If you are looking for a slightly different starter this Christmas, this salmon gravadlax recipe is an ideal solution and can all be made well in advance, leaving very little to do last minute.
Barmbrack is a traditional Irish fruit cake, which I used to get in my school lunchbox around Halloween every year. Traditionally, a ring is baked into the cake, and there would be great excitement every year as to who would get the slice with the ring in it. I always like to think it was Barmbrack that inspired the writers of Father Ted to come up with the episode where Mrs. Doyle bakes a jumper into a cake! This recipe makes a really beautiful, moist loaf, packed with flavour from the mixed spice and dried fruit, which has sat overnight in cold tea and whiskey to soak up all the goodness.
Chorizo is one of my favourite ingredients to use, it provides really delicious smoky flavours and, when fried, renders the most amazing red oil. One of the first few times I visited London, I got myself down to world-famous Borough market where you can pick up some of the best Spanish chorizo outside Spain. This salad is nicest if you can get your hands on some really good-quality chorizo – you will generally find the best stuff in Spanish specialty food shops.
Batter pudding is the Irish version of Yorkshire pudding. Many Irish like their meat quite well cooked, which rather spoils a good joint of beef in my opinion. A largish piece of beef cooked in this way will have the best flavour, as small joints are disappointing.