What we had for Christmas Lunch

I blog about what we eat for Christmas lunch, mainly to remember things that worked well and for those that didn’t, not to repeat that mistake. This post is a little later than I planned, but it’s here now.

This year we ordered two Christmas roasts from Tesco. I was a little concerned as the night before the day I was going to collect the order I got a phone call from my local Tesco saying that part of my order had not been delivered to the store and offered a replacement. I wasn’t too happy with this, as it was quite short notice. In the end they had a late night delivery so I got my order in the end.

The main one was a part-boned turkey with chestnut stuffing. This was really nice roasted the chestnut stuffing was really nice too, with who chestnuts within it.

The second was a three bird roast, comprising a duck stuffed with goose and turkey. I remember once spending a lot of money on a Marks and Spencer four bird roast, which though very nice was mainly a big turkey with some duck, goose and chicken. So was a little bit of a disappointment, I blogged about that here, which reminded me not to go down that road again.

Along with the roasts we had roast potatoes, these I cooked in my usual way, which is as follows. I used Maris Piper potatoes, the type of potatoes I find is critical for getting crispy roast potatoes and a fluffy centre. I peel the potatoes and then par-boil for about ten minutes. Whilst they are in the pan of boiling water, I place the roasting tray in a hot oven with some sunflower oil (and I also add a splash of olive oil for flavour). This means once the potatoes are drained they are added to the pan which is pre-heated and has hot oil in. This speeds up cooking time and ensures a crispy roast potato.

I also did my regular dish of brussel sprouts pan fried with chestnut smoked bacon lardons and chestnuts.

brussel sprouts pan fried with chestnut smoked bacon lardons and chestnuts

I did roasted parsnips. Along with them I did some festive carrots, I followed a Jamie Oliver recipe for carrots. I took a frying pan, this I filled with evenly cut carrots, either whole or halved in the main. I then covered them with boiling water. To this I add a large knob of butter, a splash of white wine vinegar, the juice from two clementines (or similar citrus fruit, or one orange) and some dried mixed herbs. Then let the carrots bubble away on the stove top for about 40 minutes. Once the eater has evaporated, the carrots should caramelise in the remaining sweet and sour mix.

We had a selection of stuffings and pigs in blankets.

Overall we were very happy with the meal, it was very tasty.

Frying the perfect steak

Useful advice and tips from Jamie Oliver.

Key for me is a decent griddle pan and I wouldn’t use salt. The other thing is buying decent steak too, cheap and cheerful cuts generally will disappoint.

Jamie’s 30 minutes, now fastest selling

BBC News is reporting that Jamie Oliver’s latest book, Jamie’s 30-Minute Meals, has become the fastest selling non-fiction title of all time.

Jamie’s 30-Minute Meals has sold 735,000 copies in 10 weeks, beating the previous record held by comedian Peter Kay’s memoir, The Sound of Laughter. Delia Smith’s How To Cook (Book 1) is the bestselling cookbook of all time, with more than a million copies sold. Jamie’s 30-Minute Meals, which contains recipes for 50 quick three-course dinners, was made into a television series for Channel 4.

I quite enjoyed the series, but I also enjoyed the Guardian’s attempts to cook his recipes in 30 minutes.

In his new book, Jamie’s 30-Minute Meals, Jamie proves that, by mastering a few tricks and being organized and focused in the kitchen, it is absolutely possible, and easy, to get a complete meal on the table in the same amount of time you’d normally spend making one dish! The 50 brand-new meal ideas in this book are exciting, varied and seasonal. They include main course recipes with side dishes as well as puddings and drinks, and are all meals you’ll be proud to serve your family and friends. Jamie has written the recipes in a way that will help you make the most of every single minute in the kitchen. This book is as practical as it is beautiful, showing that with a bit of preparation, the right equipment and some organization, hearty, delicious, quick meals are less than half an hour away. You’ll be amazed by what you’re able to achieve.

Regardless of how you feel about Jamie Oliver, if it makes people think more about what they eat and how they cook, that has to be better them then relying on microwaved freezer meals.

Buy Jamie’s 30-Minute Meals.

Putting Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals to the test

I have blogged about Jamie Oliver’s 30 minute meals, the Guardian decided to put them to the test.

It all looks so easy on the television. But is it really possible to cook Jamie Oliver’s 30-minute recipes in the allotted time – and do they taste any good?

Read more and see the results.

I have to agree that trying to cook what you see in television cookery programmes is always a little fraught and doesn’t always work out exactly how you see on screen. I am always impressed with Ready Steady Cook, even with the pre-heated ovens, pans and boiled kettle, 20 minutes is a very short time to get a meal done. Same with Jamie’s 30 minute meals.

Having said all that, cooking shouldn’t and doesn’t need to take ages and using time as an excuse for not cooking is missing out.

Jamie’s 30-Minute Meals

To complement his new TV series, and as might be expected, there is a new book from Jamie Oliver, Jamie’s 30-Minute Meals.

In his new book, Jamie’s 30-Minute Meals, Jamie proves that, by mastering a few tricks and being organized and focused in the kitchen, it is absolutely possible, and easy, to get a complete meal on the table in the same amount of time you’d normally spend making one dish! The 50 brand-new meal ideas in this book are exciting, varied and seasonal. They include main course recipes with side dishes as well as puddings and drinks, and are all meals you’ll be proud to serve your family and friends. Jamie has written the recipes in a way that will help you make the most of every single minute in the kitchen. This book is as practical as it is beautiful, showing that with a bit of preparation, the right equipment and some organization, hearty, delicious, quick meals are less than half an hour away. You’ll be amazed by what you’re able to achieve.

Buy Jamie’s 30-Minute Meals.

Jamie Oliver, I do like your Pesto

Last week I mentioned how disappointed I was with Jamie Oliver’s Italian Sausages. Well this time I was trying out his pesto.

To be honest I was a lot more impressed.

Unlike other pesto I have used, this had a lovely smooth flavour, you could taste the basil, you could taste (and feel) the pine nuts, the parmesan was not overpowering as it sometimes can be in pesto and the olive oil was subtle without the harshness of cheap oil you find in some cheap pesto.

It worked well with the linguine I had.

I will be buying it again.

Jamie Oliver, I do like your Pesto!