Christmas Recipes from our fantastic twitter Q&A (PART ONE)

We had a great time yesterday during our Christmas Twitter question and answer session. I tried to get through as many questions as possible. Thank you for all the questions and also thank you for all the good wishes too. And I would like to wish all of you and your families a very happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year – and of course I hope you really enjoying cooking and eating some of the recipes I have shared. We will be posting two blogs, with the second to come tomorrow.

I love Christmas. Good will, good food and good times.

I love Christmas. Good will, good food and good times.

First recipe up is  PRAWN COCKTAIL. We got lots of questions from people about the perfect light starter that you could use and also something that can be prepared in advance and this ticks both those boxes.

This is a lovely prawn cocktail with a twist.

This is a lovely prawn cocktail with a twist.

Prawn Cocktail is making a real come back. I love it.

Prawn Cocktail is making a real come back. I love it.

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We had lots of question about what soup to serve and again people wanted to try something a little bit different. Well this SOUP is certainly that. I love it.

Chestnut, Wild Mushroom and Bacon Soup with Smoked Duck - Delicious

Chestnut, Wild Mushroom and Bacon Soup with Smoked Duck – Delicious

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Lots of you asked about how I like to cook my GAMMON and also what type of GLAZE I use. Well, I think you will enjoy this recipe.

The Ham is the star of the show for me.

The Ham is the star of the show for me.

Recipe Continued below

A beautiful Ham with Maple Glaze

A beautiful Ham with Maple Glaze

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And of course we got our fair share of questions  about Turkey. You wanted to know was there any tips I had for making it a little different and also for a slightly different STUFFING to try from what perhaps you normally serve. Here are a few things you can try.

My Turkey recipe, hope you really enjoy.

My Turkey recipe, hope you really enjoy.

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For a more traditional Christmas TURKEY recipe how about this below.

Roast Turkey with Sage, Apricot and Pine Nut Stuffing

Serves 10-12

Ingredients

12lb / 6kg oven-ready turkey, at room temperature (preferably free-range)

4oz / 100g butter, at room temperature + extra for greasing

4 rindless streaky bacon rashers

5oz / 150g (ready-to-eat)pitted prunes

1lb / 450g cocktail sausages

1 tablespoon plain flour

3 tablespoons ruby red port or red wine

1 pint / 600ml turkey or chicken stock (see tip)

For Sage, Onion and Pine Nut Stuffing

2oz / 50g pine nuts

3oz / 75g butter

1 large onion, diced

6oz / 175g fresh white breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage

4 (ready-to-eat) dried apricots, finely chopped

salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5. To make the stuffing, heat a medium sized frying pan. Add the pine nuts and cook until toasted, tossing occasionally to prevent them from catching. Tip into a bowl. Melt the butter in the same pan and add the onion, then cook for a few minutes until softened but not coloured. Place the breadcrumbs in a bowl and tip in the toasted pine nuts, onion and butter mixture, parsley, sage and apricots.  Mix well to combine and season to taste.

Stuff the turkey at the neck end where you’ll find a flap of loose skin: gently loosen this away from the breast and you’ll be able to make a triangular pocket. Pack in the stuffing inside as far as you can go and make a neat round shape on the  outside, then tuck the neck flap under the turkey’s and secure it with a small skewer.

Smear the skin of the turkey all over with the butter and season generously. Turn the turkey breast-side up and tie the top of the drumsticks with string.  Weigh the turkey to calculate the required cooking time, allowing 20 minutes per 1lb / 450g plus 20 minutes extra – this size turkey should take about 4 hours and 20 minutes.

Lay a large sheet of foil lengthways over a large roasting tin, leaving enough at each end to wrap over the turkey, then lightly butter the foil. Repeat this exercise with another sheet of foil, this time across the tin. Lightly butter once again. Place the stuffed turkey breast-side up in the centre of the foil, then wrap loosely to enclose, allowing air to circulate around the turkey.

Place in the oven and cook according to your calculated cooking time, carefully unwrapping and basting with the juices in the tray every 40 minutes. For the final hour, fold back and remove the foil, keeping the ends of the drumsticks still covered in foil to prevent them from burning; baste well and return to the oven.

Meanwhile, cut bacon into small strips and use to wrap prunes.  Arrange on a plate with the cocktail sausages, cover with clingfilm and chill until needed. Add the bacon wrapped prunes and cocktail sausages to the turkey for the last 30 minutes and allow to finish cooking.

The turkey should be a rich, dark brown colour. To be sure its cooked, insert a fine skewer into the thickest part of the thigh: the juices should run clear, but if they are still pink, return the turkey to the oven and check again every 15 minutes until you are happy that the turkey is cooked right the way through. Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving platter, surround with the bacon wrapped prunes and cocktail sausages. Cover with foil and leave to rest in a warm place for 10 minutes or up to 30 minutes is fine.

Place the roasting tin directly on the hob over a gentle heat and skim any excess fat from the cooking juices. Stir the flour into the tin’s residue. Cook on the hob for a minute or two, stirring until golden.  Pour in the port or red wine, stirring to combine, then gradually add the stock, stirring until smooth after each addition. Bring to the boil and let it bubble for about 10 minutes until reduced and thickened, stirring occasionally.  Season to taste.

To Serve Garnish the turkey with the bunch of herbs in the open cavity and bring to the table. Carve into slices and arrange on warmed serving plates with some of the gravy, the roast potatoes, vegetables and all of the trimmings.

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Our final recipe for today’s instalment is a CRANBERRY AND APPLE CHUTNEY. People wanted to know an alternative chutney that they could serve with cheese, cold or hot meats and this really hits the spot. And can also be used with chicken liver pate as a relish.

Cranberry and Apple Chutney - Lovely as a relish, with cheeses or with cold or hot meats.

Cranberry and Apple Chutney – Lovely as a relish, with cheeses or with cold or hot meats.

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Don’t forget we will be posting the second instalment of our Christmas Recipe blog tomorrow and among the recipes will be the ultimate TURKEY AND HAM SANDWICH and a lovely recipe to spice up your BRUSSEL SPROUTS.  

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