A Christmas Bombe from Ballyknocken!

Almost everyone loves a skinny slice of Christmas Pudding but we are all searching for the ideal alternative dessert that will keep everyone happy, younger and older generation.  I think I might just have the perfect dessert – in the form of a Mince Pie Bombe – it’s basically ice cream, flavoured with traditional mince meat flavourings (though not the suet!) and frozen in a pudding mould – so it looks the part too.  I have to say, we include this in our Christmas Cookery Class here at Ballyknocken (“Christmas all wrapped up!”) and its a true winner

I mentioned the recipe on the Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show on TodayFM recently so so many people asked me for the details, so being as it’s Christmas, I am happy to share – ha-ha

Merry Christmas

Catherine x

So exciting, getting ready for Christmas dinner!

So exciting, getting ready for Christmas dinner!

Christmas Mince Pie Bombe with Orange Salted Toffee Sauce

Serves 8 to 10 and makes about 300ml of sauce

For the bombe

200g mixed dried fruit (raisins, currants and sultanas)

80g soft brown dark sugar

3 tbsp orange juice

4 tbsp brandy

2 orange, zest and juice of 1

1200ml vanilla ice cream, softened

3 tbsp espresso coffee

1 tsp ground cinnamon

For the Orange Salted Caramel Sauce

180g caster sugar

100ml water

200ml double cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp sea salt

100g butter

1 orange, zest only

For the caramelise orange slices to decorate

1 orange, sliced

2 tbsp icing sugar

Bay leaves, to decorate

  1. Oil a 1.2 litre (2pint) pudding bowl and line with plastic wrap.
  2. Place the fruit, sugar, orange juice, brandy and orange juice and zest in a saucepan and gently simmer for about 10 minutes.
  3. Allow to cool.  Beat the ice cream lightly and fold in the espresso and cinnamon. Spoon the mixture into the pudding bowl and freeze overnight. Allow 20 minutes for the ice cream to soften before serving.
  4. In the meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas 4.  To prepare the orange slices for decorating, line a baking tray with parchment, arrange the orange slices on the parchment and dust with icing sugar. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, but keep an eye on them, turning after 10 minutes. Remove once golden and cool on a rack.
  5. To make the sauce, combine the sugar and water in a medium saucepan over a medium heat pan.  Bring to the boil and swirl around the pan – don’t stir while it is boiling! Boil until a light amber colour – this will take about 10 minutes or so.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat, pour in the cream, be careful, it may bubble. Give it a whisk, then add the butter and sea salt as well as the orange zest. Whisk again until smooth.
  7. Cool it in the pan and pour into a jug for easy pouring. The sauce must be kept in the fridge and it will stay fresh up to 2 weeks.
  8. To serve, unmould the ice cream onto a serving platter and remove the plastic wrap. Arrange the orange slices and bay leaves on top and carefully pour over the sauce. Serve immediately.      

Catherine’s Christmas gifts on the Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show

I had so much fun on the Ian Dempsey show on this morning and have been inundated with requests on unusual foodie gadgets and gifts, and of course for the recipe for amaretti  biscuits (see below).

Catherine and Ian

Catherine, her book and the fabulous Ian Dempsey on Friday’s Ian Dempsey Breakfast show, Todayfm.

For gift vouchers and signed copies of my cookbooks, please visit our website https://www.ireshotels.com/ballyknockenhouse/gifts

Kitchen Cookware.ie have some of the most unusual gadgets available for the foodie in your life.

How about an apple peeler and corer? or a retro popcorn maker or and egg skelter – you don’t realise you need one until you actually start to use it, then you can’t live without it.

Check out this website also for pizza stones, pasta makers, hamburger press and contigo mug http://kitchencookware.ie/

Apple peeler and corer

Apple peeler and corer

foodie gifts

Pictured, the Hario V60, Coffee maker from http://www.badgeranddodo.ie, Bake like an Italian, Homemade Amaretti biscuits and a garlic press, the contigo mug and the apple corer from cookware.ie.


Makes 40

Here’s another confession: when I first made these, I didn’t share – am I mean? They taste amazing, I couldn’t help it. Suffice it to say that I absolutely adore these homemade amaretti. They are a little softer than the shop-bought version, thus making it easier to eat more! Making these biscuits is a doddle and they will keep for up to 10 days. They are a great treat to serve after dinner with coffee.

4 egg whites

350g caster sugar

350g ground almonds

11/2 tbsp amaretto

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Line 1 large baking tray with baking parchment.
  2. In a large, spotlessly clean, dry mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. Gently mix in the sugar, almonds and amaretto. Using a teaspoon, place small amounts of the mixture (about 2cm) onto the baking tray.
  3. Bake for 12–15 minutes, until a pale golden brown. Leave to set on the baking tray, as they are quite fragile at this stage although they will set as they cool.

Tip: Keep them very small, as they tend to spread in the oven.

Amaretti Biscuits

Amaretti Biscuits

Dinner with the Mafia

A murder mystery party…great fun!

Includes everything you need to host a mob-themed dinner part for up to 8 guests.

It includes: 8 dinner invitations, 8 place cards, 4 menus, a booklet, CD of mob music, Mafia trivia, character profiles and shopping list.

Travel back to Scarpato’s restaurant, Coney Island 1931, all for only €22.00!!

Available from http://kaleidoscope.ie/.

Christmas All Wrapped Up

Halloween is over only a few days and now it is all about Christmas!

Here at Ballyknocken House & Cookery School we have Christmas all wrapped up…

Our Christmas Best Seller is a half day cookery class plus a signed copy of my latest cookbook,  “Bake Like an Italian”, for €145 plus P&P, order online before November 30th and receive free package & postage within Ireland!

Now I’m just spoiling you all, here is an example of some of the lovely Christmas recipes from ‘Bake Like An Italian’ and what you can learn here at Ballyknocken Cookery School, My Italian Snowballs !!

Christmas Cookery



These little biscuits are usually made with almonds, but I have made mine here with pecans.

These are really delicate and are a good gift to take to a dinner party during the festive season

– if you have any left after tasting them! They look so classy when they are gift wrapped in an

elegant Christmas box.

250g plain flour

220g pecans, finely chopped

200g butter, softened

60g caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

icing sugar, for dusting

1 Preheat the oven to 160°C/gas 140°C/gas 3. Line 2 baking trays with baking parchment.

2 Place the flour, pecans, butter, sugar and vanilla paste into a mixing bowl and beat

together until combined. Roll the dough into 3cm balls and place on the lined trays. Bake

for 18–20 minutes, until lightly golden brown.

3 Sift the icing sugar into a shallow bowl. Remove the biscuits from the oven and leave for

5 minutes before rolling in the icing sugar while still warm. Dust again when cool.

  • Mix a little edible golden shimmer powder into the icing sugar to catch a glimmer from the twinkle lights.