back to article At Christmas, do you give peas a chance? Go cold turkey? What is the perfect festive feast?

Boozing in the morning, blazing family rows in the afternoon, and passing out in front of the telly – trousers unbuttoned – by 5pm. All of these are annual traditions of Christmas but when it comes to dinner, what makes the perfect festive nosh? Everyone has their own take on Yuletide overindulgence, and inevitably something …

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Re: What about cooking disasters?

But I just can't cook chinese food. The damned things have thermostats, so you can't get the wok hot enough to cook stuff properly, which means you can't get the right texture, and everything's overcooked.

So get a wok-burner and run it off a propane bottle. Easy peasy...

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Mince Pies

A fistful of wet leaves and twigs, not unlike what I raked off the lawn last month, wrapped in limp pastry and dunked in sugar.

No thanks.

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Re: Mince Pies

Ah, but if you can't see them because the bowl is full of cream, and you've added enough brandy butter - then all you can taste is brandy butter and cream.

I'd say why not just miss out the mince pies, but it would be a waste to throw them away.

Also, you can now buy nice ones. Supermarket best brand ones actually have detectable levels of booze in them. And briefly heated in the oven beforehand also improves them.

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Re: Mince Pies

There a few good ones – succulent, reasonably spiced, nice buttery case – and the rest – palm oil pastry with a gloopy filling. Always best fresh from the oven.

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Re: Mince Pies

Also, you can now buy nice ones

With flaky pastry? I prefer my mince pies more like Eccles cakes.. (Never really liked shortcrust pastry.)

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Never again!

> something more exotic such as a Beef Wellington

Tried that one year. But the boots gave off a nasty rubbery smell once the oven got hot.

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Re: Never again!

You should have used the traditional leather Wellington boot.

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Windows

holiday stuffing.

We've generally not had a quiet christmas around here. Either we've a couple branches of family in for dinner or we've had heards of friends in. Usually 12 to 20 bodies.

1) first off, coffee, tea and fresh orange juice for the 'dults in the am - I've usually a couple of loaves of (baked the evening before) stone milled bread - toast, waffles, bacon. The paper shredding has to wait till the adults are awake, and at least snacked up to mobile. Kidlets have stockings until then. Usually have 5 to 8 folks in transit, although I've taken to picking my mom up the afternoon before.

2) the great shredding - shortbread cookies, mince tarts and more coffee/tea - usually by now fortified.

3) shrimp rings with sauce, stone milled rolls, butter, butter and more butter, and a variety of smoked meats, spicy meats and kid friendly bun stuffings, cheeses (We've a fantastic cheese maker about 2 hours away, I'll get a variety)

At this point I'll already have the bird going (BTW - the default instructions I've seen for turkey are WRONG, usually resulting in hot, dry, unpalatable bird - go long low and slow, and it can be just as juicy as you could want, the key is the internal temp *not* the external temp. Meat thermometer anyone?) - stuffing I prefer to go exotic and use pumpernickel and a whole wheat for breads, fruit and nuts - the favourite around here is walnuts, almonds, dates, apricots, apple with nutmeg, cinnamon, and a mild smoked chili for a wee bit of zing.

Sweet potatoes, straight baked then mashed with maple syrup (the real stuff) a hint of cardamom and lots of pepper and you can't add too much butter, roasted potatoes (I prefer to use duck over goose fat, but whatever works, with paprika, garlic, salt, pepper, and onion) acorn squash (roasted open face with butter, mediera sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon), Broccoli, Brussels sprouts (steamed part way to cooked, then tossed into bacon fat with some garlic - let the garlic brown *first*) and if I've time and remember, green beans, get tossed in after the Brussels sprouts are done, but with thai chili.

Served with the drippings gravy, more dinner rolls, lots of wine, port or beer depending on one's taste and well, I usually go through 3 to 4 pounds of butter during Christmas dinners. Followed up with a pud, (made by a good friend, usually started in september and I have 2 coming this year) and that gets topped with brandy sauce thank you (and I've a *really* nice brandy for it this year).

All of this will have been lubricated by wine, beer, port, rum, eggnog, brandy and god knows what other forms of alcohol get hauled in by the various bodies. (Most of those that know us will drop by if they have to do the (at her moms in the morning and his moms in the evening) thing. - and several neighbours will drop in at some point, usually to inhale deeply and complain that their bird doesn't smell that good)

At some point in the evening the bones from the bird go back in the oven with any left over oils, duck or turkey, at 285 until I drag my ass out of bed on boxing day and take the tasty browned bits and start on the soup broth.

I then spend the next two weeks recovering from the cooking fest. In a food coma.

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FAIL

I do not understand...

...all the comments about turkey being dry and tasteless; if it is you're doing it wrong!

Buy a free range turkey from a local supplier; this will have loads of flavour.

As for moistness

1) Under no circumstances use a frozen turkey

2) Don't truss the turkey again once you've stuffed it, just leave it

3) Roast it upside down for the first hour, then turn it right way up.

4) Baste it often

5) Rest the turkey for at least 20 minutes when it's done.

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Re: I do not understand...

You are completely right but you know how the Brits love to overcook stuff.

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Re: I do not understand...

how the Brits love to overcook stuff

Maybe in the 50's, 60's and 70's (thank you Mrs Beeton for ruining a whole generation of cooks) but I not now..

So you might like to update your stereotypes table, it's somewhat out of date.

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Re: I do not understand...

"how the Brits love to overcook stuff."

At least British bacon is proper back bacon that is till pink, not burnt crispy streaky bacon.

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Xmas breakfast

In the Sane house, we have scrambled eggs on toast with smoked salmon, served with Buck's Fizz (the drink, not the '80s pop ensemble).

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Re: Xmas breakfast

Got any spare tickets?

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A Yank's tale

Christmas Eve: After candlelight service at my in-laws, over to their place (~45 mins from home) for cold cut sandwiches, cheese, crackers, shrimp, and lots of sweets, especially chocolates and my wife's aunt's "crunchy fudge" (imagine Rice Krispy treats + peanut butter + semi-sweet chocolate in the middle -- problem is she's starting to lose memory or taste and her recipe seems "off" lately).

Christmas morning: As big as a breakfast gets in our house (me, missus, 3 kids) -- scrambled eggs, sausage, missus' special hash browns (heavy on the garlic and Lawry's seasoned salt, can't remember if she adds onion too), and various/varied breads (pancakes, biscuits, cinnamon rolls, etc. -- different every year).

Christmas dinner: Used to be a solely ham affair, like Easter, because we get our turkey fill in November (Thanksgiving), but since mother-in-law has been doing the Easter ham, she doesn't feel like cooking it on Christmas after doing the Eve dinner. So we've (my brother-in-law; he hosts, an hour from home) turned to The Honeybaked Ham Store for a pre-sliced ham with glorious sweet glaze and also a small turkey breast with the same glaze; he plans on repeating this year, to everyone's delight. Can't really remember the rest except for dessert: a birthday cake for Jesus (the kids love the tradition) and the kid-decorated sugar cookies (wish I could pass, but Daddy HAS to have one from each).

Then weeks of eating candy from the stocking. Never mind my kids still have half-a-sack each left from Halloween, plus those cookies, plus candy canes near the tree (were ON the tree but needed more room for ornaments). America is hooked on sugar, I swear.

I mostly just want the breakfast. I can't handle the kids fighting over their new gifts (or refusing to take turns opening) until my stomach is about half-full (but not total-full or I need a nap). I'd rather eat first than open gifts, and better yet fill the kids up and slow their excitement down just a notch.

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Salt

Brine the Turkey, nothing poncy, table salt & water, overnight.

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much tongue clucking...

Perfect Xmas dinner?

Actually using the oven a bit and not the usual 'bung carton in microwave', take out, smother in pepper, eat watching anime.

All other condiments, pepper and anime stay the same.

Queens speech?

What episode of Queens Blade would that be then?

Bah humbug and all that. I've a years worth of games to get through in a week here...

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Pint

Christmas Chilli

I have a 20 litre saucepan which means I can brew a batch up before Christmas Eve and it lasts all the way through. All without any effort other than reheating and a few minutes to cook up some rice and a variety of accompaniments. The best part is it gets hotter as it ages.

There are better and more enjoyable things to do than slaving over a hot stove at Christmas.

Someone always wants to drop round and enjoy a break from the traditional so I usually get offered a return visit with a Proper Crimbo Dinner (TM) at some point over the holiday.

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Turducken

I'm interested to see that nobody has commented on turducken.

It isn't bird-within-a-bird, regardless of whether you think it's good or bad.

It's bird-within-a-bird-within-a-bird.

The Unreliable Source suggests a long and not entirely American history for this dish, and that three layers of nesting is far from the most extreme version.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turducken

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Re: Turducken

>>I'm interested to see that nobody has commented on turducken.

>>It's bird-within-a-bird-within-a-bird.

Indeed it is, I noticed that too. The bird-within-a-bird would be a turturkeykey. Although they could both be referred to as Frankenfowl. Also, don't use live ones if you decide to try it out. A ...errrrrrr... friend told me :D

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Re: Turducken

I'm interested to see that nobody has commented on turducken.
Possibly because few commentards are willing to consume something that includes turd as an ingredient.

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Flame

nobody has commented on turducken

How about this for the ultimate Xmas dinner? Makes good stuffing for your ostrich.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-502605/It-serves-125-takes-hours-cook-stuffed-12-different-birds---really-IS-Christmas-dinner.html

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MJI
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Food

We have moved onto a chicken for Christmas Dinner, a large free range one, tastes nice and a lot less than a turkey.

Sprouts are an essential.

Never tried goose.

Tons of roast potatos

My wife would be happy with the 1kg of chipolatas I have bought.

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This Xmas...

Do try and avoid ending like this :

http://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/uncyclopedia/images/c/cd/Mr-creosote.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20060209121808

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MJI
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Mince pies

Horrible horrible things.

They call it mince meat, and there is no effing meat!

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Re: Mince pies

"there is no effing meat"

Meat can also be a generic word for any sort of food.

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Re: Mince pies

Meat can also be a generic word for any sort of food. - in some regions, maybe.

Well, if you're going to stretch the meaing of the word...

'meat' is also innuendo....

It's not like in japan parlance, in which 'gohan' is rice or often food in general....

'meat and potatoes' - maybe a general term for food in some areas

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Re: Mince pies

Traditional mincemeat contains suet. Which is animal fat, and therefore meat.

The suet in the pastry is the reason that my steak and kidney puddings are not suitable for vegetarians.

On which subject, when I get the huge steamer back from my Mum (who used it to make the mega-huge Christmas-Pudding-of-Death, I shall make kate & sidney pud for a random bunch of mates who're at my place over the holiday. Or I suppose I could cook one for myself and just have it over several days...

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Re: Mince pies

The suet in the pastry is the reason that my steak and kidney puddings are not suitable for vegetarians.

So not much Steak or kidney in them then.....

Do you cook for High Street stores?

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Duck the issue

Render a plump 7 kilo turkey down until it resembles a shrivelled Peking (sorry Beijing) duck. To achieve this result plus about 50 gallons of gravy and hardly any meat, all you have to do is overcook the turkey for hours in a convection oven through inadvertently following the cooking time instructions for a conventional oven. Since doing that I've never been a fan of convection ovens..

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Yorkshire pud? why the hell not, serve with pigs in blankets embedded in it :D...

Turkeys good if its cooked right, doesn't need to be dry, if I get a bird its usually turkey, I'm quite partial to roasting a massive ham for crimbo though, the left overs can be hacked off to go well with all the bloody cheese for the next couple of days :D...

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Anonymous Coward

Vodka Turkey

I have to freeze the vodka using a 3D printed mould fashioned to resemble a turkey, but the alcohol won't freeze so I mix that with chocolate as gravy to top the chipped vodka turkey bits in small ice glasses.

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An Antipodean dish

It's frequently too hot in the Antipodes for a traditional Northern Hemisphere Christmas nosh-up; not that that doesn't stop many from knocking themselves out trying. Wrong time of year for Brussels sprouts, parsnips etc. Mind you, it's difficult to knock back a decent roast.

This year I will be roasting a leg of lamb -- on the barbecue if it's a hot day. The leg is deeply slashed at roughly 20 mm intervals and stuffed with a lemony bread stuffing. Recipe here. I roast at a lower temperature and for a longer time than here. This is the secret to juicy, tender, succulent roasts. An instant read meat thermometer is essential so you stop the cooking when the meat has attained the correct temperature for the desired degree of doneness.

On the barbecue, the roasting pan goes on the hotplate and the heat comes from the char-grill burner(s). About 15 minutes before the end, I throw a good size bunch of rosemary twigs on the char-grill to smoke the roast.

Accompaniments will be salad and boiled new potatoes. Mrs Git likes to make an excellent shepherd's pie from the left-overs and I like eating it.

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Re: An Antipodean dish

I find butterflying the leg of lamb makes barbecuing easier.

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Devil

Speaking as the reincarnation of Scrooge himself, Christmas is the time of year I ask to be on call so I have an excuse not to return to my parent's house.

Christmas dinner is frozen pizza washed down with something fizzy and caffeinated.

Thank you for your time.

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Feel like I gotta add the Australian perspective.

To quote Tim Minchin, Christmas is all about white wine in the sun. My family usually nips down to the beach for an early swim at about 0700. The roads are empty and there's nearly always a beach-related gift under the tree.

Lotsa seafood. Prawns are a must. I usually queue at a local wholesale fishmonger at about 5AM on Christmas Eve to buy a coupla kilos of prawns. There's then a nice moment when the best prawn-peelers in the family don aprons and get 'em ready to cook.

The prawns kick things off and there's usually a big roast something too. If possible we get it done on the BBQ with the lid down, to keep the heat outside rather than cooking the kitchen.

By mid afternoon it's best to keep drinking - stop and the heat means you get a 4PM hangover

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Turducken

That's a turkey stuffed with a chicken that is in turn stuffed with a duck.

Then you pass out in front of the TV, pants unbuttoned.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Turducken

Surely it's Tuckey stuffed with duck stuffed with chicken?

Hence Tur - duck - en?

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Just desserts

You had me at brandy soaked...

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Mince pies?!?!? Barf!!!!

As for turkey being traditional, pah! recent import from them uppity colonials. For tradition you want a goose.

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Make you proud....

Here we are, IT, Computing and Technology folk, overwhelmingly male, and almost all of us describing *ourselves* doing the family cooking. Brings a manly tear to the eye.

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Re: Make you proud....

...IT, Computing and Technology folk, overwhelmingly male, and almost all of us describing *ourselves* doing the family cooking. Brings a manly tear to the eye.
Of course; that's how we oppress wimmin. None-ICT men oppress wimmin by letting them do all the cooking.

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mtp

Hungry

12 days to go and you are all making me very hungry.

But I now plan to go out and buy a goose for the first time.

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Mushroom

Reporting in from the penitentiary colonies

I'm not sure I could stomach (please forgive the pun) a hot Christmas feed on the day when it's something better than 32 degrees C outside..

We go for a decent selection of cold cuts, including smoked turkey and ham, a bunch of pickled vegetable varieties and an obscene amount of cheese. This is all accompanied by various carbohydrate forms, fluffy and pillowy chunks, flat crunchy discs etc.

This usually gets set up in the middle of the house mid-morning, and then grazed on all day. You can be liberal with alcoholic condiments to taste.

The brandy soaked Christmas pud is non-negotiable though, with lots of custard on the side.

Icon because that's what the weather is like here in Oz on Christmas day.

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Re: Reporting in from the penitentiary colonies

Icon because that's what the weather is like here in Oz on Christmas day.
Except in Tasmania where some Christmases it's snow atop Mount Wellington and others are hot enough to boil a monkey's bum in. We tend to hedge our bets...

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Re: Reporting in from the penitentiary colonies

How can you manage Christmas pudding and custard on a day when it's too hot to eat roast?

Or maybe it's just too hot to cook. I've on objection to eating steak and kidney pudding in the Summer, it's just the 4 hours of steaming it that I mind. Especially as I've no door between the kitchen and the living room.

Cream instead of custard to cool it down perhaps?

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Pint

Re: Reporting in from the penitentiary colonies

Yep a selection of cooked and cold for us. Prawns are a must as is ham. A nicely roasted pork leg with lots of loverly crackling. Cooked outside in the hooded BBQ. Sister-in-law does a turkey roll thing which is always nice for something different. At least 2 different salads and loads of roast veg: Potato, Sweet Potato, Pumpkin, Onions. Lashings of thick rich gravy to smother it all in (the hot stuff not the prawns or salad).

Of course, you can always manage the Christmas Pudding, custard/cream/ice cream are optional. Served with cold custard instead of hot. We usually have a pavlova as well for those who want both or either...

And lots of beer, champers, wine etc... a nice single malt to top it all off later on.

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I agree with most of the above comments, I do enjoy a nice goose at Christmas. Yes, even with yorkies* and gravy.

We also sort out a platter of various cooked/cured meats, breads, cheeses and things to nibble on.

We also have a few "exotic" items in the form of sausages. This year we have Wild Boar, Reindeer, Goat, Llama and Horse.

I may even cook a vegetable to go with all that meat.

* Available from your local kennels

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Trust me, you haven't lived until .....

Roasted parsnips with maple syrup and bacon chunks. O.M.G.

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Re: Trust me, you haven't lived until .....

How do you cook it? Do you just crumble bacon into the roasting tin with the snarpips? Or do you add it when they're cooked and you're coating them in maple syrup? This is something I think I'll have to try.

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