Christmas list: the final countdown..

Ginger Christmas cake

The truth is that I’ve written this list as much for myself as for Eating for Ireland.. I write lists to remind me of things I have to delegate (delegating is good 😉 ) or do (ice the Christmas cake); things to make (more mince pies!); things to hunt for (tablecloth, crackers).

I expect that you’ll be able to adapt this to your own menu, and add all the things I’ve forgotten!

Don’t bother printing , or hand-writing it – just do what I do – take a picture on your phone, and study it as you go about your business. It’s really handy to be able to add things too, as you think of them.

Any of the recipes I mention here are all waiting for you over at

Good luck!

And remember, as my dear old Mama used to say, ‘if I’ve forgotten something, we’ll just have to do without it’. Truthfully, no one will care.  Stay cool, you’re not in a competition.. And remember, the woman with the Food and Lifestyle website (me!) is the only one I know who has actually burnt Brussel sprouts :)

People will only remember the craic, the good humour and the laughter (and the smell of burnt sprouts, obviously!)

Then you just have to sit around and wait for someone to say on Christmas night ‘Sure it’s all as far away as ever!’


Merry Christmas, from our house to yours.. :) x



I used to do a grand dinner on Christmas Eve, but I’ve copped on to myself, so now it’s a family favourite from the freezer (this year it’s meatballs, so here’s what I need for that -)

  • Take the meatballs out of the freezer (duh)

meatballs served

  • spaghetti
  • mozzarella for melting on top
  • garlic bread
  • parmesan cheese
  • dessert (to be decided) – I’m thinking Apple Crumble..
  • whipped cream


As a change from French Toast, this year it’s Blueberry Pancakes with crispy bacon, fresh raspberries and maple syrup, so –

  • Flour
  • eggs
  • blueberries (from the freezer)


  • Streaky bacon
  • Maple syrup
  • Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee from Upperlands Coffee Company. A  special-occasion coffee – perfect for Christmas day :)  – they still have some at St George’s, but beware, it’s going fast!

St George's Dec. 2017 (1)



Fizzy stuff to begin – with Sloe Gin…

sloe gin 3 (2)


Think of your own starter – do you need:      cranberry compote (2) - Copy - Copy


  • Turkey (buy the turkey!!)
  • Ham (ditto!)
  • Stuffing
  • Potatoes, roasted?, mash?, or Mr Saturday Night’s favourite Champ!
  • Brussels sprouts (remember to add water before cooking 😉 – I may never live this down.. )
  • Roasted parsnips – whole grain mustard? Maple syrup/honey
  • Other veggies – we usually go with family favourites, or childhood memories
  • Cranberry sauce, bread sauce (have never tried it), made up mustard..


  • Gravy  – if you’ve followed Eating for Ireland this past month, you’ll have your gravy stashed in the freezer, awaiting its moment of glory :)
  • wine, soft drinks, water
  • tablecloths, napkins, dishes, cutlery, plates, glasses, serving spoons



  • Christmas pudding (reheat for an hour if you’ve made your own, or follow the packet instructions)
  • Brandy, if you’re going to set it alight!                                          p11302781
  • Whipped cream/brandy butter/custard/caster sugar
  • Mince pies (I like mine slightly heated)
  • Trifle
  • Cheese board/crackers/relish/grapes/celery
  • tea/coffee/liqueurs/Irish Coffee


In our house, it’s a buffet of:

  • Cold meats from dinner (covered, to keep them out of reach of any small furry critters who like such things, even though they’ve had their dinner..)

The Guilty Party!

  • pate/terrine


trifle (2)

  • mince pies                                                    Mince pies (2)
  • Christmas cake
christmas cake 2

There’s one of the furry critters with her eye on the cake!

  • Bread
  • Cheese board

And that it! –  Your work here is done!

Feet up, glass of something festive in front of the fire, bathing in the gratitude of  well-fed family and friends – Bliss!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night! 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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