My Cranberry Compote – I make this in December :)


I woke up this morning feeling slightly panicked.  It took me a minute, but eventually the awful truth dawned – there was no escaping the big event at the end of the year. I was going have to up my game…

My first instinct was to put on a chicken costume and act headless, but I’m (allegedly) all grown up now, so I put the chicken costume away for another day and decided to face my responsibilities like, well a man. Or a woman. Or like a person who has done this whole Christmas thing before and can probably pull the rabbit out of a hat again.

Then, out of the blue, I remembered that I had bought fresh cranberries the other day; I had jam jars, red wine, a couple of oranges and a bottle of Port – Thunderbirds were a GO.

This is the easiest and most satisfying recipe – you do hardly anything, and you end up with several pots of glorious bitter/sweet red stuff for eating with hot turkey on the day; cold cuts, pates or terrines thereafter, and even as an ingredient in my famous Cheat’s Mince and Cranberry rolls Yes, I could do this – and so can you..


  • A medium/large saucepan – the one that you use for the potatoes is fine.
  • a wooden spoon
  • A jam funnel, if you have one
  •  about 6 smallish jam jars, (pretty ones if you’re going to give some away as presents). I got my gorgeous little ones in Lakeland; they’re a brand called Ball, they hold 240ml, and are made in America. They need to be sterilised and heated.



  • 3x 300g bags of fresh cranberries                                      p1200949
  • 4oz granulated sugar
  • the grated zest and juice of two large oranges


  • 300mls red wine ( I used Rioja this evening because that’s what was lying around)
  • 50mls Port
  • 2 dessert spoons of balsamic vinegar




METHOD: For experienced cooks only 😉

  • Put everything except the Port into the saucepan on a med/high heat


  • Bring it to a gentle boil, stir regularly, and watch fascinated, as the cranberries pop
  • Reduce the heat a little
  • Add the Port.

look at that – isn’t it just gorgeous!

  • Let the Compote bubble gently away for about 20-25 minutes until it has thickened up nicely to about the consistency of a pouring jam
  • remove a teaspoonful and allow it to cool, then taste and add more sugar if necessary – it’s meant to be tart, not bitter
  • When you’re happy, remove it from the heat and allow to cool for about 5-10 minutes while you get the jam jars sorted.
  • Decant the compote into your chosen vessels and seal immediately.
  • Allow to cool completely, then label and decorate as you see fit


  • Because the cranberries we get are often all at different stages of ripeness, you tend to get some whole ones left sitting within the compote. To me, this adds variety, and is one of the delights of this recipe.
  • It will keep beautifully for a year or so in a cool place. I used the end of last-year’s batch the other day, and it was perfect.
  • It’s not meant to be like the overly-sweet (to me)  Cranberry jelly that you buy in supermarkets – it’s much more tart than that. That’s why it’s so good with so many things. It might be wasted on those who prefer a sweeter taste. Or, you know, you can just add more sugar..



I started writing down recipes in an old copybook when I was about 16. With 6 children at home, my Mother was always glad of a hand in the kitchen, and really allowed us to experiment - as long as we washed up afterwards, and left the kitchen immaculate! Having a tidy kitchen has followed me through my life, as has the habit of writing down my favourite recipes; except that these days I write them for my website, and add photographs when I can. The website really started when it occurred to me that my daughter might like to have these recipes when I've forgotten them. In my early days of cooking for family and friends, I used to phone my Mum all the time to ask her for the recipe for some of our favourite family dinners. She rarely had a recipe to hand - I think, like me, she made a lot of it up as she went along.. So welcome to Eating for Ireland - these are the recipes that my friends and family having been eating these past 40 years.. yes, I truly am ancient! They are tried and tested, and have worked for me for all that time - I have updated them as new ingredients became available - I really hope you'll find something that you can make into a family favourite of your own. You don't have to tell anyone where you found these great new dishes that you're serving up - it can be our little secret, but I'd really love it if you could give me a sneaky 'follow' on Facebook and Instagram.. So off you go - have a good rummage around, you're bound to find something new! My sincere thanks to all of you who have found a recipe that you liked and dropped me a line to tell me - I really do love to hear from you! Happy Cooking! Becks xx

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