Mince Pies at Christmas
More Christmas tips
As well as recipes, TV chef Peter Osbourne - who's a regular guest on Wincey Willis' show - has also provided us with some Christmas tips. Here are some of our favourites...
Gifts and handy tips
Stock up on drinks and ingredients for nibbles several weeks before - therefore, avoiding the rush.
Assorted cheeses make a nice last-minute present and look good in a basket with crackers, butter, and a festive napkin.
A mini-Christmas cake with a few mince pies is a welcome offering for someone living alone.
Clear out the freezer of all out of date food to make as much space as possible.
When freezing a cake or gateaux, cut into portions and separate with greaseproof paper and then put back together to freeze. You can then remove the number of portions that you need without having to defrost the whole cake.
As well as the thawing time you need to allow an extra 8-10 hours. Try and get the bird completely thawed out by Christmas eve.
Place the turkey in a very cool room to bring it back to room temperature before cooking.
Roast a turkey breast-downwards for the first hour of cooking to keep it moist. Then turn the turkey over to finish cooking.
Keep the breast of birds such as turkey, pheasant or pigeon moist and tender by laying bacon rind or streaky bacon over the breast.
Cover the base of the tin with celery sticks, which act like a roasting rack. The vegetables will add flavour to the meat juices to make a delicious gravy.
Instead of covering a large turkey with foil for roasting, dip a double layer of muslin into melted butter or oil, and lay it over the bird’s skin. The muslin will allow the skin to brown and become crisp during cooking without trapping in steam as a covering of foil would do.
Prepare vegetables like carrots, parsnips and brussel sprouts on Christmas Eve and store them in the refrigerator in sealed plastic bags.
Cook the vegetables a couple of hours earlier than you need them for the meal. As soon as they are almost ready, drain them - keeping the water to make the gravy. Then plunge the vegetables into cold water to stop the cooking process.
Then place them into serving dishes, and microwave to reheat at the last moment.
To add to the flavour of carrots sprinkle a little orange juice over just before reheating.
To add to the flavour of most vegetables add a little fresh lemon juice instead of salt, this is most helpful to people on low fat diets.
Place celery in foil and store in a fridge, it will keep for weeks.
To prevent potatoes from sprouting place an apple with them.
last updated: 05/12/2008 at 10:23