Traditional Christmas Dinner in N Ireland


As promised, a post about what we traditionally eat here in our family in N Ireland on Christmas Day. All photos from previous years – as although all the food is packed into the fridge, nothing has been cooked yet!

My daughters now help to set the table for Christmas Day and I imagine the dinner table will look something like this again this year (but without the snow outside! It is much milder this year)

If we do a starter on Christmas Day (and we don’t always) it is usually something small and tasty – cranberry and brie in filo parcels (courtesy of Marks and Spencers) is popular in our house, and if we are preparing everything else from scratch, I’m happy to let Marks and Sparks help a little.

However, often we omit the starter so we can thoroughly enjoy the main course …. and there is a lot to enjoy!

(I usually set all the food out in the kitchen, and allow everyone to serve themselves – the food is served quicker, and everyone can choose their own portion sizes)

Of course, before we start, we pull our crackers with whoever is sitting beside us at the table!

Here is what I will be serving this (and every!) Christmas

Roast turkey (don’t do anything complicated, just streaky bacon over the top, and a couple of lemons and an onion in the cavity – we don’t put our stuffing in it, but cook it separately)

Roast ham (my Mum cooks this for us every year … I really need to get her to share it on this blog)

Stuffing (I make my own – plain and tasty – bread crumbs, butter, onions, parsley, salt and pepper and a little lemon juice/rind – no herbs, other fruit or sausagemeat

Gravy (made with the turkey juices and a little bit of cranberry sauce in it)

Roast potatoes (in goose fat – another M&S shortcut)

Mashed (or riced) potatoes (I use my great aunts potato ricer – beautifully fluffy and light potato)

Brussel sprouts – do you love them or hate them? I love them!

Roasted parsnips (with honey – yummm!)

And some more “normal” veg for the kids – often carrots but probably long stem broccoli this year

what else…..

baby cocktail sausages (not sure why – they are just traditional!)

and cranberry sauce (or “jam” as my kids call it)

Phew! Feeling full just writing it all down!

After a short respite (while the men start on the dishes) we have pudding. Confession – I have NEVER made my own Christmas pudding – M&S to the rescue! (This post is NOT sponsored by Marks and Spencers – wish it was!!!)

Traditionally Christmas Plum Pudding is served, with brandy custard, brandy butter or brandy cream (do you notice a theme?!). Of couse once it has been brought to the table we pour brandy over the pudding and set it on fire! (again – no idea why……we just do!)

For those of us who don’t like Christmas Pudding (which I think is the majority of us) we will have Pavlova – a firm favourite in our family.

After the meal we always say we couldn’t eat another bite – but somehow when the box of chocolates are opened or the mini mince pies (sweet mince, a bit like Christmas pudding – lots of dried fruit), or a slice of Christmas cake (lots more dried fruit) are offered, we find room for something more.

This year we will be having 8 around the Christmas Dinner table.

Please share – are you cooking this year? What’s on the menu and who will you be with?

I appreciate that for some Christmas Day can be a difficult and sad day, for many reasons. I pray that wherever you are this year, and whoever you are with, that you will know peace.

Finally,this is my SEVEN HUNDREDTH post!!! If you leave a comment on this post I will be giving away a £15 voucher for any purchase of my handcrafted Janmary Designs Jewelry. You can see some of my creations at

Any comment will do – I will choose a winner at random on 31 December 2011.

Go forth and comment. I’ll be back tomorrow with my Christmas traditions.

8 thoughts on “Traditional Christmas Dinner in N Ireland”

  1. No great surprise, I will be cooking almost exactly the same as you! We do have a starter though, also M&S! We get a salmon and prawn platter and people take the bits they like. Usual middle course, then a chocolate and raspberry bombe from M&S with extra raspberries, and a Christmas pud for those who don’t want the bombe.

    I hope you have a great day!

  2. Ok I am so there – everything sounds so yummy except for the fruit cake – here we kinda make fun of fruit cake and I’ve yet to meet anyone that likes it
    I will be cooking a prime rib Christmas day – b and I and Brian open presents in the am then my Inlaws come over later in the afternoon for dinner usually we have lots of people for dinner but this year we are doing quiet and simple y
    Just the Inlaws – not enough energy for more next year we will though
    How do you cook your carrots by the way I love the carrots when I visit over there b says next year you can spend st Stephens or boxing day with us- which ever is the proper term

  3. Merry Christmas JM

    Lovely post, I think that LOVE ties all of your festivities together – expressed through your traditions and gathering together.

    We will be 9 here this year with the table groaning with nummy eats.

  4. As wives and mothers we have a lot of work to do preparing for Christmas. It is all worth it as it gives us the opportunity to spend time with friends and family. Happy New Year and congratulations on your 700th Janine, I looking forward to another year of your blog

  5. My typical xmas dinner is roast chicken (dont like turkey), Gammon and a joint of beef. Baked rice with onion, roast potatoes, pork, cranberry and sage stuffing, roasted carrots and parsnips, boiled carrots, cabbage, broccolli, cranberry sauce and apple sauce, yorkshire pudding and gravy with a gateau or rice pudding for dessert

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