The 'perfect' Christmas dinner
The “Perfect” Christmas Dinner
Well, not entirely.
More of a checklist of those little tricks and tips that no-one ever tells you….
Instead of writing a million words telling you to suck eggs, I’ll just keep it simple to the point.
Overall, I think turkey is pretty rubbish, but its Christmas so we all must bite the bullet to try and eeek out any way to make sure it tastes less like sand and a bit more “PUKKA” (shameless Jamie quote).
As a rule of thumb, I allow 35 minutes per kilo. This varies greatly on what oven you have and how much other food you have in it constantly lowering the temperature
So the turkey - Always cover in bacon lock in that goodness (and because bacon).
NEVER stuff, this only causes poor air flow. Poor air flow means, longer cooking time as the heat can’t get to the middle and therefore makes the breasts dry and lifeless by the time the heat has cooked the middle.
I hear you shouting, “but I don’t have space not to stuff”. Stuffing as it is full of fat is fine to be cooked the night before and heated in the oven for 10 minutes prior to serving.
Cooking times, always the biggest gamble when cooking the big meal. But I take it out the literal second that its cooked. The turkey will not only stay warm for a long time, it will continue to cook (and dry out) over this period. Taking it out earlier allows for more space for the 5 million other things that might want to be cooked at some point.
"If it does loose too much heat, use the old chef’s secret... hot plates and boiling gravy!".
Now in the Coomber house, we all hate to admit it but Ben is the king of the roast potato.
I quizzed him on his three secrets -
- Pretty much cook them when you pre-boil
- Drain them and leave to steam for a while, then give them a good shake (he said fluff way too much).
- HIGH HEAT…the best bit of a roastie is the crispy bits.
My personal tip, it to open the over door for 3 seconds every time you remember to. This reduces the water content in the air of the oven and increases the amount of water that is evaporated out of the spuds, increasing that crisp factor.
I’m the (self-proclaimed) king of the sides and a must for me is red-wine cabbage. But I’m not one for recipes, more taste and smell.
1 whole red cabbage, ½ a bottle of red, a LARGE knob of butter, all spice, 1 tbs honey, cinnamon and seasoning.
My general rule is once you have the base, if it is too liquid keep cooking, and add a glug if it starts to catch. If it smells like Christmas, you’re on the right track, if not, more spice is needed.
This should leave you with a healthy glass to make lunch a little easier.
I also love to make my own cranberry sauce, and even as I write that it sounds time consuming.
It really isn’t.
1 x 400g bag of frozen cranberries and put a large handful to one side. Put in a saucepan on a medium/low heat and add all the juice and zest of 1 orange, and a cup of sugar. Heat this for roughly 10 mins stirring regularly. Once the cranberries are soft, and the sauce has that jam like shine, add the remaining cranberries and leave to cool on the side.
Finally, the dreaded Yorkshire pudding. For me, this is a must and that might cause some arguments in some households.
Like the rest of this short blog, simplicity is the way forward
Equal parts milk, flour and eggs.
The art comes not from the ratio, but the method of cooking. I always remember it like this..
“Yorkshires are the beginning and end of a roast”
Apart from my literal love of this statement, it applies to the method. Once the mixture above is heavily whisked together (more bubbled the better). Put in a jug, cover and leave in the fridge.
As they take under 20 minutes, you now have the ability to get every bit of the roast done before its Yorkshire time again.
Pre-heat the muffin tin, and fat (goose or oil as butter doesn’t get hot enough) so nearly smoking. Speed is the essence now, fill the tray to half way up each cup.
Now close the door and leave, leave, leave it closed.
This gives you the opportunity to pretend you in Bake Off and peak through the glass every 3 seconds, they are done when they start to go brown, this is slightly past golden as the crisp top will be the strength needed to stop them returning to pancakes.
Whether this has been of any help, or your nan knows best.
Have an amazing Christmas from everyone here at BTN.
Then attack 2017 like lion catching a Gazelle.