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Slieve Donard head chef shares festive favourites

Hazel Magill, head chef of the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa in Newcastle, has shared a selection of her favourite festive recipes to enjoy at home this Christmas.



  • 420 g White Caster Sugar
  • 170 g Butter softened
  • 3 Medium Eggs
  • Zest of 2 Medium Oranges
  • 3 tbs Orange Juice
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract or paste
  • 420 g Self Raising Flour
  • 340 g Fresh Cranberries


Preheat the oven to 165*c Fan Assisted.

Grease and line an 8”/20cm Square loose bottomed baking tin with baking parchment.

Beat the butter and sugar together, with an electric mixer, until you reach a smooth marzipan consistency, and the sugar is not so grainy. This may take about 10 mins

In a small jug, lightly beat the eggs, orange juice, orange zest and Vanilla Extract together until well combined. This will help distribute the flavours around the cake.

Add a tablespoon of flour, to the cake batter. While the mixer is beating, gradually add the beaten egg mixture a little at a time. Beat until the mixture is light and creamy. Scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl at intervals.

Add the remaining flour and Cranberries and mix gently until well combined.

You should have a cookie dough consistency which is needed to prevent all the Cranberries from sinking to the bottom of the cake during baking.

If you still have a little unmixed flour left in the bowl add a little more orange juice and give it another mix.

Add the cake batter to your prepared cake tin, spreading and levelling the top.

Bake in the centre of the oven, for about 65 – 70 mins or until baked, testing the centre of the cake until it comes out clean.

Covering the top of the cake tin with baking parchment will help prevent burning during baking. If baking the cake in a larger shallow tin, you will need to adjust the baking times.

You may find that the top has a light crispy crust and may have some brown speckling. This is due to the large amount of sugar and how smooth your cake batter is after the initial beating.


Sweet and tangy chutney with apples, cranberries, onion, vinegar, sugar, orange zest, and ginger.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Makes about 2 Jars


  • 2 good cooking apples (2 cups, peeled and chopped)
  • 200g fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 large chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 100g of brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp orange zest
  • 1 Tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Small pinch of ground clove


Put all ingredients into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a low simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes. Uncover and cook for a few minutes more, to reduce any remaining liquid.

Refrigerate up to 2 weeks


We always had cranberry sauce out of a jar at home, which is why I’m fond of it, as I am of horseradish sauce out of a bottle, too.

But both, truly, are better freshly made. Cranberry sauce is so easy as not to be worth even hesitating about.

  • 500g Frozen cranberries
  • 200g Sugar, or to taste
  • Cinnamon Stick
  • Star Anise
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 1tbsp Grand Marnier (optional)


Put the cranberries, sugar, butter, zest and juice of the orange, and Grand Marnier if using, in a pan. Add 100ml water and bring to the boil.

After a minute or so’s fierce bubbling, lower to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, until the berries have burst and you have a thick, fruity sauce.

Don’t panic if it’s still fairly runny, though, as it solidifies on cooling.

Taste to see if you want more sugar, then decant to a bowl and let cool before serving.


And if you need further festive inspiration, Hastings Hotels has Christmas all wrapped up with its versatile gift card which comes with no expiry date.

Redeemable at any of the seven Hastings Hotels, in the two magnificent spas and any of the restaurants or bars, it’s the ideal gift that lets people choose the perfect present for themselves, be it a special night out, a luxury weekend, an afternoon tea, a spa treatment or even a round of drinks at the bar.

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