Simply food


cran-1It’s still a few weeks to Christmas, but I’m already making the cranberry sauce, so it can sit and marinate and become immeasurably better for the wait. These traditional recipes for roast turkey and all the trimmings, are worth repeating so you can enjoy an amazing Christmas feast. 


  • Servings: 6-8
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by Nigel Napier-Andrews

 Shopping list
  • Fresh organic 15-16 lb turkey, plucked and eviscerated by the butcherturkey-3
  • ½ lb butter
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Keep the bird covered in the fridge until you are ready to cook it to avoid spoilage. Remove the packet of giblets and reserve for gravy. Preheat the oven to 325°F/165°C.
  2. Wash and dry the bird thoroughly inside and out. Prepare the stuffing mixtures (see next recipes).
  3. Stuff with one mixture in the body cavity and the other in the neck cavity. Reserve any excess for separate cooking.
  4. If necessary, after stuffing, sew up the body cavity using butcher’s twine and a big butcher’s needle, or use meat skewers to close the flesh. Secure the skin flap of the neck cavity under the bird with another skewer. Dislocate the wings so they fold under the bird to support it in the roasting pan. Tie the legs together.
  5. Soften half the butter and rub all over the flesh. Sprinkle with plenty of salt and pepper.
  6. Cover the breast with greased aluminum foil and place face down on the rack in the pan. Baste with the balance of the butter every 20 min. After 1 ½ hrs, turn the bird the right way up. For the last hour remove the aluminum foil to brown the breast.
  7. Timing formula is 15 min per lb over 16 lb and 12 min per lb under, so a 15 ½ lb bird should cook for 3 hours 45 mins. Backtime the hour for putting into the oven to one hour before you wish to sit down for the meal. Leave one hour for the bird to rest and firm up after it comes out of the oven.
  8. Remove the bird from the oven to a board or platter to rest for up to an hour before attempting to carve. At the appointed time, remove the two stuffing mixtures from the body and neck cavities and serve separately. Using a very sharp carving knife, carve off your choice of white breast, brown thigh and place on a platter, or serve directly onto your guests plates at the table.


Serve with your choice of vegetables. Suggestions: Brussels sprouts, beets and carrots are two traditional root veggies, ROAST POTATOES, mashed potatoes, CRANBERRY SAUCE and PAN GRAVY.


  • Servings: 6-8
  • Print

Shopping list

  • 1 loaf of day old sliced brown bread (makes 10 cups bread crumbs)
  • ½ lb melted butter
  • 8 leaves fresh sage
  • 4 finely chopped onions
  • 4 sticks chopped celery (about 3 cups)
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • good grind of black pepper


  1. Break the loaf (excluding the end crusts) into good size chunks and leave exposed in a bowl overnight to dry out. A day old loaf to start with is even better.
  2. Soften the chopped onions in the melted butter until transparent and tip into the bowl.
  3. Chop the sage, parsley and celery roughly and add to the bowl, then mix all the ingredients thoroughly. Top with a good grind of black pepper. Add to fowl.
  4. Put any excess in a deep pan, cover with foil and cook in the oven alongside the bird, for excellent left-overs.
  5. If cooking alone in a pan, cook for at least 1 hour at 325°F/165°C.


  • Servings: 6-8
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Shopping list

  • ½ loaf of day old sliced brown bread (makes 5 cups bread crumbs)
  • 2 cups of peeled, braised fresh chestnuts (or canned will substitute)
  • 1 lb fresh sausage meat
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp chopped thyme
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • ½ tsp pepper


  1. Break the loaf (excluding the end crusts) into good size chunks and leave exposed in a bowl overnight to dry out. A day old loaf to start with is even better.
  2. Cut a slit in the skins of the chestnuts and drop into a pan of boiling water. Cook for 5 min, cool and peel. Chop into pieces and simmer in melted butter for about 15 min. Tip into the bread crumb bowl.
  3. Fry the sausage meat until browned. Remove to the bowl, leaving the fat behind. Soften the chopped onions in the remaining fat until transparent and tip into the bowl.
  4. Chop the thyme and parsley and add to the mixture. Toss thoroughly and add to the neck end of the fowl.
  5. Put any excess in a deep pan, cover with foil and cook along with the bird, for excellent left-overs.
  6. If cooking alone in a pan, cook for at least 1 hour at 325°F/165°C.


Shopping list

  • 3 cups fresh cranberries (1 packet)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup soft brown sugar
  • ¼ cup rum, brandy or sherry
  • 2 in. stick of cinnamon (optional)
  • 3 whole cloves (optional)
  • 3 allspice berries (optional)


  1. Bring water to a boil. Rinse cranberries and add to the boiling water.
  2. Cook for 10 min or until skins pop. Turn down heat, add sugar and stir until it dissolves.
  3. Remove from heat, skim off white froth and cool. After cooling mix in liquor, store in a sterilized and tightly sealed glass container and refrigerate until needed.


For a spicier version add 2 in. stick of cinnamon, 3 whole cloves and 3 allspice berries. Allow to marinate for at least a day. Remove spices before serving.


  • Servings: 4-6
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Shopping list

  • 8 large potatoes, peeled and cut lengthwaysLemon and thyme roast potatoes
  • Skin or “zest” of a whole lemon
  • 8 – 10 whole cloves of garlic (unpeeled)
  • 5 – 6 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp sea or Kosher salt
  • Cooking fat or oil

Preparation and cooking

  1. Wash and peel the potatoes and cut lengthways.
  2. Parboil for 7 minutes in boiling salted water, drain in colander, and toss lightly or “scumble.”
  3. Peel a whole lemon to make the zest and chop into fine strips.
  4. In the oven, heat the fat or oil until it is sizzling, add the potatoes and baste with the hot fat. Sprinkle on the chopped zest, whole segments of garlic, still unpeeled, and whole sprigs of thyme. (Keep the rest of the lemon wrapped up for another use later.)
  5. Roast for up to 90 min at 355°F/180°C, turning once at 45 min.
  6. Lift out of the pan with a slotted spoon to leave the fat and garnishes behind and keep warm on a paper towel in the oven until ready to serve.

TIP: Get the edges of the parboiled potatoes fluffy by “scumbling” (an English word) or tossing them gently in the colander just before you add them to the hot fat.

ANOTHER TIP:  You can often buy duck fat at restaurants which serve duck confit. They have lots left over. I get mine at Le Paradis in Toronto, one of my favourite French bistros.


  • Servings: 6-8
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Shopping list

  • 4 cups turkey or chicken stock (see below)
  • Giblets — fresh neck and heart from the bird (but not the liver)
  • 2 whole onions, including the skins
  • Tops and tails of celery stalks used for stuffing
  • 2 tbsp fine flour
  • Pan drippings


  1. Bring the stock to a boil, add the giblets (not the liver), quartered whole onions with their skins and celery left-overs.
  2. Turn down and simmer until the turkey is out of the oven. Just before use, strain the stock and discard the solids.
  3. Put the roasting pan, filled with the drippings and crispy little bits and pieces from the turkey, onto a low burner on the stove. Sprinkle on the flour and stir in well, to make a roux. Add the clear, strained stock to the pan and stir until it bubbles. If necessary, add more flour to obtain the correct thickness. Strain again when ready to serve, into a gravy dish.


  • Servings: 6-8
  • Print

Shopping list

  • One left-over bird carcass (make this after the Thanksgiving feast and freeze), all remnants of stuffing removed
  • 8 or more cups water
  • 1 – 2 cups chopped celery
  • 1 – 2 cups chopped carrots
  • 2 bay leaves


  1. Cover the bird carcass with water in a large pot. Add any other dinner left-overs, such as skin, bones etc, but not stuffing. Bring to a boil.
  2. Turn down to simmer and add celery, carrots and bay leaves. Simmer for at least 1 hour 30 mins. Strain off the clear stock to a bowl to cool, skim off fat and reserve in a covered container until needed.
  3. Freeze for up to 3 months.


  • Servings: 6
  • Print

Here’s an excellent way to present traditional veggies, from Chef Dan Frenette, Northern Touch Catering.

Shopping listveggies-1

  • 1 lb rainbow carrots
  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Smashed garlic
  • Salt


  1. Peel carrots and cut into small 1 inch rounds.
  2. Blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain.
  3. In a tbsp of butter melted with 1 tbsp olive oil, sauté the carrots until fully cooked, about 5 minutes.
  4. Season with salt.

Brussels sprouts

  1. Remove bottom of stalk and blanch in boiling water for 1 minute.
  2. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain. Cut sprouts in half.
  3. Sauté in 1 tbsp of butter melted with 1 tbsp of olive oil, with some smashed garlic, tossing once.
  4. Season with salt once cooked through.

NEW_MarketToTable_Cover (002)NEWS UPDATE: My fully illustrated e-book, Market to Table: The Cookbook started as a project for novice cooks, but after I was picked to host a cooking show featuring food bought at farmers’ markets, developed into a more complete collection of the recipes from the series, including some from guest chefs on the show, as well as those from my well-read foodie blog. It is easy to read, divided into chapters that cover the main mealtimes of the day, and into recipes that are concise and guaranteed to work. Most recipes are accompanied by an entertaining story. Brilliant young Chef Dan Frenette, who now hosts the TV series, has written the Foreword and contributes to the book.

How about a copy as a gift idea for yourself, friends, family or anyone who loves to cook, now available on, i-Tunes and Amazon.


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