Tuesday, 6 December 2011


After going to the Crit with various ideas, the feedback helped massively, because we weren't quite sure exactly what we were going to go with and our ideas weren't clear enough and the topic was too broad.  We've now decided to go with tips and suggestions to help make making a Traditional Christmas dinner stress free.  We decided covering Christmas as a whole topic is too broad, there are so many different aspects of the Christmas holiday that there wasn't enough time to cover lots of different things.  We've decided to focus on Christmas dinner as we already have some research for Christmas foods.  A problem that had occured now we'd decided on focusing on Christmas dinner was it would be hard to make tips for it being cheaper and a time saver, all the suggestions we had for saving money only took more time.  As a group we decided time was probably more valued in this situation with it being Christmas and so it became, 'How to make a traditional Christmas dinner- stress free', because essentially people are stressed because they are up against the clock.

I've researched some traditional Christmas recipes and some stress free/ time saving tips:


Sticky cumin and apricot roast carrots and parsnips
  • 500 g small carrots
  • 500 g small parsnips, halved
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp apricot jam
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander


1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

2. Place the carrots and parsnips in a large roasting tin and drizzle with the olive oil. Scatter over the cumin seeds, season with salt and pepper and toss everything together to coat evenly.

3. Roast in the oven for 40–45 minutes, tossing occasionally in the oil during cooking, until tender and golden.

4. Heat the apricot jam and lemon juice for a few minutes in a small saucepan, stirring until you have a smooth, runny sauce. Pour this over the carrots and parsnips for the last 10 minutes of cooking, tossing the vegetables in the sauce to coat evenly. Scatter with the coriander just before serving.

Roast Turkey
  • 1 5 -7 kg turkey
  • 1 onion, peeled and halved
  • 1 bunch of sage, thyme and rosemary
  • 25 g butter, softened
  • 1/2 lemon or orange
For the gravy
  • turkey, giblets and neck
  • 1 carrot, quartered lengthways
  • 1 stick celery
  • 2 onions, peeled and quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • 25 g flour
  • 1 small glass white wine


1. Remove the turkey from the fridge 2-3 hours before you want to cook it, to allow it to reach room temperature.

2. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4 (if oven is fan assisted, use 160C).

3. Place the onion and herbs into the body cavity. Squeeze the juice of lemon or orange over the bird and put the fruit into the cavity. Season the cavity with salt and pepper.

4. Smear the turkey skin with butter and then season with salt and pepper, starting with breast side up. Then flip the turkey and repeat on the underside.

5. In a large roasting pan, place the turkey ready to roast breast side down. This allows fat to trickle from the back down to the breast to keep it moist.

6. Roast the turkey upside down for the first 2 hours (or, slightly less for the smaller bird).

7. Remove the turkey from the oven. Now, turn the turkey right side up for the remaining cooking time (30 – 45 minutes). Protect your hands with thick towel or clean Marigolds. (You can wrap these in plastic bags to keep them clean.) Hold the drumsticks to turn the turkey.

8. Return turkey to oven for 30 – 45 minutes or until the juices run clear when a skewer is inserted. If the juices are pink, return the turkey to the oven and check again in 10 minutes. You don’t need to overcook the turkey as the internal temperature of the meat will continue to rise as the turkey rests. A dry turkey is often just overcooked!

9. Remove turkey from the oven. Tent with foil and allow to rest for 30 – 60 minutes so the juices settle into the meat.

10. Carve the turkey into the pan juices to keep moist. Or use the juices to make gravy.

11. For the gravy: To make the stock, boil the giblets, neck, vegetables and bouquet garni.

12. Add enough flour to the roasting pan to absorb the fat and drippings and make a paste. Add a small glass of wine to the pan and make sure to scrape up all the drippings - all the flavour is in the bottom of the pan. Transfer to a saucepan.

13. Add about 500 ml stock to the saucepan with the bouquet garni and bring to the boil, then simmer until the gravy is reduced. You may need to add more stock if the liquid is too thick.

14. Season to taste, remove the bouquet garni and serve alongside the turkey in a gravy boat.

Christmas Pudding


  • 150 g raisins
  • 150 g sultanas
  • 220 g currants
  • 150 g mixed peel
  • 20 g pureed prunes
  • 125 ml Irish stout
  • 125 ml brandy
  • 75 ml rum
  • 150 g dark brown sugar
  • 90 g caster sugar
  • 60 g blanched flaked almonds
  • 150 g freshwhite breadcrumbs
  • 45 g plain flour
  • 1/2 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1/2 orange, zest and juice
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 150 g suet
For the crème anglaise
  • 100 ml milk
  • 100 ml double cream
  • 1 vanilla pod, split
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 40 g sugar
  • 25 ml armagnac
To decorate
  • icing sugar
  • small punnet redcurrants
  • mint leaves


1. Put the raisins, sultanas, currants, mixed peel and prune puree into a bowl and add the stout, brandy, rum, and dark brown sugar. Cover and leave in a cool place for 5 days.

2. When you are ready to cook the puddings, place the caster sugar, almonds, breadcrumbs and flour into a large bowl. Stir in the soaked fruit.

3. Add the lemon and orange zest and juice. Stir in the eggs and the fold in the suet.

4. Spoon the mixture into a 900g pudding bowl, cover tightly with a well-fitting lid or aluminium foil secured with string, and steam for 3 hours.

5. To make the crème anglaise, bring the milk, cream and vanilla pod to the boil.

6. Beat the eggs and sugar together.

7. Add the boiled cream mixture to the eggs, a little at a time. Return the mixture to the pan and stir over a gently heat, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon.

8. Strain the mixture and stir in the Armagnac.

9. Turn out the Christmas pudding and dust with icing sugar. Decorate with redcurrants and mint and serve with the crème anglaise.


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