Sunday, January 25, 2009

Christmas Turkeys and all that

Just busy preparing a boned & rolled pork shoulder to go on the spit for lunch, and thought I'd better update things up here. What with all the Christmas travelling and other busyness that this time of year always brings I've been a bit remiss with posting!

Lots of things have come and gone Sunday Roasting wise, including lots of lamb and a fab bit of Sirloin on the bone, which Arthur up at the butchers did a special old fashioned preparation for creating a plinth to roast it on out of it's own bones. Worked a treat. Unfortunately you can't see it that well in the picture:

As you can see I roasted it up with new potatoes just chucked in with their skin and everything. This way they roast up slowly and get covered in lots of stickiness from the beef - you don't get the crunch of proper roasties, but sometimes I prefer them this way.

Sad news on the butcher front, as Dave Haggett has decided to give up and sold the business. Seems he's had enough of people not appreciating good meat, always wanting cheaper and cheaper cuts (with all that entails for animal welfare and traditional butchering). A much bigger business now owns the butchers and associated Spar, and whilst not much has changed yet only time will tell whether or not it will survive.

Christmas was a fun time, as I got a niece from my brother and sister in law. That did mean I did all the cooking for Christmas lunch though, not something I really mind but Christmas lunch is almost always the most stressfull cooking of the year, what with all the different things that have to be prepared. We did go for turkey too, which can be a bugger to cook, especially on my Mum's oven which has seen better days. Let's juts say what you pick on the dial as atemperature often seems to have little to do with what actually happens in the oven.

Mille Rose Osborne

I went for a variation on Jamie Oliver's way of doing Turkey for mine, separating the skin from the bird and pushing butter up underneath to baste the bird as it cooks. I was supposed to add sage leaves that my brother has sent from his garden as well (Mum's being a bit bare) but my brain took on a sieve like nature and I promptly forgot. Some herbs and manadarin also went inside, and I stuffed the neck as usual, then wrapped the legs in foil to stop them cooking too quickly.

Separating the skin so that I can push the butter underneath

Took a few hours to cook, but came out pretty well I think, although maybe a tiny bit overcooked. Wonderfully moist and favloursome thouhg, which is the main thing. The bottom line with Turkeys has to be that you have to check when they're cooked, there is just no other way of measuring them. Ovens and turkeys vary so much that no matter what recipe your follow you're going to have to use a bit of experience and testing if you want your bird cooked properly.

The finished bird

Making the gravy - bit blurry this one, but at least you can see the neck and vegetables I was using to make a trivet to place the bird on. Gravy was amazing just like that - I actually made the mistake of adding some stock to it to make it go further, but to be honest I don't think the stock was as good as the gravy so blending the two made things worse not better. Should of just used water!

I did the usual suspects with this, roast potatoes and parsnips, brussel sprouts, carrots, bread sauce, braised red cabbage, bacon wrapped sausages, and two types of stuffing.

Stuffing balls and bacon sausages. The stuffing balls I tried to keep very simple, just adding a little sage and lemon for a bit of freshness. I used chipolatas for the bacon wrapped sausages, and just snipped them in two once they were roasted

Seems made now - why on earth do we do this to ourselves! Once a year is enough - I guess we forget by the time the next year comes along just how much we have to get through ...

The finished meal - with a glug or two of red wine of course!

Then it was on to the christmas pud (thankfully my Mum's - wonderful stuff, although the Italian has never taken to it) and a little cheese. All in all a great meal, made even more special by my tiny niece sitting (well, laying - let's face it she's only a few days old) beside me.

Anyhow - must get back to my pork shoulder - it's not going to roast itself!

P.S. Excuse the photos - have a new camera on the phone and seeing if it's good enough for this sort of thing. Still trying to get the settings right!

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