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Let's talk turkey (androastspudsandstuffingandsproutsandgravy) - all things Christmas food

(30 Posts)
whinegums Sun 25-Oct-09 09:31:24

Put your top recommendations here for things to buy and make!

I would love to hear everyone's top Christmas food tips - where to get the best turkey/goose/nutroast, what ready made things are fab, which to avoid, any recommendations really.

I'm doing Christmas dinner, there'll be at least three adults, three children - DP's two DDs (9 and 13, both pretty fussy, one a veggie) and our DS (18 months by then, eats anything atm, who knows by Christmas), maybe with upto another three adults.

Any recommendations for turkey or alternative? Last year I did the M&S ultimate turkey, which was good, ready stuffed and came in a roasting bag and tin, so lack of washing up and kept the oven clean. I'm tempted by the Nigella brined spiced turkey thing this year, anyone tried it? What about goose?

I'll do roasties, roast parsnips (Aunt Bessies, I am a failure at parsnips but my spuds are delish, even if I do say so myself), stuffing and/or chipolatas and bacon rolls, sprouts, peas, glazed carrots, gravy. Maybe red cabbage, Yorkie puds and steamed greens too, but it depends on how much I can fit in the oven and on the hob.

Pudding is last year's Christmas pud which we didn't eat then - I've been 'feeding' it regularly with brandy every couple of weeks - I'll make a trifle and I'll buy a chocolate fudge cake for DP's DDs as they don't like trifle or Christmas pud.

I'll probably do a selection of smoked salmon, prawns and other nibbly bits rather than a starter, that I'll put out for everyone to help themselves. Any suggestions for pre-dinner nibbles would be good.

mrswill Sun 25-Oct-09 13:20:10

Hi whine, your nibbles sound fine as they are, but some veggie options would probably be nice for you SD - i usually fill pieces of filo pastry with various combos - goats cheese and cranberry sauce, spiced chutney with blob of philli. I usually do a side dish for christmas, which is carrot and swede mash with lots of butter and pepper with smoky bacon pieces, which goes down a treat. And also pears in red wine sauce with cream whipped with muscavado sugar.

Tell us about these roasties then, what is your way of doing them??

whinegums Sun 25-Oct-09 14:15:51

mrswill, would love to offer some veggie nibbles, but SD wouldn't be interested! She doesn't like goats cheese, chutney, etc etc. I used to do carrot and swede mash, but I do maple syrup glazed carrots instead now, yours sounds nice, and I might steal the smoky bacon idea and chuck in. On second thoughts, no good for the veggies!

I don't do anything special to my spuds, but they are always good, but my parsnips are terrible. I use King Edwards, bring them to the boil and then partly cook them for about 6-7 mins, give them a good shake when draining and into hot oil. Nowt clever, but I have the knack (have probably jinxed them now for this year).

oldraver Sun 25-Oct-09 16:22:29

Have to say I dont like ready prepared Roast Parsnips (even M+S) as they leave the woody middle in that I dont like.. If you like parsnips I do some creamed ones that are able to be frozen beforehand then bunge dint he oven. I steam parsnip then blend it with cream and seasoning. You can pipe them if you can be bothered-- if you like but I put mine in a patty tin roughly fork then freeze. They can be bunged in the oven for 20 odd mins and are delish

MrsSaxon Sun 25-Oct-09 16:54:33

I brined my turkey last year ala Nigella, it was amazing! Totally impossible to dry out even if you overcook it.

It was greast fun to as I let my little girl lob the spices in, thouroughly recommend! smile

DorotheaPlentighoul Sun 25-Oct-09 17:07:32

Loving this thread as I have been daydreaming about Christmas cookery projects. It looks like we will be fed by my in-laws this year after all though, so I will not get to make my Xmas family hosting debut.

If you were going to someone else's house for Xmas dinner (not staying over on Xmas Eve, but just going on the day) what would you offer to bring? Or rather, what would be the most helpful thing to bring? In the past I have done a trifle and could do that again but would like to maybe do something else too.

MrsSaxon Sun 25-Oct-09 18:02:10

You could make a sticky toffee pudding, easy to make and really christmassy if you use dates and figs. Re heats well and can be made day before.

Snorbs Sun 25-Oct-09 18:35:27

This overview was written by an acquaintance who is the best cook I know (apart from her aversion to sprouts).

whinegums Sun 25-Oct-09 19:45:40

Snorbs, good article. I like the idea of eating pud and mince pies at other times. Well, I don't really like pud and mince pies that much (hence trifle!) but if we're having them, better with other meals as suggested. In fact, there's quite a lot of Christmas things I don't like - bread sauce is the number one - bleh!

Dorothea, I used to do a fab Christmas roulade thing - chocolate meringuey sponge filled with cream laced with alcohol of choice, rolled up, sprinkled with icing sugar and chocolate. It looks great, a nice alternative to Yule log. Are you hosting any sort of festive gathering? Just being nosy!

wicked Sun 25-Oct-09 19:49:36

I have already ordered my turkey. It's nothing special - just the biggest one Ocado does.

I cook it upside down in less than two hours.

I do all the veggies, gravy, bread sauce from scratch.

For the last few years, I have bought ready mmade stuffing, bacon-wrapped sausages, and cranberry sauce. I don't mind making it, but don't mind buying either.

Apart from cooking an upside down turkey, I rpretty much follow Delia word for word.

DorotheaPlentighoul Sun 25-Oct-09 19:54:02

I don't think we will be hosting anything! Not officially, anyway; but hopefully we will have a few little visits from various family members around the holiday, if not on the actual day. So I can do some hostessing and indulge myself. Thing is, our flat is really too small for the whole extended family, so much as we would like to do it, it's just looking like it would actually make the day more awkward. MIL enjoys having everyone round so we will wait until we manage to trade up to an actual house, maybe next year hmm

'Tis a shame though because by next year we will have 2 DCs, and I anticipate being knackered, weaning etc around Christmas 2010, whereas this year I am relatively full of energy as a mother of one DS who sleeps quite well! Only when I contemplate life with two in this flat do I realize how easy life with one really is ...

Anyway, toffee pudding and your roulade both sound lovely, thanks for suggestions; and sorry for slight hijack

Oblomov Mon 26-Oct-09 09:07:38

Op your menu sounds devine. can we come ?
we will prob have roast lamb. all the trimmings as you do.
dh makes a fab trifle.
thinks thats about it really.

watching with interest.

Oblomov Mon 26-Oct-09 09:10:45

my mum does a fab roulade. I will do one of those this year.

Rindercella Mon 26-Oct-09 09:20:29

Great idea about nibbles rather than starter. I will try and think of some quick & easy things to do - blinis would be nice, yours sound delish though.

My roast potatoes are pretty legendary too. I slightly over parboil them, then (and this is the important bit), once I have drained them, I stick the pan back on the hob to dry the potatoes out a bit. Then put them in their own roasting tray with hot oil. They always come out beautifully crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Regardless of the type of potato or oil that I use.

I'm really unsure what roast to do this year - usually I do turkey, but this year I think it'll just be DH, DD (2) and me, prehaps DSS will be here too (he's now an adult). I might go for a turkey crown courtesy of Ocado again, or perhaps a large chicken. The trouble with chicken is that I do roast chicken with all the trimmings a couple of times a month at least, so perhaps it won't feel special enough? Gah, I don't know!

TitsalinaBumsquash Mon 26-Oct-09 09:26:11

Wow Whinegums your Xmas dinner sounds divine, you have most the same things as we do but i do savoy cabbage drizzled with Anchovy, chilli and Garlic butter but you can do lots of different butter flavours to suit the Vegetarians.

I always have a big Cheese board and lots of lovely Crust Bread, i also do a big cold meat platter.

For my Turkey i get one from the Butcher and rub lemon Butter under the skin and inside the cavity, i then stick some fresh herbs, 1 lemon and 1 onion in the cavity and cook the stuffing separately.

I also make my own mince Pies with home-made Mincemeat which is in jars maturing as we speak and an hazelnut pastry.

TitsalinaBumsquash Mon 26-Oct-09 09:27:52

Also Sprouts with Crispy Bacon and Onions is amazing!

Rindercella Mon 26-Oct-09 09:30:47

Oh, and carrots roasted in the oven, drizzled with honey and chilli oil are yummy too smile

Northernlurker Mon 26-Oct-09 09:32:35

I use lard for roasties with excellent results. I think we will be having a turkey from the farm shop not sure how big yet as I need to pin my parents down regarding who's coming!

Snorbs Mon 26-Oct-09 09:36:33

I did pot-roasted silverside of beef with shallots last year as there wasn't going to be enough people to make a turkey worthwhile. It came out really well plus there was loads left over that made delicious roast beef sandwiches grin

DorotheaPlentighoul Mon 26-Oct-09 12:15:36

Rindercella, what about duck, or goose? Not as massive as turkey but less everyday than chicken, kind of a Dickensian approach...

Or there's always those weird "turducken" combination roasts that one hears about hmm

Rindercella Mon 26-Oct-09 17:53:31

Thanks Dorothea, duck is a great suggestion. grin

whinegums Mon 26-Oct-09 18:39:12

Yes, you can all come to chez Whinegums for Christmas dinner! But only if you bring all the yummy things you're all making too. Dorothea, this is the year we're trading up from our flat to a house - your turn next. We move on Fri 13 Nov - good job I'm not superstitious.

wicked, how do you roast your turkey so quickly? I read a Delia book (can't remember which one) where she talked about doing roasts at really high temps. I guess the trick is not to overdo them, and then rest them before eating.

I love all the bacon additions, and also lard/goose fat for roasties, but can't do them because of veggie DSD (and I haven't got oven space to do two varieties - nor the inclination!).

Ooh yes Rindercella, duck, yummy. That's usually our New Year's Day dinner.

Snorbs, I think the leftovers are often better! I love cold turkey with stuffing, fried up roasties and veggies, with lots of pickles and tomato ketchup. And turkey, leek and mushroom pie. And soup. Can you tell I haven't had my dinner yet? grin

blametheparents Mon 26-Oct-09 18:44:06

This thread is making me hungry.

I LOVE Christmas dinner - delicious!

ArghhhhmazingBouncingSpider Mon 26-Oct-09 18:53:32

wicked your upside down turkey reminds me of the Christmas many, many moons ago that my mum bought a free range turkey for the first time and accidently (maybe too much sherry?) put it in the oven upside down, when my dad was trying to carve it he complained that free range turkeys were obviously no good because after all the running around they do they end up with no meat on them!! Thankfully we soon realised the problem and was able to stuff our faces eat sufficiant portions each!

Tidey Mon 26-Oct-09 18:58:37

Yay Titsalina! I was scanning the thread to see if anyone else did their sprouts stir-fried with bacon. Soooo much nicer than plain old steamed/boiled ones. My ILs thought I'd gone mad when they saw me cooking the sprouts at last years Xmas dinner grin

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