Succulent turkey to show-stopping desserts — cook a fuss-free feast this Christmas

EEK, only a few days to go until the big one!

Wondering how to prep and cook your turkey? Don’t panic – this week’s recipe takes you through every bit of prep to ensure you end up with a juicy and tasty centrepiece on Christmas Day.

I’ve also got a foolproof recipe for sage and chestnut stuffing – whether you prefer yours cooked in the turkey or separately, you’re covered.

And last up, for those of you who fancy an alternative to Christmas pudding, I’ve got some show-stopping desserts to fill you up over the holiday period.

Next week I’ll bring you more great recipes to see you nicely into the new year. Until then, merry Christmas, batchers. You’ve got this!

Christmas turkey

Serves: depends on size
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: depends on size


  • 1 turkey
  • 2 x 200-300g packets streaky bacon
  • 1 portion stuffing (below)
  • Chipolata sausages (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas mark 3. Get your turkey and, if necessary, take out giblets and neck.
  2. If using the sausages, put them in a roasting pan. These cook in the fat and so are soft. Next, add your turkey to the pan. Fill each end with stuffing and use a cocktail stick to seal the back end.
  3. Next, cover the legs and skin with streaky bacon, and season generously.
  4. Finally, put tin foil over each leg, add a splash of water, cover the pan with a lid or tin foil and put it in the oven. For turkeys under 4kg, cook for 20 minutes per kilogram, plus 70 minutes. For turkeys over 4kg, cook for 20 minutes per kilogram, plus 90 minutes.
  5. In advance: You can prep the turkey a few days in advance and just don’t add the splash of water until you are going to cook it. Put it in the fridge once it has been prepped.
  6. On the day: You can cook your turkey on Christmas morning then keep covered with foil, while you use the rest of the oven space to cook everything else.

Wild sage and chestnut stuffing

Serves: 4-6
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: based on turkey cooking time


  • 340g sausage meat
  • 1 x 225g packet sage and onion stuffing
  • 60ml fresh orange juice
  • 60g chopped chestnuts (or chopped cranberries if you prefer)


  1. Put the sausage meat into a bowl, add the sage and onion stuffing mix, the orange juice and the chopped chestnuts or cranberries.
  2. Knead everything together until all mixed through, adding salt and pepper at this stage if you wish.
  3. Ready to freeze: Put the large ball of mixture into a labelled sealed freezer bag and squash until flat. Remember, if it’s flat, it takes up less space in your freezer and defrosts much quicker.
  4. Ready to eat: Simply defrost and stuff the mixture into your turkey. Follow the guidelines for cooking the turkey and the stuffing will cook with it. Alternatively, if you want to cook your stuffing separately to the turkey, form into a loaf shape on a baking tray and place in the oven for 40 minutes at 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

Chocolate roulade

Serves: 6-8
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 12 minutes


  • Cheat’s chocolate cake mix (I use Betty Crocker’s). The ingredients below are for the cake mix. Consult the back of your packet for exact measurements as they may change for a different brand.
  • 3 eggs
  • vegetable oil
  • water
  • For the filling
  • 410g tin black cherry pie filling
  • 240ml double cream


  1. Put all of the ingredients needed for the cake mix in a bowl and whisk together until light and fluffy.
  2. Next line your tray (roughly a 23 x 33cm tin is good) with some baking parchment, and make some hospital corners (i.e. snip with scissors and fold over the corner of the tray).
  3. Put ¾ cake mix on the tray, spread evenly along the tin. (The remaining ¼ of the mixture can be saved to make some buns with the kids.)
  4. Bake in the oven at 180C for approx 12 minutes. Because you have spread the mixture so thinly it will cook much quicker than a regular cake. While the cake is baking, you can whip your double cream in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy using an electric whisk or hand whisk.
  5. Remove cake from the oven and leave to cool.
  6. Spread some cling film onto your counter top in preparation for rolling your roulade.
  7. Put the baked cake upside down on the cling film and pull off the parchment as carefully as possible.
  8. Now add the cream in a layer, then the tin of pie filling on top. Spread out evenly. Now to roll it, put your hands under the cling film and roll as tightly as possible, pulling back the cling film as you go so it does not get stuck in the dessert.
  9. Once you have rolled, pull the cling film over the roulade to hold it in place.
  10. Wrap and put in the freezer.
  11. Ready to eat: When you want to use this, take it out of the freezer and gently remove the cling film, put it on a serving plate and allow it to defrost, it will take around 3 hours to defrost. Then simply slice and serve.

Chocolate cheesecake

Serves: 6-8
Prep time: 5 minutes
Setting time: overnight


  • 200g Crunchy Nut cornflakes
  • 500g chocolate spread
  • 360g of cream cheese


  1. Put cornflakes in a bowl and add 125g of the chocolate spread. Mix this all together – this is going to be the base of the cheesecake.
  2. Once mixed together, add the mixture to a round flan tin with a removable base (about 11 inch diameter). Pat it down to make sure that the base of the tin is all covered with the mixture and put this in the fridge to set while you prepare the topping.
  3. Put the rest of the chocolate spread in a bowl with the cream cheese, mix together with a spoon until no white of the cream cheese is showing.
  4. Take the set base from the fridge and add the topping, spreading it out neatly over the base. This cheesecake now has to go on a tray in the freezer for 24 hrs until set.
  5. Ready to eat: Remove 20 minutes before needed, best served very cold.

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