It really wouldn't be Christmas without being offered a mince pie, would it? I decided to do a bit of reinventing on the classic mince pie, so in this recipe I'm using a combination of puff and filo pastry, both of which you can buy ready-made in the shops for extra convenience.
Like a lot of what I'm doing this year, this butter is a job for Christmas Eve. It won't take long and will guarantee you happiness the day after. A really beautiful turkey like Mr Kelly's doesn't need anything more than olive oil and salt and pepper, they're that good. While the purist in me says leave it alone, the chef in me is curious and wants to experiment. I think the bird, and the occasion, deserve a bit of extra love so if you can add a bit of an edge with something that complements…
In my books, the perfect bird is 6.5kg– 8kg in weight because that's a good size to handle, feeds about 10 to 14 people and has better flavour than bigger birds. If you're buying from a small producer, like the lovely turkey I used from my mate Paul Kelly, you'll often find these birds come with their own cooking instructions. Really good-quality birds do cook in a shorter time so follow the instructions if it has them.
Making your own minced pork like I've done here really turns your stuffing into something special. It will give you amazing flavour and texture, and it's wicked to be able to see everything you've got in there. Usually I'd sweat the onions off first, but this year I decided to keep it rough and ready, quick and easy. It's basically bish, bash, bosh but with a bit of love, care and intelligence.
If you're worried about cooking the perfect Christmas turkey because you're afraid you'll get it wrong, don't be. This recipe is nice and simple and will help you achieve brilliant results for your Christmas meal.
I reckon gravy has the power to transform, or even save, a meal. What I want you to do this year is open your mind to a slightly radical idea: making it a few days, or even weeks before Christmas. If you do this, you'll have it on standby, so you can finish it on Christmas Day. I use chicken wings to give the gravy that roasted bird flavour base. Not only are they dead cheap, they're also the most flavourful part of the bird.