I love to cook ham this way and it is very popular in our house over Christmas. It is enjoyable both hot and cold and the cold is always handy to have in the fridge for snacks or visitors. It will keep for up to a week.

I cannot recommend this roast turkey recipe enough. It is really easy and ideal for anyone new to cooking turkey. It will work, I promise!

I am very fond of stuffing at Christmas dinner. The shape of this clever sausage roll means it takes up very little space in the oven. It can also be used to stuff the bird if you decide to do it that way.

This stuffing will keep for up to three days in the fridge so long as the sausages are nice and fresh.

This is a time of the year when there is a lot of food shopping so keep an eye out for the Bord Bia Quality Assured mark.

Happy cooking,


Learn to Cook with Neven is out now published by Gill Books.


Ham with sticky apricot & ginger glaze

Serves 10-12

5.25kg (11½lb) leg of gammon, on the bone

4 celery sticks, roughly chopped

2 onions, sliced

5cm (2in) piece of fresh ginger, sliced

1 small bunch of fresh thyme

1 tbsp black peppercorns

4 whole cloves

2 star anise 1.5 litres (2½ pints) dry cider

1 tsp ground ginger

For the glaze:

175g (6oz) good-quality apricot jam or conserve

100g (4oz) light brown sugar

Juice of 1 lemon

4 star anise

4 pieces of preserved stem ginger, cut into small matchstick-sized strips

  • 1 Soak the gammon in cold water for at least 6 hours (or overnight is best), then drain.
  • 2 Preheat the oven to 120°C (250°F/gas mark ½). Use a large deep roasting tin with a rack that’s big enough to hold the ham. Put the celery, onions, fresh ginger, thyme, peppercorns, cloves and star anise in the tin and pour over the cider, then put the rack on top. Sit the ham on the rack and cover with a large tent of foil, sealing it well. Put on the hob over a high heat and bring to the boil.
  • 3 Simmer for 15 minutes, then transfer to the oven. Cook for 12 hours or overnight – you can now leave it for one or two days before finishing the recipe. Alternatively, leave to rest and cool down for at least 30 minutes.
  • 4 Raise the oven temperature to 180°C (350°F/gas mark 4).
  • 5 Now make the glaze. Put the apricot jam or conserve in a small pan with the brown sugar, lemon juice and star anise. Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved, then add the stem ginger and simmer for 3-4 minutes, until reduced to a thick glaze, stirring to ensure it doesn’t catch at the bottom.
  • 6 Carefully peel away the skin on the ham, leaving the layer of white fat intact. Using a sharp knife, score the fat diagonally into a diamond pattern, being careful not to cut into the meat. Put into a clean roasting tin and rub with the ground ginger, then brush the glaze on top. Roast in the oven for about 45 minutes, until golden and sticky. Transfer to a platter and leave to rest for 15-20 minutes. Carve slices from the ham and use as required, warm or cold.
  • Roast turkey with streaky bacon

    Serves 10-12

    Roast turkey with streaky bacon. \ Photography: Claire Nash. Food styling: Janine Kennedy

    1 x 4.5-5.4kg (10-12lb) oven-ready turkey (preferably free-range), at room temperature

    1 quantity stuffing (optional)

    100g (4oz) butter, softened

    15-18 rindless streaky bacon rashers

    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Small bunch of fresh herbs (to include parsley, sage and bay leaves), to garnish

  • 1 Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F/gas mark 5).
  • 2 Turn the turkey breast side up and pack the neck cavity loosely with stuffing (if using), then tie the top of the drumsticks together with string. Smear with most of the butter and season generously, then place the bacon over the breasts to cover them completely. Weigh the turkey to calculate the required cooking time, allowing 20 minutes per 450g (1lb) plus 20 minutes extra.
  • 3 Lay a large sheet of foil lengthways over a large roasting tin, leaving enough at each end to wrap over the turkey, then lightly butter the foil. Repeat with another sheet of foil, but this time laying it across the tin. Place the stuffed turkey in the centre of the foil, breast side up, then wrap loosely to enclose but still allowing air to circulate around the turkey.
  • 4 Put in the oven and cook according to your calculated cooking time, carefully unwrapping and basting the turkey every 40 minutes. For the final hour, fold back and remove the foil, keeping the ends of the drumsticks still covered in foil to prevent them from burning.
  • 5 Baste well and return to the oven. The turkey should be a rich, dark brown colour. To make sure it’s cooked, insert a fine skewer into the thickest part of the thigh – the juices should run clear, but if they are still pink, return the turkey to the oven and check again every 15 minutes, until you are happy that the turkey is cooked right through. Alternatively, use a meat thermometer at the thickest part of the turkey and once it has reached 75°C, it is safe to eat.
  • 6 Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving platter. Cover with foil and leave to rest in a warm place for 10 minutes (up to 30 minutes is fine).
  • 7 To serve, garnish the turkey with the bunch of herbs in the neck cavity and bring to the table. Carve into slices and arrange on warmed plates with all the trimmings.
  • Sausage stuffing roll with dried cranberries

    Sausage stuffing roll with dried cranberries. \ Photography: Claire Nash. Food styling: Janine Kennedy

    100g (4oz) butter

    1 onion, finely chopped

    300g (11oz) good-quality sausage meat

    175g (6oz) fresh white breadcrumbs

    50g (2oz) dried cranberries

    1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

    2 tsp chopped fresh mixed herbs (use a mixture of sage, rosemary and thyme)

    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/gas mark 6).
  • 2 Melt the butter in a sauté pan set over a medium heat, then add the onion and sauté for about 5 minutes, until softened. Remove the pan from the heat and mix in the sausagemeat, breadcrumbs, dried cranberries and herbs, then season generously.
  • 3 Shape into a large roll, then wrap in a layer of parchment paper and tinfoil, twisting the ends securely to seal. Cook in the oven for about 45 minutes, until cooked through and tender.
  • 4 Unwrap just before cutting into slices to serve.