It's not long until families across the city will be coming together and sitting down to enjoy a delicious Christmas dinner. With many seeing it as the most important meal of the year, it can be a stressful time, which is why two Leopold Square head chefs have issued their top tips for cooking a tip top festive meal.
Both Adam Salim, Head Chef at Leopold Hotel, and Sanjeev Biswakarma, Head Chef at The Botanist, said planning and preparation are the most important aspects so those tasked with the cooking don't spend all day in the kitchen.
With turkey being the most popular choice, Chef Biswakarma has advice to get it right: "No Christmas is complete without a well-prepared roast turkey and, to achieve that, ensure you choose the right size for your oven – even if you're serving a different meat, this is still something to consider. As turkey is very dry, to keep it moist and make it a lot tastier, pre-marinate it overnight, then baste with the marinade during roasting."
"I find working in a large hotel kitchen means you have lots of everything, whereas at home you don't, so my top tip is to draw up a hob plan of where the trimmings will be cooked," said Chef Salim. He added: "This allows you to know exactly where each pot and pan is going. I find it easier to put a strategy in place with, for example, the carrots at the back, as you can afford to take your eyes off them while they boil, whereas you want to keep the gravy at the front so you can regularly stir it."
Chef Biswakarma added: "Christmas is all about organising and pre-planning. The key is to have the right equipment and utensils for the right dishes. It saves a lot of time and helps to cook dishes perfectly."
The last thing you want to be doing after enjoying a wonderful Christmas meal is to spend time washing-up, so Chef Salim suggests using disposable and recyclable trays. He commented: "At home we don't have the infamous 'pot washer' unlike at Leopold Hotel, so I strongly recommend using disposable foil tins for cooking your turkey and all your trimmings. There won't be any difference in flavour, but it really will save on the washing up; you want to be cutting as many corners as you can to ensure whoever cooks gets to enjoy the festivities of the day."
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