I’m not going to even pretend that Christmas is about saving money food-wise. It’s the one time of the year when you’re officially allowed to splash out, so just go ahead and enjoy it. And besides, if you’ve been following all our money saving tips all year, you’ll probably have a few quid set aside for all the December indulgence, right? Ummm…. But this would be a very short blog post if that’s all I’ve got to say on the subject, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to offer a few more tips. Because if you’ve spent a bit more on all your festive provisions, you’ll want to get the very best out of them.
I’ve mentioned on a fair few occasions in the last year about buying and preparing the right sort of meat – how eating less but better meat might be the way forward. Less is more, in other words. Quality over quantity, you get the idea… So if you’ve sacrificed a few Sunday roasts in the last couple of weeks, reward yourself with a decent turkey on Christmas Day. This may seem obvious, but the quality of your meat really does make a massive difference. And you might be surprised to know that you’re not legally obliged to eat turkey on Christmas Day, so if you fancy change, why not go über-traditional and order a goose? But whatever you choose, remember to select a good method of roasting and don’t go for something over-ambitious if you’re not too confident in the kitchen. I’m not going to go into a detailed break-down here as there are plenty of fantastic recipes available online, but I do have a few roasting rules that I always stick to – whatever meat I’m cooking, I give it 20-25 minutes at a high temperature (220 degrees centigrade) before I turn it down to 180 degrees for the rest of the roast. This ensures a nice crispy brown skin without the meat drying out. Another tip is to always, always, always let your joint rest once it’s cooked. The meat will be lovely and tender and not dry and chewy. Oh and don’t forget to season it, will you?
And now for the all-important sides – for the best roast potatoes, pick the right variety (Maris Piper or similar), boil in salted water for ten minutes and then roast in goose or duck fat until crispy. It really is that simple. But now for some shocking news – sprouts CAN be delicious. Sautéed with some bacon and /or chestnuts and your guests will be falling over themselves to polish green balls of wonder off. I can sense you don’t believe a word of it but IT’S TRUE. I SWEAR.
And let’s not forget all the leftovers – all those lunches and dinners you can mine from the meal – Boxing Day Bubble and Squeak, enough turkey curry to feed an army, re-fried Christmas Pudding (I’ve been told it’s amazing, but not being a fan in its non-fried form, I’ve never been tempted), and enough stock to keep you in soup for most of January. If Sunday dinners just keep on giving, then Christmas dinners are just one long party. Just make sure you have enough freezer space for all that excess curry and stock though.