While goose is cooked, get the veggies on early and chill out
LONDON: When it comes to preparing the Christmas lunch, timing is everything.
But for many, the annual offering of blackened birds and soggy roast potatoes proves how hard it is to get right.
Now Heston Blumenthal has come up with a solution which will raise the eyebrows among kitchen connoisseurs: cook most of the food earlier in the day and reheat it when the family is ready to eat.
The key to the festive meal, he says, is the roast potatoes, adding: base your whole lunch around them.
Blumenthal, 47, said: “The best tip I can give to anyone cooking Christmas lunch is to make sure every single part of your lunch, other than the potatoes, is ready to go.
“So the meat’s out the oven resting, you can take it out 30, 40 minutes earlier, and let it rest.
“All your veg – your carrots, your cauliflower cheese, your cabbage – has been cooked, and all it needs is reheating.”
But despite insisting he likes a “classic” Christmas, the Michelinstarred chef ’s other tips were rather less conventional.
Blumenthal, who is known for his experimental recipes, said he serves chicken, not turkey on Christmas Day, and recommends frying Brussels sprouts instead of boiling. And until this year there was no Christmas pudding on his menu.
He added: “There is a reason we don’t eat turkey at any other time of the year. The best thing for turkey is sandwiches.
“I’m doing a particular type of chicken which involves a truffle. It’s a little bit like a posh roast with some truffles and maybe some smoked salmon to begin with. And I’ve actually started to like Christmas puddings. So I will do a Christmas pudding.”
His most famous restaurant, The Fat Duck in Bray, Berkshire, which has three Michelin stars, has a threemonth waiting list, and its success has brought him fame and a lucrative TV career. But, as he prepares to open his fourth restaurant, he said he was discouraging his son, Jack, from following him into the kitchen, despite the 20-year-old’s passion for cooking.
He told BBC Radio 5 he began his career doing long shifts and he wanted Jack to know what he faced. He added: “My son wants to cook. When he first said this to me I said, Look Jack, I’m going to push you away because you’re going to have to want to do it so much, I’m going to keep discouraging you.
“I’m not going to encourage you to come into the business or cook, I’m going to keep suggesting you go and do something else.
“And then if you want it that much…”
“We’re talking sometimes 20 hours a day, that’s very hard to do. I did 120 hours a week for the first eight years. I was delirious.”
● Meanwhile, British supermarket Sainsbury’s Christmas film showing a farmer breaking a goose’s neck has outraged viewers.
In it, a Scottish woman places the goose under the handle of an axe while a man called Andrew pulls the bird’s body to break its neck.
She says: “Andrew pulled off a few heads by pulling too hard.”
The footage was one of many clips sent in by customers for a Sainsbury’s YouTube ad campaign.
One viewer said: “It’s disgusting and disturbing. Shame on you.”
The store said it encouraged people to think of how food is sourced. – Daily Mail
POTATO CHRISTMAS: Heston Blumenthal