RICHARD’S TOP TIPS
Use the biggest oven you have available. Put the biggest and deepest roasting tray you have in the bottom of the oven and don’t put the bird in the roasting tray. Instead put it on a wire shelf above and let the fat drip into the roasting tray. This makes it is easier to ladle out the hot fat if the tray becomes too full and when the time comes to remove the turkey, it is much easier to handle, you simply slide the shelf out with the turkey on it. Always use a meat thermometer so you are sure it is cooked right through and don’t risk under or overcooking it. Use wide tables; one metre wide is ideal as this leaves plenty of room in the middle for water, wine and food dishes. If the table is too narrow, consider covering the table top with a protective cloth and then put sheets of plywood cut to the right size on top of the table. Make your life easier on the day. Forget about fancy tablecloths (the French do). Put a protective cloth on the table and then use a specially designed paper to replace the tablecloth. It comes in long rolls, over one metre wide. To decorate the table use fancy paper place mats and different coloured paper serviettes. At the end of the meal, you simply roll up the paper and serviettes in one go. Forget crockery (but use real glasses for water and wine), use paper plates, stacked in order at each place setting; after each course someone can go round with a rubbish bag and collect the dirty plates. This saves room in the kitchen, washing-up and a lot of work and time (admittedly it’s not very sustainable but at least the paper is recyclable).