Christmas cooking guide

If you're already feeling the pressure of cooking for the hoards on Christmas Day, don't. Follow our quick and easy guides and panic not. It is a very important day and we all like to get things right but let's be honest, the most important thing is the people that you are with. So relax, have another glass of wine and don't take it all too seriously.


Take your turkey out of the fridge 1-2 hours before it goes in the oven. Rub the skin with plenty of butter and pepper and cover the breast with lots of streaky bacon. Put onions and lemons cut in half in the cavity of the bird for extra flavour, along with big sprigs of rosemary, thyme and sage.

Make a big tin foil cross inside your roasting pan, place the turkey in the middle and wrap the foil around to make a loose but closed parcel.

Cook at 220°C / 425°F / Mark 7 for 40 mins. Reduce heat to 170°C / 325°F / Mark 3 and cook for approximately a further 3hrs (small turkey), 3.5hrs (medium), 4.5hrs (large) and 5 hrs (X-large).

Uncover for the last 30 minutes to crisp the bacon. Stick a long skewer in the fleshiest part to test for doneness; the juices should run clear. Rest it for half an hour before carving.

Turkey gravy: while your turkey is roasting, gently simmer the neck, heart and gizzard in 1.5l water or water and white wine, with some chopped carrot, onion, parsley, bay and peppercorns.

Allow to simmer for 1.5hrs before straining out and discarding the solids. Reduce this liquid by half, and then use to deglaze the roasting tray once the turkey is cooked. Simmer for 5 minutes, scraping the bottom of the tray as you go.

For a thicker gravy, pour everything into a saucepan, combine 1 heaped teaspoon of corn flour with just enough water to loosen it, pour into the simmering gravy and mix well until thickened. Season to taste and add a dollop of Dijon mustard if you like


Preheat the oven and baking tray to 180°C.

Glaze the pastry with egg wash then cook in the middle of the oven for 45 minutes for rare or 55 minutes for medium - well done.

Ideally, use a meat thermometer to make sure the meat is cooked as required: the reading should be 50°C for rare, or 60°C for medium.


Prick the skin and fatty parts with a skewer but don’t pierce the meat. Then season with plenty of salt and pepper.

Place on a rack over a deep baking tray and roast for 3-4 hours (depending on whether you have a small, medium, or large goose) at 180°C / 350°F / Mark 4. You may need to drain off excess fat a couple of times.

Once cooked, rest the bird well while you roast your potatoes in the delicious goose fat.


Remove from the fridge at least one hour before cooking, and weigh it so that you can calculate the cooking time.

Heat the oven to 220°C, season the beef well with sea salt and black pepper, and place in a roasting tin. Roast for 15 minutes, at which point the fat should begin to run, and then turn the temperature down to 170°C.

Roast for a further 25 minutes per kilo for medium (which is how we recommend cooking this particular cut), though if you prefer rare or well done the cooking time is 15 minutes or 45 minutes per kilo respectively.




Rinse the gammon in cold water. Pour one inch of boiling water into a baking tin. Place the gammon on a rack in the tin, making sure the water doesn’t touch the meat. Loosely cover the gammon with foil but ensure the foil is airtight.

Bake at 180°C / 350°F / Mark 4 for 45 minutes per kilo.

Remove from the oven and when cool enough to handle, remove the skin (but not the fat), criss-cross the fat, cover generously with honey mixed with mustard or your favourite marmalade mixed with a little orange juice or even apricot jam, and place in a hot oven for 20 minutes to glaze.

If the glaze has not caramelised after 20 minutes, return to the oven with another layer of glaze on for 5-10 minutes. Be careful to keep an eye on the ham to make sure the glaze doesn’t burn.


Take the roast out of the fridge about three hours before it goes into the oven. It needs to come up to room temperature, otherwise it won’t cook very evenly.

Turkey, duck, pheasant: using giant foil, make a big cross in the bottom of your roasting tray, and then place a wire rack on top. Put the roast on the rack, and cover the breast with butter, salt and pepper. Pour a glass of wine or water into the tray, and then fold the foil around the roast in a loose ‘tent’.

Goose, chicken, pheasant: with a small skewer, prick little holes over the surface of the skin, but not into the flesh. Place the roast on a rack over a baking tray and season with salt and pepper. You can add shallots or onions to the tray to roast in the fat if you like (advised – delicious).

Preheat the oven to 170°C/ 325°F/ mark 3. Cook the roast in the oven for 4 hours altogether, basting every 30 minutes or so. (Open up the foil on the turkey for the final 30 minutes of cooking to allow the skin to crisp up). To test for doneness, insert a meat thermometer into the middle and the reading should be 75°C. If the reading shown is below this, then put the roast back into the oven for a little longer and test again. Allow the roast to rest for 30 minutes before carving.


Take out of fridge an hour before cooking. Season the bird well. Put on rack in roasting tin with a cup of stock or wine. Cook at 220°C/ 425°F / mark 7 for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 160°C/ 325°F / mark 3 and cook for an hour and 15 minutes, basting regularly. Stick a skewer in the fleshiest part, the juices should run clear. Wrap well in foil, and rest it for 20 mins before carving.


Take the bird out of the fridge a couple of hours before cooking. Prick the skin and fatty parts with a skewer but do not pierce the meat, season with salt and pepper.

Place on a rack over a deep baking tray and roast at 180°C/350°F/mark 4 for 1.5 to 2 hours until the juices run clear. You may need to drain off excess fat a couple of times.

Once cooked rest it for 20 minutes, while you roast your potatoes in the delicious fat.


Our take on an Italian porchetta; made with native breed pork, rolled with a stuffing of pork, fennel and garlic. Take out of the fridge 1 hour before cooking.

Preheat the oven to 220°C/ 425°F/ mark 7.

Dry the skin of the pork using kitchen paper, and score the skin, then sprinkle with a little salt.

Place the pork on a rack over a roasting tray and roast for 20 minutes until the fat starts to run.

Turn the oven down to 160°C/275°F/ mark 1 and roast for a further 1.5-2 hours.

Test for doneness with a long skewer (the juices should run clear), then rest the meat for 15-30 minutes before carving.