Twelve Tips for Christmas Day Lunch

1.    Two words to make the perfect Christmas day luncheon, preparation & planning.

2.    Plan the menu in advance. Keep it simple, don't have too many things going through the oven on the day.

3.    It's a good idea to have a soup as a starter. This can be made days before and simply heated up on the day. A cold starter such as melon or smoked salmon can also be easily assembled.
Napkin decoration by Flower Design

4.    Buying the Turkey. For best results buy a good quality fresh turkey, reared outdoors . This will keep for two days in the fridge. If you are using a frozen turkey remember that you need to defrost the turkey, this can take up to 24 hours. Check the size of the turkey in relation to the size of your oven, it may not fit.

5.    Cooking the turkey. Remember the bird takes the longest item to cook. Cook early so that it is cooked at least ½ hour before required, allowing time to make the gravy & allow the bird to relax. Remove giblets & neck before cooking.

6.    Cooking times
                             3.5 kilo -- 5.5kilo  --- 2hrs 45 mins -- 3hrs
                             6.5 kilo -- 8 kilo    --- 3hrs 45 mins -- 4.25 hrs
                              9 -- 11kilo            --- 4 hrs 30mins --  5 hrs

    To check if the bird is done prick the bird, if there are any
signs of pink return to the oven. The ideal internal
temperature should be 72 degrees centigrade.

7.    Roast potatoes. Par cook the potatoes first for 8minutes. One hour before serving place in hot fat in oven, turn every 15 minutes.

8.    Don't be afraid of using the microwave, it can be a lifesaver. Pre cook & blanch vegetables the day before & reheat in the microwave, this will save you time & space.

9.    Gravy. Only use plain flour for thickening gravy. Corn flour tends to be gelatinous & gluey. In the event of your sauce becoming lumpy, give it a blitz with the hand blender & pass it through a sieve. Over thickened gravy can be let done with vegetable cooking water. If you decide to use a stock cube, be careful when the gravy starts to boil rapidly as the reduction takes place, it will tend to become very salty. Ideal solution would be to obtain some bones two days before & make a stock to make your gravy from.

10.    If you are not confident making a rum or brandy sauce, keep it simple  and just use double cream, flavoured with your favourite tipple, sweetened with icing sugar

11.    Remain sober while cooking. If you can't stay sober don't be over ambitious.

Wine glass decoration by Flower Design
 12.    Remember next year to book into a good quality restaurant to avoid all the stress and headaches!
Chirstmas door wreath by Flower Design