WE'RE not professional chefs by any stretch of the imagination – but sometimes it feels like we have to be in order to make it through Christmas Day.
After all, the stakes don't get any higher than serving up a turkey and all the trimmings to all your loved ones.
Well if you've ever stressed about whether your bird is too dry or if your gravy is up to scratch, then Michelin-star chef Simon – who works for Mallory Court Country House Hotel and Spa in Leamington Spa – is here to help.
Speaking to Birmingham Live, the expert shared his five tips for prepping the perfect spread on Christmas Day.
And let's just say, we're feeling VERY smug that we've never brined the turkey beforehand.
Don't bother to brine
Although we always thought was some kind of cooking cardinal sin, Simon insisted that brining doesn't make too much of a difference to the taste of the turkey.
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He said: "Brining is fine but can be a faff. I mean what container do you have at home which is big enough to brine in – the bin?!"
Instead, the chef pops half a pack of butter underneath the skin of each breast to stop it becoming too dry.
Add WINE to the gravy
There's no denying that gravy is what really ties Christmas dinner together – and Simon insists the best kind is prepped the day before.
He explained: "Chop the bones small and roast, add some onion, thyme, garlic and add a sprinkle of plain flour – hopefully to resemble the snow outside – to help thicken. Roast again until it has all browned.
"Remove any excess fat, add some dry white wine, reduce by half and then cover with water and cook for 2-3 hours. Strain off and taste."
If it needs thickening up, don't be afraid to add gravy granules or a stock cube for an extra punch of flavour.
Once you're happy with the taste, leave overnight in the fridge and remove the fat the following day.
Before serving up, the chef recommends adding another glass of wine and some juices from the finished turkey to intensify the flavour.
Perfect roast potatoes WITHOUT olive oil
When making roasties, we normally start with covering the tray in olive oil – but Simon says this is where we've been going wrong the whole time.
He instructed: "Boil the potatoes first, to the point they are nearly falling apart.
"Let them dry and place in a hot tray with plenty of fat, whether this be veg oil or duck fat (do NOT use olive oil as this is just a waste of money), turning regularly for even cooking and crunch."
Prep your vegetables the night before
Peeling the vegetables is the one thing we usually get the kids to do on Christmas morning.
However, Simon claims your vegetables are better prepared the night before as it'll help with timings on the day.
He recommended: "Prep the night before and cook in advance on the morning, stopping the cooking process by plunging in ice-cold water and re-heating when required."
Ditch the goose
Although digging into a turkey is the norm on Christmas, some families opt for a goose instead.
Well if you're tempted, Simon would advise against it.
He added: "The yield is poor and the meat can be dry if overcooked.
"Stick to turkey and if there are only a few of you, ask for a posh chicken like Poulet de Bresse, but be prepared to reach deep into your purse."
For more food tips, you’ve been cooking your Christmas ham all wrong – this is the £2 secret to making it delicious.
And this chef shares easy way to make sure your turkey is perfectly cooked this Christmas – and tastes dreamy too.
Plus are you stressed about prepping your Christmas dinner? Try this ‘life changing’ timing chart to ensure everything goes to plan
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