It’s almost that time of year, which is why Irish Country Living has teamed up with Gill & Macmillan for a three-part series from one of its latest releases, The Irish Countrywomen’s Association Book of Christmas.

Described as the perfect Irish Christmas in a book, ICA members share their tried-and-tested recipes for festive feasts, secret shortcuts, homemade gift ideas and much more, while also celebrating the traditions, blessings and customs of Christmas past.

In this final instalment, it’s all about creative ways to plan ahead for those leftovers.

The Irish Countrywomen’s Association Book of Christmas is published by Gill & Macmillan and is priced at €22.99.

Curried Turkey Salad

Recipe from Marion Lyon, Maghera Guild, Cavan

Serves four to six

This curried salad is best served well chilled, so it can be made up in advance for grazing on when appetite demands. The crunch of the apple and the tang of the yoghurt give it a welcome freshness after all the rich food of Christmas Day itself.

600g (1lb 5oz) cooked turkey meat

2 apples, red or green

¼ lemon, juice only

125ml (4fl oz) good quality mayonnaise

125ml (4fl oz) natural yoghurt

1 shallot or small onion, finely diced

2 tablespoons curry powder

Salt and freshly ground pepper

3 to 4 scallions, chopped

3 to 4 handfuls picked parsley leaves, finely chopped

To serve

Mixed green leaves, such as watercress or rocket

Simple oil and lemon dressing

Crusty bread

1 Dice the turkey meat and place it in a large mixing bowl. Quarter, core and finely dice the apples and toss in a little water with a squeeze of lemon juice to prevent oxidation.

2 In a separate bowl, blend together the mayonnaise, yoghurt, onion and curry powder, and season to taste with salt, pepper and about two tablespoons of lemon juice.

3 Add the dressing to the turkey and toss well to blend. Add the scallions and parsley and toss lightly. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

4 Serve with a crisp salad of green leaves such as watercress or rocket tossed lightly in a simple oil and lemon juice dressing, and with slices of crusty bread on the side.

ICA tip: We eat with our eyes, so adding a little extra colour can do wonders for a sluggish appetite. Consider slicing a generous handful of red grapes and scattering over the salad before serving.

Listen to a discussion on Christmas leftover options in our podcast below:

Mincemeat Muddle

Recipe by Irene O’Brien, Scotshouse Guild, Monaghan

Serves four to six

This is an easy and attractive way to rustle up a festive dessert with little notice, using some leftover mincemeat, along with a few other useful standby ingredients: some shop-bought meringues, a few squares of quality chocolate and a little whipped cream.

4 to 6 tablespoons mincemeat

4 tablespoons brandy

240ml (9fl oz) double cream

4 meringues (shop-bought are handy)

To garnish

Good-quality chocolate of choice, grated

1 Gently warm the mincemeat through and stir in the brandy. Set aside to cool.

2 Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks and crumble in the meringues.

3 Once the mincemeat has cooled, place it in the base of a serving dish and cover with cream and meringue. Chill for 20 minutes or until ready to serve.

4 Before serving, sprinkle with grated chocolate.

ICA tip: You could flavour the cream with a little orange or Clementine zest for an extra festive effect.

White Chocolate And Cranberry Blondies

Recipe by Liz Wall, Ashford Guild, Wicklow

Makes 12 large slices or 24 to 30 small squares

This seasonal take on traditional chocolate brownies is a lovely treat to enjoy in the quieter days post-Christmas, whether curled up with a book or mid-hike on top of a mountain. They are also versatile enough to cut into small squares and serve as an elegant bite with post-dinner coffee.

200g (7oz) butter

300g (10oz) good-quality white chocolate, chopped

3 medium eggs

150g (5½oz) caster sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

200g (7oz) self-raising flour, sieved

Pinch of salt

110g (4oz) dried cranberries

1–2 handfuls flaked almonds (optional)

To serve

Icing sugar

You’ll also need

20cm x 30cm (8in x 12in) baking tin

Baking parchment

1 Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Lightly grease a baking tin and line the base with baking parchment.

2 Gently melt the butter and half the chocolate in a bain marie (a heatproof bowl set over a gently simmering saucepan of water), whisking together until smooth. Set aside to cool a little.

3 In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar and vanilla until pale, then add the melted white chocolate mixture and beat to integrate.

4 Fold in the sieved flour and salt, and then the remaining chocolate and most of the cranberries, reserving a few. Add the flaked almonds, if using, and mix well.

5 Pour into the prepared baking tin, scatter over the reserved cranberries, and bake in a preheated oven for 25 minutes or until the top is firm and lightly golden.

6 Remove and allow to cool in the pan before cutting into squares or rectangles of the required size. Store in an airtight container where they will keep for three to four days, or up to a week in the fridge. They also freeze well.

7 Dust lightly with icing sugar before serving.

ICA tip: The flaked almonds lend some extra texture to the fruit, but you could replace the cranberries altogether and use chocolate chips instead, with or without chopped nuts.