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Liveline Thursday 20 December 2018



Brenda Costigan, Francis Brennan and the Liveline listeners shared their top tips for a magic Christmas.

Marion McGarry gave a great insight into Christmas in the Irish cottage in days gone by, and callers rang in with their favourite seasonal traditions and stories.

Brenda Costigan's Christmas Tips

Brenda Costigan's Christmas Tips


Don’t forget comfortable shoes !! Lifting the heavy, piping hot roasted turkey out of the oven needs a steady stance and hand (I know of a man who slipped and in order to save the turkey on the roasting tin – fell and broke his hip !

Don’t forget oven gloves and rubber gloves (great for protecting hands).

Don’t forget roasting bags or wide tin foil for wrapping the bird during roasting (table for roasting times included.

Don’t forget wooden cocktail sticks to pin the skin at the turkey’s neck around the stuffing.

Don’t forget half a lemon, half an onion , a bay leaf or two, maybe a sprig of thyme or simply some dried mixed herbs for the body cavity. Stuffing in the cavity slows the cooking.

Points to watch – if turkey is trussed up with the legs tight to the body – cut them loose, but steady with string – to be explained! Waggle the legs to check when cooked

Keep the Turkey Moist   Discuss. Turkey Roasting bag versus tinfoil cover.


HAM ………… COOK on Christmas Eve having steeped it THE DAY BEFORE …. .Don’t forget the English mustard and the brown sugar for glazing the ham.

Also  handy .. have some Packets of Pitta bread for sandwiches or extra bread rolls not forgetting some mayonnaise. Packet of prepared salad mix is also handy.

Don’t forget -Plastic bags to store prepared vegetables in the fridge, remember do  NOT steep vegetables in bowls of cold water every night.


Don’t forget plastic bags, ideal for storing veggies in the fridge where little bowls won’t fit. Suck out the air from each bag and close tightly.

Quick recipes that can be cooked the day before! Celery in Orange Juice. Nutty Cauliflower.

Sprouts, buy small little sprouts, trim the stalk and if necessary the outside leaves. Cut each sprout in 4 quarters (down the stalk – not across the sprout) store in plastic bag. When everything is almost ready to serve on Christmas day, pop the prepared sprouts into boiling salted water and they should cook in about 10 minutes, drain well and melt a generous knob of butter in the hot saucepan and toss in the sprouts. Season with a little salt and pepper .

Peel and steam potatoes until just tender, COOL QUICKLY, dip each one in melted fat (butter or goose fat) place on tin ready to go into oven.  Dribble some of the turkey juices over them.

Have a number of freshly laundered towels handy, great to wrap around cooked turkey (which is covered in foil or bag) Leave turkey to stand for a good half hour before carving.


That is what I like to call the starter. It gets everyone ready for the main event. With all the wonderful food yet to come the starter should be very light. I love fresh melon diced and mixed with chopped strawberries and halved (or quartered) black grapes plus a little diced cucumber even very thinly sliced spring onions (optional). Moisten with just a hint of French dressing and decorate with a sprig of mint or finely chopped parsley


My "anyone can make it dessert" involves a jar of mincemeat heated gently with a smidgen of whiskey in a saucepan until all the little white bits of suet are dissolved. Serve warm or cold on top of servings of vanilla ice cream!! Or put into meringue nests.

ICE CREAM CHRISTMAS PUDDING – super simple using mincemeat heated up in a little brandy. Please note- should anyone get confused with the name ‘mince meat’ please note it is hundreds of years since actual meat was included in this recipe.


Have you got a story to tell? An issue you want to air publicly? If you’d like to talk to Joe on-air about an issue that concerns you then we want to hear from you.

You can email the programme at any time to, call the office at 01 208 3263 / 2984 / 2980 or 3438 (or out of office hours and leave a message) or on 1850 715 815, Monday to Friday from 12.30pm – 3.15pm.

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Presenter: Joe Duffy

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