Aldi chef Neil Rankin on how to make ultimate roast turkey and roast potatoes

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The big day is nearly here and your fridge may already be full to bursting.

But new research has revealed that while half of us are planning on having a traditional turkey dinner, two-thirds are nervous about cooking it.

Timing mistakes, undercooked meat and burnt veg topped the list of fears in the report by Aldi.

Luckily, help is at hand from top chef Neil Rankin.

His easy-to-follow and delicious recipes will ensure you have a stress-free day to remember.

Ultimate roast turkey

How long you cook your turkey depends on its weight, so follow the instructions that come with the bird, or from your butcher. Generally speaking, turkey needs 20 minutes per kilo, plus 90 minutes cooking time.

Using this method, you cook the turkey in advance, crisping it up for 30 minutes before eating. This makes timing the whole meal much easier.

1 Place turkey in a large roasting tin, breast side up. Season. Heat oven to 120C and cook the turkey for the same amount of time as you would at full heat.

2 Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature of the breast is at least 65C and the leg 69C. Don’t worry, you will cook it more later. If you don’t have a thermometer, the breast should be firm to the touch without bounce.

3 Remove from oven, leave to cool, and place in the fridge uncovered.

BEFORE EATING

1 Take turkey out of the fridge to warm to room temperature.

2 30 minutes before you want to eat, preheat oven to 190C. Place turkey on a high shelf and put anything else (potatoes, carrots, parsnips, pigs in blankets, stuffing) on a tray underneath. If your oven is too small for two layers, everything can go on one big tray. Cook for 30 mins.

3 As soon as the turkey comes out, turn oven up and cook the Yorkshire puddings. This will give the turkey time to rest.

Amazing roasties
Serves four

600g Maris Piper potatoes

50ml white wine vinegar

Oil

4 garlic cloves, crushed

Thyme sprigs

Rosemary sprigs

Salt

1 Peel potatoes and cut them into pieces the size of a golf ball. Scrape the edges with a fork to create texture.

2 Place potatoes in a pan of cold water. Add salt and vinegar. Bring to the boil and simmer for two to five minutes.

3 Take off heat and leave potatoes to cool in the water. Once they are almost falling apart, drain into a colander and shake to fluff up edges even more. Leave
to cool at room temperature for half
an hour.

4 Turn oven to 190C and pour a thin layer of oil into a roasting tray. Heat in oven until smoking hot, then remove and toss potatoes in the oil. Add crushed garlic and herbs. Roast for about 35 minutes or until potatoes have started to colour.

5 Remove from oven and cool in the tray for half an hour, rolling the potatoes around in the fat now and again, gently crushing them a little too.

6 Turn oven up to 200C. Blast potatoes in the hot oven for five to 10 minutes to crisp up, then serve.

TOP TIP

After boiling, let your potatoes cool and dry as much as possible.

Dust with a little flour if time is short.

Ultimate Yorkshires
Serves four

100ml plain flour

100ml egg, whisked (approximately two large eggs)

75ml milk

25ml double cream

200ml oil

Salt

1 Use a measuring jug to measure out the ingredients by volume, not by weight. Start with the flour and transfer it to a bowl, then measure eggs, milk and cream.

2 Mix until smooth. Leave the batter at room temperature for an hour or so, or in fridge overnight.

3 Turn oven to 200C. Add salt to the batter. Put a decent amount of oil in each cup of a muffin tray, then heat in the oven.

4 When fat is hot, open oven door and pour batter into the muffin cups. The more generous you are, the bigger the puddings will be.

5 Bake for 20 minutes or until risen and golden. Turn off oven and leave puddings inside for another five minutes – this will stop them drooping.

Spiced prawn cocktail
Serves four

20 large cooked king prawns

2 little gem lettuces, shredded

1/2 cucumber diced

1 red onion, diced

Fresh coriander, finely chopped

Fresh mint, roughly chopped

2 red chillies, sliced

200ml mayonnaise

2tbsp tomato ketchup

Dash of Tabasco

2 lemons

1 In a bowl mix the king prawns, lettuce, cucumber, coriander, mint and red onion.

2 Combine the mayonnaise with ketchup and add Tabasco to taste.

3 Mix half with the rest of the ingredients and season with salt, pepper and lemon juice.

4 Divide into glasses or bowls and top
with more of the mayo mix, the chilli and lemon zest.

Super sprouts
Serves four

500g sprouts, halved

1 onion, sliced

1tsp toasted peppercorns

150g dried cranberries

1tsp ginger puree

1tsp garlic puree

Handful chopped parsley

1 Season and cook sprouts in a frying pan with a little oil until crispy, then remove and set aside.

2 Using the same pan, cook the onion in a little oil until dark brown and caramelised, then add the ginger, garlic and peppercorns. Fry for a minute, then add sprouts back into the pan.

3 Finish and serve with a handful of chopped parsley and cranberries.

TOP TIP

If you’re short on time, shred sprouts before cooking them

Veggie main: Roast squash, cranberry and cider stuffing pie
Serves two

1 block puff pastry

1 packet sage and onion stuffing mix

1 bottle cider

1 squash

1 swede

100g chestnut mushrooms, quartered

3 onions, sliced fresh thyme

60g cranberry and port sauce

100ml oat milk

10ml maple syrup

Salt

1 Cut squash and swede into thumb-sized pieces and roast at 180C for 20 mins with a little salt and oil.

2 Separate 100g of the roasted veg for the pie, and keep the rest for a garnish.

3 Fry mushrooms in hot oil and salt until golden brown.

4 Slowly caramelise onions in a frying pan, then add the cranberry and port sauce.

5 Boil 350ml cider and add to the dried stuffing mix. Stir and leave to cool. Measure out 110g balls and mould into a burger shape, about 1.5cm thick. Pan fry until crispy on both sides and chill for half an hour.

6 Cut out two circles of pastry that are 3cm bigger than the stuffing, then two more that are 6cm bigger.

7 Place stuffing on the smaller circle and top with diced roast veg, mixed with caramelised onions and a little thyme to form a dome shape. Top with the larger pastry circle and seal. Mix milk and maple syrup and brush over the pastry.

8 Use leftover pastry to create shapes or a lattice to decorate. Stud pie with thyme leaves and bake for 15 to 18 mins at 190C.

Cumin roast carrots
Serves four

10 medium sized carrots

2tsp cumin seeds, plus extra to finish

1tbsp dry or fresh chopped parsley

30g pine nuts

30g granola

200g hummus

200g plain yoghurt

2 lemons

Salt

1 Pre-heat oven to 190°C. In a baking tray add carrots, a little oil and salt, and roast for 25 minutes or until cooked through. Leave to cool.

2 In a frying pan toast cumin, granola and pine nuts. Add half to the carrots, stir and cook for a minute. Add half the parsley, a squeeze of lemon juice and remove from the heat.

3 On a plate, add a dollop of hummus and yoghurt and spread in a circle. Add carrots, the leftover nuts and seeds in the pan, the rest of the parsley and a drizzle of olive oil. Season.

Rum and ginger Christmas pudding
Serves four

125g sultanas

125g prunes, pitted and chopped

375ml cola

85g butter

125g light muscovado or brown sugar

2 large free range eggs

1tsp vanilla extract

1tsp cinnamon

1/4tsp cloves

1tsp ground ginger

Zest of one lemon

Zest of one orange

75ml rum

325g self-raising flour

1tsp baking powder

1tsp baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)

1tsp salt

FOR THE SAUCE

250g butter

250g light muscovado or brown sugar

250ml double cream

1 1/2tsp salt

75ml rum

TO MAKE THE SAUCE

1 Put butter, sugar and cream into a medium pan and heat gently until melted.

2 Take off heat and whisk in the
salt and rum.

3 Pour some of the sauce into the bottom of your baking dish and
chill in the fridge for 20 minutes. Set
aside the rest of the sauce.

TO MAKE THE PUDDING

1 Place sultanas and prunes into a saucepan with the ginger, a splash of water and simmer over low heat for five minutes.

2 Meanwhile, beat together the butter and sugar. Mix in the eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla, spices, zest and rum. Then add the flour and baking powder.

3 Add the baking soda to the hot sultana and prune mixture, and add this to the batter. Mix until combined.

4 Preheat oven to 170C. Pour batter into the chilled tin and bake in the oven for 40 minutes, or until risen and just cooked through.

5 When it comes out of the oven, prick with a fork and add some caramel sauce. Serve warm in slices with cream or ice cream, and warm caramel sauce.