Food news: Give thanks at twelve
Actor Simon Delaney - who has appeared in television shows as diverse as The Good Wife and Coronation Street - was the nearly man of Celebrity MasterChef, impressing judges Robin Gill and Daniel Clifford with his technique and confidence.
Sadly for Delaney, the title eluded him, but he hasn't allowed losing out to singer Niamh Kavanagh to hold back his culinary ambitions. He recently published his debut cookbook, Simply Simon's: The Diner Cookbook (RRP €29.99).
Fittingly, he'll be launching the book, which is laid out like a US diner menu, at a celebration of that most American holiday - Thanksgiving - by hosting a special feast at The Twelve Hotel in Barna, Co Galway, on Thursday, November 23.
Simon will be collaborating with Martin O'Donnell, head chef at Upstairs @ West, The Twelve's restaurant, to create a Thanksgiving menu with all the trimmings, inspired by recipes in the book.
The night kicks off at 6pm with complimentary cocktails - including the Simon Sez, Simon's take on that classic pre-dinner drink, the Old-Fashioned - in the Na Beanna Beola Suite, accompanied by canapés of crispy meatloaf with spiced ketchup, and barbecue-style pulled-pork cheek with apple ketchup, as Simon and Martin host a live cooking demonstration of recipes from the book.
After the demo, guests will move to West restaurant for a pre-dinner book signing and a chance to meet the author, before sitting down to the main event at 7.30pm.
The menu for the night features prawn cocktail Mardi Gras; crab cakes with a rich butter sauce; split pea and ham hock soup, and a baked turkey and ham puff Wellington with sides of mac and cheese, and roast ear of corn drenched in butter.
After that level of indulgence, guests may be ready for a nice lie-down, but there is more to follow in the form of a classic American baked cheesecake with pumpkin pie purée, followed by Christmas pudding and brandy chocolate truffle petits fours.
Tickets for the event are priced at €75 per person, with an overnight stay in Georgina Campbell's Hotel of the Year and breakfast the following morning (if anyone has room) costing €100 per couple or €90 for single occupancy.
For more information, and to book, see thetwelvehotel.ie.
CHRISTMAS AT CHARLOTTE QUAY
Charlotte Quay, Dublin 2, has a range of Christmas party menus, from a three-course lunch at €30pp to three-course dinner with half a bottle of wine per guest for €55, with live entertainment on Thursday and Friday evenings; charlottequay.ie
FESTIVE REFRESHMENTS AT SHEEN FALLS, KENMARE
Enjoy Sheen Falls Lodge's special Festive Tea, including spiced sticky ginger cake with butterscotch and lemon frosting, on December 16, 22 and 23 accompanied by music from local pianist Jim Kiely. €50 for two, with a glass of Prosecco; sheenfallslodge.ie