Marian Finucane

Marian Finucane

Saturday, Sunday, 11 - 1pm

Marian Finucane Saturday 16 December 2017

Marian Finucane

Marian Finucane

Live stimulating mix of news, interviews, reports and discussion.

Brendan O'Carroll

Brendan O'Carroll

Brendan O'Carroll drops by for a chat.

Subscriptions as Christmas Presents

Subscriptions as Christmas Presents

Advice from Sinead Ryan, Consumer Columnist, Irish Independent, on the subscriptions that you can get as Christmas Presents. 

1:  You can get subscriptions for cheese, beer, coffee and 3-course meals:

Sheridan's cheese club (€120 x 3 months) dispatches four cheeses with tasting notes, while O'Brien's Craft Beer (€72 x 3 months) will send six taster beers with notes. compiles everything from Irish farmer's produce like jams, chocolates and chutneys straight to your door (€49 per month). 3Fe coffee: €11 pm will get you a pack of different coffee beans each week for 6 - 12 months. €80 per week delivers 5 lunches, 5 dinners, 5 snacks to your home chosen by you. Different options too, so you can just have, say, dinner.

2:  And you can subscribe to socks:

Get the man in your life a pair of socks each month from It's based in the US, but has free worldwide shipping and costs around $11 per month for sign-ups of three to 12 months. There are lots of fun selections ensuring he'll never get bored.

3:  Gym Subscriptions:

(No, someone I know gave his wife a gym subscription for Christmas last year. Safe to say he won't be making the same mistake twice! Our good resolutions about getting fitter in 2018 mean gyms get a spike in new members but you can be left with a big bill to pay, by direct debit if your use isn't as regular as you thought. Research shows that while two in five people aim to get fitter in January, only 63pc stick at it beyond the first three months. So, consider the following: Are you joining for the classes or machines? Make sure the hours and schedule suit what you want to do; If you're not interested in swimming, find a gym without a pool. Having one increases the monthly cost, so it's a waste if you don't use it; Don't forget local community or sports clubs' gyms. They're often cheaper than purpose-built facilities, even if they're more basic; Must you sign up for 12 months or is there a pay-as-you-go option? Ask whether you can cancel your membership at any time, or if you're locked into a year's contract. Work out your likely cost on a 'per use' basis, rather than the monthly fee. The more you go, the less it costs in real terms; There's often a discount for annual membership, if you're certain you'll last; Can you freeze payments while you're on holiday? Can a friend or partner join for a discount?

I looked at gym prices around the country and discovered monthly subscriptions from around €23 to €49, although you can pay more.)

4:  And for the gym-lover there is a ‘fit box’ subscription? €29.99 +PP sends you a fit box every month: apparel, supplements, health snacks

5:  Magazines Subscriptions:

There is a website called that lets you choose from lots of titles including Irish Garden (€48 x 10 issues), Time magazine (€59.95 x 52 issues), Golf Digest (€80.70 x 12 issues), Maternity & Infant (€27 x 6 issues). RTE Guide (€30=3 months/€55=6 months/€99= 12 months). You can also buy the Irish Independent and Sunday Independent digital edition for €19.99 per month for every issue.

6: Cosmetics: is much loved by teenagers and young women. For €12 - €14 it sends a box of sample size make-up and accessories every month in a pretty pink gift box. You can sign for three, six or 12 months. is UK based, but with free shipping. For €20 per month (€17 if you sign for six), you get a beauty box of branded products, plus a copy of Elle magazine.

7:  Beware:

On many subscription based products there are no returns, and you may be locked in for the sign up period. 



Dave's Picks:

Dec 23rd

8 pm Channel 4: The World’s Best Christmas Lights: From Jerusalem to Bethlehem      

10.05pm 3E                   Best of the Jonathan Ross Show 

7.15 pm      TG4 Rugby – Connacht V Ulster Pro14

Dec 24th

9.45pm  RTE2  Brigid and Eamon Christmas Special

9.15 pm RTE 1 Carols from the Castle               

Christmas Day:

5.30 BBC ONE Dr. Who Christmas Special

7.40 pm Channel 4 The Great Christmas Bake-off

6.30 pm BBC ONE Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special

9 pm RTE 1 and 10 pm BBC ONE Mrs Brown’s Boys Christmas Special

7.40 BBC One Call the Midwife Christmas Special

10.35pm BBC ONE 300 Years of French and Saunders

Dec 26th

1pm RTE 2  Racing from Leopardstown

6.30 pm BBC ONE Snow Bears

9.20 pm RTE One         The Nathan Carter Christmas Special 

Dec 27th

7pm BBC ONE    Celebrity Mastermind

9pm Channel 4     Miranda Does Christmas

9.40 pm E4          8 out of 10 Cats: More Best Bits

Dec 28th

6.30 pm RTE One         Ireland’s Fittest Family – All Star Coaches

9pm RTE 2                    Apres Match of the Day [Best Bits]

9.30 RTE One                At your Service

9.30 pm BBC TWO       Attenborough and the Empire of the Ants

 Dec 29th

9.30 RTE 1          The Late Late Show Dubliner’s Tribute 30 years on.

9.00 Channel 4     8 out of 10 Cats Countdown Christmas Special

6.30 pm RTE 1    Christmas Know the Score Special 

7.30 pm TG4       Rugbai na Scealta 2017

6.00 pm TV3 The Funny Side of the Street

Dec 30th

7.10 pm BBC One A Christmas Carol Gone Wrong

8pm Channel 4 The Price is Right

5.15 pm TG4  Westlife – Farewell Tour

Dec 31st

11.20 pm BBC TWO  Jools’ Annual Hootenanny

10.20 pm RTE One The Imelda May New Year’s Eve Special

10.20 pm BBC One The Graham Norton Show: New Year’s Eve Show

9.45 pm RTE One Mrs Brown’s Boys CSI: Mammy  -

1st Jan

9 pm BBC One McMafia  -

7.40 pm Channel 4 The Great Festive Bake-off

9pm 3E Comedy Roast: Justin Bieber

3.30 pm BBC One Blue Planet II: Oceans of Wonder

9 pm BBC Two Sue Perkins and the Chimp Sanctuary


Dave says look at pages 58 – 61 of the RTE Guide Movie Planner. There are up to 600 movies.

Good movies that people can look out for:

Christmas Day

15.50 RTE One Big Hero 6

 9.35 pm RTE One Brooklyn

10 pm RTE 2 Guardians of the Galaxy

Dec 26th

9pm Sky One Minority Report

00.15 RTE One  Barry Lyndon (a 1975 movie)

Dec 27th

12.10 BBC TWO  The Red Shoes

Dec 28th

00.55 BBC Two - Oasis Supernova

Dec 29th

11.10 Channel 5 Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

9pm TV3 The Shawshank Redemption

Dec 30th

15.20 BBC Two All about Eve

New Year’s Eve

00.30 RTE One L.A. Confidential


Sinead's Picks:


MAIGRET IN MONTMARTRE– Christmas Eve - 8.30pm on ITV

CALL THE MIDWIFE Christmas Day at 7.40pm on BBC One

THE MINIATURIST– in two parts - BBC One on 26th and 27th at 9pm

LITTLE WOMEN -  BBC 1 26th, 27th and 28th December at 8/8.30pm

THE CROWN  Season 2 on Netflix  




FAIRYTALE OF NEW YORK    RTÉ One, 21 December 9.35pm

THE TOYS THAT MADE US– season 1 –  Netflix - December 22



BAZ AND NANCY’S HOLY SHOW RTÉ One, 20 December 9.35pm


CHRISTMAS WITH THE DOG RESCUERS– Friday, December 22 at 7pm – Channel 5

BRIDGET & EAMON  RTÉ2, 24 December 9.45pm


THE GREAT CHRISTMAS BAKE OFF– 7.40pm on Channel 4 – Christmas Day

THE GREAT FESTIVE BAKE OFF  – 7.40pm on Channel 4 – New Year's Day

MRS BROWN  RTÉ One, Christmas Day 9pm and New Year’s Eve 9.45pm: ‘Mrs Brown’s CSI’.


HARRY POTTER: 20 YEARS OF MAGIC  Wednesday, December 20, 9pm – Channel 5 

HARRY POTTER HISTORY OF MAGIC on New Year’s Day at 2.45pm RTE 2.

THE SNOWMAN  Christmas Eve 5.20pm on Channel 4, followed by The Snowman and the Snowdog at 5.55pm The Snowman airs again on Christmas Day at 12.45pm, followed by The Snowman and the Snowdog at 1.20pm and Briggs' 1991 animation Father Christmas at 1.55pm.

ANGELA’S CHRISTMAS  RTÉ One, Christmas Eve, 6.20pm

THE HIGHWAY RAT  - Christmas Day 4.45pm on BBC1

STICK MAN - St Stephen’s Day at 1.45pm on BBC One

THE GRUFFALO – 27 December at 3.45pm on BBC One

THE GRUFFALO’S CHILD  – 28 December at 3.45pm on BBC One

ROOM ON THE BROOM – 29 December 3.50pm on BBC One

RATBURGER Christmas Eve at 6pm on Sky 1 (and also on NOW TV Sky’s other subscription service)
GRANDPA’S GREAT ESCAPE  New Year’s Day at 6:55pm on BBC1.

SNOW BEARS  - St Stephen’s Day at 6:30pm on BBC1


SPECTRE  Christmas Day 5.30pm RTE One

FINDING NEMO  Christmas Day RTE One 2.20pm

BIG HERO 6 Christmas Day RTE One 3.50pm

CINDERELLA Christmas Day 3.10pm BBC One

HOME ALONE  - Christmas Eve on RTE One, 2.10pm or Christmas Day 5.50pm on Channel 4

ELF THE MUSICAL on Channel 5 Saturday, December 23 at 5pm.

Christmas Food and Drink

Marian is joined by Neven Maguire and Tomas Clancy who is Wine & Spirits Correspondent with the Sunday Business Post.


TOMAS CLANCY  Sunday Business Post Wine and Spirits Correspondent


To accompany the main course.....


  • Torres, Vina Sol, Spain 2016, €9 [Widely Available ]
  • Abellio, Albarino, DO Rias Baixas 2016, €10 [ SuperValu]
  • Oyster Bay, Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zeland 2016, €11 [ Dunnes Stores]
  • Cave de Lugny, AC Macon Lugny 2015, €12.95 down from €17.95 [ O’Briens Wines ]
  • Jean Bouchard, AC Chablis 2015, €12.99 [ Aldi ]
  • Graham Nortons, Sauvignon Blanc, New Zeland 2016, €12 [Widely Available]
  • Les Domaines Paul Mas, Astelia, Chardonnay, Limoux 2016. €10.99  [  Aldi Stores ]
  • Andre Goichot Pouilly Fuisse 2015, €18.00 on sale from €22.99 [ SuperValu)



  • Santa Rita 120 Reserva Especial Cabernet Sauvignon, Chile 2016, €8 [ Tesco ]
  • Val de Salis, Syrah, Languedoc IGP 2016, €8.99 [ Lidl]
  • Wave Series by Carmen, Pinot Noir, Chile 2016, €10 [Widely Available ]
  • Campo Viejo, Garnacha, DO Rioja 2016, €10 [Dunnes Stores]
  • Nugan Estate, Cabernet Sauvignon, Coonawarra 2014, €12 [ SuperValu]
  • Monte Real Tempranillo, DO Rioja 2014, €9.95 [ O’Briens ]
  • Penfolds, Rawson’s Retreat, Shiraz-Cabernet 2013, €11.95 down from €14.95 [O’Brien’s]
  • Moineir Irish Blackberry Wine, County Wicklow, 11% Alcohol ( low) €25 [Mitchell and Son and widely at Independents ]



  • Champagne Musigny, Brut NV, €19.99 [ Aldi]
  • Champagne Bissinger, Brut Rose NV, €29.99 [ Lidl]
  • Champagne Pierre Darcys, Brut NV, €45.99  [ SuperValu]
  • Champagne Canard Duchene, Brut NV, €32.95 down from €44.95 [O’Briens]
  • Champagne Gobillard Grande Reserve 1er Cru NV, €38.95 [Le Caveau and Independents]
  • Champagne Taittinger, Brut NV, €62 [Widely available]
  • Champagne Bollinger, Special Cuvee NV, €64 [ Widely Available]



  • Cava Barcino, Brut, €28.99
  • Prosecco Griffon, Frizzante, €11.99 [SuperValu]
  • Prosecco Rizzardi, Frizante, €12.50 down from €14.95 [O’Briens]
  • Pinot Grigio, Spumante Rose, NV €15 [M&S]

Natural and Biodynamic Sparkling Wine

  • Dominio de Tharsys, Cava Brut Nature, Natural Wine NV, €18.85


Cremant de Bourgogne

  • Cave de Lugny Crémant de Bourgogne, NV €17.95 down from €20.95


World Wide Sparkling Wines

  • Schramsberg Methode Traditional Blanc de Blancs, California NV €40
  • Man O'War Tulia, Chardonnay Sparkling, New Zealand, NV €37
  • Wiston Estate, Blanc de Blancs, England NV, €53




  • Domaine Meyer-Fonne , Alsace Pinot Gris, Reserve Particuliere 2014, €21.95 [Le Caveau]
  • Domaine des Enfants,Tabula Rasa, VDP Côtes Catalanes  2014, €29.95 [ Terroirs ]
  •  Greywacke, Wild Ferment Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand 2016, €34.95
  • Chateau Montelena, Napa Valley Chardonnay 2011, €55



  • Condado de Haza, DO Ribera del Duero 2013, €24.95
  • La Reserve D’Angludet, (2nd Wine of D’Angludet) AC Margaux 2014, €29.95 [Whelehans Wines]
  • Tinpot Hut, Pinot Noir, Marlborough, New Zealand 2014, €23.95
  • Domaine Chauvenet-Chopin, 1er Cru ‘Chaignots’AC Nuits-Saint-Georges 2013, €47.45
  • Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe AC Châteauneuf du Pape 2009, €56.50



  • Veneto Ripasso- Baby Amarone Alternative : Masi Passo Doble Rosso, Argentina 2012, €15.95
  • Rhone Valley – Chateauneuf Du Pape style Alternative : Torbreck, GMS ( Grtenache-Syrah-Mourvedre), Barossa Valley Australia 2013, €22.95
  • Rioja Alternative : Gran Cerdo Tempranillo Natural Wine, DO Rioja Spain 2015, €15.95 [Green Man Wines, The Corkscrew]
  • Great White Cote D’Or Burgundy Alternatives  : Man O’ War, Valhalla Chardonnay, New Zealand 2014, €29.45
  • Bordeaux Classed Growth Alternatives: Craggy Range Sophia Red Blend Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay 2013, €59.50
  • Red Cote de Nuits Burgundy Alternative : Sokol Blosser, Dundee Hills Pinot Noir, Oregon, USA 2011, €40.25


Superb Palate Stimulating Aperitifs

  • Causes and Cures, Semi Dry Vermouth, €24
  • Quinta Do Noval, Lagrima White Port, €20.50
  • Fernando do Castilla, Antique Fino, €27.50 [Searsons, Baggot Street Wine ]
  • Tio Pepe, Fiono Sherry, NV €15.95

Superb Digestifs

  • Hennessy, Fine de Cognac, €50.99
  • Longueville House Apple Brandy ( like Armagnac), €34.99
  • Micil Poitin, Connemara, Galway, €37



White Wine Profile ( Bright fruity tones with good acidity)

  • 8 Degrees Brewing, Cork – The Full Irish, €3
  • West Kerry Brewery, Beal Ban, €5.40

Red Wine Profile ( Dark toned fruits, weight, grip )

  • Kinnegar, Rustbucket Rye Ale, €4
  • Porterhouse, An Brainblasta Tripple Hopped Bitter, €2.10

The Brilliance of Artisan Porter

  • West Kerry Brewery, Carraigh Dubh, €5.40
  • Galway Bay, Buried at Seam Chcolate Milk Stout, €3.95
  • 8 Degrees, Knockmealdown Porter, €2.50

The Classed Growth Style Fine Beer Landscape

  • Chimay Blue, Trappist Beer, €4.50
  • Oud Beersel Kriek, Natural Ferment in Wooden Barrel, €8.10

The Gluten Free Options

  • Peroni Gluten Free, €2.79
  • BrewDog Vagabond Gluten Free Pale Ale, €3.39



  • Blackwater Barry’s Tea Infused Gin, €30  (Waterford)
  • Blackwater Juniper Cask Gin, €42.99
  • Blackwater Gin, Classic No.5 Gin, €29.99
  • Dingle Gin, €36.99 [ Kerry]
  • Drumshanbo Gunpowder Gin, €48.95 [Leitrim ]
  • Glendalough, Wild Winter Botanicals Gin, €47.50 [ Wicklow
  • Highbank Organic Crystal Irish Gin, €61.99 [ Kilkenny ]
  • Listoke 1777 Irish Small Batch Gin, €39.95 [ Louth ]
  • Shortcross Gin, Rademon Estate [ Down ]


  • Dingle Single Malt Batch No. 1, €65
  • Pearse Lyons, The Distillers Choice Irish Whiskey, €48.99
  • Teeling Single Malt, €52.50
  • The Whistler, 7 Year Old Blue Note Irish Whiskey, €54.99
  • Writers Tears, Copper Pot Irish Whiskey, €44.99
  • Green Spot, Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey, Chateau Montelena Barrel Aged, €69.95
  • Redbreast 12 Year Old Pot Still Irish Whiskey, €59
  • Jameson Caskmates, IPA, €38



  • Richmond Special Recipe No. 9 Elderflower Cordial Co. Longford, €6.25
  • Richmond Cordial, Elderberry Cordial, €6.99
  • Irish Hedgerow Sparkling Elderflower Refresher with a kiss of Hibiscus, €3.99
  • Mr. Jeffares, Irish Blackcurrant Cordial, €5.99
  • Naturally Cordial Wexford Blackcurrant Cordial, €6
  • Bundaberg, Ginger Beer around €2 for a 375ml bottle
  • Belvoir Original Elderfower Cordial around €6.85
  • Highbank Orchard, Organic Irish Apple Juice, €4.99
  • Llewelyn’s Apple Juice, 


Elder-Minty Cocktail

          Richmond or other Elderflower Cordial - 7.5ml or 2 Tablespoon

          Cloudy Apple Juice, around 10ml

          A Small bottle of Irish Sparkling water

          Mint Leaves – 2 ripped not chopped

Use a Martini Glass for Impact.  Place the cordial, ice, cloudy apple juice and the ripped mint into a shaker and shake. Pour cleanly into the glass and add the sparkling water to fill. For decoration a zesty of Lime or a lime slice.


  • China Tarry Lapsang Souchong, 100g , €5.50 [ Clement & Pekoe, Dublin and online and Independents ]
  • Clement & Pekoe, Ginger & Lemon Rooibos, 100g , €6
  • Solaris, Organic Peppermint Delight Loose Leaf, 50g , €5.15
  • Ginger & Lemon Rooibos, 100g , €6
  • Tea Pigs Chamomile Flowers, 15 biodegradble teabags, €4.65 [SuperValu]
  • Mao Feng, White Tea, Suki Tea, M&S



  • Lawson's Dry Hills Sauvignon Blanc 2016, €96 down from €120 for a case of 6
  • - Moscato d’Asti, La Caudrina, Moscato d’Asti DOCG 2016, ½ Litre Bottle €69.24 for 6
  • Domaine Charles Audoin, Au Champ Salomon, AC Marsannay 2015, €35.50 a bottle
  • – Flor de Crasto, Touriga Nacional, DO Douro 2016, €75.36 for 6
  • Domaine Des Corbillieres, Sauvignon Blanc, AC Touraine, Loire 2016, €83.70 for 6
  • - Masi Costasera Amarone 2010, €249 down from €276 for a case of 6


  • Chateau Filhot, AC Sauternes 2010, €29.99 in Lidl
  • Lidl Macon-Villages 2015, €7.35 down from €10.99
  • Berton Vineyards, Botrytis Semillon, Half Bottle, €8.99 in Aldi
  • Exquisite Collection Aldi Argentine Malbec 2017, in Magnum , (2 Bottle Size ) €16.99
  • Oyster Bay Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc Cuvee Brut NV, €16 down from €18 until 27th December at Tesco

Neven Maguire - Festive Recipes

Neven Maguire - Festive Recipes

Mulled Wine 

Serves 4–6

You may need to alter the amount of sugar you use depending on how sweet your orange juice is. Just be careful that you don’t allow the mixture to boil or you’ll cook off the alcohol and ruin the appearance of the lemon and orange slices. Christmas is one of those celebrations when children are the heart of the event, so you could replace the wine with sparkling red grape juice so that everyone can enjoy this yummy drink.

1 bottle of red wine

600ml (1 pint) freshly squeezed

orange juice

100g (4oz) caster sugar

1 lemon, halved and sliced

1 orange, halved and sliced

2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half

12 whole cloves

6 whole star anise

1 Put all the ingredients in a pan and heat gently for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved and the flavours have combined.

2 Ladle the mulled wine into heatproof glasses, making sure that some of the orange and lemon slices go into each one to serve.



Sizzling Wild Atlantic Prawns with Chorizo & Garlic

Serves 4


  • 20 Simply Better Wild Atlantic Jumbo Prawns
  • 50g Simply Better Spanish Chorizo Ibérico De Bellota
  • 4 Tbsp Simply Better Cold Pressed Irish Rapeseed Oil
  • Knob of Butter
  • 1 Mild Fresh Red Chilli, halved, deseeded and cut into rings
  • 1 Garlic Clove, thinly sliced
  • ½ Lemon, zest and juice, pips removed
  • 1 Tbsp Chopped Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley
  • Sea Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • Crusty Bread, to serve



To prepare the prawns, peel off the hard outer shell and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan with the knob of butter. Once the butter has stopped foaming, add the chorizo and sauté for a few minutes, until sizzling. Add the chilli and garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds, until the garlic is lightly golden.

Tip the prepared prawns into the pan and sauté for another few minutes, until tender. The prawns will change colour and begin to curl up. Be careful not to overcook. Add the zest of half the lemon and a good squeeze of lemon juice and sprinkle over the parsley, tossing to coat. Season to taste.

Divide among warmed dishes with all their delicious juices. Serve at once with plenty of crusty bread.



Chestnut, Wild Mushroom AND BACON SOUP

Serves 8-10


  • 50g (2oz) dried wild mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 450g (1lb) peeled chestnuts, chopped (canned or vacuum-packed)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 100g (4oz) piece rindless smoked bacon, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1.2 litres (2 pints) chicken or vegetable stock
  • 200ml (7fl oz) cream
  • Maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Lightly whipped cream and snipped fresh chives, to garnish
  • Smoked Duck, to garnish (optional)


Place the dried wild mushrooms in a heatproof bowl and pour 400ml (14fl oz) of boiling water to cover. Set aside for 20 minutes until they have plumped up. Drain the mushrooms and gently squeeze dry, reserving the soaking liquid.

Heat a large pan and add the sunflower oil. Add the chestnuts, bacon, onion and drained wild mushrooms and sweat gently for 10 minutes until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Season to taste.

Add the thyme to the pan with the reserved soaking liquid and stock, stirring to combine. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for another 20 minutes. Stir in the cream and allow to heat through for 1 minute, then whizz with a hand blender until as smooth as possible. Season to taste and ladle into warmed wide-rimmed bowls. Garnish each one with a little drizzle of whipped cream and a sprinkling of chives. Serve at once.


Side dishes:


This is an ideal vegetable to prepare in advance and is excellent with turkey, ham or goose. It will keep for up to a week in the fridge covered with cling film in a non-metallic bowl. It also freezes very well – simply pop into medium-sized freezer bags and leave to thaw out before reheating gently, either on the hob or in a casserole dish with a lid in the oven.


4 tbsp duck or goose fat (from a jar

or left over from a roast) or 2 tbsp

rapeseed oil

1 red cabbage, trimmed, cored and

finely shredded

2 red onions, thinly sliced

1 large Bramley cooking apple,

peeled, cored and grated

100g (4oz) dried cranberries

300ml (½ pint) red wine

300ml (½ pint) pomegranate juice

6 tbsp redcurrant jelly

4 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp mixed spice

½ tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground ginger

good pinch of ground cloves

sea salt and freshly ground black


pomegranate seeds, to garnish(optional)


1 Melt the duck or goose fat in a very large heavy-based pan set over a medium heat, then tip in the red cabbage and onions. Sauté over a medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, until just beginning to soften.

2 Stir in the apple and cranberries, then add the red wine, pomegranate juice, redcurrant jelly, red wine vinegar and spices. Season to taste. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes, until the cabbage is meltingly tender. Transfer to a warmed dish and garnish with pomegranate seeds (if using) to serve.


All-in-one Baked Vegetables

These vegetables not only taste delicious, they are also the perfect accompaniment to your turkey or any roast. But the best part is that they can be prepared well in advance, leaving nothing to do last minute – expect, of course, remembering to pop them in the oven! The oven temperature is quite flexible, so simply put the parcel on the bottom shelf of your oven depending on what you are cooking and adjust the cooking time accordingly. They will keep warm in the unopened parcel, leaving you with one less thing to worry about.

Serves 8-10


675g (1½lb) carrots 675g (1½lb) parsnips 4 celery sticks 1 small onion, very finely chopped 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves 50g (2oz) butter sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/gas mark 4).

Peel the carrots and parsnips and cut into even-sized batons. Cut the celery into similar-sized batons. Take a large double sheet of tin foil or parchment paper and pile the vegetable batons in the middle.

Scatter the onion and thyme over the vegetables and dot with the butter, then drizzle over about 4 tablespoons of water. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then fold in the sides of the parcel to enclose the veg by bringing up the sides, then folding over and twisting the edges.

Put the foil or parchment bag on a baking sheet and roast for 1 hour, until the vegetables are meltingly tender and slightly caramelised. 5 To serve, either open the baked vegetable parcel at the table or carefully pour the vegetables and all of their juices into a nice big warmed dish.


This stuffing is very versatile and can also be cooked inside the bird or in a separate buttered dish so it becomes very crisp. It’s really good with turkey, goose or even chicken. These can be made two or three days in advance and kept in the fridge until needed.


75g (3oz) butter, plus extra for


1 large onion, diced

1 tbsp chopped fresh sage

175g (6oz) fresh white breadcrumbs

100g (4oz) dried apricots, finely


finely grated rind of 1 small orange

1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 Melt the butter in a frying pan set over a medium heat, then add the onion and sage and cook for a few minutes, until the onion has softened but not coloured. Put the breadcrumbs in a bowl and tip in the onion mixture, then mix well to combine and season to taste. Fold in the apricots, orange rind and parsley. Roll into nine balls and either arrange around thebird or place in a small buttered roasting tin.

2 When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/gas mark 4).

3 Cook the stuffing balls in the oven for about 20 minutes, until cooked through and golden brown. Serve immediately in a warmed dish.



Once made, this will keep covered in the fridge for up to one week. If you want to make it in advance, leave it to cool and freeze in a food bag for up to one month.


25g (1oz) butter

1 small onion, finely sliced

½ tsp chopped fresh rosemary

120ml (4fl oz) ruby red port

500g (18oz) fresh or frozen cranberries

200g (7oz) light brown sugar

Melt the butter in a pan set over a medium heat. Add the onion and rosemary and cook for 5 minutes to soften. Pour in the port and allow it to bubble down. Add the cranberries and simmer for 8–10 minutes, until the cranberries have softened. Stir in the sugar until it has dissolved. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve at room temperature.


BrusselS sprouts, red onion and bacon crumble

Serves 6-8


  • 675 g (1 1/2 oz) Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
  • Knob of butter
  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cooked slices smoked bacon, diced
  • 200 ml (7 fl oz) cream
  • 50 ml (2 fl oz) milk
  • Good pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 50 g (2 oz) fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 25 g (1 oz) walnuts, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 50g (2 oz) fresh white breadcrumbs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper



Preheat oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5.  Half fill a pan with water and bring to the boil.  Add the Brussels sprouts and simmer for 4-5 minutes until just tender but not soggy.  Drain and refresh under running cold water.

Butter a baking dish and tip in the blanched Brussels sprouts. Scatter over the red onion and bacon. Mix the cream with the milk and nutmeg in a jug and season to taste, and then pour over the sprouts. Mix the walnuts and parsley through the breadcrumbs and Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top. Place in oven for 20-25 minutes until bubbling and golden brown.


White and sweet potato gratin

Serves 6-8


  • 600 ml (1 pint) milk
  • 600 ml (1 pint) cream
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • good pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • knob of butter
  • 450 g (1 lb) potatoes, peeled
  • 450 g (1 lb) sweet potatoes, peeled (preferably orange-fleshed)
  • salt and freshly ground white pepper



Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/Gas 3. Pour the milk and cream into a pan and add the garlic, nutmeg, parsley and thyme. Season to taste and just heat through but do not allow the mixture to boil, and then quickly remove from the heat.

Using a mandolin cutter, thinly slice the potatoes and sweet potatoes, being very careful of your fingers or use the slicing attachment of your food processor as doing them by hand with a sharp knife can be a very laborious task indeed.

Butter a large ovenproof dish. Arrange a third of the potatoes and sweet potatoes in the bottom and season to taste. Add another third of both types of the potatoes in an even layer. Season to taste. Arrange the rest of the white and sweet potatoes on top in an attractive overlapping layer and pour over the milk mixture.

Cover the gratin with a piece of foil and bake for 1 hour until cooked through and lightly golden, then remove the foil and return to the oven for another 10 minutes or until the top is bubbling and golden brown.

To serve, divide the white and sweet potato gratin into portions and use as required.

Perfect Mashed Potatoes

This is a brilliant mashed potato recipe, which once mastered can be adapted for different results. Try replacing a couple tablespoons of the milk with crème fraîche or cream for a richer version.


  • 1.5kg (3¼lb) floury potatoes, such as Rooster, peeled and cut into even-sized chunks
  • 120ml (4fl oz) milk
  • 75g (3oz) butter
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • snipped fresh chives, to garnish


Put the potatoes in a large pan of salted water. Bring to the boil, cover and reduce the heat. Simmer for 15–20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender but aren’t breaking up. Drain and return to the pan set over a low heat to dry out. Mash the potatoes or pass them through a potato ricer or vegetable mouli if you want a really smooth finish.

Heat the milk in a small pan or in the microwave. Using a wooden spoon, beat the butter into the potatoes until melted, then beat in the warm milk until you have a smooth, creamy mash. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve at once garnished with snipped fresh chives.



Colcannon is traditionally made in Ireland with kale and was always served at Halloween with a lucky charm wrapped up and tucked in the centre for one person to find. Put a knob of the butter and a tablespoon of water in a pan with a tight-fitting lid over a high heat. Add 225g (8oz) of finely shredded cabbage or kale with two finely chopped spring onions and a pinch of salt. Cover, shake vigorously and cook for 1½ minutes. Shake again and cook for another 1½ minutes, until the cabbage or kale is tender but still crisp. Beat into the mashed potatoes with the warm milk.


Melt 75g (3oz) of butter in a sauté pan set over a medium heat and sauté a bunch of spring onions that have been finely chopped for 2–3 minutes, until tender. Beat into the mashed potatoes with the warm milk and season to taste.

Golden Crunch Roast Potatoes

While turkey may be the star of the Christmas table, if you get your roast potatoes right, then frankly you could serve chicken nuggets and most people would still be happy as Larry. Let’s face it, we are all about the potatoes as a nation! This recipe also works for 900g (2lb) of parsnips – simply blanch for 3 minutes instead and cook for about 45 minutes. Try to use beef dripping for the best flavour. Check out James Whelan Butchers online for an award-winning dripping that can be delivered straight to your door.


1.5kg (3¼lb) floury potatoes, such as Rooster, Desiree, King Edward or Maris Piper 4 tbsp beef dripping, goose or duck fat (from a jar or left over from a roast) sea salt handful of fresh rosemary sprigs (optional)


Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F/gas mark 5).

Wash and peel the potatoes, reserving the peel. Cut the potatoes in half or into quarters, depending on their size. Put them in a large pan of salted boiling water along with the peel – it’s easiest if you can put this in a muslin-infusing bag. Parboil for 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the beef dripping, goose or duck fat in a large roasting tin and put it into the oven to heat. Drain the potatoes and discard the peel, then put them back in the pan and shake gently to rough up the edges. Take the roasting tin out of the oven and put on the hob over a gentle heat. Put the potatoes in one by one – they should sizzle as they hit the pan – and baste all over. Season with salt.

Roast in the oven for about 1 hour, until golden and crunchy, keeping an eye on them and basting with a little more fat if they begin to look dry. Add some fresh rosemary sprigs (if using) about 20 minutes before the end of the cooking time. Serve immediately, as these do not appreciate hanging around!


Roasted Potatoes with Truffle & Parmesan For a really decadent twist, once the roast potatoes are cooked, sprinkle them with a couple teaspoons of your favourite truffle oil, then scatter over freshly grated Parmesan cheese to serve.

The Main Course!


Buttermilk Brined Roast Crown of Turkey with Lemon and Tarragon

A great alternative to roasting a large bird, the crown is the turkey breasts and wing joints with the legs removed. From feedback this is the most popular recipe I’ve ever done, as the buttermilk brine ensures that the flesh stays wonderfully succulent.

1 x 1.8–2kg (4–4½lb) turkey crown,  off the bone

75g (3oz) butter, softened

1 garlic clove, crushed

finely grated rind of 1 lemon

1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

2 tsp chopped fresh tarragon

4 rindless smoked bacon rashers


For the buttermilk brine:

2 litres (3½ pints) buttermilk

2 lemons, thinly sliced

1 garlic bulb, separated into cloves and sliced

15g (½oz) fresh tarragon sprigs, roughly bruised

3 tbsp sea salt or kosher salt

2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 Mix together all the ingredients for the buttermilk brine in a turkey bag, then add the turkey crown. Tie up the bag securely and put in the salad drawer at the bottom of the fridge – up to two days is best, but brine for at least 24 hours.

2 Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F/gas mark 5).

3 Cream the butter until soft, then beat in the garlic, lemon rind and herbs. Remove the crown from the brine and drain off any excess liquid, then pat the skin dry with kitchen paper. Gently loosen the neck flap away from the breast and pack

the flavoured butter right under the skin (this is best done using gloves on your hands). Rub the butter into the flesh, then re-cover with the skin and secure with a small skewer or sew with fine twine. Cover the top of the turkey crown with the rashers.

4 Put the prepared turkey crown in the oven and calculate your cooking time: 20 minutes per 450g (1lb) plus 20 minutes. This will cook much quicker than a whole turkey, so make sure to baste it often. You can cover it with foil if it’s browning too quickly. When cooked, cover with foil to rest and keep warm. Drain away the cooking juices to make the gravy.

5 To serve, carve the turkey crown into slices and arrange on warmed plates with a selection of your favourite accompaniments.


SERVES 10–12

This ham is cooked in the traditional manner: it’s simmered in a large pan first before being finished off in the oven, which keeps the finished result really moist. 

5.25kg (11½lb) leg of gammon, on

the bone and skin on

4 celery sticks, roughly chopped

2 onions, sliced

1 bunch of fresh thyme

1 tbsp black peppercorns

200ml (7fl oz) Irish whiskey

200ml (7fl oz) honey

2 tbsp redcurrant jelly

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp ground allspice

2 tsp whole cloves


1 Soak the gammon in cold water for at least 6 hours (or overnight is best), then drain.

2 Weigh the gammon and calculate the cooking time, allowing 20 minutes per 450g (1lb) plus 20 minutes – this size takes about 4 hours. Put in a large pan, cover with water and bring to the boil, skimming off any scum. Add the celery, onions, thyme and peppercorns and return to the boil, then cover, reduce the heat and simmer until completely tender, occasionally skimming off any scum that rises to the top. If you aren’t sure the gammon is properly cooked, check the bone end – it should come away freely from the gammon joint. Drain and leave until cool enough to handle.

3 Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/gas mark 4).

4 Carefully peel away the skin, leaving the layer of white fat intact. Using a sharp knife, score the fat diagonally to make a diamond pattern.

5 Put the whiskey in a pan with the honey, redcurrant jelly, balsamic vinegar and ground allspice. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened. Stud the ham with the cloves and put in a large roasting tin with a little water to prevent the bottom from catching and burning. Brush a layer of the glaze all over the ham, reserving the remainder. Cook in the oven for 1 hour, brushing over another layer of the glaze every 15 minutes, until it’s all gone. Transfer to a platter and leave to rest for 15–20 minutes before carving into slices to serve. Use as required.

Traditional Roast Goose with Honey & Clove Sauce

Serves 6-8

1 x 4.5kg (10lb) oven-ready goose

1 quantity stuffing

3 tbsp clear honey

For the honey and clove sauce:

225ml (8fl oz) goose stock or beef stock

4 tbsp clear honey

2 tbsp light brown sugar

2 tbsp dark soy sauce

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp tomato ketchup

2 tsp whole cloves

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F/gas mark 7).

Remove any surplus fat from the cavity of the goose and spoon the stuffing loosely into the neck end, then fold over the skin and secure the underside with two skewers. Tie the bird in a neat shape with string, then sprinkle with salt and put on a large wire rack set in a roasting tin. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes.

Take the goose out of the oven and pour off any excess fat Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C (350°F/gas mark 4)

Remove the wire rack and put the goose back in the tin and roast for another hour, again pouring off any excess fat after 30 minutes. Take the goose out of the oven and pour off any last excess fat, then brush all over with the honey.

Roast for a final 30 minutes, until the juices run clear when the thickest part of the leg is pierced. A digital thermometer pushed into the breast should read 65–70°C (149–158°F).

Transfer to a platter and leave to rest for 20 minutes, covered

loosely with foil. Meanwhile, to make the sauce, put all the ingredients in a small pan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, until thickened to a sauce consistency that coats the back of a spoon. Season and pass through a fine sieve into a clean pan to reheat gently.

Carve the goose, stirring any juices into the sauce. Put on warmed plates with some of the stuffing and spoon a little of the honey and clove sauce over.




200g (7oz) Madeira cake, brokeninto pieces

300ml (½ pint) cream

toasted flaked almonds, to decorate pomegranate seeds, spun sugar,

For the custard:

300ml (½ pint) milk

100ml (3½fl oz) cream

½ vanilla pod, split in half lengthways and seeds scraped out

5 egg yolks

4 tbsp caster sugar

2 tsp cornflour

For the fruit:

100ml (3½fl oz) sweet sherry

100g (4oz) caster sugar

½ vanilla pod, split in half lengthways and seeds scraped out

1 x 500g (18oz) bag of frozen fruitsof the forest

1 To make the custard, put the milk, cream and vanilla pod and seeds in a heavy-based pan set over a gentle heat and cook until it nearly reaches the boil – but don’t allow to boil. Meanwhile, put the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour in a large bowl and whisk together until pale and thickened.

2 Remove the hot milk and cream mixture from the heat and slowly whisk it into the egg mixture through a fine sieve until smooth. Discard the vanilla pod and pour back into the pan, then set over a gentle heat. Cook, without allowing it to boil, until the custard coats the back of a wooden spoon, stirring continuously. Remove from the heat and leave to cool, covered with a piece of cling film pressed directly on the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming on top.

3 Meanwhile, prepare the fruit. Put the sherry in a large pan with the sugar and vanilla seeds and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 4–5 minutes, until syrupy, stirring occasionally. Stir in the frozen fruits of the forest and set aside until cooled, stirring occasionally. The fruits should defrost naturally in the hot syrup but still hold their shape.

4 Scatter the Madeira cake over the base of a 1.5 litre (2½ pint) glass serving bowl. Spoon over the fruit and cover with the cooled custard. Chill for 1 hour, until the custard sets a little firmer, or up to 24 hours is fine. 5 When ready to serve, whip the cream in a bowl until you have achieved soft peaks. Put spoonfuls on top of the custard, then gently spread with a palette knife or the back of a spoon to cover the custard completely (or you can use a piping bag). Sprinkle over the toasted flaked almonds and pomagranate seeds and decorate with some spun sugar if liked, then place straight on the table to serve.

Auntie Maureen’s Plum Pudding

In my opinion, no one makes Christmas pudding as good as my Auntie Maureen! Its flavour only improves as time goes on, so it’s best to make it a month before you plan to eat it. Serve warm or cold with lashings of custard or whipped cream with and brandy butter.



  • 50g (2oz) plain flour
  • ½ tsp ground mixed spice
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 225g (8oz) sultanas
  • 175g (6oz) butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
  • 175g (6oz) fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 175g (6oz) light brown sugar
  • 175g (6oz) raisins
  • 50g (2oz) currants
  • 50g (2oz) candied mixed peel
  • 50g (2oz) blanched almonds, chopped
  • ½ apple, peeled, cored and diced
  • ½ small carrot, grated finely
  • grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 300ml (½ pint) stout icing sugar, to decorate (optional) custard or whipped cream, to serve brandy butter to serve


Sift together the flour, mixed spice, cloves and nutmeg in a large bowl. Add the sultanas, melted butter, breadcrumbs, sugar, raisins, currants, mixed peel, almonds, apple, carrot and the lemon rind and juice and mix until well combined. Gradually add the beaten eggs, stirring constantly, followed by the stout. Mix everything thoroughly and cover with a clean tea towel, then leave in a cool place overnight.

Use the fruit mixture to fill 2 x 1.2 litre (2 pint) greased pudding bowls. Cover with a double thickness of greaseproof paper and tin foil, then tie tightly under the rim with string.

To cook, preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F/gas mark 2).

Stand each pudding basin in a large cake tin three-quarters full of boiling water, then cook in the oven for 6–8 hours (or you can steam them for 6 hours in the usual way). Cool and re-cover with clean greaseproof paper. Once cooked, the plum pudding can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to  two months.

On Christmas Day, re-cover with greaseproof paper and foil. Steam for 2–3 hours, until completely cooked through and tender. Decorate with a light dusting of icing sugar, if liked.

To serve, cut the plum pudding into slices and arrange on serving plates. Have a separate jug of the custard or a dish of whipped cream and another of brandy butter so that everyone can help themselves.




This recipe is great to use up any leftover turkey from Christmas Day. It packs a powerful flavour punch and is just the ticket after the excesses of the festive season. Stir-frying is a traditional Chinese cooking technique that’s very easy to master. To check if the vegetables are cooked, pierce them with the tip of a knife – they should feel as soft as butter.

Serves 4–6

275g (10oz) fine egg noodles

1 tbsp sunflower oil

1 large red pepper, halved, seeded and thinly sliced

225g (8oz) fine green beans, trimmed and halved

175g (6oz) baby corn, halved lengthways

2 garlic cloves, crushed

400g (14oz) can coconut milk

350g (12oz) leftover cooked turkey meat, cut into bite-sized pieces

100g (4oz) crunchy peanut butter

2 tbsp dark soy sauce

2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

1 tsp light muscovado sugar

juice of ½ lime

50g (2oz) cashew nuts, toasted and finely chopped handful fresh coriander leaves, to garnish


Place the fine egg noodles in a pan of boiling water and cook for 3–4 minutes, until tender, or according to the packet instructions.

Heat a wok until very hot. Add the oil and swirl it around the edges, then tip in the red pepper, green beans, baby corn and garlic and stir-fry for 3–4 minutes, until the vegetables are tender,sprinkling over 1 tablespoon of water if the mixture is getting too dry.

Drain the noodles and add to the wok with the coconut milk, turkey, peanut butter, soy sauce, chilli sauce, sugar and lime juice. Stir-fry for another 2–3 minutes, until all the ingredients are piping hot.

To serve, divide among warmed serving bowls and scatter over the cashew nuts and coriander.


Parmesan Risotto

One of the beautiful things about risotto is that it’s a blank canvas in terms of both flavour and appearance. It can be adorned with toppings with an array of crunchy and creamy textures, which will give the finished dish more complex flavours. SERVES 4


  • 1.5 litres (2½ pints) chicken or turkey stock (page 78)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 50g (2oz) butter, diced
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 350g (12oz) Carnaroli rice (risotto rice)
  • 150ml (¼ pint) dry white wine
  • 5 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan sea salt and freshly ground black pepper



Pour the stock into a pan and bring up to a gentle simmer. Heat the oil and a knob of the butter in a separate large pan. Add the onion, garlic and thyme and cook over a medium heat for 4–5 minutes, until softened but not coloured, stirring occasionally.

Increase the heat and add the rice. Cook for 1 minute, stirring continuously, until all the grains are evenly coated and the rice is opaque. Pour in the wine and allow it to reduce for 1–2 minutes, stirring. Reduce the heat to medium, then add a ladleful of the warm stock and allow it to reduce down, stirring until it has been completely absorbed into the rice.

Continue to add the simmering stock a ladleful at a time, stirring frequently. Allow each addition of stock to be almost completely absorbed before adding the next ladleful. Cook until the rice is al dente – just tender but with a slight bite. This should take 20–25 minutes.

Just before serving, stir in the remaining butter with the Parmesan and season to taste. Ladle into warmed bowls to serve.


Ham & Petits Pois with Blue Cheese When you’re adding the last ladleful of stock, tip in 225g (8oz) of leftover cooked diced ham with a couple handfuls of frozen petits pois. Crumble some blue cheese on top and garnish with fresh thyme and finely grated lemon rind just before serving.

Seafood Use mascarpone instead of Parmesan and add any leftover seafood you’ve got to hand, such as prawns or shrimp, lobster, crab or smoked salmon. Finish with chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley.

Turkey & Wild Mushrooms Soak a packet of dried porcini mushrooms in hot water. Add the reconstituted mushrooms with the rice, using the soaking water instead of some of the stock. Fold in 225g (8oz) of cooked diced turkey along with some sautéed garlicky mushrooms

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