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Festive Food Demonstration Recipes

Festive Food Demonstration Recipes

Took place 7th December

The Belvedere Ladies Committee hosted their annual Festive Food Demonstration on Friday, 7th December to help raise funds for the SVP. Catherine Allen, Ballymaloe Graduate, showed the attendees how to prepare and serve a variety of Christmas Canapés. The Ladies Committee would like to send their sincere thanks to her for her time and for helping to provide such a fun filled morning. Many thanks also to everyone who attended and supported, and special thanks to Sam Lynch-McNabb (Syntax Scully) too for being such a super assistant-chef  on the day. 

Interested in making the dishes from the Festive Food Demo? Catheine Allen provided us with all of the recipes. Questions? Be sure to get in touch with her at

Belvedere Christmas Demonstration - Catherine Allen - Elbows off the Table

Beetroot Tartare with Hazelnut Praline and Goats Cheese Snow

150gr goats cheese, such as St Tola or Ardsallagh
300gr of raw whole beetroot
Drizzle of honey

Beetroot dressing- whisk to combine
6tblsp olive oil
2tblsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper
25gr hazelnuts
15gr sugar

Line a small baking tray with parchment. In a small saucepan place the raw hazelnuts and sugar and put onto a medium heat. Watch carefully as you want to achieve a rich caramel colour and this can burn easily. Once you achieve the correct colour ensure each hazelnut is turned quickly in the caramel and pour the caramelised hazelnuts onto the parchment being careful not to burn yourself. Separate a few single hazelnuts and allow the rest to cluster and cool fully.

Once cooled coarsely chop and keep in a small lidded jam jar to retain crunch.

To prepare the beetroot peel fully then top and tail. Using the coarse side of a box grater grate the entire beetroot into a bow. Add the beetroot dressing and season to taste.

Place dressed beetroot on each plate and spoon over any excess dressing that may remain.

Now get your frozen goat cheese and using the medium/fine side of the box grater generously grate the cheese over the entire plate as if it were a thin blanket of snow.

Scatter praline over each plate and finish with a light drizzle of honey.

Cardamom Poached Pears with Dark Chocolate, Cocoa Nibs, Pistachio and Candied Orange

Serves 4 -8

4 pears
1 lemon
3 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
70g caster sugar
100g chocolate 70%cocoa solids
1 teaspoon sunflower or grape seed oil
10g cocoa nibs, coarsely chopped
4 teaspoons pistachio nuts, coarsely chopped
4 teaspoons candied orange peel, finely diced

Peel the pears with a vegetable peeler and half each one neatly from top to bottom to attain 8 halves. Remove the cores and any tough fibres – I use a melon-baller for this exercise, though a sharp teaspoon also works. Place the pears into a heavy saucepan into which they fit quite snugly. Peel 4 thin strips off the lemon and add to the pears along with all of the juice from the lemon. Sprinkle on the caster sugar and the lightly crushed cardamom pods. Cover with a sheet of parchment paper and a tight fitting lid and cook over a very low heat until the pears are tender. This takes about 30 minutes but the time will vary according to the ripeness of the pears used. Allow the cooked pears to cool completely. These pears can be cooked a day ahead and refrigerated.

Place the chocolate in a small Pyrex bowl and sit the bowl over a saucepan of cold water. The bottom of the Pyrex bowl must not be touching the water in the saucepan. Turn on the heat and as soon as the water comes to the boil, turn off the heat. The chocolate will not be fully melted but will continue to melt perfectly in the residual heat. Do not allow the chocolate to get cold.

Drain the pears from the cooking juices and pat dry. Place in a single layer in a flat serving dish. I arrange them in cartwheel fashion with the thinner tops of the pears pointing toward the centre of the plate.

Add the oil to the chocolate and mix well. Using a dessertspoon, drape chocolate to cover each pear either completely or partially. Straightaway sprinkle each pear with cocoa nibs, chopped pistachios and diced candied orange peel. Put the pears to sit in a cool place or in the fridge to allow the chocolate to set slightly. The pears will sit happily like this for several hours.

Serve the pears with a little of the cooking juices poured around them and some softly whipped cream.

Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Serves 4 (makes 8 approx)
In season: all year
These are the best fun to make and yummy to eat!

50g (2oz) thin rice vermicelli
8 large cooked pacific prawns or tiger prawns or 32 Ballycotton shrimps cooked and
shelled. (optional)
1/4 cucumber (cut into julienne)
1 fresh carrot, peeled and cut into julienne or coarsely grated
salt, freshly ground pepper, sugar, rice vinegar
8 rice paper wrappers Banh trang – 21.5cm (8 1/2 inches) diameter
8 lettuce leaves (Butterhead)
1 cup fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves

First make the dipping sauce. (see recipes below)
Soak the noodles in warm water , as per packet. Drain.
Put the carrot julienne or shredded carrot into a bowl and sprinkle with sugar, salt and
freshly ground pepper, do the same with the cucumber but also add a few drops of
rice or wine vinegar.
Put the lettuce, mint leaves,  and coriander leaves on a plate. If the
shrimps are large cut them in half.
Have the dipping sauce or sauces ready in bowls.
Assemble all other ingredients on the table.
Fill a wide bowl with very hot water. Dip a Banh trang (rice paper) into the hot water,
it will soften within a second. Remove, shake off excess moisture and put onto a
clean tea towel. Lay a piece of lettuce over the bottom third of the rice paper, about a
tablespoon of noodles, some cucumber and carrot julienne on top and several fresh mint leaves. Roll the rice paper over half way into a cylinder, then fold in the sides. Arrange 2 half shrimps or 3 or 4 small shrimps along the top with a few coriander leaves.
Continue to roll up and press to seal.

Fresh spring rolls may be made several hours ahead, keep covered with a damp paper towel.
Dip the roll in chosen sauce as you eat. Serve with lettuce leaves and sprig of fresh
mint. Some people like to wrap the spring rolls in lettuce leaves before dipping.

Vietnamese Dipping Sauce
1 clove garlic
4 tablespoons Nam Pla. (Thai fish sauce)
4 tablespoons lime of lemon juice
3 tablespoons sugar or less to taste
3-4 fresh hot red or green chillies

Peel and crush the garlic. Combine it with the fish sauce, lime or lemon juice, sugar and
4 tablespoons water. Mix well and pour into 4 individual bowls. Cut the chillies
crossways into very thin rounds and divide them among the bowls.

Vietnamese Peanut Sauce for Fresh Spring Rolls
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon shredded carrot
4 tablespoons Hoisin Sauce
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon Peanut butter
1 red chilli seeded and finely chopped

Mix the sugar with the vinegar in a bowl, add the carrot and marinade for 15 minutes.
Drain and squeeze the moisture from the carrot.
Put the Hoisin sauce and water into a small saucepan and cook for a few minutes until
thick and reduced, add in the peanut butter, stir and simmer together for a second or
two. Cool.

Stir in the chilli and carrot, transfer to a serving bowl and serve.

For more recipes please see

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