Twas the night before Christmas…


Every year I come home to Ireland. This year was to be the exception, but my prodigal brother decided to come back from Australia. So, I am here too.

Conscripted as the cook, I got the ferry back from Wales so that I could bring back everything that was requested. My siblings are obsessed with Brindisa chorizo, so I bought 4kg of that to keep them going, a 5kg turkey (long story below), wine and other random bits and bobs to keep us going.

The other food was ordered locally from a few trusted sources, a local-ish butcher that I have come to know well, Pat Whelan of James Whelan Butchers supplied the Spiced Beef and the Shoulder of Pork (to be roasted overnight as per my Comfort & Spice recipe) and other bits and pieces too.

A quick trip to Midleton Farmer’s Market for a side of Frank Hederman’s smoked salmon, one of my favourite things in the world (also smoked mussels and smoked haddock for the days after), and our starter is sorted. Homemade cucumber pickled will be served simply on the side.

For the non fish eaters there will be carrot soup, with a chilli, coriander and garlic oil. One pescetarian will have local hake with prawns and a caper and garlic sauce. A myriad of requirements but we can do it.

Almost done, home made vanilla marshmallows will be served to finish along with a cake that my mother has had made. Plenty of wine, of course. I brought back a lovely Harrod’s food & wine hamper from their luxury hamper range (full disclosure – I received this to review and couldn’t resist, the Harrod’s wine shop is terrific). I say food & wine hamper but given the choice I opted just for wine and we have already started working through it. 3 bottles remain to match our Christmas feast. I may have a tipple while I cook later too.

And that is it. I must go now and make marshmallows and start on my chicken stock, vegetable stock and soup. I wish you all a very merry Christmas. Have fun, be merry, and see you all after it. For those who want the turkey story, it follows below.


Those of you on twitter will know tales of my turkey. I wanted to cook one 2 weeks ago to post a recipe for you all. But a fox got there before me and I returned from a very early trip to the supermarket at 7am to a half eaten turkey, just delivered and swiftly stolen, on my doorstep. I was furious, both with the thieving fox and the delivery man that left the turkey there for the fox to brutalise.

The thieving sneaky fox took what he could, a bare slice from the frozen breast and ran, leaving me to pick it up and with a heavy heart throw it in the bin. If only it were that elegant. I was paranoid a rodent may have worked its way inside (I live in London, rodent city, and have a deep rooted fear of them), so I kicked it several times first. A nice little show for the neighbours. My life is all about the glamour, in case you haven’t picked up on that bit yet.

I ordered another which came just before I left and that I brought back with me on the ferry to Ireland. It was frozen so it thawed as I came. It is a lovely beast from Copas, which we had last year too. Full of flavour and moist, flying in the face of all dry turkey myths, even without brining. My last remaining worry is that it may not fit in any oven available to me. I will deal with that later. Turkeymageddon 2012.




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