T’was two-and-a-bit-weeks-before-Christmas..

Christmas cake decorations 20201201_134120

..and I suddenly realised that I hadn’t got my trusty Christmas notebook out on my kitchen counter. In fact I hadn’t even looked for it.. Well, at least that’s sorted now.

It occurred to me then  that perhaps I’d better have a quick glance through it to see what I’m supposed to be doing at this stage..

Hmmm, let’s see..

  • Mincemeat made √;
  • Christmas gravy done√;
  • Christmas Pudding made √ (thanks Mr SN);
  • Mince Pies ditto, but I need to make many, many more to give away..
  • Casseroles for the freezer – well that would be a resounding NO..

I’d bought the ingredients for my Italian Meatballs  https://eatingforireland.com/recipe/italian-meatballs-with-mozarella/ over the weekend but they are still sitting in the fridge, looking around helplessly and saying ‘why am I here?’ ‘What’s it all about?’ and other existential questions.. I might need to move on that..

My excuse is the glorious Baltic/freezing days that we’ve had recently. Mr SN and I have been out making the most of them, and frankly the Christmas prep has gone off track a bit.

This little robin has a permanent perch on this fence!

This little robin has a permanent perch on this fence!


Lake dweller…









Today, it was so icy that I couldn’t open the door of my car for my Monday morning trip to the bakery. It was still chilly when we got to Mount Stewart, a National Trust property near Newtownards, but a walk up and down a few hills, and a quick trot around the lake soon warmed us up. Mount Stewart was looking beautiful this morning, with the sky reflected in the lake, and the sun glinting through iced vegetation.


Our coffee companion at Mount Stewart!

The lake at Mount Stewart

The lake at Mount Stewart









The Covid regulations had ensured that the restaurant, reception and shop was closed, but a take-away coffee was a welcome reward for our walk.

However, it was soon time to come home and get back to the Christmas prep, so in the spirit of ticking another little something off my list, I’m going to make my Chocolate cover Orange peel tomorrow – Look! I’ve even bought the oranges! These are so delicious that I wonder if I will be able to resist them before they have to be given away!


Chocolate orange strips (5)


Chocolate orange strips (1)








If you haven’t tried my new Crumble recipe yet, may I recommend it to you?


It’s festive  – it’s got Cranberries in it! – with pear chunks,  and crushed Ginger snap biscuits in the Crumble part – We’re going to have it for dessert for our Christmas Eve dinner – that’s how good it is!

Cranberry, Pear and Ginger Crumble (13) Cranberry, Pear and Ginger crumble (10)








Now all I’ve got to do is check my cupboard and freezer staples – that’s in my annual November post – https://eatingforireland.com/2018/11/01/stuff-to-do-in-november-to-take-the-strain-out-of-december/

And I’m not ashamed to be seen with a list clutched in my sanitized hand as I do my socially-distanced Supermarket shop!

There is the small matter of Christmas presents, but I’ve really tried to shop locally this year, and most of it is in the post as I type!

Enjoy these lovely Winter days, and remember that although Christmas is different for all of us this year, the best bit is still the run-up to it.  Sadly, we won’t be at Nativity plays and Carol Services – but Nature has been our support during Lockdown, and is at it’s best  on these frosty Winter days – off you go and enjoy it!

The view towards Scrabo Tower

The view towards Scrabo Tower



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

Posted in Blog