Choose the size of turkey you need
First of all decide on the size of bird that you need. For birds up to 4.5kg/10lb, allow 350-450g/12oz – 1lb per person and for larger birds allow 200-350g/8-12oz per person. Then check that you have a roasting tray large enough to fit the bird in and also that the bird plus tray together will fit in your oven!
Baste the bird
Baste the bird with butter or olive oil, cover loosely with foil and then place in the roasting tray. If you roast the turkey upside down, the juices from the back and legs will run down into the breast and keep it moist. You should baste the turkey every 30 to 40 minutes and remove the foil for the last 40 minutes of cooking time so that the skin can become crisp.
Make sure the juices run clear
To make sure that the turkey is properly cooked, pierce the thickest part of the thigh with a skewer. The juices should run clear. An even better way to check is with a meat thermometer – the centre of the bird should reach 75C/167F.
Rest the bird
When the turkey is cooked, remove from the oven, cover with foil again and leave it to rest for about 30 minutes. If you have an Aga, just move it into the simmering oven (if it will fit!) Like all meat, turkey benefits from a rest before it is eaten, as this will make it easier to carve and more tender.
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This great old English recipe is an all year round favourite with our family. It can be served either cold with a salad in the summer months, or hot as a winter supper with some homemade baked beans (flageolet beans in a rich velvety tomato sauce).
For the shortcrust pastry:
- 180g plain flour
- 90g butter
For the filling:
- 350g potatoes (King Edwards or similar)
- 450g onions chopped
- 3 tbsp Olive Oil
- 25g butter
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley
- 1tbsp whole grain mustard
- 2 tbsp drained and rinsed capers, chopped roughly (optional)
- 100g Mature Cheddar grated
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tbsp milk
- Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 200 C, Gas Mark 7.
To make the pastry:
- Roll out the pastry thinly and line either six individual 10cm deep tart tins, or one 30cm deep tart tin.
- Bake the pastry blind for 10 minutes if using the smaller tins, 15 minutes if using the one large one.
- Remove the beans and return the pastry to the oven for 5 minutes.
To make the filling:
- Boil the potatoes until tender and drain.
- Saute the onions in the oil until soft, without browning.
- Keeping the potatoes in medium sized chunks combine them with the onions, add the butter, parsley, mustard, capers if using, half the cheese, garlic, milk, and season well.
- Allow this mixture to cool before using to fill the pastry case.
- Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake for 20 minutes.
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Once you’ve made and eaten your own Mincemeat you will never buy the mass produced type again. It really is very easy and is a far superior product in every way that will be appreciated by all this Christmas time. I tend to make it every two years so it has time to mature and add vegetable suet, at about 75g per 500g jar, just before using it.
Makes about 2.5 kg. Shelf life 2 years.
- 300g cooking apples, coarsely grated
- 200g carrots, finely grated
- 125g dried apricots, coarsely chopped
- 125g prunes, coarsely chopped
- 125g glace cherries, coarsely chopped
- 125g fresh root ginger, finely grated
- 250g raisins
- 250g sultanas
- 250g currants
- 175g mixed peel
- Grated rind and juice of 2 lemons
- Grated rind and juice of 2 oranges
- 125g runny honey or molasses sugar
- 250ml brandy plus extra for jars
- 2tsp ground coriander seeds
- 1 tsp ground allspice berries
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp ground cardamom pods
- ½ tsp ground caraway seeds
- ½ tsp ground star anise
Put all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Cover and leave to stand in a warm kitchen for 2 days.
Pack tightly into sterilized jars and cover with waxed paper discs. Pour 1-2 tablespoons of brandy into each jar and seal.
Before you use, mix 75g vegetable suet into the contents of each 500g jar.
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