My Perfect Roast Turkey & Christmas Day Recipes!

Hi guys! Another quick little recipe selection for you all today, here is my Christmas day agenda, including how I make the perfect (not-as-dry-as-ghandi’s-flipflop) roasted turkey! 

Turkey:

(Did you know that the traditional British Christmas bird was goose?)

  1. Set your oven to 180 degrees C. Oil a deep roasting tin.
  1. Remove the neck, giblets, and packet near the front shoulders, rinse thoroughly and pat dry. Place the turkey in the tin and loosely stuff the cavity loosely. Brush it with oil and insert the meat thermometer into the thigh, making sure not to touch bone as this gives and inaccurate reading. Salt and pepper to taste.
  1. Make a foil tent for the turkey, leaving about an inch of space to allow heat to circulate. Crimp the tent to the sides of the pan.
  1. Roast the turkey until the thermometer reads 180 degrees C. For turkeys from Tesco (UK), it usually has a calculated time on the bag based on the weight. We got a large – 5.3-6.9 kgs or 11.6-15.2 lbs. This would typically take between 3 hrs 15 mins – 3 hrs 50 mins, with an additional 30 mins for the stuffing. To ensure browning and perfect crispy stuffing, remove the foil tent after an hour or so of roasting.

Roasted veg:

Carrots, parsnips, squash, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. Cut into similar shapes and sizes, peel and half the roots. Toss in a ½ cup of sage, a ½ cup of thyme, and several sprigs of rosemary (fresh is best!) and one whole bulb of garlic. (My family- especially my sister! love to eat it roasted by just squeezing the garlic out of the clove… though I don’t recommend this if you are planning any mistletoe related activities later on!!) Salt and pepper to taste. Chuck them in around the turkey about an hour before pulling the turkey out. I usually separate half of my veg because my mum is vegetarian/pescatarian  –  and cook separately.

Gravy:

My famous gravy is always made in the bottom of the meat dish (with separate gravy granules and water mix for my veggie mum). I usually make it by pouring a majority of the loose oil out, leaving a few tablespoons worth. I then mix cornflour and water in a small glass and whisk the slurry into the hot oil until no excess oil remains. This should thicken, and the slurry substance should mix with the meat juices and become a brown, thick-ish substance. Pour boiling water and pop a stock cube in, then whisk to the desired volume and thickness. Pop in chopped onions and gravy granules/herbs of your choice for extra flavour (if you desire) and boil adding water until desired quality.

Super Easy Christmas Stuffing Recipe

Hey guys, I know I promised some festive recipes that I love a while back, so here’s one of my staples that I also use throughout the year when I do big roast dinners, I hope you’ll love it as much as I do.

I’m a much better chef than I am a baker, because I’m never one to really measure my flavourings. I’m one of those people who can never create a recipe twice! But it’s been suggested to me by my friends a few times that I should try and write down some basic guides, so I’ve really tried to record some.

Ingredients 
Serves: 10 

  • About 200-250g of cubed bread, as rough as you like. Sometimes I just tear mine. I usually do about a 2:3 ratio of White to Wholemeal, but thats my preference.
  • One tube of sausage meat, or a few sausages with the skin removed. (if you are vegetarian, at the first blender stage I would add a couple of slices of bread and an egg. This makes a sticky breadcrumb mix that tastes great and will hold its shape in a similar way.)
  • 1 medium onion
  • a generous helping (about 3 Teaspoons or more depending on preference) of dried sage
  • a generous helping of dried rosemary
  • a generous helping of dried thyme
  • a generous helping of parsley, fresh is best but dry is fine too!
  • 1 apple, cored and sliced
  • a handful of dried cranberries, I’ve also used a Cranberry jelly before when in a pinch.
  • Lazy Garlic, 1 teaspoon.
  • 1 Stock cube
  • 50g (2 oz) unsalted butter, melted

 

 

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas mark 4.
  2. What I like to do next may be a little naughty, but there’s always room to cheat at this stressful time of year! What I do, is simply bung the apple. the onion, the herbs, a stock cube, and the cranberry’s into my Nutribullet (any blender/processor would work). That wicked little device isn’t just for smoothies you know! I only really pulse it until it is a rough paste, but if you prefer finer flavours then go ahead and let it go a little longer.
  3. Pop in a little bit of water, perhaps about a cup- to activate your stock cube, along with a teaspoon of lazy garlic and your melted butter (I do this in the microwave) and pulse it again until you have a peculiar slurry.
  4. Lightly toast your bread cubes, this can be done by popping them on a baking tray for 5 or so minutes.
  5. In a large bowl, mix in your paste/slurry mix with the sausage meat and bread cubes, (Disclaimer: some people like to cook their sausage meat before hand, however I’ve never found that I needed to, I’ll leave this down to you. If you choose to do so, I would imagine you could knock off a significant amount of cooking time. Say, 30 or so minutes. I prefer to leave mine to cook inside the bird or a baking tray so that it comes out at a similar time.)
  6. Spoon into turkey to loosely fill and cook along with your bird. (if you pack it too tightly, it may cause your turkey and stuffing to cook slightly unevenly, as it will prevent air from circulating.) Or of course, if you prefer or have left overs, pop it into a greased baking tray or pyrex dish for about 40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

My thanksgiving to-do list!

Hey Guys!
Believe it or not I am one of the few bloggers out there with the worst organisation skills ever. Therefore, as promised this morning, I thought I would share with you the to-do list I created to assist me with the lead up to Thanksgiving! Let me know in the comments if I’ve forgotten anything or if you’d like to see any recipes from my menu! I really hope you enjoy!! 

My To-Do List Includes:

3-4 Weeks Before:

Write a guest list

Invite family and friends you are genuinely thankful for. In my case this involves missing out toxic individuals, or those who I know or suspect would disrespect the house and the beautiful environment I’m working hard to put together (especially if there is alcohol involved). After all, this is my home.
Don’t feel pressured to invite people who you or other guests may not feel comfortable around. Drama free evening please!! (I divided my thanksgiving in two, not to prevent drama, but because my family isn’t very social, and I don’t want to force them into an uncomfortable situation with strangers- a.k.a. my potentially very drunk friends.)

Purchase an outfit

If you’re planning on wearing something a bit special, like a new dress or possibly something a bit Autumnal, think about ordering this a few weeks in advance in order to avoid heartbreak and paying next-day delivery.

Read magazines/browse for inspiration

Find recipes and decor ideas either online or in magazines. Even in the UK magazines this is possible, because most places will already have released Christmas magazines that probably contain a lot of recipes that can translate for Thanksgiving as well. This year I loved reading the Tesco 2017 Christmas mag because it had some amazing recipes and visual stimuli. As usual, for decor, I was obsessed with Pintrest. I spend way too much of my life on Pintrest.

Order decor/other

Order or craft any decor you’ve seen on Pintrest that you just ‘need’. Also, consider whether you need extra cutlery or plastic cups. For example, I ordered an ash-tray to put outside, and a drinks dispenser for the punch.  

Write your menu

 Of course, this is the most important one of all! and needs to be done ahead of time so you don’t waste money on food that won’t be used, or forget to order certain items.
Consider any guests with dietary requirements or allergies; for example, my mother is what I like to call a sh*tatarian. She is technically a pescatarian, meaning that the only meat she eats is fish- but she can be very fussy with vegetarian options. I worry about her nutrition often, as she has a tendency to cook for her omni family and forget about herself. Normally with a roast we would cook a bit of salmon, but for this occasion I bought her a Linda McCartney pie, because even as a meat eater I think they are absolutely delicious. Mine includes:
***
Starters:
Frozen Hors d’oeuvres (cheating I know),
Bacon and Cranberry Puff Pastry Snowflake, with Melted Brie
Main:
Roast Turkey,
Roast Pork,
One Linda McCartney vegetarian pie,
Green Bean Casserole,
Cranberry Sauce (both smooth and whole berry),
Roast Veg with Seasonal Roots,
Asparagus Tips,
Pigs in Blankets,
Mashed Potatoes,
Carrot and Swede Mash,
Roasted Sprouts with Bacon,
Broccoli & Cauliflower,
Cauliflower Cheese,
Homemade Yorkshire Puddings (Just try serving a bunch of Brits a roast with no Yorkshires, & their faces contort in disgust!),
Stuffing (meat inside and vegetarian outside the bird),
Meat Gravy (Plus vegetarian one separate)
Dessert:
Sweet Potato Pie,
Chocolate Tart,
Pear and Chocolate Crumble with ice cream.
Drinks:
‘Apple Pie’ Punch
“Open Bar”

***


1-2 Weeks Before:

Write a shopping list & Order Non Perishables

Make a list based on your menu, then divide into 2 by frozen/non perishables, and food you need/want to order fresh. Order frozen and non perishables such as alcohol, then put your other list somewhere for safekeeping. That way, later on you can grab fresh food such as veggies + add any thing you forgot onto the new list.

Think about a punch that would be widely enjoyed– for example I held off on the Malibu as I know many people dislike/have allergies to coconuts. I love to watch Tipsy Bartender on YouTube- even though I rarely drink outside of big events/Christmas nowadays.

Think about areas where it may be possible to cheat! It doesn’t make you a bad person to cut corners in some places. For example, I realized my life would be made substantially easier if I purchased a pre-made shortcrust pastry for my sweet potato pie. No- it’s not that difficult to make- but it saves time and energy later on when I will be rushed off my feet.

Make Placeholders

This is especially useful if there are attendees who don’t get always along. In my case, Due to being extremely picky with my invites, I hope they will just serve as whimsical keepsakes.

1-2 Days Before:

Clean/tidy house

This may seem obvious, but make sure your home is guest ready. For me, I had to make  a list including chores I would normally put off- for example things such as bleaching skirting board and treating my bathroom for limescale. (Norfolk is an area that has very hard water, which causes a frequent build up). Austin and I also had a small domestic regarding whose duty it was to catch the unwanted guest in the bathroom… he is terrified of spiders! Make sure all your dishes are clean, or else you might find yourself scrambling on the day looking for something that is in the dishwasher!

Entertainment!

Bring your speakers downstairs, make a playlist. Consider games/activities for when it gets quiet. Cards against humanity is a must- but as massive nerds we actually are planning to introduce D&D to our friends for the first time. Not to mention probably some drinking games later on. My favourite is the nomination game!

Pamper yourself

 Pick an outfit, do your nails, shave, pamper yourself for the long day ahead. Speaking from the experience of last year, you won’t have much time to do this on the day- even despite the precautions you have taken. It is probable that you will still be standing in the kitchen until the very last minute!

Prepare your veg

Clean, peel, chop and vacuum pack vegetables so all you have to do is cook them the day after.
To do this, place your vegetables into a ziplock bag, and pop a straw into the outside corner. Do the zip up all the way to the edge of the straw, then use it to suck out all the excess air. Seal the bag, and pop in the fridge!

Cook the desserts

Hot ones such as crumble that can be refrigerated and then warmed up on the day. The day before Thanksgiving I’m setting some allocated time to make all three of the desserts on the menu. Luckily, the crumble is a fairly easy one, as the temperature required doesn’t necessarily matter-  so it can go in at the same time!

Put up decorations

Set and lay the table, as well as placing any center pieces and pretty bits where you would like them to go. I added an autumnal wreath, some themed balloons and candles for ambiance.


On the Big Day:

Consider roping off areas

Yes, they are guests, and you shouldn’t make the night feel too artificial by enforcing a 2 page list of rules. However, they should respect your boundaries, especially if there is alcohol and or children involved. Don’t feel bad for roping off a certain area of your house if you think it may cause issues or unwanted mess.

Cook

Obvious, I know (as though you need to be reminded). Cook the foods you have planned out in your menu. This should be much easier with your squeaky clean kitchen and ready-to-go vegetables. However, if you find yourself extremely stressed or short of time be sure not to push yourself too hard. There will almost definitely be enough food regardless of whether or not you miss out or forget one or two dishes, as it’s the custom for guests to bring something along.

Get Ready!

Lay out all the beautiful food on the table, get yourself dressed and ready and have a glass of wine while you wait for your guests to arrive! You’ve earned it!

QuiteFranklii’s Thanksgiving Guide

Hi guys! I’m back!! (Apologies, I’ve had some health issues recently, and then my Macbook decided to give up on me, and so my little one week break from intense social media and blogging became more like a month). To make up for lost time, I felt like it would be fun to catch you guys up with what I’ve been up to.

As you may or may not know, we are a multi-cultural household, as my husband is in fact American! (I am British). As such, over the past few years I’ve found myself embracing a new holiday, Thanksgiving!  Of course, as a lifelong foodie I didn’t take much convincing, after all- what kind of maniac would be adverse to a huge meal surrounded by loved ones? Since one of my greatest passions in life is cooking, and hosting parties, (not to mention the fact I always want to try my best to stop Austin from feeling homesick)-  I decided that this year I would introduce a few of my favourite people to Thanksgiving, and invite them all round for an evening of food, festive fun and cocktails.

Over the next few weeks, I hope to share with you some of the things that helped me to prepare for this holiday (I’m definitely still learning) including recipes that can also be wonderful at Christmas time- so don’t think you won’t enjoy it if you don’t celebrate thanksgiving!

First up will be my To-Do list, I really hope you enjoy it!

All my love,

Frankii x