As much as we love our annual Christmas Day blowout, it’s not an easy job. Ensuring will be no dry turkey or overboiled Brussels, here at Eating In London, we’ve taken things into our own hands to share top tips and tricks to make a delicious christmas dinner from some of London’s top chefs.
From spicing up your turkey to knowing how to bring out the best in your Brussels, see below the top kitchen tips and tricks the top chefs in London have shared with us, so you can perfect your christmas dinner this year.
A Wonderful Christmas dinner by Carlo Scotto, Chef-Owner of Xier | XR
For a unique way to prepare your turkey for Christmas dinner that will blow your guests’ minds, Carlo suggests ‘marinating the bird with coriander, onion and fennel seeds, black peppercorn, juniper berries, and garlic powder.’ To make these spices come alive, he continues, ‘it’s best to toast and mix the spices with olive oil before marinading the inside and outside of the turkey and leaving overnight.’ Carlo also recommends keeping any left-over marinade to one side to use the following day.
The next day Carlo told us to take the turkey out of the fridge 30 minutes before you want to cook it before massaging in the left-over marinade from the day before. His next steps include ‘placing a whole onion and orange inside the turkey to help keep it moist before roasting in the oven at 160 for 4.5-5 hours. His other trick to help develop a nice crispy skin is to ‘whack the oven to 200 degrees for the final 10 minutes, before leaving to rest for 10-15 minutes.’
Chef Carlo Scotto adapts his culinary craft across two dining concepts in Marylebone. Switching between a refined fine-dining tasting menu upstairs at Xier to XR – a casual concept downstairs; the two restaurants under one roof both stretch and showcase his expertise. A prodigy of Angela Hartnett and his first solo venture, Xier and XR opened up the opportunity to illustrate his culinary devotion. Diners can choose between curated tasting menus upstairs to à la carte dining downstairs.
Kerth Gumbs, Executive Chef of Ormer Mayfair and BBC Two’s Great British Menu 2020 Finalist
This Christmas dinner, Kerth Gumbs – Executive Chef at award-winning Ormer, Mayfair recommends, along with bringing your turkey, to avoid it being bland and dry, to also prepare a butter and spice mixture with a spice of your choice.
His trick is to ‘keep the butter cold which allows me to roll it out with a rolling pin. Then, by running my fingers under the skin of the turkey breast, I create a gap that allows me to spread the butter mixture directly onto the bird’s flesh. This is an excellent way to help the meat stay moist, tender, and fragrant.’
Found within Flemings Mayfair hotel, in partnership with Michelin starred chef Shaun Rankin, Kerth has created an all-day dining concept at Ormer with various adaptable menus. Inspired by the British Channel Islands, the team serves a variety of options from a set lunch, a seasonally sensitive à la carte menu along with a pull up your sleeves and settle in a seven-course tasting menu.
Oliver Marlowe, Owner Chef Director, The Hunter’s Moon, South Kensington
‘liver Marlowe, Owner Chef Director at The Hunter’s Moon a place to eat in London on Fulham Road, recommends ‘basking your bird in a 10% salt to water liquid mix overnight before cooking, this will make sure you don’t end up with a dry turkey on the big day.’ ‘e goes on to say, ‘it’s salt dissolves some of the muscle proteins, meaning the meat contracts less while in the oven so, therefore, it loses less moisture.
It gives a game-changing depth of flavour and makes it very difficult to overcook, so there’s less thing to worry about’.’ Aside from the bird, Oliver tells us one of his favourite festive sides is shredded brussel sprouts with pancetta, finely chopped onion, and garlic and a good splash of white wine, for this he ‘fries’ off the onions, garlic and pancetta before adding the Brussels and lastly the wine.’
The Hunter’s moon is west London’s Moon social pub and dining room that opened in 2019. Owned by Chef Director Oliver Marlowe and Director Hubert Beatson-Hird, this trendy but cozy bar and dining room offer daily-changing menus full of light yet innovative dishes using the best seasonal ingredients.
Expect choices of warm salad of wood pigeon with onion confit, pancetta, crispy egg and balsamic, or chilled gazpacho with Cornish lobster, crème Fraiche and lemon to start; and mains of Cornish cod with hispi cabbage, baby leeks, chicken tortellini, and roast chicken butter sauce; and roasted lamb rump a la niçoise with olive oil crushed potatoes, slow-cooked cherry tomatoes, and feta.
Vivek Singh, Executive Chef, and CEO of The Cinnamon Collection
‘ivek Singh tells us he is a firm believer in trying different things, sharing that it’s always exciting when you accidentally discover something that tastes amazing.’ ‘his year, why not try sprinkling spice onto your roast to add a whole new dimension? He suggests leaving meats in spice mixes overnight to bring new layers of flavour.’
‘ivek believes that using up left-overs- is important and something every household could certainly do more to reduce waste. ‘A’ Christmas, I like to use left-over turkey in the ultimate Boxing Day stir fry curry with mustard seeds, onions, curry leaves, turmeric and a tin or two of coconut milk! Trust me, the cheapest and quickest way to bring a taste of India into your home on Boxing Day without even having to take a flight’.
‘Vivek has established himself as one of the most influential figures in Indian cuisine. The Executive Chef and CEO of five restaurants in London: The Cinnamon Club, Cinnamon Kitchen, Cinnamon Bazaar, Cinnamon Kitchen Oxford, and Cinnamon Kitchen Battersea, his collection spans from fine-dining down to casual all-day dining. Each draws inspiration from the colours, the sounds, the smells, the bustle, and the energy of India to the mouths of his UK diners.
The Perfect Christmas Dinner by: Marc Hardiman, Head Chef at Galvin at Windows
Helping to keep your turkey moist while cooking and give it naturally crispy, delicious skin, Marc Hardiman, Head Chef at Galvin at Windows, also advises bringing your turkey on Christmas day. Because who enjoys dry turkey?! Marc suggests’ placing salt, thyme, garlic, peppercorns, bay leaves, cloves, and a quartered orange into a pan. Bring to the boil before leaving to chill.
Once chilled, submerge turkey for 6 hours before going to dry overnight in the fridge before roasting the next day’.’ Conjuring 1930s glamour with its cosmopolitan bar to its Michelin starred dining room, Marc heads up the kitchen at Galvin at Windows. This place has built a reputation as one of London’s premier fine-dining restaurants. Allowing both those who are visitors to the city and locals an authentic taste of London, Galvin at Window’s stunning views showcases some of the capital’s most iconic sites such as the London Eye, Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace, and Wembley Stadium.