Christmas Food and Drink TipsChristmas is all about enjoying tasty food and warming drinks by the fire. Home cook and food blogger Caitríona Redmond (www.wholesomeireland.com) has put together top ideas for this Christmas season – fantastic ways to share warmer moments with your loved ones!

Toasties by the fire
We still try to get out every day over the Christmas holidays and are so lucky to have a beautiful beach on our doorstep – sands, shells and stones take on a Christmas sparkle in the winter frosts. There’s no such thing as the wrong weather to go out in after all, only the wrong clothes.

Then when we get home, I still have an enduring love for a hot toasted sandwich made with the leftover Christmas dinner – turkey, stuffing and mayonnaise with a bit of shredded ham for good measure. I make mine with a handy sandwich toaster but they are just as easily made with the help of a dry, non-stick frying pan – find out more on my blog here.

Perfect parcels – to eat!
Christmas Fruit Parcels - WholesomeirelandThese Christmas fruit parcels are the perfect treat to make with your children anytime of the year. They’re very easy to assemble, making them simple for little fingers. So while the weather might not be brilliant outside, you can keep the small ones occupied for a while and grab a quiet moment to yourself.

On Christmas Eve, buy some fresh filo pastry from your local supermarket. You should find it in the chiller section. If you’re worried you won’t get some at the last minute, then buy some now and freeze the packet of pasty until next week. In a pinch, some wonton wrappers will do either.

Ingredients:

  • 100g Dried Fruit
  • ½ cup of Orange Juice
  • 2 Cooking Apples (Bramleys are good or Granny Smith apples will do if you’re stuck)
  • 1 Packet of Fresh Filo Pastry
  • 30g Melted Butter

Method:

The night before, make sure your filo is out of the freezer (if you put it in there) and defrost in the fridge overnight. Pour the orange juice and dried fruit into a bowl, then mix well and cover. Leave overnight and forget about it.

On Christmas Day, peel the apples, then grate them into the dried fruit mix and stir well. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Spread out the filo pastry and cut the sheets into 4 equal (square) pieces. Most filo packets come with 6 sheets so this will give you 24 squares or 12 parcels. In the middle of 12 of the squares, put a teaspoon of the mixture. Brush the outside of the squares with melted butter, then bring the edges together to make the parcel.

Mum and daughters bakingYou will now have 12 parcels and 12 empty squares. Put the parcels into the middle of the empty squares, brush the edges again and bring those together so that each parcel has 2 layers of pastry. Put the parcels onto a tray lined with greaseproof baking paper, then bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Once golden and crispy at the edges, remove and let cool for 10 minutes before serving with a dusting of icing sugar, maybe a splash of cream/brandy butter/custard/ice cream on the side?

*You can customise this recipe in a few different ways (including for vegan or lactose intolerant guests) – find out more here.

Christmas spice infused vodka

Did you know that you can infuse spirits very easily with the addition of a little warmth? I use the dishwasher to accelerate this Christmas spice infused vodka then leave it sitting on the mantelpiece to soak up the residual heat from the fire – find out how to make it on my blog.


What warmer moments is Caitríona looking forward to sharing with her family this Christmas?

Christmas food and drink tips - board gameAt least once over the holidays we’ll have a power-free day/night. We’ll turn off the wifi and the television, then drag out the board games and jigsaws.

Then we’ll light some candles when it gets too dim to play by the light of the fire alone. Just not Monopoly, there’s no point; I always win!

Music is an integral part of my family gatherings and you’ll always find us gathered around a piano, guitar or both, singing at the top of our lungs!

Check out the Bord na Móna fuel range – to enjoy warmer moments in front of the fire.