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  • Max couldn't get enough of the water this morning! Half the beach is now in our hall! :) #maxthedog #howth #ireland
  • Having just spent the whole morning here! Such a beautiful day out there- great sunshine! Happy Sunday folks! :) #howth #ireland
  • Nutella cheesecake squares! New recipe video on my youtube channel feat. Romina from @thechiappas! Head over and subscribe! :)
  • Called in to my grandparents this morning- Caught my granny in the middle of making Irish soda bread...
  • Mega fudge chocolate cupcake kinda day? Tag a friend who would like one! :)
  • My ice bucket challenge! Check out the full video on youtube! :) DONATE by texting MND to 50300 x
  • What a morning out there! Nearly the WEEKEND! Woohoo- have a great day everyone! :) #ireland #howth
  • Horrible day out there but guess doesn't care! WALK! :) #maxthedog
  • Have seriously missed hanging out with this little fella! So good to be back home! :) #maxthedog
  • My favourite recipe from filming today: these tasty Thai Fishcakes- incredibly easy to make and bloomin delish to boot! :) #thailand #streetfood #love
  • Beer batter fish and crispy hasselback potatoes on set today! Coming to my youtube channel soon- hands up who wants some! :)
  • Gone fishing... #howth #ireland
  • Properly epic morning out there! Happy weekend folks! :) #ireland #howth
  • Tandoori chicken using bloody brilliant spices from @greensaffron served with aged basmati rice! Loving being back in my kitchen! :)
  • Oh boy! It is good to be home! #ireland #howth #love
  • Beer and candied bacon cookies! Sounds a bit mad but so delicious! :) #bacon #cookies
  • Spent the afternoon cooking in @jamieoliver's kitchen with Jonny from the Craft @beerchannel! Don't worry Jamie we didn't make too much mess! :)
  • I am in cheesecake heaven! Check out @eric_lanlard's epic red velvet cheesecake! :) #love
  • Beautiful banoffee cake made under the watchful eye of @eric_lanlard this morn! Tough life for the crew @mrtomreader @toraldavda @ryburnham @beccabroadhurst who are tucking in! :)
  • End of filming present from the crew! Basically because I have been late every day and also because I love penguins! :)
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December 2012 Update!

Hi guys,

As you can probably tell from my Christmas jumper, Christmas is here! This weekend we have transformed our little cottage into a Christmas wonderland.

For the last four weeks rather than beautiful Christmas decorations and a tree, my kitchen and living room have been filled with props, wooden backgrounds and kitchenalia. The reason being, we have been shooting the images for my fourth cookbook, which will be out next year. You can see some behind the scenes images from the shoot below.

Kitchen Hero: Great Food For Less has just finished it’s current series on RTÉ One but you can catch up on episodes over on the RTÉ Player (also available to international viewers). Earlier this month I headed to Austria to record the Kitchen Hero Christmas Special and you can see some of the behind the scenes images below. Tune in on RTÉ One at 8.15pm!

This year I’m cooking Christmas dinner for 12. Beetroot cured gravadlax with Swedish crisp bread, maple and orange glazed turkey, and plum and star anise ham are all on the menu and I can’t wait to get cooking!

Check out lots of festive recipes below!

Have a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year!

Donal x

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Plum & Star Anise Christmas Ham

Sweet, sticky and aromatic, this Christmas ham comes with serious sophistication. Like most good Christmas ham’s this recipe is ALL about the glaze. The combination of sweet orange, sticky plum jam and Asian star anise ticks all the boxes in terms of Christmas tastes.

Serves 8-10
4.5kg of ham
2 liters of water
1 large onion
1 tbsp black peppercorns
8 whole cloves, plus extra for garnish
3 star anise

Glaze:
150g plum jam
100g brown sugar
Juice of 1 orange
5 star anise

Place the ham in a large pot and pour in the water along with the onion, star anise, cloves and peppercorns. If the water doesn’t cover the ham, add more.

Bring to the boil and them simmer steadily for 40 minutes per kg (3 hours) After the cooking time, turn off the heat and allow to cool in the liquid.

In a small saucepan, add the orange juice, jam, sugar and star anise and cook gently until the sugar has dissolved and you are left with a slightly thick glaze. Leave to cool slightly.

Preheat the oven to 220°C.

When the ham has cooled, remove from the liquid before removing the skin, exposing the fat and scoring diagonally with a small sharp knife. Place the ham in a roasting tray and brush the plum glaze over the top of the ham. Push the cloves into each cross.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden on top.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before slicing thinly to serve.

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Orange and mint crispy duck rolls

For parties and get-togethers ahead of the big day, these little duck rolls not only make great canapes but are also an easy Christmas day starter if you want to do something a little different. They make a wonderful and slightly alternative Christmas day starter.

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