Christmas leftover recipes from chef Rory O'Connell

Salad of Shaved Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts with Red Onion, Raisins and Parmesan


This is a refreshing salad that can be served as a light starter or as part of a selection of salads. It goes particularly well with cold ham or cured meats such as salamis and chorizos. I also like it with spiced beef or coarse terrines.

It makes a wonderful vehicle for pieces of cold ham and cold turkey after Christmas.


Serves 6 – 8


50g (2oz) raisins soaked on boiling water for 1 hour

1 small cauliflower

12 Brussels sprouts peeled

225g (8oz) red onion

50g (2oz) roasted, peeled and chopped hazelnuts

2-4 tablespoons of olive oil

8 tablespoons Caesar Dressing (see recipe)

50g (2oz) grated parmesan

salt and pepper

2 tablespoons of pomegranate seeds optional


Trim the outside leaves and tough stalk off the cauliflower and break it into florets. Slice the cauliflower florets thinly, 1/2cm (1/4 inch), by hand or with a mandolin and place in a large bowl. Slice the peeled red onion and sprouts even more thinly and add to the cauliflower. Add in the drained raisins. Dress the salad with half of the olive oil and the Caesar dressing and toss thoroughly but gently. Add in 3/4 of the grated parmesan and mix again. Taste and correct seasoning add salt and pepper as necessary.  Spread out in a large shallow bowl or plate and sprinkle on the hazelnuts and pomegranate seeds if using.


A final drizzle of oil and the remaining parmesan sprinkled over the salad and it is ready to serve.


The salad will sit for an hour before serving.


Christmas Quesadillas


Makes 6


The Mexican melted cheese sandwich is another excellent way to use up little scraps of leftover turkey, ham and other poultry.  Both children and adults will gobble these up – no pun intended!


12 x 15-18cm (6-7 inch) corn or flour tortillas

170-225g (6-9oz) grated Mozzarella and mature Cheddar cheese, mixed

3-6 fresh green chillies

6 tablespoons chopped scallions, use both green and white parts




Guacamole (see recipe)

Tomato and Chilli Salsa (see recipe)


Put a non-stick pan on a medium heat, place a tortilla on the pan, sprinkle with 25-35g (1-1½oz) of grated cheese, some shredded meat, a few slices of thinly sliced chilli and some chopped scallions.   Top with another tortilla, when the cheese begins to melt, quickly flip over and cook for a further minute or so.  Cut into quarters or sixths and serve immediately with a blob of Guacamole and Tomato Salsa.




The avocado must be really ripe for guacamole


1 ripe avocado (Hass if available)

1-2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon freshly chopped coriander or flat parsley

sea salt and freshly ground pepper


Scoop out the flesh from the avocado.  Mash with a fork or in a pestle and mortar, add lime juice, olive oil, chopped coriander, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Serve immediately.  Otherwise, cover the surface of the guacamole with a sheet of plastic to exclude the air.  Cover and keep cool until needed.


 A little finely diced chilli or tomato may be added to the guacamole.






Pico de Gallo - Tomato and Chilli Salsa


Serves 4-6


I use cherry tomatoes in winter for better flavour.


4 very ripe tomatoes, or 16-20 cherry tomatoes, chopped

1 tablespoon onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

1/2-1 chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander

squeeze of fresh lime juice

salt, freshly ground pepper and sugar


Mix all the ingredients together.  Season with salt, freshly ground pepper and a pinch of sugar if necessary.


Taste and correct the seasoning.


Salad of St Tola Goats Cheese with Kumquats, Walnuts, Rocket and Watercress

Serves 4

4 slices of St Tola Goats Cheese

20 – 24 pieces of kumquat compote and a drizzle of the poaching syrup

16 rocket leaves

16 sprigs of watercress

12 walnuts, shelled and broken into 2 pieces

Drizzle of olive oil

Squeeze of lemon juice

Maldon salt and cracked black pepper


Place the slices of goats cheese on suitable serving plates. Place the rocket and watercress around the cheese followed by the walnuts and kumquat slices. Drizzle some of the syrup over each salad.

Finish the salads with a drizzle of  olive oil, a small squeeze of lemon and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Serve with 30 minutes with good bread or seed crackers


Kumquat Compôte

A gem of a recipe, this compôte can be served as a dessert or as an accompaniment to roast duck, goose or glazed ham.  Also delicious with goat’s cheese or yoghurt.


Serves 6-20 depending on how it is served


235g (8 1/2oz) kumquats

200ml (7fl oz) water

110g (4oz) sugar


Slice the kumquats into four or five round depending on size, remove the seeds.  Put the kumquats into a saucepan with the water and sugar and let them cook very gently, covered, for half an hour or until tender.  If it accidently overcooks or becomes too dry, add a little water and bring back to the boil for one minutes – it should be juicy.


Serve warm or cold.


Note: This compote keeps for weeks in the fridge.


Walnut and Amaretto Cake

This is a rich and delicious cake that is wonderful on its own with softly whipped cream or crème fraiche. I sometimes serve it with a compote of kumquats which makes a perfect pairing.

200g walnuts (finely chopped)
380g almonds (finely ground)
380g unsalted butter (soft)
380g Castor sugar
2 vanilla pods (very finely chopped)
5 eggs
100g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
125ml Disarono amaretto liqueur

 200g  62% chocolate; broken into small pieces

200g unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F Gas Mark 4.

 Butter and flour a 25cm round cake tin and line the base with a disc of parchment paper.

Cream the butter and sugar until pale and light and fluffy in texture. Add the finely chopped vanilla pods and continue to cream for a few seconds. Beat in the eggs into the mixture, one at a time.

 Meanwhile, mix the chopped walnuts, ground almonds, flour and baking powder. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the creamed butter, sugar and egg mixture. Finally fold in the amaretto. Transfer the mixture into the prepared tin, smooth over the top and bake for c 1 ¼ hours or until set. Turn onto a wire rack and leave to cool.

To make the icing, place the chocolate in a pyrex bowl and set over a saucepan of cold water. Make sure the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl. Bring the water to a simmer and turn off the heat. The chocolate may not be fully melted but it will melt in the residual eat from the saucepan. Stir the chocolate a few times with a rubber spatula to speed up the melting process. When the chocolate has cooled to tepid, whisk in the butter a few lumps at a time to achieve a smooth, slightly airy and glossy icing.

 Spread the icing over the top of the cake. Serve with crème fraîche or softly whipped cream.



Charlotte’s Swedish Seed Crackers


Makes 2 trays


200g (7oz) sunflower seeds

130g (4 1/2oz) pumpkin seeds

70g (2 3/4oz) flax seeds

70g (2 3/4oz) sesame seeds

2 tablespoons psyllium husk

2 tablespoons almond flour

1 teaspoon salt

450ml (15fl oz) water


Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.


Line the two baking trays with parchment paper.


In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together (should be the consistency of watery porridge).


Divide in half and spread as thinly as possible on greaseproof paper.


Sprinkle with sea salt and poppy seeds on top.


Bake in the preheated oven for 70 minutes approximately until dry.


Store in pieces in an air-tight tin.  Keep dry, pop into a hot oven for a few minutes before serving to crisp them up.


Delicious just with butter, cheese or smoked salmon.



Yemeni Falafel with Tahini Sauce, Rocket Leaves and Figs

Serves 6


60g onion, coarsely chopped

1 clove of peeled garlic

I green chilli, coarsely chopped ( leave the seeds in if you are happy with the extra heat)

3 sprigs of parsley

20g coriander leaves

125g chickpeas, soaked overnight in cold water and drained

Level teaspoon of roasted and ground cumin seeds

Level teaspoon of ground cardamom seeds

Level teaspoon of salt

2 tablespoons gram or plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder


To serve

Tahini sauce

24 rocket leaves

6 fresh or dried figs (optional)

Maldon salt and olive oil


Place the onion, garlic, chilli and herbs in the bowl of a food processor and pulse them to a rough chop. Add the chickpeas and continue to chop to achieve a thick paste with small even sized bits of chickpeas and herbs. Check that the mixture comes together by taking a handful and squeezing it to achieve a shape it will hold. If it doesn’t hold its shape, pulse chop until the mixture is finer.

Decant the mixture into a bowl and add the spices, salt, flour and baking powder. Mix to combine all of the ingredients.

Heat a deep fry or 5cm of sunflower oil in a deep pan to 170c / 325f.

Shape the falafel into small torpedo shapes about the volume of a golf ball and place on a parchment lined tray. When ready to eat the falafel, fry until cooked through and crisp. Do not over fill the fryer or pan. The cooked falafel will keep hot in an oven at 100c / 200f / gas 1 for 1 hour.

Serve with a good drizzle of tahini sauce, rocket leaves, sliced dried or quartered fresh figs if using and a final drizzle of olive oil and pinch of sea salt.





Tahini Sauce

125g tahini paste

1 clove of crushed garlic

Pinch of salt

Juice of 1 lemon approximately

 120ml water approximately

Blend the tahini, garlic, garlic, salt, half of the lemon and half of the water by hand or in a food processor to achieve a creamy consistency. Add more water and lemon juice as necessary to achieve the correct consistency and acidity level. The sauce should be slightly thick pouring consistency. Taste and add





Orange and Passion Fruit Granita with Mango and Lime

450 ml freshly squeezed orange juice

5 passion fruit

110 g caster sugar


1 ripe mango

1 lime

2- 4 teaspoons caster sugar


Cut the passion fruit in half and pass the pulp and juice through a sieve to remove the passion fruit seeds. Mix this liquid with the orange juice and sugar and stir well to dissolve the sugar.

Place the mixture in a flat bowl and freeze. When the mixture starts to freeze around the edges, use a fork or whisk to break it up into a pulp. Re-freeze  and continue this process three more times by which time you will have a coarse granite type texture.


Peel the mango and cut into neat slices or dice. Zest and juice the lime and add with the sugar to the mango slices. Stir gently to encourage the sugar to dissolve. Taste to check that the level of sweetness is to your liking. Chill for 30 minutes or more.

Serve the granita with slices of mango and some of the juice. Garnish with fresh mint leaves when in season.