Friday, 30 December 2011

Christmas 2011 - a Nigella affair

Christmas a time for over indulgence, and the time between Christmas and New Year ideal for a few posthumous recipes...

A first this year for me as I brined my turkey prior to cooking it. I made a brine mixture of salt, sugar, thyme, sage, lemons, bay leaves and peppercorns and there would have been rosemary in there if
a) I could have bought some and b) I hadn't over pruned the rosemary in the garden
to a mere twig! However I was happy with my little fragrant concoction minus the rosemary.

Brining is quite easy really, the hardest bit is finding a vessel large enough to hold the brine and a large bird. You submerge your bird then your it somewhere cool in the brine (I added a lot of ice to it too) for at least 24 hrs, you can try for longer but I was a first timer and did not want to risk an overbrined bird. My turkey was free range and bought from my local fishmongers who also supplies the best poultry.
Once the turkey has done its brining thing, its time for a quick shower in cold running water, (that's the turkey not me) a dry off with kitchen towel/paper and leaving it to come up to room temperate before roasting, and doing any of that pre roasting attention.

I don't stuff mine as such but I do cover with bacon and fill the cavity with apple and onions and make a foil covering for it.

There is a turkey brining recipe in Nigella (Lawson's) Christmas book, which I have had for years. If you bought me this once as a Christmas gift please put your hand up I'm sure one of you did?

I also made Nigella's 'ham in coca cola' recipe, which has become a tradtion in this household over the past years (I keep trying to wean them off it but I they won't be budged!). Its a lovely recipe and no bother at all to make, but you will have to go to the Nigella website for it as it does not feature in this book.

And...yes there is more...I made Nigella's rocky road as one of the sweets for a lunch one day, but turned it into a festive Christmas wreath. Nigella adorns square slabs of hers with plastic bambi's. trees, icing sugar and such. Mine was adorned with red and green smarties and edible disco Christmas glitter and the wreath shape idea came from Lynne Hill.

The wreath was a hit and tasted very good, well...ask yourself... how can you make 400g of chocolate, plus additional yummy sundries such as marshmallows, hazelnuts, golden syrup, butter, fruit and biscuits taste bad?

I'm entering this post in Sarah at Maison Cupcake's
Forever Nigella blogging event...the last one for this year in this format...
and unbelievably yes I need new kitchen scales!

You can see the other fabulous entries below...


  1. Sounds like a lovely Nigella feast. Love the chocolate wreath - think I'll steal that for next year :) best wishes for the new year!!

  2. Nice work my friend. Looks like you had a bumper Christmas! I've often thought of brining but am not brave enough. I will try it. Did it make a huge difference? Happy New Year to you and yours xxx

  3. Wow - that wreath is brilliant. Great idea. And I like the black and white pics too ;0)

  4. Thanks for the comments everyone, Dom if I brine again and I'm sure I will I would do it for longer, say 48 hours. On this occasion the turkey was so good in itself it was hard to tell how much the brining had affected it.

    Happy New Year everyone! x

  5. Right, that's decided it for me. I'm trying Nigella's Coke Ham next year. Think you might love her as much as I do!!

  6. Happy Hogmanay, Happy New Year, Bonne année et bonne santé!

  7. Your writing really does amuse me and makes me smile. I also love the wreath I will have to treasure that for next year . Happy 2012

  8. A belated reply but finally I am getting around to all the FN entries - thank you so much for taking part.

    I have been meaning to brine my turkey for the past couple of years but not got around to it yet. This year though I did roast my turkey the Nigella way, i.e. higher temperature, shorter time and it was the BEST turkey we'd ever had. We always buy the turkeys from the same butcher so I am convinced her method made all the difference.

    I am especially impressed with your rocky road wreath, so much so that I have just declared you as the WINNER of Forever Nigella 10. Do email me at sarah AT maisoncupcake DOT com to let me know your address. Happy New Year!
    Sarah x

  9. Congratulations!!

  10. LOVE your Christmas rocky road wreath, what a great idea! This is my son's favourite ever Nigella recipe and we always make it at Christmas time..this book is one of my all time favorites x


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Susan x