A few hints and Tips to allow you to get ahead and enjoy a Stress-Free Christmas Day

Saturday 15th December 2018

A few hints and Tips to allow you to get ahead and enjoy a Stress-Free Christmas Day

  1. Prep your potatoes on Christmas Eve. Peel and cut. Put in a large pan of lightly salted water with the juice of ½ lemon. Cover with a lid and keep somewhere cool. Drain and refresh the water on Christmas Day. I promise they will be perfect! Alternatively, Par-boil the peeled potatoes for 10 mins, drain well and leave to steam-dry until cold. Shake well, the cover and chill in the fridge. Roast on Christmas Day in hot rape seed oil for 1 hour, until crisp and golden.
  2. Carrots, parsnips and sprouts can all be prepared and chilled on Christmas Eve.
  3. Part boned Turkey Crowns are great to cook and carve and really tasty to eat. Spread the breast with softened butter, then cover with a lattice of streaky bacon. Allow turkey breast to reach room temperature for 2 hours, then roast at 170C fan, allowing 30-35mins per kg (2lb 3oz) plus 30 mins.
  4. To test if your turkey is cooked, insert a sharp vegetable knife into the thickest part of the breast and check the juices run clear with no trace of blood. A thermometer inserted into the thickest part needs to be 72C.
  5. The cooked turkey should be transferred to a board, covered well with foil and left in a warm place for at least 30 mins, and up to 1 hour, before carving.
  6. For great Pork Crackling, unwrap joint completely, place on plate UNCOVERED in fridge for up to 3 days before cooking. Bring to room temperature for 30 mins before rubbing the scored skin all over with plenty of salt. Start the pork at 220C for 30 mins, then continue to roast at 190C, allowing 30 mins per lb. Plus 30 mins over, until a meat thermometer reads at least 77C.
  7. Cook your piece of Gammon at least 2 days ahead. Always check with your supplier as to whether it needs soaking overnight to get rid of some of the salt- These days gammon joints often do not need soaking.
  8. Try adding 330ml cider to the water you simmer the gammon in for a great dry apple flavour.
  9. For an easy red cabbage dish, shred one medium cabbage into a large pan in which you have heated 1 Tbsp. rape seed oil. Stir and seal for 5 mins. Add 150ml red or mulled wine, 2 Tbsps. Soft dark brown sugar with 2 Tbsps. Frozen cranberries and 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar. Simmer covered with a lid for about 15 mins. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve.
  10. Use the microwave to COOK the Christmas Pud. To cook 1 x 900ml/ ½ pint Christmas Pud takes 12-14 minutes on medium power. It should be covered loosely with cling film before cooking. Allow a standing time of 15 minutes, before serving.

To RE-HEAT 1 2Ib Christmas Pud – Cover with cling film, microwave on FULL power for 3 ½ minutes. Allow to stand for 3 minutes before serving.

  1. Make gravy up 2 days in advance, as long as you have fridge space. Add a glass of red wine or Port to the stock and 2 Tsps. Tomato ketchup for super glossy, rich gravy.
  2. Always have a no-cook alternative pudding on Christmas Day. I think a chocolate based trifle with black cherries and apricots, plus canned dairy custard make an easy and delicious alternative. Make it up to 2 days ahead.

See recipe for Step by Step Chocolate, Apricot and Black Cherry Trifle on my website.

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