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.

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Written by Niamh
Cooking and travelling, and sharing it all with you.