Darina says: "Although spiced beef is traditionally associated with Christmas, in Cork it’s available all year round in the English Market. It may be served hot or cold and is a marvellous standby, because if it is properly spiced and cooked it will keep for 3–4 weeks in the fridge. Butchers often have their own secret recipe. This delicious recipe for spiced beef has been handed down in Myrtle Allen’s family and is the best I know. It includes saltpetre, nowadays regarded as a health hazard, so perhaps you should not live exclusively on it! Certainly people have lived on occasional meals of meats preserved in this way for generations. This recipe makes enough spice to cure five flanks of beef, each 1.8kg (4lb) approx. in size, and can also be used to spice beef tongues."
Darina says: "Jerusalem artichokes are a sadly neglected winter vegetable. They look like knobbly potatoes and are a nuisance to peel, but if they are very fresh you can sometimes get away with just giving them a good scrub. Not only are they a smashing vegetable, but they are also delicious in soups and gratins. They are a real gem from the gardener’s point of view because the foliage grows into a hedge and provides shelter and cover for both compost heaps and pheasants!"
Catherine says: "Living in Ireland, I used to think of panettone as a very dry Italian Christmas cake until I tasted one that had been freshly made in Sicily. I was totally converted – I could easily devour half of one in a single sitting! I bake these as individual little panettone cakes for friends. They are so good served with a glass of dessert wine or even Marsala.
Rozanne says: "This is my mom’s favourite dessert – a gorgeous confection of marshmallowy meringue, plenty of summer berries and whipped cream. I love adding a good splash of Baileys Irish cream liqueur for a little sophistication."
Rozanne says: "This is my mom's recipe and it is the easiest, most decadent chocolate pudding. It is like a giant chocolate fondant baked in a lasagne type dish. There are two parts to the recipe, a sponge batter and a sauce. These get made separately and then poured into the dish. They curdle and look strange, but during baking they separate and you get chocolate sponge on the top and a rich dark chocolate sauce underneath. Serve warm with cream or ice cream and fresh or frozen berries. Some of the solid ingredients are measured by volume in millilitres, so use your measuring spoons for small amounts and your measuring jug for larger quantities."
The pinhead oatmeal in these biscuits gives them their distinctive crunch. Very thin. Very crispy. Very delicious.