I am a happily married woman. Normally if a man I’d never met before, asked me to come to London, so that he could cook my lunch and ‘teach me a few things’, I’d say no of course not!
But when it’s Marco Pierre White and he’s offering to teach you how he makes Christmas dinner for his family…..well you kind of have to say yes 🙂
I joined a small group of bloggers at Marco’s restaurant at Chelsea Football Club. The day, organised by Lean On Turkey started (as all good days do) with pastries and tea and a good gossip. The tables were dressed beautifully with candles and crackers. Unfortunately I couldn’t take a photograph of it unspoilt as my mobile had run out of battery and as per usual, I’d left my charger at home. Thankfully one of my fellow bloggers had brought a spare for me 🙂 so a little while later I was a fully functioning paparazzi again! But here is the table with our delicious desert of toffee pudding.
The crackers were decorated with beautiful glass beads and as I’m sure you’d all expect of me, I took home as many of them as I could to make ‘something’. I’ll let you know how that goes.
When Marco appeared from his kitchen, I was really shocked at how tall he was! He’s all man and hair!!! He invited us into his kitchen and the lessons began.
Marco is famously known as the rock and roll chef. He doesn’t suffer fools and some people are a bit frightened of him, so I was a little nervous. Let me tell you, his TV persona is real!! When he spoke, we all shut up! There was something of a school master about him and although he spoke with a soft (there are ladies in the room) sort of voice, you could tell there was a bellow in there waiting to come out.
We were shown how Marco makes Christmas dinner at his house. No fussing, no faffing, no restaurant menu speak, just really good food for the family at Christmas. We watched and listened as he cooked a turkey, stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce. I’ll share the recipes with you in a different post so that you can follow them easily but let me tell you, there were some surprises! Frozen cranberries, Paxo stuffing and Knorr stock all featured!
Here are Marco’s top tips
- If the crown fits: The best way to cook a turkey is to separate the thighs and cook them separately and remove the wish bone (or ask your butcher to do so). This makes for easier cooking and carving. Marco also recommends cooking a bird no larger than 10-12lb in a domestic oven.
- It’s all gravy: Gravy matters. A good gravy can lift a whole meal. Roast everything you remove from the turkey in a large dish with some onions (or ask your butcher for some bones). You can do this the day before and then boil the roasted ‘stuff’ in some stock on Christmas Day.
- Keep it simple: Some short cuts actually work better. Frozen cranberries work perfectly well and cranberry sauce can be made even weeks ahead of time and kept in a sealed container in the fridge.
- If it aint broke, don’t fix it: Marco uses Paxo stuffing at home, with the addition of a little fresh sausage meat and chopped onions. It’s ok like convenience products.
- Don’t overdo it: Feeding your family undercooked poultry may be bad for their health but overcooked poultry is almost as bad :-S Cook by the temperature of the meat and not the length of time it has been in the oven.
- Buy a meat probe: Apparently this is imperative for the domestic cook.
It was delicious! Absolutely everything tasted incredible, even the cranberry sauce (and I don’t even LIKE cranberry sauce) and they served the whole lot with a liberal amount of wine ;-P
By the end of the day we were a rather giddy group of women indeed and all very pleased to have learnt that all you need to be a great chef is confidence, a meat probe and a helper called Roger.
This is Roger 🙂
Afterwards we were able to chat with Marco and have books signed if we wanted.
These are not my books.
They are my friend Kristian’s. He was very conflicted when he heard about my invite as Kristian is a chef and Marco is his hero. He was pleased for me and hated me in equal measure, but I softened the blow by having his books signed 🙂 He wanted something cheeky written in them….
Marco cracked an elusive smile when writing…..
…but wrote something strong and meaningful to a fellow chef instead haha!
I had a wonderful time and hope to visit Marco’s restaurant again very soon.
PS. I left with a meat probe to take home….but no Roger to check on the turkey 🙁
*I was compensated for attending this event, but all images and opinions are my own*