Christmas dinner with trimmings in an hour?! No way! -I hear you say.
Bear with me: I did a test run today. I’ll let you be the judge how close I got My friends on twitter informed me that I was missing a couple of things on a traditional British Christmas table.
1 large roast chicken (which I reckon is roughly the same as a turkey crown.),
1 roasted butternut squash (instead of the roasted parsnips),
1 kilo (c 2lb) of roasted potatoes,
1/2 kilo (c. 1lb) of brussels sprouts with smoked ham bits.
To start with I peeled and sliced up the butternut squash, layered in my roasting dish, sprinkled it with salt and freshly ground nutmeg (I couldn’t find any pre-ground stuff in my drawers and my fingers almost regretted this a couple of times). I also poured about 1/3 of single cream over these.
The chicken, I bought from Lidl, was pre-spiced, as part of their seasonal range. Winter spices on it already. I cut the elastic band off it and let it spread it’s legs and wings in the roasting dish, over the butternut squash. There was a little packet of some sort of sauce in the pack with it. The instructions didn’t say what to do with it, so I emptied it into the chicken’s inside.
The roasting dish went into my combi oven on auto setting: a combination of grill, oven and low-level microwave. (My Panasonic microwave is designed to take a certain metal oven tray, so that works well for my roast veggies) The time was given as 55 minutes based on the weight.
Next, I washed the potatoes, got rid of their little spouts (yeap, I’d forgotten about them and they started growing. *looks away embarrassed*). I cut the spuds in quarters. My new space machine** instructions told me to pat them dry. So I did, before popping them into the roto fryer, splashing a tablespoon of olive oil on it, sprinkling it with salt and cajun spices. On they went for 35 minutes, as per the machine instructions.
The only thing left was brussels sprouts. I’m a bit particular in cleaning these, as I remove at least 3 leaves and the bottom of each. Takes way too much time!
I halved my sprouts, waited till I chopped some onions and 2 very large cloves of garlic and had the onion and garlic frying. I found some smoked ham in the fridge, cut off a small slice and then diced this into little bits about the size of a pinky nail, adding it to the onions. When it all looked a bit glassy I added the sprouts and covered the frying pan. Stirred it a couple of times.
I had 20 minutes left.
I had a couple of bits of pineapple left over from lunch, I added these to the sprouts. Then I spotted the sorry-looking apples we picked up from a bucket left out in the street on our way home last week. I peeled, cored and chopped 2 up, taking out the bad bits. This was probably only equal to one healthy apple. These went into the pan with the sprouts too. I also added a splash of water before I covered it and left it on simmer (at setting 4/10 on my induction hob).
I didn’t bother with gravy, but there would’ve been plenty of juices under the chicken and butternut squash to add cornflour to and blend into a lovely sauce.
While I waited the last couple of minutes, I urged the kids to tidy up and lay the table, in between stirring the sprouts a couple of times.
Everything finished about the same time.
We lit the first candle for Advent of four on our candelabra (I wasn’t organised enough to sort out an Advent wreath.)
Our dinner marking the first Advent Sunday was superb!
Apparently, I missed few bits from a traditional Christmas meal
@mumonthebrink bread sauce, sausages, stuffing, pigs in blankets, Yorkshire puds, veg, parsnips, sausage meatballs, gravy, cranberry sauce
— Jude Gill (@JudeandOllie) November 30, 2014
@mumonthebrink pigs in blankets, stuffing, red cabbage, potato gratin and Yorkshire puddings
— snafflesmummy (@snafflesmummy) November 30, 2014
@mumonthebrink Stuffing, carrots, parsnips, Yorkshire puddings , pigs in blankets
— Donna Wishart (@genuineplacebo) November 30, 2014
So… pigs in blankets- these could go in with the turkey/ chicken;
Stuffing- that can actually be proper stuffing in my combi oven- a well-tried and tested recipe of mine;
Roasted, honey-coated parsnips- just swap the butternut squash with the roast veg;
Yorkshire puds- not sure about those. How about you?
I rely heavily on my clever appliances to save me time.
What short cuts do you use for your (Christmas) roast?
My appliances that allow me to be super-efficient with my cooking
I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to the appliances in my kitchen. I try to choose them on clever functions and efficiency.
I’m addicted to my induction hob, a 4-year-old Whirlpool with 3 induction rings. It’s efficient, it’s quick and it’s responsive. I tell you, if I didn’t have the timed cooking function on this I’d burn most of our food!
My second clever helper is my Panasonic combi microwave oven that is just over 4 years old and was my only cooking device when we had no kitchen in the midst of our big refurb. This has some excellent auto programs for things like a whole chicken, jacket potatoes and pizzas. It doesn’t have rotating plate, so fits much larger dishes inside. I bake, grill and roast everything in here.
The newest addition to the kitchen is Breville Halo cooker, aka the space machine which I got for review a couple of weeks ago. Today was the first time I tried it for roasted potatoes. The spuds were excellent in this, but I need to see what more it can do before I let it have permanent counter space in my kitchen.