Christmas dinner tips - Turkey without tears

18/12/12

If you need a stress-free Christmas this year then read on. Our chefs are used to cooking for a crowd, and Inaka Weerasinghe from The Royal Yacht shares his survival tips for a Christmas dinner that won't go wrong.

Inaka -Cafe -Zephyr -597

Stay calm
You may not have a team of sous-chefs in your kitchen like Inaka, but it you plan ahead and get as much done as you can in advance (potatoes, stuffing, dessert, wine etc), it'll take the pressure off the main event - the turkey.

Keep it simple
At Café Zephyr, they start their turkey off in a hot oven (220ºC) and then turn down the heat for the rest of the cooking time until the core temperature reaches 75-80ºC. This method keeps the turkey moist. Give yourself plenty of time to allow the turkey to rest after cooking to keep the meat juicy. A boned and rolled turkey is easy to cook (allow 15 mins per 450g, plus a further 20-30 minutes) and easy to carve if you want a festive meal without the fuss.

Make Christmas dinner veg more interesting
Subtle twists to vegetable dishes are an easy way of spicing up Christmas dinner. Inaka recommends serving Brussel sprouts with sautéed bacon and cashew nuts, or roasting potatoes with turmeric and garam masala with garlic, ginger and soy sauce. No time? Put together a quick vegetable stir-fry for a tasty solution that goes well with roasted meats.

Meat-free?
Inaka suggests cardamom spiced basmati rice or stir-fried noodles with a Thai red curry for an easy vegetarian festive feast that can be prepared ahead.

And above all...
Plan ahead, get organised and get most of the work done before Christmas Day so you're not stuck in the kitchen all day.

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