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ENTERTAINING

CHRISTMAS DINNER ESSENTIALS AND TIPS

Whether you’re a seasoned Christmas dinner cook or a novice when it comes to turkey and all the trimmings, our tips from chef and food writer Florence Knight can help you get the big meal just right.

Florence Knight
Chef and food writer

For outstanding flavour, buy a good-quality Norfolk Bronze or Norfolk Black turkey.

Look for a little line of fat down the side of the bird, which is what adds flavour. Use streaky bacon to cover the breasts and fill it with a good stuffing. The fat and fragrance will melt into the flesh, making it even moister. And make sure you do lots of basting – it’ll make all the difference.

The best way to prepare the turkey is to brine it the day before in a mix of water, sugar, salt and herbs.

This makes it more challenging to achieve a crisp skin, but the result it tender, plump and moist meat.

Look for King Edward or Yukon Gold potatoes.

Peel and parboil them in heavily salted water, then drain and return to the pan with the lid on to steam for 10 minutes. Bash them up a little and leave in the fridge covered, for up to two days, before roasting.

Start collecting bread ends for the sauce ahead of Christmas Day.

It’s best to infuse the milk with onion, bay leaves and black peppercorns in advance and leave it in the fridge.

Choose small sprouts rather than the golf ball-sized ones.

The larger ones are tough and by the time they’re cooked, they’re usually soggy and tasteless. I like to look for sprouts still on the stalk as they’ll keep far better if left in a cool spot. Seek out sprout tops, too – they’re delicious.

ESSENTIAL KITCHEN KIT

When it comes to kit, Florence says a sharp knife is essential, while a thermometer probe will help prevent over- or under-cooking the turkey and a microplane makes grating nutmeg or zesting oranges effortless.

Eaziglide Neverstick2 roaster, £55

More than just your average non-stick cookware, the Neverstick2 offers a superior cooking surface that allows you to cook without oil or butter, and is plenty big enough for the turkey this Christmas.

OXO Good Grips meat thermometer, £15

Take the guesswork out of turkey timings with this handy gadget, designed to be left in during cooking to get an accurate reading. When the red hand aligns with the indicator, the meat is done.

OXO Good Grips gravy separator, £8-£11.19

Designed to help you separate fat from lean gravy, this clever strainer catches unwanted bits, while the stopper keeps fat out of the spout.

Global stainless steel vegetable peeler, £39.95

With four interchangeable blades, you can prep and peel vegetables in different ways, including julienne and serrated edges.

John Lewis mango wood chopping board, £15

Sturdy enough for carving and chopping, this mango wood board is etched with floral designs in two corners so that it can be used for serving too.

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