There is always an expectation at Christmas for the lunch to be the perfect meal. Delicious turkey with crispy roast potatoes, large yorkshire puddings and lashings of gravy. Sometimes this puts an enormous amount of pressure on the ‘cook’ for the day. A stressed cook combined with a liberal amount of sherry and an extra large turkey that won’t fit in the oven is a dangerous combustable mix. Stand well back and do not ignite or they will go off with a bang. Therefore the big meal does not always turn out a success. Here are our tips to help you make the best Christmas dinner…
Firstly, the main thing for a fantastic meal is preperation. A roast dinner is quite easy to cook if you plan ahead. Create a list of the things you will need to do in advance, obviously, once you have been to the shops and purchased everything you need, whilst selling that kidney to pay for it all.
for vegetarians at christmas, give them some pringles and a drink with high alcohol content
People tend to go a bit mad when it comes to a Christmas turkey and buy one that is ten times bigger than it needs to be. If it is frozen, ensure that you give it plenty of time to defrost, as it will take a lot longer than you think. Sometimes this can take over a day to fully defrost. Another great tip is to ensure the bird is kept out of harms way, as your dog will start to pay more interest in it as it thaws. If you have gone ahead and purchased a duck or goose for Christmas lunch, the same rules apply, but you can probably get your servant to do it for you.
The next thing you will need to do is remove the giblets from inside the turkey. This is probably the worst part of Christmas, so ensure you swig a large glass of ‘red’ first or select one of your naughty children to do it as a punishment.
If you enjoy stuffing, you can ram this up into the turkey, but we suggest you cook it seperately as it will be nicer. Nobody enjoys soggy stuffing and it will save you the embarrassment of being caught with your arm trapped inside the bird.
The turkey can then be dropped into the oven (or firepit if yours is the size of a truck) and left until its almost black. Once again, make sure you calculate your cooking time carefully as a big bird takes a lot of cooking. Your guests will be upset if the Christmas lunch is not ready until tea time on Boxing Day. If there is a delay due to it taking slightly longer to cook (as the gas pressure is usually lower than normal), ensure you have a good stock of wine and beer and just keep topping up those glasses.
Whilst the bird is cooking, make a start on the potatoes. Maris Pipers are the best for crispy roasties, so peel them and then give them 15 minutes in boiling water, so the edges become soft. Try and shake them in the pan, without firing potato shards all over the kitchen, and then place in a metal dish. You can cover them in oil and various seasoning, but the secret tip here is to give them a wash in ‘marmite’ before you hurl them into the oven, as they will taste all meaty and delicious. If anyone does not like marmite, eject them from your house immediately.
Your next job is to prepare the veg. You do not need to spend too much time on this as most people leave the veg. You can peel them first, but if your feeling too tipsy to be trusted with a peeler, just pretend its more heathly to leave the skin on. Parsnips are usally cooked along with the potatoes, but they taste awful so save your money for extra booze. Other traditional vegetables are carrots, peas, cabbage and brussel sprouts. Most just need to be chopped up into small pieces and boiled until they fall apart. Once again, if you undercook the veg and its hard, just make out it’s because of new heath advice you received from your GP.
When it comes to the brussel sprouts, remove a few of the dirty outer leaves first. Some people then like to cut a cross into the bottom of the brussels as its rumoured to help them cook more evenly. Don’t bother. Using a sharp kinfe at this stage of the process is asking for trouble. Nobody likes sprouts and we all just go along with it for the sake of tradition, so just boil them, serve up and enjoy everyone grimacing as they chew.
The other special item that we are only allowed at Christmas is ‘pigs in blankets’. If you are poor, this is a sausage in bacon. If you are really poor, this can be a a sausage wrapped in spam. This is the best bit of the whole meal, so go crazy and do loads. Just watch out for the dog, as this will be like Class A drugs to them!
The final part of the Christmas meal is the yorkshire puddings. These are a nightmare to make and you probably will not have space to fit them in the oven, what with that giant bird filling it. The best plan is to buy some ready made ones and it will only take a few minutes to warm them. By the time lunch is served, you will be too drunk to hear your family complaining that the ‘yorkies’ are dry and tasteless.
If you are still able to stand upright after all that, quickly decorate the table. Shake a bit of tinsel above the table and you will instantly have some glitter covering it. Chuck the Christmas crackers at each place setting and if you only just realised you forgot to buy them, just substitute with a toilet roll and a wrapped chocolate. Fill each glass to the brim, so your guests will begin drinking before the food arrives. Once the alcohol hits their empty stomachs, they will be tipsy before you’ve cut the first slice of burnt turkey.
Those with a little more money can really splash out and add a starter and/or a dessert course. A simple starter can be soup (oxo cube in hot water) or for those living in Central London, the butler will serve you a prawn cocktail. If anyone wants dessert, you can set fire to the Christmas pudding and watch your eyebrows disappear (which will save you a few quid having them threaded) or just stick a box of mince pies in the middle of the table and let the hungry people fight over them. If you can still see straight after all that, it is customary to place a box of mints on the table. Someone always gets given mints for a present, so make sure you open all the presents before the meal, so you can sneakily pinch the mints for the table.
If all this preparation sounds like too much work and will detract from pouring a number of alcohol mixes down your throat, create a backup plan by storing a number of ‘Christmas Dinner in a tin’ in the cupboard. This will feed all your guests easily and they certainly will not want to eat any more food after eating one of these each!