How to Roast a Turkey

The Twelve Recipes of Christmas

One the fifth day of Christmas, my true Love Food gave to me…

…a terrifically simple recipe for roast turkey for the coming New Year’s Eve celebrations!

Dawn: And there’s five rings of truth in that statement…get it, Andrew?

Andrew: Indeedy, I do! So what are we doing this year with the turkey, Dawn?

Dawn: Sitting comfortably?

Andrew: Yep!

Dawn: Then I’ll begin!

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Ingredients

1 turkey (size dependent upon how may people you wish to feed)

1 pack of streaky bacon (unsmoked)

A knob of butter

Salt and pepper to season

Method

  • First, remove any packaging that the turkey may be wrapped in.

Dawn: This seems obvious but there’s a reason to highlight this. Do not wash the turkey but instead, turn it upside down on a large piece of baking foil.

  • Preheat the oven gas mark 6/200º C.
  • Next, take some of your prepared stuffing and place in the neck cavity of the turkey being mindful not to cram it too much that there’s no space for it to breath.IMG_3316
  • Once the stuffing is inside the turkey, turn the turkey the other way up so that the breasts side is facing you. Carefully lift the turkey in the foil and place in a large enough baking tin leaving the foil draped either side.
  • Taking the knob of butter, spread this across the breast side of the turkey.
  • On top of the butter, carefully place strips of the bacon making sure the majority of the turkey’s flesh is covered.IMG_3337

Andrew: The butter and bacon ensures the turkey meat doesn’t become dry in the long cooking process.

Dawn: Yes, they do and with any leftover stuffing mix, simply divide the mixture equally and form into balls. Place in the baking tin alongside the turkey.

  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • With the baking foil that’s draped either side of the baking tin, gather the foil to create a small tent-like construction so that air can circulate in the cooking process.
  • Place in oven and allow to cook for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, reduce the heat to gas mark 3/160º C and roast until cooked.

Andrew: Remember to keep basting the turkey throughout the roasting time.

  • Remove the turkey from the oven. Test the juices! Skewer the breast, thighs and lower body. This is ABSOLUTELY essential. The juices should run clear.
  • For each 1lb/500g the turkey weighs, add 15-20 minutes to the cooking time.
  • If the juices are not clear, return the turkey to the oven.
  • For the last 15-20 minutes of roasting, remove the foil to crisp the skin.
  • Leave to rest for 20 minutes before carving.

Dawn: The turkey was introduced into Britain in the 16th century but it was the Victorian period that roast turkey really became so popular as a main Christmas Day course.

Andrew: Yes, that’s true, Dawn and another popular method at the time to retain the meat’s moisture through the cooking process was to use butter and honey, melted and then poured over the turkey creating a honey-roasted turkey for dinner.

Dawn: Delicious! And speaking of delicious, I have a Cook’s Cheat Idea here for pigs in blankets. Buy your favourite sausages and streaky bacon. The day before, simply take each individual sausage and wrap with the streaky bacon. Then simply chop up to the required length and add to the turkey just before you pop it in the oven.

Andrew: Great idea, Dawn!

For more in this series of festively inspired food ideas, then follow this blog here and keep up-to-date on Twitter. Facebook and Mumsnet are websites you’ll find us on, too – so keep looking for tasty recipes coming!

Bejewelled Pavlova

The Twelve Recipes of Christmas series continues and this delightful pudding would look great at a New Year’s Eve celebration as well as welcoming guests on Christmas Day and throughout the festive season.

Drum roll…Bejewelled Pavlova

20151228_165818Dawn: (Still singing as if her life depended upon it…or singing for her supper…er, pud treat) On the fourth day of Christmas, my true Love Food gave to me…

Andrew: A delight of a desert; the perfection of pudding; the aficionado of afters; the doyen of desserts…

Dawn: Enough of the alliteration Andrew!

Andrew: Definitely Dawn!!

Dawn: And what do we have here?!?

Andrew: Pavlova! This is a meringue-based dessert named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. Like a meringue cake with a crisp crust and silky interior usually topped with fruit and whipped cream.

Dawn: Oh joy, oh joy! Perfect for the Christmas table! However, it requires a great deal of patience.

Ingredients

Serves 6 to 8

For the meringue

4-5 large free-range egg whites

225g/8oz caster sugar

½ tsp vanilla essence

1 tbsp cornflour

For the filling

400ml/14fl oz double cream

Fruit of your choice, fresh or tinned

A sprinkling of icing sugar, to decorate

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas 2.
  • Draw a guide circle on a sheet of baking parchment (paper) using a plate as a template. Turn the paper over, and set to one side.
  • Whisk the egg whites in a large, clean bowl with a hand or electric whisk until they are stiff but not dry.

Andrew: This can be tested by holding the bowl over the head of a friend.

Dawn: I’ll just retreat to the other end of the kitchen while you do that!

  • Whisk in the sugar, a spoonful at a time, for a few seconds between each spoonful. The slow addition builds up volume in the meringue and make it stiff yet silky and shiny. Finally, whisk in the vanilla essence and cornflour until well combined.
  • Position the baking parchment, drawn side down, on the baking sheet, held in place by a dab of meringue mix in each corner.
  • Spoon the meringue into the still-visible circle. Shape with a rubber spatula to create a large meringue nest, with soft peaks rising on all sides and a well so that the whole construction resembles a very large “nest”. Place in the centre of the oven and bake for 1 hour until very lightly coloured and crisp on the outside. (If the meringue seems to be becoming too brown, reduce the temperature of the oven). After 1 hour, turn the oven off and leave the meringue for a further hour.
  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely.

Dawn: We did this one evening and returned to it the next day to complete the dish.

  • Carefully remove the meringue from the baking parchment, using a spatula if necessary, and place onto a large serving plate.
  • Whip the cream into soft peaks and spoon into the centre of the meringue.
  • Top with the fruit of your choice.
  • Decorate and dust with sifted icing sugar to serve.

Andrew: We used redcurrants, nectarines and kiwi for a bejewelled effect.

Dawn: Anything to hand or in season will be fine. Passion fruit, pomegranates, summer fruits…the list is endless and we suggest you use what fruits you have in or seasonal produce.

Andrew: Peaches, apricots: there is no limit to your imagination.

Dawn: A delight to behold and looks very pretty! It’s very reminiscent of a Christmas “Welcome” door wreath! Simply gorgeous and oh, so more-ish to eat!

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For more in this series of festively inspired food ideas, then follow this blog here and keep up-to-date on Twitter. Facebook and Mumsnet are websites you’ll find us on, too – so keep looking for tasty recipes coming!

Apple and Dates Stuffing

The Twelve Recipes of Christmas

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…three French hens…

which would all benefit from being stuffed!

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Stuffing can be anything you have to hand – that’s edible, of course!

This recipe started out as a chestnut stuffing one and quickly became an apple and dates stuffing, instead.

Ingredients

150g wholemeal bread (approximately 3 slices), made into breadcrumbs (either by rubbing the bread against a grater or popping it into a food processor and blitzing it )

1 red onion (or white, whichever your preference is)

1 eating apple, washed and grated

7 dried dates, chopped

1 egg, beaten

Sprinkling of mixed herbs OR 1 tsp of thyme

Method

  • Put all the ingredients except the egg into a basin and mix together.IMG_3311
  • Make a well in to the centre of the ingredients and add the beaten egg. Now, mix into the other ingredients.
  • Don’t make the stuffing too wet or too dry; if too wet it will be stodgy and if too dry it will be crumbly and difficult to handle.
  • You are now ready to stuff the turkey. It’s easiest to stuff by turning the turkey to lie on it’s front, so enabling you easy access to the neck area. Put the stuffing in the neck end ONLY as it might not cook sufficiently in the body cavity.IMG_3314

Dawn: Don’t add the egg until you are ready to stuff the turkey. This prevents bacteria penetrating the stuffing which may not reach a sufficiently high temperature during the cooking to kill it off so DON’T add the egg until you are ready to cook the turkey.

Andrew: A chicken or turkey will benefit from being stuffed as the stuffing will help keep the meat moist as it cooks. It simply helps prevent the meat from drying out too much during the long cooking time.

Dawn: Absolutely, and some recipes will use sausage meat in the stuffing.

Andrew: Yes, this is true. The egg will offer sufficient moisture for a turkey up to to about 6-7kg in weight.

Dawn: Additional moisture can come from smearing the turkey with butter by rubbing it into it’s skin.

Andrew: And then by criss-crossing streaky bacon strips across it. The bacon will release it’s juices as it cooks and these will seep into the turkey meat.

Dawn: Voila! A simple stuffing recipe that can be made by everyone. A recipe that can be adapted to what you may have in the kitchen cupboards: from traditional sage and onion stuffing, through to chestnut and bacon stuffing, or apricots, cranberries and walnuts stuffing…the possibilities are endless.

Whatever combination you opt for, enjoy your festive selection! Merry Christmas season, everyone!

For more in this series of festively inspired food ideas, then follow this blog here and keep up-to-date on Twitter. Facebook and Mumsnet are websites you’ll find us on, too – so keep looking for tasty recipes coming!