1.Make a list of the food you are going to serve and all the ingredients you will need. Remember not to over- buy we’ve all seen people with trolleys filled piled high remember in some cases the shops are only closed for 1 or 2 days. Try not to be tempted into buying more than you need.
2.If the traditional turkey is your chosen meat for the festive meal, then if it is fresh make sure you have a cool place to keep it in before cooking. If it is frozen make sure it is completely thawed before you cook it. To check the bird is thawed feel inside there should be no ice crystals. A frozen bird weighing 11-15 lbs that’s up to 6.8 kgs will take between 20 –24 hours to thaw and 3 ½ to 4hrs to cook.
3.Staying with the turkey which end do you stuff – well loosely stuff the neck end only, defiantly not the body cavity as this would stop the heat penetrating through and could pose a health risk. Also make sure all the stuffing ingredients are completely cold before you stuff the bird.
4.Weigh the bird after stuffing and allow 20 –30 minutes cooking per pound at Gas 5 that’s 190 degrees Celsius. Spread the turkey breast with butter and wrap loosely in a tent of cooking foil, remove the foil for the last hour to allow the breast to brown. To test if the bird is cooked insert a skewer if the juices run clear it is cooked. Don’t forget to allow the turkey to rest for at least half an hour before serving this allows the meat to firm up and makes carving easier.
5.Cooking a Christmas dinner can be a daunting thought but just think of it as like any Sunday lunch. Make lists like a work plan of when you are going to do things and what you have to do, it is sort of comforting to have this prop to remind you. Alcohol may be flowing but try and resist a tipple until you have that meal on the table! Remember some things can be very heavy so enlist some help with those heavy items. Now the Christmas pudd if you are tempted to light it be aware of carrying something to the table with burning alcohol. Most of all remember to enjoy the whole event.
6.No doubt you will have lots of washing up to do, so apart from making sure you have copious amounts of hot water and washing up liquid, enlist the help of others who are enjoying the Christmas meal. You can't do all the work.
7.Most importantly remember to enjoy the day.