The EATING FOR IRELAND get-ahead list

The Eating for Ireland get-ahead list


Tomorrow is the 1st December – that means it’s now officially ok to:


  • Put up your tree
  • Put on your Christmas jumper
  • Listen to Christmas music
  • Watch Christmas films and
  • Talk freely about Christmas without worrying that everyone thinks you’re Christmas-obsessed !!


The lists below are really just a reminder – mostly for me, but with a little tweaking, you can made them your own too..

As a veteran of many, many Christmases – I’ve learned that a little early planning goes a long way :)

Now get out there and start enjoying Christmas! – safe in the knowledge that you’ve got this thing sorted (in your head, if nowhere else!)

P1280401 (2)

This list is far from complete, but it might serve to jog your memory as you read it. I fully expect you to  personalise it, and make it work for YOU. There’s another list on this site, which is my cunning plan for getting ahead before the big rush starts – have a look at it too –

Don’t forget to clear some space before you bring all this stuff home!

Christmas pudding 3

My friend Anne gave me this Festive spatula – I use it for making all my Christmas goodies!


Think: Tinned or bottled:                                                                             p1190679-2                                                     

  • tomatoes
  • Passata
  • Soups
  • Sauces
  • Vegetables (Peas/ Sweetcorn)
  • Beans – all varieties
  • Baked beans
  • Pet food
  • Coconut milk


Think: Frozen                                                                                     christmas pudding

  • Frozen vegetables
  • Ice cubes
  • Oven chips
  • Garlic/flatbread
  • Emergency loaves of bread
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Ice cream
  • Emergency wheaten bread
  • Frozen chicken livers
  • Meat/chicken
  • Good quality bread, sliced and de-crusted – for French toast, or bread and butter pudding



Couldn’t find a picture of pet food .. ;)

Think: Store cupboard/Dried goods                                                                                                                                            

  • Rice – Basmati and Pudding
  • Pasta – all shapes
  • Noodles
  • Marrowfat peas
  • Stock cubes
  • Mustard powder
  • Pet food
  • Tea, coffee
  • Sugar
  • Breakfast cereals, porridge
  • Bulgur wheat
  • Couscous
  • Gravy seasoning
  • Tortilla wraps
  • Custard powder
  • Ready-t0-bake breads


      Think: Paper                                                                                                  P1300084

  • Paper tissues
  • Toilet roll
  • Kitchen roll
  • Baking parchment
  • Paper napkins
  • Paper plates, cups, etc.
  • Christmas crackers
  • Wrapping paper, gift bags, cellotape.




Think: cleaning products/household                                                                P1200558

  • Washing powder
  • Dish-washer tablets
  • Washing-up liquid
  • Spray polish
  • Dusters
  • Silver and Brass polish
  • Washing-up sponges
  • Bleach
  • Bathroom and kitchen cleaners
  • Anti-bacterial wipes
  • Hand wash
  • Soap
  • light bulbs
  • Batteries
  • Extension leads
  • Thumb tacks

Think: condiments, sauces      mexican gammon (7)

  • Salt, pepper
  • Spices
  • Dried herbs
  • Ready-made mustard/ mustard powder
  • Prawn cocktail sauce
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Chutneys and compotes for cold meats
  • Brandy butter
  • Sun-dried tomato paste
  • Jars of olives
  • Jams
  • Marmalade
  • Sweet chilli sauce
  • Soy sauce
  • Mulled wine spices
  • Maple syrup
  • Olive oil, rapeseed oil


Think: Drinks

ALCOHOLIC:                                                                                                          p1210144

  • Prosecco
  • Champagne
  • Red and white wine
  • Cider
  • Beer
  • Spirits
  • Port
  • Brandy
  • Baileys
  • Liqueurs



SOFT:                                                                                                          apple juice 2

  • Mixers – ginger ale, tonic, white lemonade
  • Sugar-free mixers and cordials
  • Non-alcoholic alternatives
  • Ribena
  • Coke/Pepsi
  • Lemonade for kids
  • Mineral water
  • Elderflower cordial
  • Dare I suggest it – tea and coffee!

Think: Christmas-only items                                                          P1130081(1)                                                                      

  • Disposable turkey tray
  • Turkey foil
  • Table and food decorations
  • Festive sprinkles
  • Christmas Crackers
  • Cheese board and cheeses for cooking (long date?)
  • Biscuits for cheese
  • Smoked salmon
  • Stocking fillers
  • Boxes of chocolates/ selections boxes
  • Chocolate coins
  • Ready-made cake/pudding/mince pies
  • Ready-made fondant icing
  • Ready-made marzipan
  • Trifle sponges
  • Lady fingers
  • Jelly
  • Custard

Think: Entertaining                                                                P1210485

  • Plan your menu, then make your list
  • Glasses/plates/napkins/cutlery
  • Allergies/food intolerances
  • Crisps/nuts/nibbles
  • Ready-made puff pastry (long date or frozen)
  • Supermarket nibbles, suitable for freezing
  • candles



Think: Baking

  • Flour – self raising, wheaten and plain                                                   p1210478
  • Baking powder
  • Bicarbonate of soda
  • Sugars – caster, golden caster, Muscavado, demerara, icing
  • Vanilla essence
  • Cinnamon, cloves, mixed spice, ground ginger
  • Stem ginger in syrup
  • Almonds – whole and ground
  • Dried fruit – sultanas, raisins, currants, dried cranberries, cherries, apricots, dates, prunes
  • Vegetarian suet
  • Golden syrup
  • Treacle
  • Sweet mincemeat, bought or home-made
  • Cooking chocolate
  • Butter – salted/unsalted; spreads
  • Freezer bags
  • Baking parchment
  • Tin foil
  • clingfilm

Think: Your weekly dinners                                                                      chicken curry

  • Minced beef, chicken, fish
  • Have a batch-cooking day and reap the rewards later
  • Garlic bread/ flatbread to accompany – buy and freeze.
  • Pasta, rice, noodles to serve.
  • Potatoes will keep well on a cold doorstep at this time of year. I often buy one of those big bags of Maris Pipers or similar (good for mash and roasties)



Think: Your Christmas day menu                                                                    P1300319

  • Order turkey/ham/beef/vegetarian alternative
  • Stuffing – ready-made, or make your own and freeze it.
  • breadcrumbs
  • Christmas morning breakfast – slice and freeze bread for French toast
  • Streaky bacon, long date.
  • Maple syrup
  • Custard – fresh (long date), or ready-made in a carton
  • Brandy butter
  • Your starter: Prawns/smoked salmon/ terrine/soup
  • Desserts – lady fingers for tiramisu; sponges for trifle. Chocolate muffins for the world’s easiest trifle
  • Croutons – use up some stale sourdough and freeze until needed.
  • About 2-3 weeks before the big day, get ahead with roasted parsnips – peel, and cut into fingers. Place in freezer-proof plastic bag, add 2 tablespoons of oil and shake well to combine. Eliminate as much air as possible, seal tightly and freeze. Cook from frozen on the day. 30-40 mins.

Don’t forget Health essentials:

  • Prescription medicines – don’t leave them to the last minute!
  • Painkillers – because Christmas can sometimes be a headache! :)
  • Sticking plasters – for those dancing feet!
  • Rennies, or similar – for when you know you shouldn’t have  had that last mince pie!
  • Cold and Flu remedies – someone always gets sick at Christmas, right?



‘Merry Christmas to All, and to all, a good night!’


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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