Are you hosting Christmas this year? Are you starting to get a bit flustered by all of the preparation and effort involved to make the best Christmas dinner ever? I am a perfectionist and like to make sure everything runs smoothly so I a couple of years ago I made myself a plan- a tight schedule to ensure a stress free Christmas is had by all (I cannot account for crazy relatives or children squabbling I am afraid!).
I like to do a starter for Christmas dinner as it keeps the guests happy while you prepare the main course (plus of course it is a good filler in case you run over time-wise!). So here is my menu, I will be following this plan this year and hopefully it will go off without a hitch!
Bruschetta with cranberry jelly and brie. I had these when I went to The Snug this year and they were so delicious I thought I would make them myself!
Roast turkey with all the trimmings! This is my favourite meal and I could eat it every day of the year!
A choice of yule log and Christmas pudding & custard. I have chosen 2 desserts as not everyone likes Christmas pud (I don’t!).
I am not a big drinker but I do love a bit of fizz, Shloer Celebration* is an alcohol-free bubbly and it even comes with a popping cork!
Timings on the day
I serve lunch at 2pm so all timings work towards that goal. Adjust as necessary.
A turkey of 8-12lbs will take 2-3 days to thaw so remember to take it out of the freezer in good time if you aren’t getting a fresh turkey.
** I pre-make my own yorkshire puddings- see below for the recipe**
7.45am Pre heat the oven to gas mark 7, 220°C (425°F). Meanwhile stuff the turkey with a stuffing of your choice, I like sage and onion.
8.15am Place the turkey in the oven, it will stay at this initial temperature for 40 mins. Meanwhile peel the potatoes. I do one large potato per person (then same again for the mash). Nothing worse than too few a roast! For the vegetables I do one carrot per person and one for luck, same for parsnips. I buy frozen brussels and peas – no need to create extra work!
8.55am Lower the oven temperature to gas mark 3, 170°C (325°F). Now go and enjoy some family fun, watch a movie or help the kids play with their new toys! Remember to set an alarm!!
12.30pm Increase the temperature to gas mark 6, 200°C (400°F) Take the turkey out of the oven and remove the foil. Baste it all over and then return for another 30-40 mins to finish browning.
12.45pm Par boil the potatoes (ones for roasting) and parsnips for 10 mins, drain them and give them a shake to make them fluffy. Drizzle them in oil and toss onto a baking tray. I actually use Fry Light when making roasties, I spray the tray and then spray the potatoes. They crisp up beautifully and are much healthier!
1pm Take the turkey out of the oven and cover with foil. It will hold its heat for up to an hour and it will give it time for the meat to rest. If you want to check it is cooked, stab into where one of the legs joins the main bird, the juices should run clear. Put the roast potatoes and parsnips into the oven (same temp as above).
1.20pm Put the carrots and the potatoes (for mash) on to boil. Turn the roast potatoes to ensure equal roasting.
1.40pm Put the brussels and peas on to boil.
1.45pm Put your pre-made yorkshires in the oven for 5-10 mins until they are defrosted and hot.
2pm Dinner is served!!
**Yorkshire Pudding Recipe**
Pre- heat the oven to 230°C (fan 210°C / 445°F/ gas 8). Drizzle a little sunflower oil evenly into 2 x 4-hole Yorkshire pudding tins or a 12-hole non-stick muffin tin and place in the oven to heat through. You want the oil to be boiling before the batter goes in.
To make the batter, tip 140g plain flour into a bowl and beat in four eggs until smooth. Gradually add 200ml milk and carry on beating until the mix is completely lump-free. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the batter into a jug, then remove the hot tins from the oven. Carefully and evenly pour the batter into the holes. Place the tins back in the oven and leave undisturbed for 20-25 mins until the puddings have puffed up and browned. Serve immediately (You can also cool them and freeze for up to 1 month).