Article
18 comments

Nollaig na mBan (Women’s Xmas): In Pictures

So, Nollaig na mBan! How was it? Fun! I made the classic error of starting on a glass of wine when my guests arrived which actually is not the cleverest thing to do when co-ordinating about 5 tasks in the kitchen at once and nowhere near complete. But hey, it’s important to let your hair down on Nollaig na mBan.

Quails eggs with paprika salt to start

Quails eggs with paprika salt to start

Simple and delicious quail eggs, perfectly cooked so that the yolk is completely soft and the white set. A little fiddly sure, but they always go down a treat and once you have done a few, peeling the eggs becomes a lot easier.

Jack McCarthy Guinness & Cider Spiced Beef (before cooking)

Jack McCarthy Guinness & Cider Spiced Beef (before cooking)

A grand Cork tradition, spiced beef. I got this one delivered from Jack McCarthy for Christmas in Ireland, but we decided to have a rib of beef for main course so it would have been overkill. I make my own normally but had no time (the recipe is in Comfort & Spice and has been made by North South Food here). Unsurprisling Jack’s spiced beef seriously impressed, as do his terrific black puddings (and one white) – I don’t understand why he is not stocked in London yet. The quality of his produce is exceptional.

Finished delicious spiced beef, served warm

Copas traditional turkey

Copas traditional turkey

Forgive me, but I was in a flurry when this was finished cooking and I never did get a proper photo when this was a perfect glistening shade of St Tropez bronze. It had gone in a little late as it was still defrosting from frozen in the afternoon and finally went in at 5.30pm. Lesson learned – plan better!

This plump 5kg feller is the first turkey that I have had in years (my mother won’t have one for Christmas) and my American guests were thrilled with it. From Copas, a family farm, hand finished and traditionally reared, this was full of flavour and I am still eating the leftovers (which included a lovely turkey soup with dumplings today). I wanted to brine it first but ordered it too late. Definitely next time.

Golden brown - the little plastic thing comes with the turkey and pops out when cooked

Pear Barley with Pomegranate, Red Onion and Mint

We had lots more but I was enjoying myself too much and abandoned my camera. There was lots of homemade gravy made from giblet stock that I made in my crockpot, baked sweet potatoes, delicious salami, black pudding pecan pie… and lots more.

I may have over-catered but there is nothing worse than having too little, and who doesn’t love leftovers? Some recipes for you on that front soon.

Posted by

I like food. I like to make food. Eat food. Photograph food. Write about food. Mainly in London but when I am lucky or organised further afield.

18 Comments

  1. I’ve never tried spiced beef… I imagine it’s something like Pastrami; which I love! Looks like you had a great Christmas :)

    Reply

    • Hi Pip! Thanks – hope you did too. It’s kind of like spiced corned beef… or salt beef. A little drier but really lovely.

      Reply

    • Thank you Sylvie! I really wish I had been a bit better with the photographs but you can’t do everything. :(

      Reply

  2. It was a lovely, lovely evening and such great food. Loved the quails egg with paprika salt which popped in very nicely, thank you. The pearly barley was a great accompaniment, so jewel-like and soft chewy. Agree totally on the Jack McCarthy beef and blood pudding which was fan-tas-tic, they definitely need to supply to the UK. Great evening all round, never noticed you taking photos – we were all talking, eating and laughing too much. Go raibh mhaith agat.

    Reply

    • Ha! Mainly because I took only SIX all evening! So glad you enjoyed, lets not leave it so long to do it again. x

      Reply

  3. I love that there is a Women’s Christmas in Ireland (not something I had heard of before – I have missed out all that time!) and the spiced beef looks fantastic.

    Reply

    • Cara, you have to have one in Melbourne next year! Huge in Cork, not so much in Waterford & Tipp so there you go. The spiced beef was beautiful :)

      Reply

  4. Wow….black pudding pecan pie. Is there a comma missing there? I’m hoping not as that could be amazing!

    Reply

  5. Have only just discovered this blog, (thanks to Tamarind & Thyme), but already seens lots of recipes to try. I’d never heard of Women’s Christmas either – and my family hearald from Southern Ireland………although we’re England based now…………but I see no reason not to adopt it from now on! Thanks for the idea and the details – looks like a fabulous feast!! Lucy

    Reply

  6. Your food ideas are amazing Niamh! (Found your link on Girl with a wooden spoon by the way). I do have one little bone to pick though – the whole point if Nollaig na mBan is that the women do nothing!! In my house the men prepare the feast and serve it up. Sometimes I invite friends over – women only, of course. This year there were five of us sat down to a wonderful feast prepared by Brendan, Conor & Gareth.

    Reply

    • Oh I know Mary, but I am a single woman so who will I get to do all the work for me? I love the excuse to get friends around, simple.

      Reply

      • I am amazed to open my emails and find your reply TODAY Niamh. As I write the boys are pouring over my cookery books looking for inspiration. I will show them your post. This year all the lads are here – I have three sons: Ronan, Conor & Gareth and my husband Brendan are doing the cooking. Simona, Trax, Gilly & her daughter Helen will join us. I am so looking forward to the treats in store.

        Nollig na mBan shona dhuit. Enjoy! Mary

  7. I am amazed to open my emails and find your reply TODAY Niamh. As I write the boys are pouring over my cookery books looking for inspiration. I will show them your post. This year all the lads are here – I have three sons: Ronan, Conor & Gareth and my husband Brendan are doing the cooking. Simona, Trax, Gilly & her daughter Helen will join us. I am so looking forward to the treats in store.

    Nollig na mBan shona dhuit. Enjoy! Mary

    Reply

    • How lovely Mary! I have no plans today save relaxation and some light cooking, which is what I am most in need of this Nollaig na mBan :) Please do let me know how your day goes! Would love to hear.

      Reply

Leave a Reply