Five festive recipes that will bring some Irish flavour to your Christmas celebrations
Life & Style

Five festive recipes that will bring some Irish flavour to your Christmas celebrations

IF you’re hoping to bring some Irish flavour to your festive dining table this week, Ballymaloe Foods has compiled some very special Christmas recipes for you to enjoy.

Ballymaloe Foods was established by Yasmin Hyde, the daughter of Myrtle Allen, 31 years ago. Myrtle established a country house hotel and restaurant at Ballymaloe in the 1960s and it was here she developed her now famous, Original Relish recipe.

In 1990, Yasmin began producing Ballymaloe Relish in her kitchen, using her mother’s recipe. Since then, the family-run business has been on the exciting journey of bringing delicious tasting products to kitchens all over the world.

It continues to grow and now produces a range of relishes, sauces and pickles in their purpose built kitchens located in Little Island, county Cork.

Here are five recipes, perfect for any Christmas dinner, that offer something for all….

Sausage Roll Christmas Garland
Photo Joleen Cronin

Sausage Roll Garland


For the sausage mix:

-           225g Lean pork, minced

-           225g Pork fat, minced

-           1 Clove garlic, crushed

-           2 Teaspoons thyme, marjoram, basil and rosemary, mixed and chopped

-           1 egg, beaten

-           1 ½ cups soft breadcrumbs

-           Salt and pepper to taste

-           For the pastry:

-           350g all butter puff pastry

-           Ballymaloe Original Relish

-           1 egg, beaten

-           A little milk


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.
  2. Combine all the ingredients for the sausages together and mix well. Fry a little of the mixture on a frying pan to check the seasoning, adjust if necessary.
  3. On a floured work surface, if using homemade puff pastry: roll the pastry out into a big rectangle, a little thicker than a one euro coin. Roll the sausage mixture into a sausage shape with your hands and lay it lengthwise on one side of the rectangle.
  4. Spread Ballymaloe Original Relish over the pastry, leaving the last ¼ free for sealing. Roll the sausage and pastry into a tube, pressing the seam together. Join both ends together forming a circle, pressing to seal tightly.
  5. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Mix the egg and milk and brush the pastry with the mixture. Using a sharp knife, score through the garland to within 1cm of the inside, at 2.5cm intervals.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes or until puffed, golden and cooked through. Serve with more Ballymaloe Original Relish on the side.


Chicken or Turkey and Brie Crostini with Ballymaloe Cranberry Sauce

Chicken and Camembert Crostini with Ballymaloe Cranberry Sauce


-           Half a baguette, cut into 1/2 inch slices

-           A clove of garlic, cut in half

-           Some good quality extra virgin olive oil

-           A chicken breast

-           Salt and pepper

-           A round of camembert (Cooleeney make a delicious Irish camembert)

-           Ballymaloe Cranberry Sauce


  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat a frying pan, add some olive oil and fry the chicken breast on a medium heat until it is golden on the outside and cooked through. Slice the chicken breast into 1/2 inch slices and keep warm.
  2. Grill the slices of bread until they are just golden on both sides. While they’re still hot, rub them gently with the cut side of the garlic and drizzle with good quality extra virgin olive oil.
  3. Slice the Camembert into small wedges. On a serving plate arrange on the crostini, with a slice of chicken, camembert and a teaspoon of Ballymaloe Cranberry Sauce.

Glazed loin (Photo Joleen Cronin)

Loin of Bacon with Ballymaloe Ham Glaze


4-5lbs (1.8-2.25kg) streaky or loin of bacon, either smoked or unsmoked

whole cloves 20-30 approx.

Ballymaloe Ham Glaze


  1. Cover the bacon in cold water and bring slowly to the boil, if the bacon is very salty there will be a white froth on top of the water, in this case it is preferable to discard this water. It may be necessary to change the water several times depending on how salty the bacon is, finally cover with hot water and simmer until almost cooked, allow 25-30 minutes approx. to the lb. Remove the rind, cut the fat into a diamond pattern, and stud with cloves.
  2. Spoon Ballymaloe Ham Glaze Spread all over the bacon. Bake in a fully preheated hot oven 250°C/475°F/Gas Mark 9 for 20-30 minutes approx. or until the top has caramelized – baste the bacon 3-4 times during this time.

3. Remove to a carving dish. Carve in thick slices lengthwise so each slice includes some of the eye of the loin and streaky bacon.


Vegan Nut Roast

Vegan Nut Roast with Ballymaloe Original Relish


300g mixed nuts (finely chopped or roughly ground - almonds, cashew, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans, brazil nuts)

1 Vegan-friendly vegetable stock cube & 1⁄2 pint of water

50g red lentils

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 onion (peeled and finely chopped)

2 celery sticks (finely chopped)

1 small leek (finely chopped)

3 carrots (peeled and finely chopped)

1 parsnip (peeled and finely chopped)

2 cloves of garlic (crushed)

25g milled flax seeds

4 tbsp of cashew butter

3 oz dried cranberries

Zest of 1 lemon

Zest of 1 orange

1⁄2 tsp of smoked paprika

1⁄2 tsp of cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper


Small bunch of fresh thyme sprigs

Crispy brussels sprouts

Rustic roast potato and sweet potato

Ballymaloe Original Relish or
Ballymaloe Cranberry Sauce

Apple Sauce

You’ll also need a ring garland tin (9”) bundt tin / 6”-8” round tin / loaf tin Parchment paper


Preheat your oven to 180°C (conventional setting). Line your ring garland tin with parchment.

In a small saucepan, cook the lentils for 20 minutes in a half pint of water, with the vegetable stock cube, stirring continuously. You are waiting for the lentils to be fully cooked and the vegetable stock to be fully absorbed by the lentils. Once ready, set aside.

In a wide, high-sided frying pan, heat the olive oil gently and add in the finely chopped vegetables: onion, celery, leek, carrot, parsnip, and crushed garlic.

Season and stir often as it will sweat down and cook through; this takes roughly 8 minutes.

In a large bowl add the finely chopped mixed nuts, flax seeds, lemon and orange zest, cranberries, cashew nut butter, cooked red lentils and finely sweated vegetables. If the vegetables are still hot, use a wooden spoon to beat the mixture together.

Taste the raw mix and ensure you are happy with the seasoning (remember cooking the lentils in the vegetable stock intensifies the overall flavour so your base may not need extra seasoning).

Pack the mixture into your lined tin, place into the preheated oven at 180°C on the conventional setting and cover in a sheet of parchment - this is to prevent too much colour or drying of the outer skin.

Bake for 25 minutes, then remove the parchment and continue to bake for a further 15 minutes. Skewer to ensure it is cooked through.

Once you have achieved a rich brown colour, remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes then, very carefully, turn onto a serving platter.

Place your warmed serving platter on top of the nut wreath in its tin, take a tea towel and wrap it around the plate and the tin, ensure you have a really good grip, turn upside down and set down gently.

Remove the tin carefully, then smoothly peel back the parchment.

Serve with rustic roast potato and sweet potato wedges and a side of crispy chilli

and paprika Brussels sprouts.

Place the crispy sprouts in the centre of your festive garland and use any

crispy crumb that may be left on the tray. Drape one side with your rustic roast potatoes. Finish by surrounding the garland with fresh sprigs of thyme.


Cranberry Sherry Trifle with Ballymaloe Cranberry Sauce


1 lb (450g) approx. homemade sponge cake

8 oz (225g) Ballymaloe Cranberry Sauce

1 pint (600ml) custard

5 eggs, (organic and free-range if possible)

1 tbsp caster sugar

1⁄2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 1⁄4 pints (750ml) milk

6 fl oz (175ml) best quality sweet or medium sherry (Bristol Cream is perfect)

For your homemade sponge

125 butter

175g caster sugar

3 organic eggs

175g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp milk

You will need two 7’/ 18cm sponge cake tins

1 x 3 pint (1.7 litre) glass bowl


1 pint (600ml) whipped cream
10 cherries
10 diamonds of candied angelica

Toasted flaked almonds


Preheat an oven to 190°C/Gas Mark 5. Grease the tin with melted butter, dust with flour and line the base of each with a round of greaseproof or silicone paper.

Cream the butter until light and white and gradually add the caster sugar, beating until soft, light and quite pale in colour. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well between each addition. Sieve the flour and baking powder and stir in gradually. Mix lightly and add the milk to moisten.

Divide the mixture evenly between the prepared tins, hollowing it slightly in the centre. Bake for 20-25 minutes. The cake will shrink in slightly from the edge of the tins when cooked and the centre should feel the same as the edges. A skewer should come out clean when put into the centre of the cake. Turn out on to a wire tray and leave to cool.

Sandwich the rounds of sponge cake together with homemade Ballymaloe Cranberry Sauce. If you use trifle sponges, sandwich them in pairs.

Next, make the egg custard: Whisk the eggs with the sugar and vanilla extract. Heat the milk gently and add it to the egg mixture, whisking all the time. Put into a heavy saucepan and stir over a gentle heat until the custard coats the back of a wooden spoon lightly. Don’t let it boil or it will curdle.

Cut the sponge into 3⁄4 inch (2cm) slices and use these to line the bottom of your glass bowl, sprinkling generously with sherry as you go along.

Pour in some homemade egg custard and then add another layer of sponge. Sprinkle with the remainder of the sherry. Spread the rest of the custard over the top. Cover and leave for 5 or 6 hours, or preferably overnight in a cold larder or fridge to mature.

Before serving, spread softly whipped cream over the top, pipe rosettes if you like and decorate with cherries or crystallised violets and large diamonds of candied angelica. Sprinkle with a few toasted flaked almonds.