The key is lots of prep and giving your bird a good rest

Cranberry sauce
Cranberry sauce
Nadia Sawalha and Kaye Adams

Food and drink: Even the worst disaster chefs can learn to cook say Nadia Sawalha and Kaye Adams

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I know many people worry about cooking the Christmas lunch, probably the most important meal of the year.

So I thought I’d help with a few tips along with a recipe to go with your turkey.

jpwm-20-12-14-006 cranberry sauce food pix

jpwm-20-12-14-006 cranberry sauce food pix

Firstly get your butcher to take the legs off the turkey and bone and roll them so you can cook them individually with the crown.

Cooking the crown and legs separately and basting them with the cooking juices ensures they stay moist.

Once the turkey is cooked let it rest for at least 20 minutes letting the juices in the meat settle. This results in a much tender bird.

While this is happening now is the time to sort out your vegetables and gravy.

Prepare the vegetables the day before by blanching them in boiling water until three-quarters cooked.

Now plunge them put into iced water to chill and stop them cooking.

Drain and store in the fridge until the big day when all you do is put them back into boiling water for a few minutes before serving.

Now for the best roast potatoes.

Boil them until half-cooked and drain in a colander. Now give them a vigorous shake to make the edges go fluffy.

Make sure you use hot fat to roast them and roll the potatoes around in it before putting them into the oven.

Christmas Day is a family day so make sure you get everyone involved especially when it comes to getting everything to the table while it’s still hot.

And obviously, don’t forget the cranberry sauce which you can make the day before.

To find out more about Lawrence’s restaurant Fat Olives, visit or call 01243 377914.

Cranberry sauce


1 onion

200g fresh cranberries

150g sugar

2 clementines

Tablespoon white wine vinegar

Knob of butter


1. Finely chop the onion and cook in the butter on a low heat until soft.

2. Zest and juice the clementines into the pan.

3 Add the sugar and the white wine vinegar.

4 Heat until the sugar is dissolved.

5. Add the cranberries and cook for 10 minutes.

6. Cool and store in the fridge.

7. Serve with your turkey.