Life Food & Drink

Sunday 16 December 2018

Celebrity chef Kevin Dundon's easy tips to take the stress out of cooking Christmas dinner

Chef Kevin Dundon with his chocolate roulade log. Kevin's jumper and shirt by Paul Smith of Brown Thomas. Photo: Frank Mc Grath
Chef Kevin Dundon with his chocolate roulade log. Kevin's jumper and shirt by Paul Smith of Brown Thomas. Photo: Frank Mc Grath
Kevin Dundon's Christmas turkey
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

Celebrity chef Kevin Dundon has some easy tips that will take the stress out of cooking a three-course Christmas dinner.

The perfect gravy, easy Brussels sprouts, and the perfect roast potatoes are all just a few paragraphs away.

See Kevin's tips below:

1. For a really tasty sauce to go with your prawn or smoked salmon starter try adding a teaspoon of horseradish cream to your Marie rose sauce – it will not be boring!

2. Pimp your soup – the appearance (and flavour) of your soup by either adding croutons, some sautéed mushrooms, a sprinkling of fresh herbs or a dash or cream. A squeeze of lemon or lime juice will really lift the flavour.

3. Prepare your stuffing the day before it’s required. It will allow the flavour will infuse really well and you’ll be under less time pressure on Christmas Day.

4. To stuff the turkey cavity I prefer to add a decent bunch of herbs, then a double layer of parchment paper, then envelop the stuffing in the parchment paper.  Don’t forget to weigh the bird when it’s fully stuffed and adjust the cooking times accordingly.

5. If you have any leftover sausage meat stuffing, roll in bitesize balls, wrap in a piece of streaky bacon, cook separately. Delicious warm or cold, perfect spread of sandwiches the next day!

6. To make a showstopper ham, once the ham has been boiled, remove the outer rind carefully, then score the fat, in diagonals and insert a few cloves into the fat in an orderly fashion. Glaze and return to the oven for half an hour. Don’t forget to let the ham rest too!

7. Cut Brussels sprouts into quarters to cook quicker!  Sauté them with some lardons or chorizo or a spoonful of cranberry relish for extra flavour. Don’t overcook sprouts, if serving whole cut an X onto the crown of the sprout to ensure they are cooked through.

8. To get the perfect roast potatoes, place the potatoes into a pan of cold water, add a clove or two of garlic, bring just to the boil.   Remove from the heat, drain. then give the pan a little shake.  Pop them onto a piping hot baking tray, season and add some goose or duck fat for a touch of luxury.  

9. To make the perfect gravy, roast the giblets separately before roasting the turkey! 

10. Keep plenty of fresh cream in the fridge, a few tablespoons of freshly whipped cream added to shop bought custard and a dash of vanilla extract or two gives it a lovely flavour. A dash of cream liquor (Coole Swan) added to cream is ideal with Christmas pudding.  

11. If you run out of fridge space to chill your wines, chill your white wines in a bucket of iced water and keep outside the back door!

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