Planning Ahead: Christmas Dinner

November 24, 2015 Posted by David Linton

We all know just how stressful making Christmas dinner can be, and how hectic it can get. As the jolly holiday is approaching, we’ve gathered our top tips for sprucing up and getting that Christmas dinner as perfect as can be!


Make sure it’s thoroughly defrosted. It typically takes a full frozen turkey three days in the fridge to completely thaw, or 24 hours for every four to five pounds. Preheat oven to 190°C/gas 5. Season the bird, then stuff the cavity with one lemon, quartered; three bay leaves; and one onion, also quartered.

Rub a handful of butter under the skin, then roast according to the packet instructions. If necessary, the turkey will stay hot for up to one hour in a warm place, covered with buttered foil and a tea towel. 


Par-boil your potatoes for ten minutes, drain well, and then shake to roughen the edges. Don’t get rid of any bits that are left at the bottom of the pan – they make the best crispy bits! Cool thoroughly. Now they can be frozen or put in the fridge under a cloth.

When the turkey comes out of the oven, put a pan of goose or duck fat in and turn up the heat for five minutes. Spoon the potatoes into the preheated tray, season well with salt and pepper, then turn to coat. Roast till golden brown and immensely crispy.


The day before, peel and slice 500g (1lb 2oz) carrots and 500g (1lb 2oz) parsnips, then blanch in boiling water. Drop into chilled water or iced water, then drain and dry. Put these in a bowl covered with clingfilm in the fridge.

On Christmas morning, whisk together two tablespoons of olive oil, four tablespoons of honey and two tablespoons of wholegrain mustard and mix with the veg. Place on a preheated tray, season well and roast for 30 minutes until tender.


Don’t bother making mincemeat, it’s too time consuming! Instead jazz up a store-bought version by adding your own brandy, nutmeg or sugar – it’s completely up to you, whatever you think it needs. Make brandy butter well ahead of time and roll up into a sausage shape; wrap in clingfilm and freeze.

When serving the brandy butter, cut a slice of the ‘roll’ and lay on top of each mince pie before heating for a really professional look.

mince pies


Three days before the big day, boil 500g (1lb 2oz) trimmed sprouts for 6-8 minutes, then cut in half and refrigerate under clingfilm.

On the day, immediately prior to serving, griddle the sprouts for a couple of minutes, add two tablespoons of vegetable stock or water, and cook for a further for two minutes. Add 200g (7oz) of vacuum-packed chestnuts and cook again for 3-4 minutes. Season and serve!

Merry Christmas from FFF

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