My number one tip for buying a turkey and making this easy on yourself is to buy your turkey from a proper butcher, and ask him to bone and roll it for you. The turkey looks like a turkey and carves like a turkey, but it cooks faster, fits in the oven better and you have all the bones and giblets and other such mankiness already removed so you can make your own stock for the gravy. Lots of people like a turkey crown but I always get the whole bird – there are loads of things you can do with the leftovers that aren’t just sandwiches or a turkey curry, and I love a mix of the dark and white meat.
I make bread sauce and cranberry sauce and we have them in the middle of the table, ready for people to serve themselves. Both are made from scratch and are delicious. I make up the Cranberry sauce in the second week of December, and store in a sterilised Kilner jar in the fridge. A jar of this also makes a great addition to a Christmas hamper, and it really isn’t anything like the jarred stuff. I’m not knocking the jarred stuff, it definitely has a place… just not in my house.
Bread sauce is another really simple side dish that gets forgotten about. I make this on Christmas eve, and just reheat and slacken on Christmas day when the gravy is cooking. Bread sauce is a milk-based sauce, which is infused with onion, cloves, nutmeg, bay leaves and peppercorns over heat. White breadcrumbs are added and the sauce thickens up and becomes almost porridge-like. When you’re ready to serve it, slacken with cream and butter. It’s a beautiful thing, bread sauce.
I won’t lie. I am up early on Christmas morning. I prep the turkey by massaging softened butter on to the breast, and liberally seasoning with salt and pepper. But I always feel a sense of relief when it’s in the oven, like that is one major hurdle out of the way and I can sit back with my glass of Prosecco and see what Santa has brought for the kids.
If I can get the swede and carrot mash cooked and done, and the potatoes and parsnips par-boiled long before I need them, then I am a happy girl, and everything just falls into place after that.
1) Eat up as much of the food in the fridge as you can in the week leading up to Christmas – you’re going to need as much space as you can. Use up jars of olives in pasta sauces, have cheese and pickle sarnies for lunches, freeze what you can – just make sure the fridge is as empty as possible so you have room to store the turkey and everything.
2) If you’re the cook, always ALWAYS have a drink to hand. Everything is easier to deal with when you’ve had some wine.
3) Sprouts are actually awesome when they are stir fried with pancetta and leeks. Trust me.
The 4th day of the Blogger Advent Calendar was brought to you by Steph from I’m Counting UFOs. Steph is mum to a small daughter and a toddler son, married to Ross and lives on the South Coast of England. She loves to crochet, is a pretty excellent cook and a pretty terrible housewife.
Image credits: Good to know, S Yume, Back to the Cutting Board