Stress Free Cooking from Stanley – Top Tips Cooking this Christmas
At Waterford Stanley, we understand it can get a little but stressful getting everything ready for Christmas including the food which is frankly the most important part. To give you a little helping hand, we have developed some top tips that will keep you stress free around Christmas. These tips act as a guide and are meant in no way to dictate your Christmas. Enjoy!
1. Make out a shopping list well in advance and decide on what recipes/ingredients you are going to use over the Christmas period.
2. At least a week beforehand buy all your dry ingredients i.e. flour, sugar, tins of chestnuts or fruit, cranberry sauce, bread sauce, apple sauce, chutney etc.
3. Make sure you order your turkey and ham well in advance. Use free range if possible and if not purchase a fresh turkey. Try and avoid frozen! You probably only cook turkey once a year so make sure you have the best. If there are bronze turkeys available, we suggest you purchase one of these (they shouldn’t cost much more). The flavour of a bronze turkey far outweighs any other type of turkey. Goose is another alternative for people.
4. For mothers who are working or people on the go, you can make stuffing in advance (up to 1 month) and freeze it and take out from the freezer on Christmas Eve. Don’t forget to take it out!
Recipe for Stuffing
You will need: 225g breadcrumbs, finely chopped onion, 7-8 apricots chopped, 2 sticks celery finely chopped, salt and pepper, approx 100g butter, tablespoon parsley and a teaspoon fresh sage.
Melt butter, add onion and celery and allow to cook for a few minutes. Add remaining ingredients, stir in and leave to cool before stuffing or freezing.
5. Brandy Butter – If you are making brandy butter, we recommend you do not use icing sugar. What we would suggest is Golden castor sugar using double the amount of sugar to butter i.e. 100g v 200g
Melt the butter adding one tablespoon of sugar at a time. Ensure each tablespoon of the sugar is incorporated before adding the next spoon. Continue until all sugar ha been incorporated.
6. Christmas Puddings – For those making Christmas Puddings or any type of steam pudding, these can be made on the bottom of a cast iron cooker to slow cook.
7. 2/3 days before Christmas do all your vegetable and fresh cream shopping, this way you don’t have to run around on Christmas Eve.
8. To let you relax around Christmas, we suggest making a casserole in advance and freezing it. Have these in your freezer for the days over Christmas that you don’t feel like cooking. Also you could make some soups. Soups freezes really well especially tomato soup.
Top Tip! Make up some stock and freeze. This will be handy for soups and gravies over Christmas
9. For a quick starter – Again this can be expensive but we recommend your try it! Scoop melon balls and place in your best china cup. Add some fresh mint leaves, a teaspoon of honey and pour over cold champagne. For children this can be done using white lemonade. Ensure not to mix them both!
10. For the nuttiest roast potatoes, par boil potatoes for 5 minutes, drain and leave to dry for another 5 minutes. Shake the pot vigorously until the potatoes are slightly fluffy on the edges.
In your roasting tin, place some goose fat (100g) plus 2 tablespoons butter. Heat on top of range until hot and add the potatoes to the fat while still on top of the cooker. Shake over some sesame seed and throw in 3 to 4 cloves of garlic. Place in hot oven and roast for 45 minutes.
11. Turkey - The best way of cooking your turkey in a cast iron range cooker is to have 2 large pieces of tin foil - one going north to south and – one going east to west in a large roasting tin. Place 2 carrots cut down the centre and 2 sticks of celery on top of the tin foil. Lay your turkey on top of the vegetables. Get 150g butter and paint all over stuffed turkey. Pour over a glass of white wine. Add some salt and pepper to season. Take north to south piece of foil and fold it. Take east to west piece of foil and fold it.
Halfway through the cooking time, take out the turkey and turn it (note for cast iron cookers only!). Half an hour before recommended cooking time, fold back tin foil in order for turkey to brown a little more. Always have turkey cooked 1 hour before serving. Ensure to keep it warm.
Top Tip! When cooking your Turkey, allow 20 minutes per lb and 20 minutes over. We recommend that you buy yourself a probe to ensure your turkey is cooked through.
12. Stuff the turkey the night before! Put grease proof paper in to cavity of the turkey. Add the stuffing to the paper in the breast. Follow on with the tinfoil as outlined above.
Have the turkey ready the night before. If you are stuck for space in you fridge, we recommend using the boot of your car as it will be just as cold. Just don’t forget where you put or lose your car keys!”
13. Ham - Make sure you have your ham cooked day before and honey glaze in the range at least in the middle of the oven. Heat from top of cast iron oven will glaze.
Ham Taste Sensation
When boiling your ham, replace one litre of water with 1 litre of mango juice. If you can’t get mango juice in the supermarket, you can use a mango and orange juice mix. This is absolutely beautiful.
14. Heating plates – For those who don’t have enough oven space, heat them through your dishwasher!
The key to Christmas is being organised. If you are organised and have all your prep work done in advance, your will be free to enjoy Christmas with the rest of your family.
Merry Christmas from all at Waterford Stanley