- a turkey, as big as possible, as the whole point of Christmas is to have as many people as you can fit around the table.
- if you want to give the turkey a bath you need : a big (bigger than the turkey) bucket full of water, two bay leaves, two mandarines, an onion, two oranges, one lemon, a big handful of parsley, a glass of port, a teaspoon of nutmeg, two cinnamon sticks a handful of coarse salt and a handful of sugar.
- 5 (big) cooking apples (peeled and quartered)
- two handfuls of raisins
- a handful of sultanas
- a handful of dried currants
- three handfuls of dried apricots
- 2 handfuls of dried figs
- three onions ( peeled and quartered)
- two handful of pine nuts
- 6 bay leaves
- 110 gr of butter (room temperature)
- a glass and a half of port
I normally give the turkey a 'bath' the night before the day I cook it. To be perfectly honest, I am not sure it makes any difference to the taste, but it sort of gets everybody into the Christmas mood and the children, especially the little ones, love to throw the ingredients into the bucket. If you want to do this just get the turkey into the bucket, cover it with water and pour all the ingredients (cut the onion, orange and lemon in quarters and squeeze them a bit as you are getting them into the bucket) into it. Leave the bucket (covered with a lid) in a cold place. One of my little nieces is absolutely convinced she has seen the turkey swim and actually move its legs in this bath - there you have the magic of Christmas!
The following day take the turkey our of the bath and pat dry it. Put it on a roasting tray (if you want a really moist turley then roast it in a clay roasting tray, as clay retains the water much better than metal trays). Salt the turley inside the cavities. Mix the dried fruit, apples, onions and pine nuts and stuff the turkey with them ( both the front and rear cavities). Put your hands between the breasts and the skin so that the skin becomes loose and massage the breasts (I know, just do not think about it!) with 80 gr of butter. Finally put the three bay leaves between each breast and the skin. Salt the turkey all around and cover with the rest of the butter. Put two glasses of water in the bottom of the tray together with the port. If you have any remaining stuffing add it to the roasting tray.
I do 50 minutes per kilo at 200 degrees and cover the turkey with foil after 50 minutes and then I uncover it for the last 20 minutes. I also let it rest for 20-30 minutes covered with foil before eating it. Eat it with roast potatoes and carrots or any other vegetable you like (as you may have gathered I detest brussels sprouts). It is a massive success year after year.