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Dublin: 13°C Saturday 19 September 2020

Want to learn some simple recipes to impress at Christmas?

Lynda Booth from Dublin Cookery School – and author of Fearless Food – takes us through some easy-to-prepare Christmas treats.

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

CHRISTMAS IS A busy time of year where you want quick and easy recipes that also manage to look (and taste) impressive.

We got Lynda Booth of Dublin Cookery School – and author of Fearless Food – to teach us how to make some quick-and-easy Christmas canapes and treats for this festive season.



255g plain flour

225g parmesan, grated

200g cold butter

1 egg yolk

1/2 teasp salt

1/2 teasp pepper

Soft Goats cheese

A little cream

1 small vacpacked beetroot

Place the flour in a food processor with the parmesan, salt, pepper and cayenne. Add the butter and pulse till they look like fine breadcrumbs. Ad the egg yolk and mix together to form a firm dough. Wrap and chill in the fridge for about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 180C. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out to about a thickness of 0.5cm. Using a round or star shaped cutter, cut out stars then bake on bakewell paper or a silicone mat for 10-12 minutes until a very pale golden colour.

Store the biscuits in an airtight container for up to a week.

In a bowel, whip the goats cheese with a couple spoonfuls of cream until it is a soft creamy consistency. Chop the beetroot into a very fine dice.

Pipe the goats cheese onto the biscuits and place a few pieces of diced beetroot over the top.

Serve within a couple of hours.

dish 1 Source: TheJournal.ie/Andrew Roberts



200g dark chocolate, finely chopped

60g butter

3 eggs

60g sugar

170 ground almonds

60g flour

1/s tsp baking powder

60g icing sugar

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

Place the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl. Melt in short bursts in the mircowave at 600W, or place the bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water, until just melted. Stir every so often during the melting process. Remove from the heat as soon the chocolate has melted.

Place the eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until tripled in volume. The eggs will be light and fluffy and look like softly whipped cream. Pour the melted chocolate into the eggs and beat again just until the chocolate is incorporated.

Add the baking powder to the flour and, using a spatula, fold the flour mixture into the chocolate and eggs, followed by the ground almonds. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and place in the fridge to set the chocolate. After an hour or longer, the mixture will have firmed up considerably.

Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a couple of ovenproof trays with parchment paper or silicone mats.

Remove the chocolate mixture from the fridge. Line a tray with clingfilm. Scoop out a large dessertspoon of the mixture and roll it into a ball (a bit smaller than a gold ball). Place on the lined tray. Continue with the rest of the mixture.

Sift the icing sugar onto a plate and place a few of the chocolate balls into the icing sugar. Roll the balls around to coat them completely with the icing sugar and place on the ovenproof trays, spacing them about 3cm apart from one another.

Place in the oven and cook for about 10-13 minutes. The top will have cracked but will feel firm when tapped. If you were to place a wooden skewer into the centre of one of them, moist crumbs should stick to the skewer.

This is the time to remove them as when they cool, they will still be lovely and moist in the centre. The exact timing will vary slightly depending on your oven.

Remove from the oven and slide the parchment paper or silicone mat onto a cooling rack. When cool, store in an airtight container. They will hold for 3-4 days.


dish 2 Source: TheJournal.ie/Andrew Roberts



 Sunflower oil, for greasing the bread tin

2 tbsp treacle

30g fresh yeast or 7g dried yeast

350-425ml warm water, about 37C-40C

420 extra coarse stoneground wholemeal flour, such as Howard’s

40g sunflower seeds

40g pumpkin seeds

10g flaxseeds or linseed

1 rounded tsp salt

100g water

100g white wine vinegar

100g sugar

1 cucumber

1 tub créme fraiche

1 tbsp horseradish

Smoked salmon

Equipment: 900g loaf tin

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

Grease the inside of the load tin very lightly with sunflower oil. Mix the treacle with about 300ml warm water. Crumble in the fresh yeast or if using dried, sprinkle the yeast granules on the surface. Stir and leave for about 5 minutes for the yeast to activate.

Place the flour, seeds and salt in a large mixing bowl and mix together. Have at hand the additional warm water, ready to mix into the bread. Stir the yeast, treacle and water together and pour all at once into the flour.

With your hand outstretched like a claw, mix in the liquid, adding in some extra water at the same time until you have a wet, almost sloppy dough (the risk is to make it too dry, in which case it won’t rise to the top of the tin).

Scoop the dough into the tin and spread out evenly. It will only come half way up the tin. Leave in a warm place to rise.

When the mixture has risen right to the top of the tin – this usually takes about 20-40 minutes – place in the oven for about 45 minutes.

Run a knife around the edges of the bread, tap the loaf tin upside down on the counter and it should pop out. Return to the oven upside down without the tin for a further 5 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

This bread is definitely best eaten on the day but will hold for longer if there is any left.

For the pickled cucumber, place the water, vinegar and sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Allow to boil for 30 seconds, then turn off the heat and leave the liquid to cool for 10 minutes or longer.

Leaving the skin on the cucumber, slice into rounds as thinly as possible and place in a bowl. Pour the pickling liquid over the cucumber.

The pickled cucumber will keep in a jar in the fridge for a couple of months.

Then, mix the horseradish and créme fraiche together.

To finish, slice the brown bread and cut into quarters. Butter each slice and place a half teaspoon of créme fraiche on each slice. Top with smoked salmon and pickled cucumber and serve.

dish3 Source: TheJournal.ie/Andrew Roberts

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