the cloves into the ham in a relatively uniform pattern. Drizzle the honey over the top of the bacon at this stage and then sprinkle the sugar over the top and then transfer to the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the bacon has achieved a nice crunchy crust.

Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Brussels sprouts with Lemon & Toasted Almonds

The combination of flavours in this dish is superb.

1 bag of Brussels sprouts (approximately 1lb/450g)

Grated Zest of 1 lemon

1oz/25g butter

3oz/75g flaked almonds


Trim Brussels sprout taking off the rough outer leaves. Make a cross with a sharp knife in the bottom of each.Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and add the sprouts.Boil for 6-8 minutes until soft and tender.Strain off the water. Meanwhile in a large pan or wok melt the butter and quickly fry the flake almonds until beginning to brown. Add the sprouts and lemon zest and toss around in the pan making sure that they are well coated and piping hot.

Season with a little salt and pepper and then transfer onto a serving platter and serve immediately.

Braised Red Cabbage

Although this is a quintessential Christmas must, i would often cook the red cabbage in this method during the winter to serve with lots of different items from roast meats to pork chops or sausages.

1 medium head red cabbage-thinly shredded

2 medium onions-diced

2 large cooking apples-cut into chunks

4oz/110g demerara sugar

1 cinnamon stick

2-3 pieces star anise

3oz/75g sultanas

4floz/110ml red wine vinegar

10floz/300ml red wine

Heat a large pan with a little oil or butter and sweat off the onions, cinnamon stick and star anise for 4-5 minutes until completely softened. Add in the sliced red cabbage, and diced apples and continue to cook in the same pattern. Add in the sugar and all remaining ingredients at this time and put a lid on the saucepan. Cook on a low heat for one hour and then check to make sure it is cooked. You need to stir this every few minutes to make sure that the liquid not reduce off too quickly. Add some additional wine if required.

This dish is lovely the next day just very gently reheated with a little extra wine.

Crunchy Roasties

What is it about roast potatoes that we always want ‘just one more’!

This is a delicious way of cooking the potatoes which keeps them really nice and crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

12-18 potatoes

2 tablespoon goose/duck fat

2 tablespoons plain flour

Put the potatoes into a small saucepan, covered with water and bring to the boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes

Place the fat on a roasting tray and place the tray in a hot oven (190C/375F/Gas Mark 5) for a few minutes to melt.

Strain the potatoes and give them a little shake.

Add the flour to the potatoes at this stage and coat the potatoes in the flour.

Add the potatoes to the hot fat and cook for 35-40 minutes until tender.

Additional Notes:

If you wish you could add some cloves of unpeeled garlic and rosemary sprigs to the potatoes for a varied flavour.

Honey & Sesame Glazed Carrots

The combination of the honey with the carrots works wonderfully with this particular recipe.

8 large carrots

1oz/25g butter

1 tablespoon oil

2 dessertspoons honey
1 tablespoon sesame seeds


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

Peel the carrots and cut into large chunky wedges.

Place the carrots in a large pot of salted water. Bring to the boil and allow to boil for 4-5 minutes. Strain off the water.

Place them onto the roasting tray (lined with baking parchment)

Slice the butter onto the carrots, drizzle with oil and roast in the oven for approximately20 minutes

Add in the honey at this stage as well and continue shaking the tray every so often so as to caramelize the carrots for a further 10 minutes

White Chocolate & Raspberry Trifle

Well worth the extra effort required. A real Sunday lunch treat!

Jam Swiss roll:

4 eggs

4ozs/110g sugar

4ozs/110g self raising flour

Fresh Egg Custard:

6 egg yolks

½ pint milk

½ pint cream

½ vanilla pod

5ozs/150g white chocolate

1 dessert spoon corn flour

3ozs/75g sugar

Garnish:4 dessertspoons Fresh raspberry Jam8ozs/225g fresh berries (raspberries, strawberries, black currants etc); 2ozs/50g caster sugar;100ml good quality sherry; 250ml freshly whipped cream; 2ozs/50g flaked almonds.

To make Jam Swiss Roll:

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4.

Grease and line an oblong (13 x 9 inch) tin with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl beat the 4 eggs with the sugar for the sponge base. It should become very light and aerated. The whisk should leave a figure of eight pronounced on the surface of the mixture when the whisk is lifted out of it. Gently fold in the sifted flour with a metal spoon. Be very gentle so as not to knock any of the generated air out of the sponge base but also ensure that all of the flour is incorporated. Pour the mixture into a prepared Swiss roll tin. Bake for 20 minutes, until well risen and golden brown and take the sponge out of the oven.

Before the sponge is fully cooled, invert it onto a sheet of parchment paper dusted with extra caster sugar (25g) and use a rolling pin roll it over it to flatten it lightly and then spread with a thin layer of raspberry jam.Carefully roll the Swiss roll up from the longest side rather than from the shortest.

Slice in thin slices and arrange in individual glasses or a large bowl making sure that the glass or bowl is fully lined all the way around. Retain a little of the sponge for the middle if you so desire. Sprinkle with some freshly cut fruit, additional jam if desired, and a generous helping of sherry. Do a few layers of the sponge if you wish.

Meanwhile make the custard: Split the vanilla pod lengthways and with a small sharp knife scrape out the seeds of one half of the vanilla pod. Put the seeds and the half pod into the milk and cream in a large saucepan. Wrap the remainder of the vanilla pod and retain for later use.Bring milk, cream and vanilla pod to the boil.Meanwhile in a large spotlessly clean bowl and using a whisk beat the egg yolks, sugar and corn flour together until light and creamy. Spend about 2 minutes on this process.Pour boiled milk and cream mixture onto the eggs and mix well.Add in the white chocolateReturn the mixture to the saucepan and cook until the mixture can coat the back of a wooden spoon. It is important to stir the mixture at all times to prevent it from curdling. This process should take no more than 2 minutes on a very gentle heat. Do not allow the mixture to boil at this time. Taste the custard at this stage to make sure that you can not taste the corn flour. If you can, return to the heat and stir continuously on a low heat for another minute or so.Pour the custard over the sponge mixture and allow to cool for a couple of hours or overnight. Cover with a disc of parchment paper or cling film to prevent the formation of a crust .Pipe some whipped cream on the top and sprinkle, if desired, with some flaked and toasted almonds.

Alternatively arrange with a little more fresh fruit.

Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.

Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.