28.11.11

Turkey: How Do You Cook Yours?

As previously mentioned, when I was little cooking the turkey always seemed like such a mammoth task for my mum in particular.
4 years ago my mum then informed me of a new, almost stress free, way of cooking turkey.
She'd seen Phil Vickery (on This Morning I expect) share his way of cooking his Christmas Day Turkey and said it was genius and really quick.
I didn't quite believe her.
Approximately 2/3 hours cooking and then its done? How could this be? How can it go from taking hours to cook this sometimes beast of a bird to just 2/3 hours?
I had to try it.
My husband wasn't so sure but once I'd convinced him to at least give it a try we went for it.
And success!!

Every year we now cook our Turkey "The Phil Vickery Way" (we make some adjustments in that we don't use bay leaves or add stuffing but I believe the key to a good recipe is room to adjust it to suit your families needs and likes)
Our Turkey is ordered from the Butchers (after our Fresh Free Range Delight last year long are the days of hunting the perfect frozen Turkey from Supermarkets-fresh if we were lucky!) so I have dug out this recipe from my recipe folder in preparation for the big day!
I use a large foil tin, the ones which only seem available in the supermarkets around this time of year, as its perfect when boiling and adding the double foil covers.

Taken from his website this is the way you SHOULD be cooking your turkey this year...and every year!!

Serves
8-10 adults
Preparation time: 25 minutes.
Cooking time: 2½ hours, approx

1 x 5 kg just under 12lb, Bronze turkey, with giblets and the wish bone removed.

2 large carrots, peeled
2 large onion, peeled
6 sticks of celery
leek        
2 bay leaves

2 chicken stock cubes
½ bottle dry white wine
2 pints cold water
salt and freshly ground black pepper
55g melted butter
2 tbsp roughly cornflour
4-6 tbsp cold water

Methods/steps
Pre heat the oven to 200°C gas 6.
First job is to remove the giblets from the bird, and if you are using a frozen bird then make sure that it is fully defrosted.
Season the bird well inside and out well with salt and pepper and pack the stuffing into the body cavity.(see recipe)
Tie the legs and the Parsons nose together with a piece of string and secure well, so the stuffing is held inside the bird.
Chop all the vegetables into large chunks and place in the bottom of a large baking tray place the turkey on top, the tray should be large enough so the bird has at least 2 inches gap around.
Pour in the white wine, cold water and chicken stock cube, and place the whole tray on to the stove.
Bring to the boil and cover tightly with two layers of foil and pop into a preheated oven.
cook the bird for about 2 hours, approximately.
To check if the bird is cooked, remove from the oven carefully as there will be a lot of stock, wine and turkey juices.
Remove the foil and insert a knife where the thigh attaches itself to the body of the bird, the juices should run clear. If not, then cover again with foil and cook for a further 20 minutes.
When the bird is cooked, remove from the oven, turn the oven up to 230 degrees C, Gas 8, brush with the melted butter and cook until browned, about 15 minutes.
When nicely browned, remove from the oven and carefully, tip off all the stock and keep warm.
Wrap the turkey in foil to keep warm, it will keep perfectly wrapped for 1 hour.
Re boil the stock and juices, you may need to add a little more water in a saucepan and skim well.
Mix the cornflour and water together and thicken the bubbling stock, don’t go mad.
Carve the bird the flesh will be soft and juicy, and serve the gravy and stuffing separately.
Additional Tips
The above recipe was for a 5kg bird.
For a 8kg bird I would steam it for 2 hours and 30-45 minutes,and then brown it in the same way.
For a 10-12kg bird I would steam it for 3 hours and 45 minutes, and then brown it in the same way.
Please remember that times will depend on each individual oven, but the most important thing is that you seal the turkey well (use a tin with a lip) with foil so that you steam the bird.

Turkey, The Phil Vickery Way! www.vickery.tv
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7.11.11

Nanny X's Comforting Turkey Soup

Every Christmas my nan (and granddad when he was alive) would come to our house for dinner.
My mum would always hand my nan a bowl containing the Turkey Carcass and some meat.
A couple of days later the bowl would be returned filled with a thick homemade soup. Mmmmm. It was always the best part about Christmas, food wise, when I was little.
It was always such a warming thick soup. Great with a slice or two of bread. Perfect for cold winter days and nights.

When I moved out of home it was quite a quick decision. My fiance (now husband) had got himself a job in Bedfordshire. I didn't want a long distance relationship and it was a case of let me move with you or we split up. Delighted at the fact he chose for me to move with him, once my A Levels were done, he moved first, I had to set about learning how to do certain household jobs. I could already cook but wanted to learn how to make this beautiful soup.
My mum also made it and gave me the recipe. Its so simple and a great way to use up leftovers from a Sunday Roast or from Christmas Dinner.
Its now part of my Christmas routine and Boxing Day morning is spent making a batch of soup.
Three years ago my nan lost her second daughter in the March and had a pretty tough time, understandably, and became a bit frail. We saw her at Christmas and on Boxing Day I sent her home with a bowl of Turkey Soup. I felt so good about myself, knowing I was giving my nanny a lovely comforting meal, which would fill her up and put a smile on her face.
Suitable for a snack, lunch, dinner or supper. Roast dinner-Soup Style!

What You'll Need

Chicken or Turkey Carcuss (with tiny bits of meat left on if poss)
1 or 2 stock cubes (chicken or vegetable)
Vegetables (leftovers or whatever veg is in your cupboard-for this batch I am using potatoes, peas, sweet potatoes, carrots. I've even added yorkshire puddings before)

Put your carcass into a large saucepan (break it up to fit it in)
Fill with water until the carcass is covered or almost covered.
Boil for 20-30 minutes, until the water has changed to a beigy colour and the meat is falling from the bone.
Then either, *remove the bones and place in a bowl or another saucepan to make another batch *or sieve the stock into another saucepan and start a new batch in the original saucepan.
Then add your stock cube and vegetables to the stock. If using leftovers then boil for 15-20 minutes. If using fresh vegetables then boil until the potatoes are cooked.
Once this is done then mash the potatoes and vegetables or whizz in a food processor until you are happy with the consistency.
Serve with thick bread.

You'll be surprised at how much meat falls off the bone. Don't throw this away. Save as much as you can and add it to the soup.

To make the soup thicker add more potatoes, add more water to make it thinner. I tend to make a thick batch to begin with as I like my soup really thick. I then add water to my husbands batch as I cook it to make it thinner (as he likes it).

For an alternative to bread why not dip in some Yorkshire Puddings.

When boiling the carcass for a second time you'll need to boil it for a little longer and possibly need to add an extra stock cube.

I find I can make 2-3 batches from one Large Chicken carcass.
Easy to freeze and reheat when needed.
Sorry for lack of photos but still laptopless and having to using my Blackberry.
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1.11.11

The Jade Goody Effect

I've mentioned before and am not ashamed to admit that I was (and still am, despite her no longer being with us) a Jade Goody fan.

I'll never forget the images of her so poorly during her tough battle with Cervical Cancer.

I was pregnant at the time with Charles.
It was hard to know that she would be leaving behind two boys, especially a I was due to welcome my first into the world soon.

I remember the moment my husband came into the bedroom on Mothers Day 2009 and told me that she'd lost her fight. I cried all day.
The day of her funeral, I cried all day. My husband ended up taking me out for lunch when he got in from work that morning and tried to keep me out of the house for the remainder of the afternoon so I didn't watch the tv footage of her funeral.

Last year I received my letter inviting me for a Cervical Screening Examination. I was, at the time, going through an abnormal bleed which turned out to be a chemical pregnancy but my plan was to have the examination once the bleeding had settled down and my periods were back to normal. This was also agreed with a doctor.

I then fell pregnant with Harry so didn't get round to booking my appointment and having the examination.
And I will be honest, I was quietly relieved.
I don't understand though why we are so self-conscious and shy about "that area" of our bodies.
Why do we treat it any differently to our hands? Knees? Feet?
Since breastfeeding I feel more comfortable showing my breasts to a doctor if I had a problem but still feel tense and anxious about them giving me a vaginal examination.

I'm incredibly self-conscious about "that area". Especially after having two children, and especially as it was only recently that I gave birth.

Last week I received a letter.
It was an invite to a Cervical Screening Examination.
I immediately went all funny and my mind was telling me not to pick up the phone and book an appointment. Just rip up the letter and ignore it.
But I couldn't.
One name popped into my head, Jade Goody, and that was it. I had to book it.
I figured I had to book it there and then before I changed my mind and put it off.

"Next Wednesday at 9:50?"
"Yes, ok. I'm free."
I felt an odd weight lifted from my shoulders yet a sick feeling.
The last time I was examined "down there" was when Harry was born and it brings back awful memories for me due to the trauma I suffered.
Thankfully I know that on the system at my doctors surgery they have noted that I had a traumatic birth so I hope the nurse is aware of this and isn't so harsh when I cry and tense up.

When I was 21 I asked my surgery if I could have a smear test and was told no, because the age in England for smears is 25+.
I honestly think this is disgusting.

If it wasn't for Jade Goody though I doubt I'd of seen the appointment as terribly necessary. Especially as my previous smear test request was brushed off and made it feel as though it wasn't important.

With two young boys now and not being that much younger than Jade was I know how important it is to get seen, to get tested and to seek help when there is an abnormality.
Thankfully this is just a routine test and not due to any abnormalities I have sensed or am worried about.
Before go into the room tomorrow I will think of Jade, her boys and my boys and know that this 15 minutes of discomfort and embarressment will be totally worth it.

If only they supplied gas and air to make it a little bit easier.....
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