QUICK TIPS FOR A TASTY ROAST
- When seasoning beef, why not try adding a bit of brown sugar? It'll enhance the flavour and turn your meat golden-brown.
- When roasting a joint, sit it on chopped veg (we call this a vegetable trivet). Add a little bit of water, to help keep the meat moist and juicy, and you'll have the makings of a really good stock.
- Take the legs off your turkey before cooking the joint, as they need less time in the oven. Then put the legs and the joint back together when you serve.
- When cooking gammon, you can never soak it for too long. I put mine in water overnight to take out the salt and leave in the flavour.
- Here's the proper way to sharpen a carving knife. First, don't sharpen both sides or you'll probably blunt it. The trick is, if you're right-handed, sharpen the right-hand side; and vice versa if you're left-handed.
- For really light and fluffy Yorkshires, serve them up last. Don't leave them hanging around to get cold.
- Cook Yorkshires in small batches for the best results (I cook mine in fours).
- When heating oil for Yorkshires, it needs to be smoking hot. Once you see a blue haze above the oil, you know it's ready. Fill the tray as quick as you can and get it back in the oven.
- For the smoothest mash, dig out the old ricer from the back of the cupboard. If you don't have one, push your mashed-up potatoes through a sieve.
- For great taste, colour and flavour with veg, steaming is the only way to go.
- To make sprouts more appealing to kids, why not chop or shred them, then fry them with something else? I like to add bits of bacon and onion or peas and mint.
- The tastiest gravy is made using the juices from the roasting pan. Remember, colour is flavour, so don't be shy about scraping in those dark burned-in bits.
- For a great way to use up those last bits of condiments, chuck things like apple sauce, horseradish or mint sauce into the gravy. But with beef, I must suggest wholegrain mustard.
- Here's a trick for removing the fat from your gravy. If you're using stock from the roasting pan, put some ice in a colander and pour the stock over it. The fat will stick to the ice.
- Stuffing will soak up a lot of water (up to three times its own size). At first it'll look drowned, but leave it in the fridge and you'll soon see it absorb the liquid.
- Add a knob of butter to your stuffing for extra crunchiness.
- If you're using mint jelly, remember it's a concentrated sauce so add extra vinegar for more punch.
- To give your bread sauce a little more flavour, try adding a bay leaf or cloves.
- If you're using cooking apples to make sauce for your roast pork, add sugar to take the edge off the tartness. If you're using your normal eating apples, they're already sweet; so you won't need to slam in the sugar.
- For custard, you're best off using what we call a bain-marie, whether you're making it from scratch or using a powder mix. Get a pan of boiling water on, pop a heatproof glass dish over the top and pour in your custard. It'll heat up more gently and you'll get a lovely smooth, creamy texture.