It’s time to brine your turkey!

Like most of you, I’m sure, our Christmas Day food prep is under way.

Just in case you need it, here are a couple of tips for the best roast turkey:

Brine it – You can do this 24/48hrs in advance and it’s well worth it for a succulent end result.

  • Find a container such as a bucket (very clean) or another similar container which will hold your turkey.
  • Mix about 3 ltrs of water with 250g sea salt, 200g sugar, 2 tbsps runny honey, an orange quartered, juice squeezed into the brine and the peel dumped in as well, 3 tbsps black peppercorns, 3 tbsps Allspice berries, 4 cloves, a cinnamon stick, rosemary and thyme stems.
  • Add the turkey, having removed any strings and wrappings and ensure its completely submerged in the brine. Store in a cold place until 1-2 hours before you plan to cook it.
  • Dry it with some kitchen paper.
  • Check your cooking times carefully. A 5kg bird requires about 2.5hrs at 200°c.
  • Place your turkey upside down in the roasting tin to allow the juices to pass into the breasts.
  • Turn over 1/2 before the end to allow the breasts to brown.
  • Rest for up to an hour before enjoying your delicious Christmas Day meal.

Turkey brining

Eating out over the festive season

These are just some of my faves for eating out at this time of year.

The East India Cafe, Cheltenham – Unique flavours of India with a reflection of the Raj period

The Ivy Montpelier Brasserie, Cheltenham – from the original Ivy with traditional menu items and more and set in the most beautiful building.

Koj, Cheltenham – A very special interpretation of Japanese food from a previous Master Chef finalist. Do not expect sushi!

The Fox Inn, Lower Oddington – Friendly and local pub in a beautiful village. Exceptional food.

The Churchill, Paxford – A slant towards sophistication in this well established pub/restaurant.

The Ebrington Arms, Ebrington – A great contributor to the local community, extremely welcoming, great food and their own produced beer, Yubby.

Huxleys, Chipping Campden – Gorgeously cosy and casual food with an Italian twist.

My favourite cookery book of 2017

If you can, get it for Christmas. Given that time is running out, however, get it as soon as you can. Ed Smith alias Rocket and Squash is a local boy, done good in the foodie world. This is his first recipe book and it’s brilliant. You can find it on Amazon. It’s all about side dishes but is also hugely informative about main dishes which the sides will go with. Slight bias but I DO LOVE IT!

Ed Smith

To end the year, here is my very favourite Christmas tree ever at Claridges Hotel, designed by Karl Lagerfeld. Of course, Claridges is a very special place for me and their Christmas trees are always stunning.

Wishing all you lovely people a truly wonderful Christmas time and a very special 2018.




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