A different kind of November..





Every year around this time, I re-read, review, and trot out my ‘How to get ahead in November so that you can enjoy December’ Blog post

https://eatingforireland.com/2018/11/01/stuff-to-do-in-november-to-take-the-strain-out-of-december/ in an effort to ease us into the Festive Season.

Truthfully, it’s served me well over the years, and with any luck, you’ll have found at least one useful thing to repay you for having taken the time out of your busy life to read this Oul Doll’s ramblings.

However, barely a couple of paragraphs into it this morning I realised that the Festive Season ahead of us bears little or no resemblance to previous Christmases. Apart from keeping Ted out of the Christmas tree – some traditions are forever, apparently – all is changed utterly..


The Continental Christmas Market, that stalwart of Belfast Christmases, will not be at the City Hall this year – but, and you heard it here first – St George’s Market still open, and is gearing up to make Christmas extra special, so keep an eye out for that, and other local events in your area.

Will there be Nativity plays? School Carol Concerts? Visiting Santa?? And my particular pre- Christmas favourites: Craft Fairs.  I love Craft Fairs – not this year you don’t, Becks…

It’s enough to make even a relatively cheery soul such as myself feel a little, well, flat..

But.. BUT:  the Halloween just past has been hailed by most of my younger pals as great fun and really enjoyable – People decorated their houses; parents and children did the socially-distanced Trick or Treating together; they had fun at home; public-minded actors did Street Theatre around the houses.. It worked out fine.  The kids – and the grown-ups – got to dress up and eat their own body weight in chocolate and sweets.

Halloween Fun at St George's Market

Halloween Fun at St George’s Market

Halloween at St George's Market

Halloween at St George’s Market

Maybe, just maybe, we can pull Christmas off too? Well there’s a thought, and something worth putting some effort into.

Christmas day at home 2018 JPG (16)

I’m determined now, that I’ll follow as much of my previous November advice as possible, so I’ve put the link to that Blog at the top of this one. I’ll fill my cupboards with ingredients and household supplies – I’ll try not to stock-pile toilet rolls, because that’s just not even funny anymore..

Mr Saturday Night will create his Christmas Pudding, and we’ll stir it and make a wish.

I’ll forget about a Christmas Cake until Christmas Eve, as I always do, and either make Nigella’s one,


The last minute Christmas Cake!

The last minute Christmas Cake!

or ask Little Miss Eating for Ireland to make the Ginger cake and put suitably festive decorations on it:


I'm such a fraud!

I’m such a fraud!

Over the next few weeks, I’ll double up on recipes – Chilli, Bolognaise, Curry, and have a few easy dinners socially distancing themselves in the freezer, waiting for one of my ‘can’t cook/won’t cook’ days.

I’ll make the gravy for Christmas Day and put it in the freezer; that always cheers me up.


Christmas Gravy (5) Christmas Gravy (2)







At this stage I refuse to think about all the things I’ll miss this year. I’ll be trying determinedly to NOT think about who might not come for Christmas Dinner this year.  I’m not going there because it makes me sad, and there’s plenty of time yet before final decisions are made..

And as always, “the way it is, is the way it’s meant to be”. That one-line philosophy has kept me going for years. I find it comforting that the universe marches to its own tune, and my little concerns are as nothing to it..

So have a look through ‘Things to do in November etc.’ and try not to worry about the things we won’t be able to change, regardless of how much we might wish to.

Enjoy the change of seasons; the last of the golden leaves on the trees, the frosty mornings, coming home to a warm house.. Enjoy November.. :) xx


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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