Finale toorkuns om jou Kersmiddagete te versorg

Enige maklik, last-minute tips for zhooshing up my Kersfees dinner?
Sue, Reading

Christmas dinner is stressful enough without busting out recipes you’ve never made before. Dit gesê, as Sue na 'n bietjie zhoosh is, she might want to consider how she dresses her veg. “A good way to add theatre with relatively little effort is by salt-baking root vegetables,” says Mark Birchall, chef/patron of Moor Hall in Lancashire. “Everyone has the ingredients in their cupboard – salt, egg whites, herbs – especially at Christmas.” Combine these to make a crust, then use to coat celeriac, beetroot, parsnips or even carrots. “It makes them extremely moist and perfectly seasoned.”

Smelt die sjokolade en olie liggies in 'n kastrol oor 'n baie lae hitte – dit sal net 'n paar minute neem – roer dan deur die gekapte grondboontjies of kakao-nibs, says Selin Kiazim of Oklava in Londen, embrace “crunchy fairy dust”, AKA breadcrumbs cooked in a little dripping or duck fat. “Add to that crispy bacon and lots of chopped herbs, and sprinkle over any vegetables.” Roasting sprouts will also bring the magic: Rose Ashby, head chef at Spring in Londen, tosses hers in olive oil, tamari, maple syrup, dried chilli and salt. “They become umami-like and caramelised.” Finish with a bright sprinkling of chopped parsley and a squeeze of lemon.

Oven space is, natuurlik, at a premium on Christmas Day, so you could also do away with cooking altogether. “Sprouts are delicious raw, and have a gorgeously nutty, peppery flavour,” says Ashby, who shreds them, then tosses with good-quality olive oil and salt; for extra Christmassy vibes, add slices of blood orange, chopped mint and hazelnuts. Or steam your greens instead: Jack Stein, executive chef at Rick Stein Restaurants, pops kale or cavolo nero and a splash of water in a pan with a tight-fitting lid and turns on the heat. “Slice a few cloves of garlic, put in a add olive oil to cover and microwave for a minute. Lift the lid, let the last of the liquid steam away, then add the garlic oil, saute for another minute, and you’re ready to season and serve.”

Birchall rules the roast turkey by brining it before cooking. “It keeps the meat tender, and also adds flavour and texture. I use a 10% brine solution [one part salt to nine parts water], to which you can add bay leaves, peppercorns and orange zest.” Even a short brine for a few hours will make a huge difference, Birchall says: “When the turkey is ready to be cooked, put a simple breadcrumb and herb stuffing under the skin, to stop the breast meat from drying out.” And don’t forget that all-important gravy, Kiazim says: “Add sherry [oloroso or fino] and a little sherry vinegar for an acidic kick to cut through the rich Christmas meal.”

For Monica Galetti, egter, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a pineapple-glazed ham. “I like to make food reminiscent of childhood and family gatherings,” says the MasterChef judge and chef/patron of Mere in Londen. “Blitz tinned pineapple [ja, regtig] to a puree, stir it into a dry caramel to make a nice, thick glaze, then brush all over the ham. It doesn’t run off, either.” Slice any leftovers and stuff them inside a cheese toastie. You’re welcome.

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