Christmas dinner.

Christmas Feasting.

Food always takes center stage at Christmas in this and many other households. This year we departed from tradition by having the Turkey dinner today, Sunday the 22nd.  I also took a different path when it came to preparation.

Buttermilk soaked turkey breast.

I started with a free-range turkey breast joint. This was marinated in buttermilk with thyme, garlic, star-anise and sage. It soaked in the fridge for 48 hours.

I also marinated in honey, a small cured pork belly. Stuffing was: breadcrumbs, sausage meat, apricots, apple, onion, sage whizzed mixed and put in muffin tins with a drop of maple syrup on top and a base of pancetta.

Honey cured porkbelly

Some sausage meat was wrapped in the same pancetta to make little pigs-in-blankets also baked in the muffin tins.

The stuffing

Veg was: brussel sprout tops and the tiny sprouts from the top of the stalk, stir fired with ginger. Baby carrots baked with the pork belly in honey and parsnips roasted with the bird.

Sprout tops with ginger.

The turkey joint was slathered with butter whizzed with dried cranberry and chorizo and topped with bacon. The joint was wrapped in foil and refrigerated a few hours before spending and hour and half in a 180 oven. Then finished unwrapped for thirty minutes to crisp the bacon. The pork belly was cooked for an hour in the same oven and basted with honey regularly.

The finished joints.

The roast spuds were par boiled and then crisped in the deep fryer rather than roasting. The gravy was made with chicken stock, Marsala wine and a dash of cream.

The feast awaits.

It felt odd eating the turkey dinner well before the festive day, but it was much enjoyed.

On the day we are going to the sea with a plate-de-mare. Oysters, prawns (or shrimp) of several kinds. Langoustine, lobster, crab and clams and whatever else looks good at the market in Cork city tomorrow.

Food my third passion 3.


Or in normal speak: Duck à l’orange. An absolute classic given a little twist.

Sweet and white potato steamed.

I steamed 2 sweet potato, 2 red skinned potato called a ‘rooster’ here. I part cooked the duck with a whole orange inside.

Squeeze the juice and pulp. Chop a bit of peel from the cooked orange. Add: some fresh dill, a tablespoon of honey, an egg yolk, a teaspoon of cornflour (cornstarch). Mash with the potatoes and stuff in the duck cavity.

Another sprinkle of Chinese five spice over the skin and a few slices of orange on top.

Then back in a hot oven for another hour. Total cooking time two hours.

The orange sauce was a cup of good smooth fresh orange juice with a big dash of sherry and half a chicken stock cube (or equivalent.) Heat until thickened, taste and add sugar or salt as needed.

Ready to carve.

Scoop out the mash and serve with steamed buttered Kale.

Tear off the legs and carve the breast from the bone. Serve a few slices of fresh orange on top.

Duck ready for tuck.

There is a reason this is a classic – it’s supremely satisfying.