Alfie's chef Christopher Driver's foolproof festive lunch
Before December 25
Christmas pudding Christopher’s tip: ‘Start marinating the fruit for your Christmas pudding three days in advance. The longer you leave the fruit to marinate for, the better the flavour of the final pudding. Make the rest of the pudding the night before.’
3 Mix the suet, brown sugar, breadcrumbs, ginger confit and cake flour.
4 Then add the eggs, fresh orange and lemon juice, salt, mixed spices and milk.
5 Add the dried fruit mixture that has been marinating.
6 Mix together thoroughly.
7 Place in a pudding mould and store overnight until ready to cook (see the boxout opposite for cooking times).
Turkey stuffing Christopher’s tip: ‘Start work on the stuffing on Christmas Eve, so you’re ready to stuff the turkey early on Christmas morning.’
Ingredients 500g veal mince 4 eggs 100g breadcrumbs 50g tarragon 50g chervil 50g parsley 75g onion 8g garlic 300g chestnuts 100g giblets (offal from the turkey) Salt and pepper to taste
Method 1 Place the onions, garlic and chestnuts in a pan and ‘sweat’ them (cook them slowly) until soft.
2 Remove from heat and add the mince, eggs and giblets.
3 Add the breadcrumbs to bind the mixture together, then add the herbs.
4 Season with salt and pepper. The mixture can then be kept in the fridge overnight, or until needed.
On December 25
Roast turkey Christopher’s tip: ‘Once you’ve put the turkey in the oven, keep basting it with its own juices every 20 minutes: use a spoon to pour juice from the pan over the meat. This will keep the turkey moist.’
Ingredients 4.5kg whole turkey 200g streaky veal bacon 250g butter 100g fresh rosemary 100g fresh thyme Salt and pepper to taste
Method 1 Preheat the oven to 175°C. Soften the butter and mix in the seasoning and fresh herbs.
2 Then use this butter mixture to stuff the gap between the breast and the skin, being very careful not to break the skin.
3 Place the stuffing into the cavity of the bird until tight and compact.
4 Finally, tie the bird’s legs together, and place the veal bacon neatly over the breast of the bird, making sure you cover the entire breast.
5 Place the turkey in the oven – see the green box below for suggested cooking times. Roast potatoes Christopher’s tip: ‘It’s best to use duck fat, as the flavour of the potatoes will be more intense.’ Ingredients 500g potatoes 100ml duck fat (or corn oil) 50g rosemary 1 clove garlic Salt to taste
Method 1 Peel the potatoes and cut to size (this can be done the night before).
2 Place the oil in a roasting pan and preheat in a hot oven (220°C).
3 Boil the potatoes in salted water until almost cooked, but still firm.
4 Strain the water, then place a lid on the pan and gently toss to roughen the edges of the potatoes. This will give a crispier finish.
5 Remove the roasting pan from the oven and carefully add the potatoes. Toss each one in the hot oil until well coated.
6 Place in the oven for 10 minutes, then add the cut garlic clove and rosemary and return to the oven. Check every 10 minutes and turn if possible. The potatoes are ready when they’re crispy and golden.
Cranberry sauce Christopher’s tip: ‘This traditional sauce is best served at room temperature, so prepare it a few hours in advance and leave to cool.’
Ingredients 100g cranberries (frozen cranberries work well) 30g onion 125ml cranberry juice 60g fresh oranges (zest and juice) 450ml chicken stock 80g sugar
Method 1 Place all ingredients in a bowl and marinate overnight in the fridge.
2 Place in a pan and bring to the boil, then simmer gently.
3 Continue to cook the mixture until it has a jam-like consistency.
4 Remove the orange zest and leave the sauce to cool, then serve.
Christopher’s Christmas cooking timetable
December 22 Marinate the fruit for your Christmas pudding.
December 24 Make the pudding and the stuffing, and marinate the cranberry sauce. Peel and chop the potatoes to save time on Christmas Day. December 25 9am Preheat the oven to 175°C for the turkey. If you’re cooking a 4.5kg turkey, place it in the oven as soon as the oven is at the right temperature and you should have a perfectly cooked bird at approximately 1pm. Note that you’ll need to adjust the cooking times for different sizes and weights.
10.30am Boil the potatoes and set aside.
11am Prepare the cranberry sauce.
11.30am Put the parboiled potatoes in the oven.
11.45am Put the Christmas pudding into a pan of water, ensuring the water comes just below the top of the mould. Heat gently for about 45 minutes.
1pm Lunch time! Your food should be ready to serve. The Christmas pudding can be eaten any time as it will be kept warm in the pan of water.