Sat | Jan 29, 2022

The First Noel - Festive Feasts (Part Two)

Published:Tuesday | December 19, 2017 | 12:00 AMKrysta Anderson
Take the tradition of the Christmas wreath and get creative with it, adding an assortment of cheese cubes to the equation.
Take your palate on a tasty ride with this macaroni and black bean salad.
Cranberry rice pilaf has the right combination of savoury and sweet.
Chef Noel's cheesy baked mashed potatoes will transport you to food heaven and back with just one bite.
Nothing like a good ole Jamaican sorrel drink to spike up your Christmas.
Let ginger bell rock you the right way this Christmas.

Last week, we introduced succulent meat recipes for you to try this Christmas. This week, The First Noel is back and ready to blow your taste buds with bursts of rich flavours.

Meats are nothing without sides, so Chef Noel Cunningham has provided a culinary twist on some tried - and - true favourites. He has even sweetened the deal with recipes for Christmas dessert and cocktail. So make dinner much greater with a festive feast courtesy of The First Noel.

Cheesy Baked Mashed Potatoes

Give your guests and family more than just a mash. Try Chef Noel's baked mashed potatoes recipe. Perfect side dish for Christmas.

(Makes 6 to 8 servings)




2lb Irish potatoes peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

2 tbsp butter

1/2 cup whipping cream

1/4 cup mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

2 tbsp Panko breadcrumbs/ dry bread crumbs

1 tsp dried parsley





1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat baking dish with 1 tablespoon of butter and set aside. Cook the potatoes in a large pot of salted, boiling water until they are very tender, about 20 minutes.

2. Once cooked, drain and mash potatoes in the same pot with cream, parsley, and butter. Add the mozzarella and 1 teaspoon of the parmesan cheese.

3. Transfer the mashed potatoes to the prepared baking dish. Combine the breadcrumbs and remaining Parmesan cheese in a small bowl, making sure to blend well. Sprinkle breadcrumbs mixture over the mashed potatoes (This recipe can be prepared up to this point, 6 hours ahead of time; cover and chill). Bake, uncovered until the topping is golden brown about 15 minutes.

Macaroni & Black bean Salad




1 pack macaroni

1 tomato diced

1/2 cup diced red bell pepper

1/2 cup diced red onion

1 can (about 15oz) black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup cooked corn kernels, cooked and drained (or tin corn)

2 tbsp chopped cilantro

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup mayonnaise

3 tbsp lime juice

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp ground black pepper, or to taste




1. Cook macaroni in boiling salted water following package directions. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold running water until cool.

2. In a large bowl, combine the cooled macaroni, tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, beans, corn, cilantro, and garlic, toss to blend ingredients. In another bowl combine the remaining ingredients, stirring to blend. Pour over the macaroni mixture and gently stir to blend thoroughly.

3. Chill and serve. Serves 8 to 10.

Cranberry Rice Pilaf

Add some wow to your Christmas table with this tasty, fragrant, and delicious cranberry rice Pilaf.




31/2 cups chicken broth

2 cups rice

1 tbsp butter

1 medium yellow onion, diced

3 large garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup water

2 tbsp curry powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

3/4 cups dried cranberries, plus more for garnish

2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (optional)




1. Place the butter, minced garlic, curry in a medium sauce pot. Turn the heat on to medium-low, then stir and cook the butter and spices for about two minutes.

2. Add the dry rice, turn the heat up to medium, and cook and stir for about two minutes more. You should hear the rice crackling a little. Add cranberries, water and salt. Stir to combine the ingredients.

3. Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to high, and allow the pot to come to a full boil. As soon as the pot reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to low and allow to simmer lightly for 20 minutes and allow rice to seam. Remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. Roughly chop the cilantro and gently stir it into the rice is desired. Serve hot.

Ginger Bell

Let the Christmas catch you in a good mood with chef Noel's refreshing and easy cocktail blend.




1-2oz vodka

3oz lemonade

3oz ginger beer

1oz Blue Curacao

1tbsp green sugar

Ice cubes




Rim your martini glass with the sugar listed above. In a blender, add ice and the rest of the ingredients above. Blend and pour your cocktail into your rimmed martini glass and enjoy.

Good ole Jamaican Sorrel Drink




10 cups water or more, adjust to taste

1/4 cup smashed ginger

1 pack dried sorrel

10 cracked pimentos

5-6 cloves

1 lime juice

1 Star anise (optional)

Rum to taste to taste (optional)

Red label wine to taste (optional)

11/2 cup sugar




Bring water to boil with smashed ginger, pimentos, cloves and star anise. Once boiled, add sorrel petals and remove from flame (water should be enough to cover the sorrel). Cover and let steep overnight. Strain and sweeten with sugar then add rum and wine, if desired. Refrigerate and enjoy.

Chef Noel's Fruit Cake

Some say fruit cake, black cake or Christmas cake, its all the same. However, this is Chef Noel's favorite cake to bake. Today he shares the recipe he has been using for over 10 years.




1/2 lb margarine

1/2 lb brown sugar

6 medium eggs

1tsp vanilla

1tbsp lime juice

1lb cake and pastry flour

2tbsp baking powder

1/4 cup breadcrumbs

2tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

1tsp mixed spice

4tbsp browning

3 cups fruit wine (1/4 cup extra to wet cakes)

1 cup rum (1/4 cup extra to wet cakes)

2 cups soaked mixed fruits (Cherries, raisins, prune)

1tsp cinnamon




1. Cream margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. While creaming, combine flour, baking powder, mixed spice, cinnamon, breadcrumbs and nutmeg and put aside. Gradually add in eggs one at a time to butter mixture. Stir in vanilla and lime juice.

2. Fold the flour mixture into the creamed mixture alternately with browning, wine, rum, and soaked mixed fruits.

3. Scrape batter into a greased and lined baking tin. Bake for 1 1/2 hours at 180?C/350°F or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and immediately wet with extra mixture of rum and wine then allow to cool and serve with your favourite sauce or icing.