With the festive season approaching (dare we mention it?!) there are some people already menu planning for the holiday period. So we’ve been having a think too, and have a few tips and hints to get you started.

Dried fruit buying is in frenzy mode right now. For the bakers among you, great quality dried and candied fruit for cakes and puddings is available from our Good Food Ireland members Urru Culinary Store in  Bandon, West Cork and Country Choice in Nenagh, Tipperary. Plump Lexia raisins, luscious Golden or Five Crown Sultanas, juicy traditional or organic currants, large red, green and undyed glace cherries, hunky  slabs of opaque emerald candied lime peel, and jewelled quarter pieces of candied lemon and orange peel, which you can chop to your own size and preference. If you fancy being different, you’ll also find glace pineapple slices and whole candied apricots. Both cakes and puddings for Christmas appreciate a few weeks of maturation, so if you haven’t already started, now is the time to get going.

Savoury mains for Christmas day are usually a given – it’s going to be turkey for most households and a goose for those who really want to do things in the old fashioned Irish way. Skeaghanore geese are at this moment grazing on mist washed pastures beside the Atlantic Ocean in West Cork – getting plumper and ever more tasty by the day! Place your order now if you want one this Christmas! In the run up to the big day, game will be popular for dinner parties and family get togethers. Try this recipe for Venison with Butternut Squash and Sprouts – packed with seasonal tastes, from the menu at Lady Helen Restaurant at  Mount Juliet.

Tomorrow we will be telling you all about Stir Up Sunday this coming weekend, which is the traditional day for Christmas pud making. We’ll also  have some Christmas pudding recipes from our members. Don’t forget to check back then!