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Gus Mears

Christmas food and cooking

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In this brave new world of threads for everything, a place to talk about Christmas specific munch and what you will be cooking over the holiday period.

1 hour ago, Gus Mears said:

Got my orders in for Christmas meat the other day. Rolled double turkey breast, plus a big silverside and a gammon joint, both of which I'll do Christmas eve for the family buffet/cold meat throughout the Crimbo season. 

Might set up a separate Christmas food thread. My favourite time of the year to cook and I'm already excitedly putting together my Christmas day menu.

Sufficeceth to say, I adore putting recipes together and cooking for friends/family this time of year, despite the bankruptcy come January 2nd.

So far, my Christmas roast is probably going to be the following (although a few bits will likely change before the big day).

  • - Turkey (I tend to use a variation on this Mary Berry recipe: https://www.bbc.com/food/recipes/turkey_crown_with_orange_47645, but with a bit of water/load of onions in the base for gravy and bacon covering the Turkey)
  • - Homemade pigs in blankets
  • - Roasties
  • -¬†Yorkshire Puddings (probably just from the shop if I am honest)
  • - Pan fried sprouts with chestnuts (going to try these in the pan for the first time)
  • - Red cabbage, with red onions, apples and cinnamon¬†
  • - Parsnip bake (parsnip and onions cooked, blended, seasoned and then baked in an oven with cream mixed in)
  • - Peas and mint¬†
  • - Honey and thyme glazed carrots
  • - (possibly) Leeks and pancetta if I can be arsed. I might replace the peas with this.¬†

I basically just decamp my entire kitchen to my gran's where we spend Christmas Day. She doesn't really cook and consequently all her utensils are a bit useless, but does at least have a brilliant double oven and a five burner hob left from when Grandad was alive. It's stressful, but I do enjoy cooking Christmas Lunch and the last fifteen minutes when everything is on the hob, everything is coming out the oven and everything has to be continually heated/plated/put on the table makes me feel like I'm actually in a proper kitchen, conducting to some grand food crescendo .

What's everyone else got planned? Anyone else doing the cooking on the day? Or have any other things they are whipping up over the next few weeks?

Edited by Gus Mears

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The best advice I ever received about cooking Christmas dindins is that the meat should go in the oven as soon as possible on the day, as it really doesn't matter if it gets "cold" after you take it out. Then you can bother yourself with all the fripperies. The spuds and the bread sauce are the stars, after all. 

Edited by Brewster McCloud

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Super timely because a) I ordered my turkey this week and b) I'm cooking my roast potatoes this weekend.

It's all about getting it done ahead of time. I'll be working Christmas Eve and have 12 round for lunch so lots of prep is the way forward. This weekend I'll be parboiling and cooling 5kg of potatoes and putting into the freezer. You can even part-roast the potatoes to save you even more time on the day.

Vegetables again can be blanched, put in ice water, drained and frozen so they take no time to cook.

My dinner will look positively pedestrian next to Gus's wicca feast (I've not heard of that parsnip bake, it sounds terrific - are the veg boiled or roasted first?)

  • 6kg turkey
  • Roast potatoes (DUH)
  • Yorkshires (frozen ones - there just isn't the oven space on Christmas day to do them from scratch)
  • Sage and onion stuffing
  • Pigs in blankets
  • Carrots (an electric tower¬†steamer works well for veg as it clears hob space)
  • Cauliflower cheese
  • Sprouts, chestnuts and bacon (these are great in a pan Gus, do half the sprouts to save time though)
  • Red cabbage

I post my timing sheet on Instagram most years:

The past few years I've done a turkey roulade (whole boned turkey, stuff and rolled). It cooks in about 1hr - 1.5hrs, there's no carving faff and no arguments about white and dark meat. This year I'm going back to basics with a whole bird but I'm pushing the boat way out with a KellyBronze which the main man himself claims will cook in 1hr 55m.

Edited by Onyx2

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39 minutes ago, Gus Mears said:
  • - Homemade pigs in blankets

 

Any further details with these? We usually just buy them from a supermarket, but home-made sounds intriguing. Is it a simple case of buying bacon and sausage meat and wrapping it yourself? Or something a bit sexier?

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4 minutes ago, Brewster McCloud said:

What's the best thing to do with red cabbage? It's a damn fine vegetable and sometimes I weep over the fact I'm not doing it justice. 

Braise it down for ages with red wine, and sweet things such as apple or cranberries or both.

Edited by Onyx2

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3 minutes ago, Onyx2 said:

Braise it down for ages with red wine, and sweet things such as apple or cranberries or both.

Cheers. I'm always a bit scared of using red wine as ingredient, but I'll give it a go. What do you think about going down the savoury route as a flavour enhancer? Would, say, capers work or just fuck it up?

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19 minutes ago, Grecian said:

Any further details with these? We usually just buy them from a supermarket, but home-made sounds intriguing. Is it a simple case of buying bacon and sausage meat and wrapping it yourself? Or something a bit sexier?

Yeah, it's largely so I can have it with a Tamworth sausage: https://www.woodhousefarm.co.uk/products/rare-breed-tamworth-pork-sausages?variant=17257324101 (my favourite kind). I just get big pack of those delivered and then tend to give each person one full sized Tamowrth sausage wrapped in one/two rashers of decent quality salted bacon. It's largely just a way for me to guarantee you get pigs in blankets with good quality pork.

@Onyx2 That sounds tremendous, For the parsnip bake, I just steam the parsnips for a while, cook the onions in butter and put the parsnips in there too. Before using a blender along with the cream so it becomes pureed prior to baking it in the oven.

Edited by Gus Mears

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Me and the misses have the rare honour of having Christmas day at ours this year, just the two of us. 

Really looking forward to doing the dinner but not sure on what to do about the meat.

Seems absolutely pointless to get an entire Turkey for just 2 people. I suppose I could get a crown, but I'm wondering if there are any other cuts/joints people would recommend?

 

Cheers y'all

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1 hour ago, Brewster McCloud said:

What's the best thing to do with red cabbage? It's a damn fine vegetable and sometimes I weep over the fact I'm not doing it justice. 

Braise it with red wine, cinnamon, dark brown sugar and a bit of red wine vinager.. You could even put cranberries in if you wanted. 

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4 minutes ago, Silky Kisser said:

Seems absolutely pointless to get an entire Turkey for just 2 people. I suppose I could get a crown, but I'm wondering if there are any other cuts/joints people would recommend?

Ask your butcher / check supermarket for what I said above - a roulade. I had Aldi's a couple of years back and it was fantastic. I've just Googled it and I can't find it on their site but most of the supermarkets will do one. That or a turkey parcel, which is a spherical version.

Crowns are horrendously poor value for money.

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My Christmas dinner timings tend to be waiting for the microwave to ping before settling down for my rustlers burger.  For one.

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We always go out for Xmas dinner. Did want to host it this year with having a new house but it never got off the ground.

Planning to make some special desserts as my contribution though. My mam loves cheesecake so I'm researching some good cheesecakes, gonna do my lemon drizzle and something jammy for the kids. Plus Mince Spies obvs.

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