United Kingdom

The UK consists of four countries — England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. There are also 14 British Overseas Territories including Bermuda, Cayman Island and Montserrat. These are the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed almost a quarter of the world’s land mass and was the largest empire in history.

Some interesting facts
The Queen is the legal owner of one-sixth of the Earth’s land surface
In 2015, Queen Elizabeth II became the longest-reigning UK monarch ever (64 years), surpassing Queen Victoria’s 63
The word “Britain” is derived from “Pretain” meaning “painted”, originally because the Britons had tattoos
In the UK, accents change noticeably about every 25 miles
There is a law that states it is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament
The world’s shortest scheduled airline flight lasts 2 minutes and connects Westray and Papa Westray in Orkney
Life expectancy in the UK was around 47 in 1900, it is now 80
London has more Indian restaurants than Mumbai or Delhi
The UK is ranked as the sixth major tourist destination in the world and London has the most international visitors of any city in the world
The UK has an external debt of $9.6 trillion dollars, second only in the world to the US’$18.5 trillion dollar debt

It is said that food rationing imposed during British wartime was the reason for the food’s international poor reputation. Modern British cuisine has been influenced by many TV chefs including Delia Smith, Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay and my personal favourite, Nigel Slater Some British cuisine classics include the full breakfast, fish and chips, roast beef and yorkshire pudding, steak and kidney pie, sandwiches and Cornish pasty. However, British cuisine has taken on the cultural influence of those who have settled in Britain, producing hybrid dishes, such as chicken tikka masala. I opted to cook the traditional Christmas dinner which has been served at tables in England since the late 16th century. Roast Turkey with the all the trimmings. For many years we have followed the same recipe for the Roast Turkey which involves removing and boning the legs then stuffing them with sausagemeat. It means the turkey doesn’t need as much cooking and the legs are easily carved and shared around. It was thoroughly enjoyed by the whole family.

Rating: 10/10

Serves: 8 – 10 (with some leftovers)
Prep time: 3 hours
Cook time: 3 & 1/2 hours

6kg free range turkey
450g sausages, skins removed
350g sausagemeat
6 slices parma ham
1 lemon, halved
1 onion, halved
3 carrots, roughly chopped
3 sticks celery, roughly chopped
2 onions, roughly chopped
250g butter
Salt and pepper

To make the turkey stock
Turkey giblets
Turkey leg bones
10 peppercorns
1 tsp salt
2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
1 large onion, roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
2 tsp mixed herbs

To make the gravy
50g plain flour
500ml turkey stock
150ml red wine
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp marmite
1 beef oxo cube
Salt & pepper

To prepare the turkey (which can be done a day in advance):
Start by removing the legs from the turkey with a sharp knife (the wings should remain on the turkey)
Then remove the main bone from the turkey leg and then remove the smaller bones from the flesh
Flatten out the leg, cover with clingfilm and then bash it down with a rolling pin
Dot the leg with 50g of slice butter and season well with salt & pepper
Place half of the sausages (removed from the skins) on to the middle of the leg meat lengthways
Roll the leg lengthways into a sausage shape and tie up securely with string at both ends and in the middle
Repeat this for the other leg
Wrap each leg in tin foil.
Just one of the stuffed legs is sufficient to go with the turkey, so you can freeze the other leg

To make the stock (this can also be done a day in advance):
Put the giblets and leg bones into a large stockpot with the vegetables, peppecorns, salt and herbs
Cover with cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for 90 minutes, remove the scum as necessary
Remove from the heat and strain the liquid then flake some giblet meat into the liquid
Reserve until ready to make gravy

To cook the turkey:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
Place the celery, carrots and onion in a baking dish big enough for the turkey
Stuff the sausagemeat into the neck end of the turkey and tuck the skin in securely
Place the onions and lemons inside the cavity
Place 150g of sliced butter over the top of the turkey breasts and season liberally with salt & pepper
Layer the slices of parma ham over the butter
Cover the turkey loosely with foil
Cook the turkey for 3 hours then remove the foil and cook for a further 30 minutes
Remove from the oven, transfer to a carving board and let it rest for 1 hour before carving
Take the sausagemeat out of the turkey neck and slice
Serve with the gravy and your favourite Christmas vegetables

To cook the turkey leg:
Place on a baking tray and cook for 1 hour in a preheated oven to 190 degrees
Open the foil and place back in the oven for 15 minutes
Remove from the oven and let it rest for 20 minutes before slicing

To make the gravy:
Using the dish the turkey was cooked in, sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and place over a medium heat stirring continuously
Cook the flour for a few minutes before stirring in the red wine and stock
Bring to a rolling simmer and cook for 30 minutes
Add the worcestershire sauce, marmite, oxo cube and season well
Continue to cook for 10 minutes, checking the seasoning
Place into a warmed gravy jug

Roast Turkey
Roast Turkey
Roast Turkey
Roast Turkey
Celebrating Christmas Day 2016
Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament
Isle of Skye, Scotland
Gower Peninsula, Wales
Giants Causeway, Northern Ireland