While goose is cooked, get the veg­gies on early and chill out

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE -

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

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