Christmas dinner, for many, can be one of the most stressful meals of the year to cook, but this doesn't need to be the case if you follow these top 10 tips from Eadie Manson, Culinary Arts Lecturer here at Fife College:
1. Before cooking the turkey, make up a flavoured butter (e.g. Garlic and Lemon) and put in between skin and flesh on the breasts before cooking. It will keep them moist and add another flavour to the turkey.
2. Always buy your turkey from the butcher! If you do ask him to remove and bone the legs from the crown. You can then stuff the legs and cook them both separately. You will speed up the cooking time and get more yields from the crown and the legs separately.
3. I know its common sense but try and organise yourself properly, make sure you have all the food, equipment and storage space (e.g. fridge/freezer) to cook your meal stress free. Make a job to do list and plan out what jobs have to be done first.
4. Microwave: Cook your vegetables on Christmas Eve (Brussels sprouts/carrots/red cabbage for example) in the traditional fashion as per your recipe. Refresh the sprouts in iced water to keep the colour. Place them in a microwaveable dish, sprinkle a little water and reheat in the microwave on the day to free up hob space and you will have more pots and pans.
5. When cooking the turkey turn it upside down for the 1/3 of the cooking time as the turkey will naturally self baste itself in the oven.
6. Buy some good quality chicken stock to add to your gravy, as turkey bones tend not to produce the greatest of flavours.
7. Try and choose to make a frozen sweet for Christmas (e.g. Honey Parfait) or a sweet that could be frozen (e.g. Chocolate Mousse) this way you can make the sweet up to a week in advance and will also free up fridge space and be less cooking on the day.
8. Peel your potatoes for roasting the day before, sit them in a pot and sit some white bread in the top of the pot, it stops the potatoes turning brown overnight.
9. Once the turkey comes out of the oven, allow it to rest under some tin foil for 20-25 mins. It will keep its heat, retain the moisture and allow you to put other things in the oven if you have limited space.
10. Remember its Christmas Day, try to relax and enjoy it with your family and friends. They will be happy with whatever food is in front of them, as long as the chef does not appear to stressed out!