Despite one in five British adults claiming to start planning for Christmas from October, research commissioned by Taste of Christmas, which is sponsored by AEG, recently revealed that a third of the nation still has no idea how to cook a traditional turkey dinner.
Baffled with even the basics, the poll of over 2,000 adults also found that 26 per cent of people admit to relying on their mothers culinary skills, calling them directly for advice compared to only 3 per cent who would rely on the internet. Meanwhile, one in six men agreed that they would only trust their mother to make the best stuffing on Christmas Day.
Although not surprised by the findings, well known chef, Jean-Christophe Novelli, is undeterred in his mission to encourage people into the kitchen. ‘It’s great to see our appetites for food and drink based TV programmes, magazines and blogs grow and grow but what’s actually happening in our kitchens? People are tuning in but turning off and the pressures around Christmas won’t help encourage people to have a go at showcasing what they know they can do. With two months to prepare, my advice for those who are unsure how to cook a Christmas dinner is to choose a dish and practise practise practise. You have two months to perfect it and what a great gift for somebody special!’
Jean-Christophe will be joining a host of top chefs at this year’s Taste of Christmas event taking place between 2nd and 4th December at ExCeL in London, to show people how it’s done. In the meantime, here are just a few tips from the top to get you on your merry way………
Simon Rogan says ‘Try brining your turkey for a couple of days beforehand, for a moist, tender and better flavoured end result!’
Atul Kochhar says ‘For sides, choose vegetables that can add some sparkle to your main dish and flavour it differently with herbs and spices’
Francesco Mazzei says ‘Use Tuscan sausage (taken out of the skin) and crumble it by hand then mix it with finely chopped chestnuts, dried apricots and dried figs which will balance beautifully with the slightly dry turkey breast’
Michel Roux Jr says ‘Cold starters are always best as you can spend time with friends and family’
Gary Rhodes says ‘For a bit of a change, divide your Christmas pudding into nugget sized pieces. Create a sweet batter, using 4oz Self raising flour, sifted, and mixed into 1oz caster sugar. Whisk the two together, gradually pouring in ¼ pint cider to create a thick batter. (Not all of this may be needed. You don’t want the batter to be too runny). Dip the ‘nuggets’ into the batter and then deep fry in cooking oil at 180ºC until golden brown in colour. These can be served with fresh cream, ice cream or any remaining rum / brandy custard.’
And if that isn’t enough help, there is a full run down of chef’s appearing at this year’s Taste of Christmas across three cracking days at www.tasteofchristmas.com