Whilst Visiting the Ideal Home Show At Christmas, this year I needed to take the weight off my feet and have 5 minutes to myself, so I found myself watching a cooking show. Normally I hate cooking, but as Christmas was fast approaching i thought i better listen to what the man had to say!
So we all get up at stupid o'clock and the first thing we do is pop the turkey in the oven, and panic about how much space we have on the hob for the pans of vegetables. So here are a few tips that I heard at The Ideal Home Show.
- Cook your turkey upside down first, not only does this make sure that you have a crispy top but also lets the skin firm up while the bird is upside down, trapping in the delicious moisture around the white meat that would have drained down and out of the turkey if it had been right side up meaning your turkey wont taste dry later.
- When you pop your turkey in the oven, surround it with vegetables like carrots, parsnips, onions and garlic (don't even peel the garlic, just simply slice it in half). Then when your turkey is cooked, remove it from the baking tray and use the juices to make gravy. The added vegetables will have roasted in the juices and added flavouring to it, meaning your gravy not only tastes better but is full of natural goodness.
- When you take the turkey out of the oven, remove the silver foil that is covering it, because you don't want it to carry on cooking underneath the hot sheet of foil. Instead cover it with a clean t-towel and it will stay warm for an hour or two.
- Worried about not having enough space on your hob for the hundreds of different veg we insist on having? not to worry as you can cook some of it the night before and pop it in the fridge, then simply zap it in the microwave the next day or why not roast your veg? that's how we like our veg, especially in the winte
- Always where possible buy a fresh turkey, but if you buy a frozen turkey make sure that you properly defrost it before cooking it. If it's still partially frozen, it might not cook evenly and thoroughly which means that harmful bacteria could survive the cooking process. This can cause food poisoning and spoil your holiday season
- Defrosting should be done in the fridge if possible (or somewhere cool) and separated from touching other foods, with a container large enough to catch the defrosted juices. This is important to stop cross-contamination.
- If you stuff your turkey you will need to allow extra time for the stuffing and for the fact that it cooks more slowly.
- Some ovens, such as fan-assisted ovens, might cook the bird more quickly – check the guidance on the packaging and the manufacturer's handbook for your oven if you can.As a general guide, in an oven preheated to 180ºC (350ºF, Gas Mark 4)allow 40 minutes per kg for a turkey that's between 4.5kg and 6.5kg allow 35 minutes per kg for a turkey of more than 6.5kg