TOM’s TOP TIPS FOR COOKING CHRISTMAS DINNER

TOM’s TOP TIPS FOR COOKING CHRISTMAS DINNER

Above all else, really don’t stress about cooking. Enjoy it. If you enjoy it, the food will taste loved and that’s the most important thing.

 

Tip 1

Don’t overcook the turkey! Invest in a digital thermometer to make sure you get it just right. This will probably be the best bit of kit you’ll buy for Christmas and will save you serving undercooked or overcooked turkey. They are easy to use and relatively cheap, why not add to your Christmas list?

 

Tip 2

If you can, brine your turkey the day before, this will help keep the bird juicy when you come to roast it.

For the brine:

  • 3 litres of cold water
  • 300g table salt

To make, pour the water and the salt into a container that can fit the turkey and the liquid, whisk the salt and water together to dissolve the salt. Then submerge the turkey in the brine and pop on a lid for at least six hours, after this time remove them from the liquid and leave to air dry in the fridge overnight.

Tip 3

Prepare all vegetables the day before, take the stress out of preparing these on the day. Blanch them the night before and put them in the fridge overnight.

Carrots, red cabbage, broccoli and parsnips can all be pre cooked, then on the day simply finish off or just reheat when needed.

broccoli

Tip 3

Prepare all vegetables the day before, take the stress out of preparing these on the day. Blanch them the night before and put them in the fridge overnight.

Carrots, red cabbage, broccoli and parsnips can all be pre cooked, then on the day simply finish off or just reheat when needed.

broccoli

Tip 4

Get the roast potatoes right and you will be the hero of the day!

How to make the perfect roast potatoes:

  1. Peel the potatoes and cut them to your preferred size.
  2. Put them in a pan and cover with water. Add a good pinch of salt. Bring to the boil then gently simmer for 20-25 minutes until the potatoes are cooked all the way through.
  3. Gently lift them from the water with a slotted spoon and place on a cooling tray, such as a cake rack. Leave them to dry at room temperature to form a crust around the edges. That’s the part that goes crispy and crunchy when roasted. (Top tip: steps 1-3 can be done the day before and the potatoes kept in the fridge overnight)
  4. Heat your oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Place a high sided roasting tray filled with clean vegetable oil into the oven and leave to heat up. (Top tip: you don’t need to use duck or goose fat to get the perfect roast. Clean vegetable oil will work just fine).
  5. When it’s hot, place your potatoes in the pan, leaving plenty of space in between. (Top tip: make sure there’s plenty of space between your potatoes in the roasting pan – if they’re piled up on top of each other they’ll steam, when what you want is for them to fry in the bottom of the pan).
  6. Put the tray back in the oven for 40 minutes, taking it out every 10-15 minutes to turn the potatoes so they get nice and crispy.
  7. Once cooked, season them with some nice flaky sea salt.

How to make the perfect roast potatoes:

  1. Peel the potatoes and cut them to your preferred size.
  2. Put them in a pan and cover with water. Add a good pinch of salt. Bring to the boil then gently simmer for 20-25 minutes until the potatoes are cooked all the way through.
  3. Gently lift them from the water with a slotted spoon and place on a cooling tray, such as a cake rack. Leave them to dry at room temperature to form a crust around the edges. That’s the part that goes crispy and crunchy when roasted. (Top tip: steps 1-3 can be done the day before and the potatoes kept in the fridge overnight)
  4. Heat your oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Place a high sided roasting tray filled with clean vegetable oil into the oven and leave to heat up. (Top tip: you don’t need to use duck or goose fat to get the perfect roast. Clean vegetable oil will work just fine).
  5. When it’s hot, place your potatoes in the pan, leaving plenty of space in between. (Top tip: make sure there’s plenty of space between your potatoes in the roasting pan – if they’re piled up on top of each other they’ll steam, when what you want is for them to fry in the bottom of the pan).
  6. Put the tray back in the oven for 40 minutes, taking it out every 10-15 minutes to turn the potatoes so they get nice and crispy.
  7. Once cooked, season them with some nice flaky sea salt.

Tip 5

On Christmas day, make sure you take your turkey out of the fridge first thing so that it comes up to room temperature before putting in the oven.

 

Tip 6

Make sure you rest your turkey once it comes out of the oven for at least 30 minutes, you’ll thank me for this.

Tip 7

Use the turkey tray to make the gravy, use those burnt nuggety bits that have caramelised in the bottom of the tray, you’ll get loads more flavour from it.

Here’s my guide to lush turkey gravy.

You will need:

  • 1-2 tsp honey
  • 1 tbsp soya sauce
  • 25g melted butter
  • 25g plain flour
  • 500ml chicken stock
gravy

Tip 7

Use the turkey tray to make the gravy, use those burnt nuggety bits that have caramelised in the bottom of the tray, you’ll get loads more flavour from it.

Here’s my guide to lush turkey gravy.

You will need:

  • 1-2 tsp honey
  • 1 tbsp soya sauce
  • 25g melted butter
  • 25g plain flour
  • 500ml chicken stock
gravy

  1. Once you have removed the cooked turkey from the roasting tray to rest.
  2. Leaving all the bits and juices in the cooking tray, place onto the hob and turn on the heat, then add the runny honey and heat until the honey begins to caramelise then pour in the soy sauce to deglaze the tray.
  3. Next, add the butter to the tray, once melted add the flour and cook out gently for a minute or so then begin to ladle in the stock. (very similar to making a white sauce) once the liquid is added simmer for ten minutes to ensure the flour is cooked out.
  4. Then pass through a fine sieve into a fresh saucepan until required.
Tip 8

Christmas is all about putting everything out on the table and letting people help themselves. For one, because it always looks more festive having that family style of serving, but also it means the food will stay hotter for longer.

 

 

THEN YOU CAN RELAX AND ENJOY