Laois TV chef Rory O'Connell brings a Christmas flavour to his popular TV series 'How To Cook Well' with a selection of elegant dishes for cooks who want something a little different.
Rory, who hails from Cullohill on the Laois Kilkenny border, says the Christmas brings back happy memories.
“My childhood memories of Christmas are extremely happy ones. Food was utterly central to the festivities. We adored our mother's food and lifelong precious memories were gifted to us by the food that she created and the glow of love that accompanied those wonderful meals,” he said.
And in his Christmas programme, which will be broadcast on RTÉ 1 just before Christmas, Rory creates his own wonderful dishes.
On the menu is potted lobster which is a clever way to get good value from an expensive ingredient.
Rory also makes a delicious duck leg curry with Indian spices and apple cider vinegar, as well as an impressive and surprising salad using Irish salad leaves that are grown at this time of the year.
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Picture Rory and his assistant Tracie Daly cook up a feast at a recent fundraiser in his native Cullohill. Pic: Pat Moore
Rory completes the meal with apple betty with chocolate and mincemeat.
The renowned chef spoke fondly of his Laois childhood to the Leinster Express, before he presented his Christmas Feast Event in Cullohill, Wednesday November 15.
Rory, who co-founded Ballymaloe Cookery School in Cork with sister Darina Allen, recalled an idyllic childhood centred around growing and cooking food, and said how he regularly returns home to visit his brothers and sisters in Cullohill and Abbeyleix.
"It was really a wonderful place to grow up. We roamed freely, or free range as I like to call it. We lived just up the village. We had the local river and local farms to go to, and Cullohill mountain as we call it, and in autumn we would go up and pick wild apples and damsons, it was a wonderful place to be," he said.
How To Cook Well at Christmas with Rory O’Connell will be broadcast on Tuesday, December 19 on RTÉ One at 7pm. The programme is produced and directed by David Hare and sponsored by Neff.