Savouring the Day

Avoid Christmas dinner disaster with these super tips, courtesy of our glorious county's top chefs. Merry Christmas!

Savouring the Day

Avoid Christmas dinner disaster with these super tips, courtesy of our glorious county’s top chefs. Merry Christmas!

Barrie Tucker

Combe House Hotel in Holford

What is your top tip for cooking the best Somerset Christmas dinner?

Liven up your Brussel sprouts by cutting them into quarters and separating each leaf – then blanch. To finish, throw them into a hot wok with some diced bacon to create a green and vibrant dish.

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What will you be having for Christmas dinner this year?

A nice chicken curry, with lau (tropical pumpkin) and rice.

Stephen Wesley

At The Chapel in Bruton

What is your top tip for cooking the best Somerset Christmas dinner?

To keep the breast meat moist, rub plenty of sage butter under the skin and cover the top of the breast with streaky bacon – this will stop your turkey from drying out.

What will you be having for Christmas dinner this year?

Roast leg of lamb with all the trimmings, goose-fat potatoes, chestnut sprouts and red cabbage – the wife and children don’t like turkey!

Stephen Walker

Mount Somerset Hotel, near Taunton

What is your top tip for cooking the best Somerset Christmas dinner?

Buy the best quality ingredients you can afford. The better the ingredients the better the meal.

What will you be having for Christmas dinner this year?

Traditional turkey and homemade Christmas pudding with the family. To make life a whole lot easier, I’ll completely de-bone the turkey.

Matthew Butcher

Stoneaston Park, near Bath

What is your top tip for cooking the best Somerset Christmas dinner?

Do not overcook the turkey. Adding lot’s of gravy doesn’t make up for having a dry bird. For best results my advice is to cook the stuffing separately. Rather than stuffing the bird and cooking it for long enough to get the heat to the centre, make the stuffing, roll it tight in cling film and poach it in a turkey stock made from the trimmings. Use the turkey stock, after the stuffing is cooked, as a base for the gravy, and lightly roast the stuffing (cling film removed) on the same tray as the roasting turkey for the last 20 minutes of cooking... yummy!

What will you be having for Christmas dinner this year?

At home we prefer a more traditional British Christmas and will be having roast goose. Goose is a much more forgiving meat to cook than turkey. Goose is a much fattier bird than duck, but with the fat rendered correctly the end result is delicious.

Ben Webb

Charlton House Hotel, near Bath

What is your top tip for cooking the best Somerset Christmas dinner?

Instead of a traditional mulled wine, make a warming, welcoming drink for the festive season using local cider or apple wine. Visit your local farmers’ market or local shops and get to know the suppliers, so they know you too, then you can order early for Christmas with confidence. In summary, plan your menu, order early and prepare well to allow time out of the kitchen on Christmas Day. Keep it local, keep it fresh, and keep it simple!

What will you be having for Christmas dinner this year?

Roast beef, Yorkshire puddings (sorry Somerset!) with home-grown potatoes, parsnips, carrots and sprouts, served with a red wine sauce, followed by Christmas pudding (made from an old family recipe) served with rum sauce. I shall enjoy it – it will be cooked for me!

Sam Moody

The Bath Priory, Bath

What is your top tip for cooking the best Somerset Christmas dinner?

Good planning! Write a list of everything you want and need to cook, then break it down into times and amounts. The more time you spend planning your meal, the less time you’ll spend cooking it!

What will you be having for Christmas dinner this year?

I’ll be cooking for 70 guests this Christmas, then tucking into some quality leftovers with my chefs!

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