My Christmas Recipes

We hope you were able to tune in for my Christmas special. And I hope that you might give a few of the dishes a try this year. So, here are all the recipes from the show. Enjoy your festive cooking everyone. And we haven’t forgotten the recipes from last week’s Christmas Facebook Live – we will have them up very soon!


Celeriac and sweet potato boulangere

 This dish is hassle-free so perfect for the Christmas table. The layered up celeriac, sweet potatoes and onions absorb all stock. It can be made advance and left to cool completely before covering with clingfilm and storing in the fridge for up to 3 days before you want to use it.

 Serves 6-12

2 tbsp olive oil, extra for greasing

3 onions, thinly sliced (on a mandolin is best)

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 tbsp chopped fresh mixed herbs (use a mixture of thyme, rosemary and sage)

2 tbsp roughly chopped fresh parsley

1kg (2 1/4lb) sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (on a mandolin is best)

1 large celeriac, peeled and thinly sliced (on a mandolin is best)

900ml (1 ½ pints) chicken or vegetable stock

50g (2oz) butter, diced

25g (1oz) stale white breadcrumbs (sourdough is best)

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 200C (400F), Gas mark 6. Heat the oil in a frying pan and sauté the onions, garlic and herbs for 10 minutes until soft and lightly golden. Season to taste. Layer the potatoes in a large baking dish with the onions and celeriac. Season each layer as you go and finish with an attractive overlapping layer of the potatoes. Pour over the stock and top with knobs of butter.

Rub some foil with olive oil and place it, oil side down over the dish and seal tight. Bake for 45 minutes, then remove the foil, press the potatoes down with a fish slice. Scatter over the breadcrumbs and bake for another 15-20 minutes until golden. 

Crispy Brussels sprouts with preserved lemon and Parmesan

Add a deliciously different side dish to your Christmas dinner spread with these Moorish Brussels sprouts. Shallow frying your sprouts like this gives them a whole new depth of flavour that’s like the addictive crispy seaweed (basically cabbage) you get in Chinese restaurants. The knack is to sizzle them gently so by the time the cut side is deep brown, the rest of the vegetable has wilted in the heat. Use only super fresh Brussels sprouts that literally snap when you break from off the stalks.

Serves 6

3 tbsp rapeseed or sunflower oil

500g (1 1/4lb) Brussels sprouts

25g butted, cold and diced

pinch of sea salt

2 tbsp finely diced preserved lemon (see different recipe or use shop-bought)

3 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Peel off the outer leaves from the Brussels sprouts and then slice each one in half.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Put the sprouts into the pan, cut-side down and leave them to sizzle away for 10 minutes without disturbing them. Halfway through cooking, dot over the butter and allow it to sizzle and brown – the sprouts needs to be really crispy and dark brown. If they are just lightly brown, carry on cooking them for another 5 minutes, then turn over and continue to cook for another few minutes until just cooked through and tender when pierced with a small sharp knife.

Remove the sprouts from the heat and season with salt then scatter over the lemon preserve and toss until evenly coated. Sprinkle over the Parmesan and toss again before tipping into a warmed serving dish. Serve at once.

Preserved lemons

 You have probably seen recipes using preserved lemons as Middle Eastern recipes are becoming more popular. This is a version of them that is extremely easy to make and looks so lovely once they’ve been packed into jars you’ll find yourself making extra to give as presents. It differs slightly as it has some sugar in the brine but this gives the finished result a lovely sweet underdone.

Makes 2 x 1.5 litre (2 1/2 pint) Kilner jars

8 lemons

250g (9oz) sugar

200g sea salt flakes

2 tsp coriander seeds, lightly crushed

1 tsp cumin seeds, lightly crushed

½  tsp ground turmeric

2 tsp black peppercorns

4 long red chillies

4 bay leaves

4 fresh rosemary sprigs

Scrub the lemons clean and place in a pan covered with 1.5 litres (2 1/2 pints) of water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes until softened. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the lemons to a bowl of iced water to cool them down quickly and prevent them from cooking any further.

Add the sugar and salt to the cooking liquid. Remove from the heat and whisk in the spices. Pack the lemons into sterilized Kilner jars and pour over enough of the bring to cover completely, then push a chilli, bay leaf and sprig of rosemary down the side of each one before sealing tight. Store in a cool place or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks before using. To use, drain the lemons and finely dice the flesh.

Christmas turkey with apricot and orange stuffing

Every year we get a turkey from Hogan’s Farm as they’re good family friends and the quality of their birds is always superb. This is a similar technique to brining the turkey that I introduced you to a couple of years ago which was fantastic. It proved very popular but the only negative I ever heard was that it took up a large amount of space in the fridge so this version just uses a salt rub.

Serves 10-12

6kg (12lb) oven-ready turkey, at room temperature (preferably free-range)

1 orange, halved


4 bay leaves, crumbled if dry and torn into small pieces if fresh

1 heaped tbsp chopped fresh sage

1 tsp black peppercorns

75g (3oz) sea salt flakes

finely grated rind of 1 orange


100g (4oz) butter, at room temperature

finely grated rind and juice of 1 Clementine

splash of dry sherry

2 tsp finely chopped fresh sage


75g (3oz) butter

1 large onion, diced

1 tbsp chopped fresh sage

175g (6oz) fresh white breadcrumbs

100g (4oz) dried apricots, finely chopped

1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

finely grated rind of 1 small orange


1 tbsp plain flour

good splash of dry sherry

600ml (1 pint) turkey or chicken stock (see tip box)

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

small bunch fresh herbs, to garnish (to include parsley, sage and bay leaves)

Up to 2 days before, prepare the turkey. If you have a spice grinder or mini chopper, tip all the ingredients for the salt rub and grind to make a wet salt rub. If you are using a pestle & mortar, grind the spices and herbs together, then add the salt and orange rind and grind well again to combine. Carefully rinse the turkey and dry with kitchen paper. Sit it in a roasting tin and use the salt mix to season the turkey generously all over inside and out. Put the turkey, breast side up in the tin, cover with clingfilm and leave in the fridge for up to 2 days. This can be done a day in advance but the longer you leave it, the more flavour the salt rub will permeate the turkey.

On the day you want to cook the turkey, remove from the fridge 1 hour before you want to cook it and rinse off all of the salt really well. Pat it dry, then rinse out the roasting tin and put the turkey back into the tin, again breast side up and leave at room temperature for 1 hour, uncovered.

To make the stuffing, melt the butter in a frying pan and add the onion and sage, then cook for a few minutes until the onion has softened but not coloured. Place the breadcrumbs in a bowl and tip in the onion mixture, then mix well to combine and season to taste and fold in the apricots, parsley and orange rind. Divide among two buttered sheets of tinfoil and roll each one into sausage shaped rolls, twisting the ends to fasten; set aside. These can be made 2-3 days in advance and kept in the fridge until needed.

Mix the butter with the Clementine rind and juice, sherry and sage and season with pepper and a little salt. – using a mini blender will make this job much easier. Rub all over the turkey inside and out and then stuff the halved orange into the cavity and tie the drumsticks together with string.

Preheat the oven to 190C (375F), Gas mark 5. Weigh the turkey to calculate the required cooking time, allowing 20 minutes per 450g (1lb) plus 20 minutes extra – this size turkey should take about 4 hours and 20 minutes. Cover it with foil after about 45 minutes to 1 hour once you’ve achieved a good colour and baste every 45 minutes to 1 hour; it is important to do this quickly so as to not let the turkey or oven cool down, as this could alter the cooking time. Add the stuffing rolls to the turkey for the last 30 minutes and allow to finish cooking. If the stuffing rolls have been made in advance and are well chilled down then give them an extra 15 minutes or so until they are fully heated through. To be sure its cooked, insert a fine skewer into the thickest part of the thigh: the juices should run clear, but if they are still pink, return the turkey to the oven and check again every 15 minutes until you are happy that the turkey is cooked right the way through. Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving platter. Cover with foil and leave to rest in a warm place for 10 minutes or up to 30 minutes is fine.

Place the roasting tin directly on the hob over a gentle heat and skim any excess fat from the cooking juices. Stir the flour into the tin’s residue. Cook on the hob for a minute or two, stirring until golden.  Pour in enough of the sherry to taste, stirring to combine, then gradually add the stock, stirring until smooth after each addition. Bring to the boil and let it bubble for about 10 minutes until reduced and thickened, stirring occasionally.  Season to taste.

To serve, garnish the turkey with the bunch of herbs in the neck cavity and bring to the table. Carve into slices and arrange on warmed serving plates with some of the gravy, slices of the stuffing and all of the trimmings.


Turkey Stock

Ask your butcher for the giblets with your turkey as they make excellent stock. I always soak mine in cold water overnight to remove any impurities. Place them in a pan with a chopped carrot and onion, six whole peppercorns, two bay leaves and a sprig to thyme. Pour in 2 pints (1.2 litres) of water and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Strain and use as required.


MacNean Frangipane Mince Pies

If you want to make these delicious mince pies in advance complete to the end of stage 4 up to 3 days ahead. Refresh in a moderate oven at 180C (350F), Gas Mark 4 for 8-10 minutes, then glaze. Freeze the mince pies at the end of stage 4. Thaw at room temperature for 2-3 hours, then arm through in the oven as described below before glazing.


Makes 18

For the pastry:

100g (4oz) butter

175g (6oz) plain flour

pinch of salt

50g (2oz) caster sugar

1 egg yolk, plus beaten egg to glaze

1/2 tbsp cream

1/2 tsp lemon juice

For the frangipane:

100g (4oz) butter

100g (4oz) caster sugar

2 large eggs

100g (4oz) ground almonds

1 tbsp plain flour

½ tsp almond extract, or to taste

For the filling and topping:

400g (14oz) jar mincemeat (preferably MacNean – see separate recipe)

25g (1oz) flaked almonds

apricot jam, to glaze

a little lemon juice

icing sugar, to dust

To make the pastry, place the butter or margarine, flour, salt and sugar into a food processor and blend for 20 seconds. Add the egg yolk and cream and blend again until the pastry comes together, adding the lemon juice slowly. Do not over-work or the pastry will be tough. Wrap in cling film and chill for an hour.

To make the frangipane, put the butter and sugar into the unwashed processor and blend until soft and creamy. Scrape down the sides, add the eggs and continue to process. Don’t worry if the mixture looks curdled at this stage. Add the ground almonds, flour and almond extract, and mix briefly.

Preheat the oven to 200C (400F), Gas Mark 6. Roll the pastry out thinly on a lightly floured work surface and cut into 18 x 6.5cm circles. Use to line the holes of non-stick bun tins (or if you’re tins are a little oil give each hole a light spray of oil). Spoon a teaspoon of mincemeat into each tartlet and top with the frangipane mixture. There is no need to spread the mixture flat as it will level out in the oven (but do not overfill the tins). Sprinkle a few flaked almonds on top of each one. Bake for 15-17 minutes, watching carefully. Remove from the tins and allow to cool a little on a wire rack.

Dilute the apricot jam with a little lemon juice or water and bring to the boil. Brush each warm tartlet with glaze. Like traditional mince pies, these are best served warm with a light dusting of icing sugar.



If you want to make a large tart, you can use the exact quantity above to fill a 23cm loose-bottomed tin, which will take about 25 minutes in the preheated oven.


MacNean Mincemeat

Not surprisingly, my Auntie Maureen is also the champion of this Maguire classic. Before she retired, she was a Domestic Science teacher in Cavan, and I don’t believe she ever had a pupil who didn’t learn how to make her marvellous mince meat pies. Once you’ve made it yourself, you’ll never buy another jar of the stuff again. Why not make twice the amount of mincemeat

and put into some sterilised fancy jars, then wrap with a red ribbon and give a jar to your friends for a Christmas gift.

Makes about 4 x 400g (14oz) jars

350g (12oz) eating apples

225g (8oz) butter

225g (8oz) raisins

225g (8oz) sultanas

225g (8oz) currants

100g (4oz) candied citrus peel

175g (6oz) blanched almonds, chopped

175g (6oz) dark muscovado sugar

finely grated rind 1 orange

finely grated rind 1 lemon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp salt

300ml (1/2 pint) whiskey

Peel, core and finely chop apples. Melt the butter in a small pan or in the microwave. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl and cover with clean a tea cloth. Leave for 2 days for the flavours to develop, then pack into 3 x 400g (14oz) clean, dry jars. Seal and store in a cool, dark place for 3 weeks before use.

Aromatic crusted butterflied lamb with caramelized garlic and orange salsa

This is one of my favourite ways to cook lamb particularly when I’ve a crowd to feed. The marinade is a version of bulogogi, which originates from Korea and is normally used with beef but it is absolutely delicious with lamb particularly if you leave it to marinate for a couple of days before cooking it.

Serves 6-8

3kg (7lb) leg of lamb, boned and well trimmed, roughly 5cm (2in) thick

1 bunch spring onions, trimmed and roughly chopped

5cm (2in) piece fresh root ginger, peeled and chopped

1 tbsp toasted sesame oil

3 tbsp dark soy sauce

2 tbsp dry sherry

½ tsp light brown sugar

2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

1 tsp black peppercorns


3-4 garlic heads, separated into cloves (you’ll need about 300g (11oz) in total)

3 tbsp olive oil

1 small orange

4 tsp sugar

2 tsp balsamic vinegar

1 red chilli, seeded and finely chopped

15g (1/2oz) fresh mint, leaves stripped and shredded

1 tbsp lemon juice

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

charred little Gem lettuce or Savoy cabbage wedges, to serve (optional)

Place the lamb in a shallow non-metallic dish. Place the spring onions in a food processor with the ginger, sesame oil, soy, sherry, sugar, sesame seeds and peppercorns. Blend to a thick paste and then rub all over the meat in a shallow non-metallic dish (or use a turkey bag if you have one), then cover with clingfilm and chill for up to 2 days or leave to stand at room temperature for 2-3 hours if time is short.

Preheat the oven to 230C (475F), Gas mark 9. If the lamb has been chilled in the fridge, bring it back to room temperature, then place, cut side up on a rack in a large roasting tin and season with salt. Roast in for 20 minutes, then turn over and roast for another 15 minutes for rare.

Meanwhile, make the salsa. Bring a medium-sized pan of water to the boil, then add the garlic and blanch for 2 minutes. Drain and repeat the blanching process again. Drain well on kitchen paper and then peel off the skins; they should come off easily.

Wipe out the pan, add the olive oil and then place over a medium-high heat. Add the garlic cloves and cook for 4-5 minutes until golden on all sides, stirring occasionally. Add one tablespoon of the sugar, the balsamic, a quarter teaspoon of salt and 6 tablespoons of water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer on a medium heat for 3-5 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated and the garlic cloves are covered with a nice thick syrup. Leave to cool.

Pare the rind from the orange, avoiding the white pith and then cut into 1mm julienne and put into a small pan. Squeeze out the juice from the orange and make up to 100ml (3 1/2fl oz) with water. Pour over the julienne and add the remaining teaspoon of sugar. Bring to a simmer over a medium heat and cook for 6-8 minutes until the liquid has reduced by about a third.

To finish the salsa, stir the chilli, mint and lemon juice into the caramelized garlic syrup and then stir in the orange julienne without the syrup.

Remove the lamb from the oven and leave to rest in a warm place for 10 minutes. If you don’t like your lamb too pink you can cover it with foil at this point and it will continue to cook. Carve into slices and add any of the cooking juices to the orange salsa. Taste and add a little of the remaining orange syrup if you think it needs it. Arrange the carved lamb on warmed plates with some of the caramelised garlic and orange salsa on the side or on top. Add some of the charred little Gem lettuce wedges or cabbage to serve if liked.


Neven’s Leftover Turkey, Ham and Leek Pie


  • 1tablespoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 red or white onion sliced
  • 3 leeks finely sliced
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 1/4 pint/100ml low fat crème fraiche
  • 1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 8 oz/ 200g cooked turkey, cubed
  • 8 oz/ 200g cooked ham, shredded
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 375g puff pastry ready rolled (frozen variety)
  • 1 egg beaten, to glaze

1 tablespoon chopped parsley or 1 teaspoon of dried parsley


Heat oven to 220°C/fan 200°C/Gas Mark 7

Heat a large frying pan, melt the butter and oil, and then add the sliced onion and leeks. Cover and cook very gently. After 5 minutes, add the cubed potatoes and cook for a further 10 mins until the onion, leeks and potatoes are soft.

Stir in the flour, turn up the heat, then gradually add the stock, stirring until the mix thickens a little. Take off the heat, then stir in the crème fraîche, mustard and add the cooked turkey and ham. Season to taste, then cool (if you have time) Spoon the mix into a large pie dish, add a bay leaf and the chopped parsley. This mix can be made up to a day ahead and kept chilled.

Trim pastry to fit the top of the dish and brush around the edges with a little water to help it stick, then press down along the sides to seal. Cut a few slits to let the steam escape, then brush all over the top with beaten egg. Bake for 30 minutes until risen and serve hot with a tossed salad.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to My Christmas Recipes

  1. Darren says:

    Hi Neven,
    We had a fabulous meal in your restaurant this evening – the first for me. Your personal approach in taking time to speak with us at meal’s end was very much appreciated. As was the tip to remove halibut skin before cooking!! We shall certainly return in the future. Many thanks.

I would love to hear from you

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s