Recipes for the perfect Christmas family feast

Bûche de Noël


Roast turkey with chestnut stuffing

Adding a rustic, nutty chestnut stuffing to your turkey will really make it the star of your Christmas meal. For a vegetarian option why not make a chestnut and mushroom stuffing?


What you need:

For the stuffing

150ml Madeira or white wine

20g pack dried porcini mushrooms

2 onion, halved and sliced

25g butter, plus extra

15g pack thyme, use the leaves and reserve the stalks

2 x 454g packs Cumberland sausages, skins removed

200g pack whole cooked chestnut

zest 1 lemon (halve and reserve the rest to use for the turkey)

15g pack flat-leaf parsley, chopped

85g fresh breadcrumb

10 rashers streaky bacon


For the turkey

1 onion, quartered

4½ -5.6kg/10-12lb bronze turkey, giblets removed (to use in stock)

85g soft butter

1 whole nutmeg

10 rashers streaky bacon

125ml glass Madeira or white wine

watercress sprigs, to garnish



First make the stuffing. Pour the Madeira or wine into a bowl, then crumble in the mushrooms. Fry the onions in the butter for 10 mins, until golden. Cool, then mix with the thyme leaves, the mushrooms and their soaking liquid, and all remaining ingredients, apart from 8 of the chestnuts and the bacon. Season well.

Set aside half of the stuffing. Line a greased 500g loaf tin with bacon. Pack the rest of the stuffing into the tin, then bring the rashers round over the top and secure in place with cocktail sticks. Use the reserved chestnuts to fill the spaces where the bacon meets. Chill until ready to cook. This will keep in the fridge uncooked for 2 days or can be frozen for up to a month.

Prepare the turkey. The night before, put the onion quarters, reserved lemon halves and thyme sprigs in the cavity between the legs. Pack the reserved stuffing into the neck end. Secure the neck skin with skewers and tie the legs together. Weigh the turkey in order to help you calculate the cooking time. The latest advice from the British Turkey Information Service is that if the turkey is over 4kg, calculate 20 mins per kg + 90 mins. If the bird is under 4kg, calculate 20 mins per kg + 70 mins.

Put a large sheet of extra-wide foil in a large roasting tin and put the turkey on top. Smear the breast with the butter, then grate over half of the nutmeg and season well. Cover with bacon, then pour over the glass of Madeira or wine. Seal the foil well to make a parcel. Chill overnight.

Next day roast it on a high temperature for approximately 15 minutes at 190C in order to sear the meat before cooking it long and low at approximately 170C. Remember to refer to the British Turkey Information Service calculations so you know how long to leave your particular sized bird in the oven for.

Once it is cooked and the juices run clear leave your bird to rest for a minimum of 20 minutes before carving as this will help to retain the juices, delivering a rich, delicious flavour.



Bûche de Noël

Bûche de Noël


What you need:

For the butter cream

70g caster sugar

50ml water

3 egg yolks

30ml water

240g unsalted butter

30g dark rum

200g candied chestnuts


For the sponge biscuit (Genoise)

4 egg whites

60g caster sugar

4 egg yolks

60g plain flour

15g unsalted butter, melted


For the soaking syrup

40g caster sugar

40ml water

25ml dark rum



For the sponge biscuit

Pre heat the oven to 180?C. In a mixing machine on full speed, whip the egg whites gradually adding the sugar until they reach soft peaks. Reduce the speed to medium and whisk in the egg yolks. Remove the bowl from the machine and sieve in half the flour and with a spatula gently into the whipped egg whites. Repeat for the remaining flour trying to keep as much air as possible in the mixture. Pour in the melted butter and mix. Line your pastry tray with silicone paper, place a little of the mixture under each corner of the paper to secure it to the tray and pour in the mixture. Using a small palette knife, spread to 1cm thickness. Cook in the pre-heated oven for 10 minutes, until a light golden colour is reached and it springs back to the touch. Remove from the oven and leave on a wire rack to cool.

For the butter cream

In a small saucepan bring the sugar and the 50ml of water to 121?C. Using a whisking machine, whisk the yolks and the 30ml of water for 5 minutes on full speed until light and aerated. Turn down to a medium speed and pour the sugar syrup halfway down on the side of the bowl making sure it is away from the whisk otherwise it will simply spray the hot sugar syrup around the bowl rather than onto the egg yolks. This hot sugar syrup will partially cook the egg yolks giving you a silky, stable sabayon. Reduce the speed to medium and the machine for 3 minutes to allow the mixture to cool to around 25?C. On a slow speed add the rum then gradually add the soft, room temperature butter. Whisk on full speed for 3 minutes to generate a little more lightness and volume. At this stage you can add the chopped Chestnuts. Reserve one third for filling the Buche and the rest will be for decoration.

To build the bûche

In a small saucepan bring the sugar and water to the boil, take off the heat and add the rum. Using a pastry brush, evenly soak the sponge. Place the sponge upside down onto a clean tea towel and peel away the greaseproof paper. Spread one third of the butter cream over the soaked sponge, then roll the sponge into a tight roll 30cm long; start by folding over the top edge towards you by about 1cm then use this to roll the log up making sure that it is tight all the way through. Wrap the log into a cylinder shape and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Unwrap the Buche and place it on a serving dish or cake board. Carefully trim each end to give you a straight side. Evenly spread the remaining butter cream all over and using a fork, mark the cream to give the impression of a log. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

To serve

Dust with a little cocoa powder, Slice the end off the Buche and place it in the middle on top so you can see the inside of the Buche to give a sawn off log effect. Garnish with a few chocolate flakes by scraping your knife down the length of your chocolate bar and a few whole sweetened chestnuts.


Share this article

Recommended articles


Please enter a search term below.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter