By Karl Noctor: Sous-Chef at The Rose Hotel
Merry Christmas to you and your families. It has most certainly been a roller coaster of a year, but I hoping that at this time of the year it may be stress-free and a chance for us all to take a breather and enjoy what we have. My name is Karl Noctor a chef in The Rose Hotel in Tralee, I am hoping to give you an insight into what I would traditionally prepare for Christmas dinner. Myself and my partner have two beautiful children, and with it being Christmas I prefer not to spend my whole day cooking. So, with these recipes, most of the preparation will be done the night before to leave you to enjoy the wonder that is Christmas with children.
This year more than ever I would encourage everyone to buy local and support local we have all felt hard times this year and small self-employed business more so especially within the food sector. Contained within the recipes I will suggest local producers that if you have never heard of you are missing out and demands a place on the Christmas table or a gift for the foodie friend or relation this year, they will not be disappointed. To start the Christmas festivities a few bottles of wine are needed in my opinion for this head down to Terra Foods and Wine also check out their website to order online, Juan and Alberto will recommend something for your tastes and budget you will not be disappointed.
Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Tart with a Lemon and Dill Mayo and Rocket salad
Roast Rib of Beef, Roast Gravy
Duck Fat Roast Potatoes
Brussel Sprouts Smoked Bacon and Flaked Almonds
Tiramisu with Salted Butterscotch
Smoked Salmon Tart
For the Smoked Salmon Tart, you will need Tuc crackers, butter, cream cheese (I would recommend Once upon a Cheese) and of course smoked salmon (Spillane’s seafood Killarney).
1 ½ packs of Tuc crackers (blended)
150g melted butter
300g smoked salmon and a little extra for garnish
540g cream cheese
¼ lemon juiced
1. For the base of the tart start by blending the Tuc crackers to a fine breadcrumb, melt the butter and mix into the crumb.
2. Line a springform mould with parchment paper on the base.
3. Press the crumb on to the base evenly and leave to set in the fridge.
4. While the base is setting take the 300g of smoked salmon and the juice of ¼ lemon and blend to a paste. (if you don’t have a blender just chop as fine as you can).
5. Chop 10g of dill and add to the salmon paste and combine with the cream cheese add salt to taste.
6. Once the base has set layer the smoked salmon mixture on top and with a pallet knife smooth out the top as best you can and leave to set overnight or 2 hours will do.
7. The last thing to do is the mayo you can blend the 10g of dill and mayo in a blender or just simply add chopped dill to the mayonnaise and the zest of ½ lemon.
8. The plating can be done the following day when removing the tart from the case run a sharp knife around the edge of the tart, then release the spring and the tart should come away clean from the mould.
9. When portioning the tart using a hot knife (have a jug of hot water and dip the knife into the water before slicing)
10. To plate the tart place one slice on a plate with some washed rocket and add the dill mayo on the side. (optional is to add extra smoked salmon on top of the slice and a wedge of lemon)
Roast Rib of Beef
For the roast rib of beef, it is essential that you buy quality meat that’s why I would recommend going to your local butcher if in Tralee I recommend Matt The Butcher and if in Killarney Tim Jones both are excellent
butchers, but any butcher local to you will do. Ask your butcher to remove the backbone so that you are left with the rib bones only. For this recipe, you will need a four-bone rib joint to feed six. This will be prepared on the day.
The rib of beef (approx. 2kg)
1 bulb of garlic
2-3 glasses of wine
1. Heat a large heavy bottom frying pan.
2. While the pan is heating pour a small amount of cooking oil over the beef and cover all sides of the meat, season the beef on all sides don’t be afraid of the salt and pepper it will add a great crust to the meat.
3. Place the beef in the pan and seal all sides of the meat until a deep brown colour has been achieved.
4. Place the beef on to a roasting tray and into a preheated oven at 200oc for 2omins, turn the oven down to 160oc.
5. Now it will all depend on how you like your meat cooked myself I prefer medium-rare to medium it will suit all taste in my family. But a good rule of thumb is rare 15mins per 500g, 20mins per 500g for medium and well done allow 30mins per 500g. If you have a meat thermometer you can use this instead (50oc rare, 60oc medium and well-done 73oc)
6. I like to add whole roasted garlic to the meat at the start to roast but don’t forget about it remove after 40mins and allow to cool.
7. Once you have removed the meat from the oven and its cooked to your liking cover the joint with tinfoil in another tray or carving board, and leave to rest for 20 mins ( do not cut a piece off to taste I know it will be very tempting) it must rest to allow the meat to reabsorb all the juices and allow the joint to be tender and moist.
8. While the joint is resting its time to make the sauce, with the garlic bulb now cooled cut the bottom off and squeeze the garlic out it
should be like a paste, and mash with a fork.
9. Remove the oil from the roasting tray and return to your gas hob or cooking ring and add a glass or two of wine and with a wooden spoon remove the tasty bits from the tray (full of flavour) once you have removed it all from the base add the garlic and mix in allow to boil for a 1 min do not reduce. ( now if your guest love a bit of gravy you can stretch out the sauce by adding a “Knorr Stock Pot” and a bit more water and to thicken mix 20g of melted butter with 30g of flour and slowly add to the sauce with a whisk and allow to simmer for 5-10 mins to cook out the flour.
10. And you are ready to carve the joint, hold the rib bone in one hand and with a long knife place the knife against the bone between the meat and cut down using the bone as a guide to remove.
Now for this section of the menu, I prepare all the sides the night before and have everything in their pots for the next day and adds to my calm and relaxation. As all the parents out there know that it’s going to be an early start and you will need your energy to get through the day.
Potatoes: So for the potatoes ( I use Roosters but Maris Pipers will do just as well) wash and peel them and rewash, cut them into equal size pieces and place in a pot and cover in water, job done ( till tomorrow).
Sprouts: Sprouts love them or hate them they are going to make an appearance on most Christmas dinners around the country, so let’s make them tasty. Sprouts peel the outer leaves and discard remove some of the stalk and cut an x into the base but not too deep, place in a pot with water. Cut 5 smoked streaky rashers into small dice and place in the fridge for tomorrow.
Celery: For the celery cut off the end and wash the stalks and cut into 2cm slices and again place in the water ready for tomorrow.
When sourcing the vegetable head down to Manna Organic Store. For the sides, most of the work and preparation will have been done the night before. We just have to cook today.
I will start with the roast potatoes, for this take half of the peeled potatoes from the water and place in another pot and bring to the boil in salted water and reduce to a simmer for 10mins. After the 10mins strain and leave to dry for 5mins, meanwhile, melt200g of duck fat (this can be got from most supermarkets locally) in a roasting tray add the potatoes and toss until they are all coated in the fat and season, (at this stage you can add garlic and a few sprigs of thyme) and roast in the oven with the beef ( around 30-40mins before the beef is due to come out of the oven).
While the potatoes are cooking its time to cook the sprouts. For the sprouts, they are cooked check to see if they are ready by using the same method as the potatoes, by using the point of a knife. When cooked stain.
5 slices of smoked bacon /pancetta diced
20g sliced almonds
1. Once the sprouts are cooked strain off the water and set aside for a few moments.
2. In a frying pan add a small amount of cooking oil and allow to heat then add the bacon and cook till crispy.
3. At this stage add the butter and keep moving the pan you want the butter to foam but not burn quickly add the flaked almonds and the sprouts, toss in the pan and season with salt.
The beef should be out of the oven and resting at this stage, turn off the oven and place the sprouts into the oven and enjoy your first course. And by the time you and your family have finished the starter the joint should be fully rested and ready to carve. All the side should still be hot. Now it’s just a case of plating the main course and pulling a few Christmas crackers and few bad jokes.
Now moving on to the dessert and the final course of the meal (nearly home and dry now, wine should be kicking in at this stage)
Tiramisu with a Aalted Butterscotch Sauce
As I have said from the start I like to have everything ready the day before so this is another that can be made in advance it’s a simple tiramisu with a salted butterscotch sauce.
100g caster sugar
7g sea salt
200g Mascarpone cheese
2 egg yolk
50g caster sugar
1 tbsp brandy
300g of ladyfinger biscuits
200ml of coffee/espresso
1. We will need to make the butterscotch sauce to do this we start by dissolving the sugar with 3tbsp of water, do this by swirling the pot around over low heat until all the crystals have dissolved.
2. You will need a pastry brush and a bowl of water to wash down the sides of the pot of all the sugar so the walls of the pot are clean.
3. Bring the water and sugar to the boil DO NOT STIR AT ALL once the sugar has reached a deep golden caramel colour whisk in the butter and the salt.
4. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream, set aside to cool and place in the fridge.
1. In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer whisk the sugar and the egg yolks until sabayon has been formed ( the mixture will double in size and achieve a pale colour)
2. At a low speed add half of the mascarpone once this has been evenly mixed add the rest of the cheese and the brandy and lightly mix until smooth.
3. In a separate bowl lightly whip the cream to the same consistency as the cheese and egg mixture.
4. Start by add 1/3 of the cream and fold in with a spatula.
5. In stages add the rest of the cream
6. For this recipe, you can make one large dish or individual glasses whichever you choose the steps to remain the same.
7. Dip the ladyfinger sponge in the coffee and place on the base of whatever you choose to use to create the first layer, the next layer is the butterscotch sauce and then the cheese and cream layer and repeat.
8. The last layer will be the cheese and cream, over this give a generous dusting of cocoa powder and you are done.
9. Place in the fridge for the next day.
For me no Christmas would be complete without a cheese board when relaxing later in the evening for this I would recommend The Little Cheese Shop in Tralee/Dingle, to accompany the cheese board Eve’s Leaves selection of relishes all homemade and packed with flavour yum yum.
I hope that this has been helpful to anyone who attempts this and of course, add your twists and flavours to the recipes and make it your own. This is a menu that I stick to every year as its tradition and allows me to spend time with family and friends on Christmas day, I spend the rest of the year cooking all day long ( I really enjoy cooking don’t get me wrong) but Christmas is about spending time with the people you love and mean the most to you and you can’t do that when your peeling spuds and trying to put Lego together.