Are You Organising a Food Festival or Fundraiser and Need a Stage Kitchen? Visit Ken Maguire Demos!

Kenny Maguire Demos - Cookery Demonstration Kitchens, Sound and Visual for Fundraisers and Festival Events

Share This Story

How to Cook a Turkey & my Favourite Stuffing Recipe

The turkey is the centre-piece of the traditional Christmas Dinner and it's also great for any other special occasion, like Thanksgiving in the USA, which is why cooking it properly is so important. Mess it up and not even the best side dishes will save you! 

Turkey is becoming very popular because it is relatively low in cholesterol and high in vitamins that boost the immune system. It's also very juicy and tasty if cooked right! 

So here are some tips on how to prepare & cook your perfect Turkey! 

A juicy & tender whole roasted turkey really does add to the sense of occasion at Christmas or Any time!
1. First things first. Buy a Fresh Turkey if you can. Don't buy a turkey that has been pre-stuffed as mishandling or incorrect cooking can cause bacteria to multiply inside the stuffing.

2. It's so important that if you are buying a frozen bird, that you thaw your turkey completely before cooking. If it’s done improperly, bacteria can multiply to a point where even oven temperatures won't be able to kill all of them off. This can cause food poisoning. 
The safest thing to do is to thaw your turkey in the fridge, but if you don't have the room, put it into a roasting tray in a cool room, covered with a dry cloth until it defrosts. You should leave the turkey in its original wrapper until you're ready to cook it.

3. If you're placing the turkey in the fridge (raw meat should always go the bottom shelf) also put it on a tray to catch all the juices that may leak out.  It takes approximately 2 days for a 15 pound turkey to fully defrost.

4. Don't wash your Turkey. The water splashing around will spread more bacteria than you are washing off it.

5. Add some extra flavour by loosely filling the cavity of the bird with some peeled vegetables like carrots, celery, onion & garlic which work great together. 

6. Before roasting, coat the outside of the turkey with real butter and season it with sea-salt and ground black pepper. Cover the complete bird with streaky bacon to add more flavour and to keep it from browning too much. Don’t forget to cover the legs too!

7. Loosely cover the complete bird with tin foil and scrunch it up around the edge of the tray. Once you get the turkey in the oven, resist the temptation to open the oven door! Every time you open the door the temperature drops and all the moisture escapes increasing the likelihood of a dry bird.

8. Have your oven pre-heated to 180°C (170°C for a fan oven), 365°F, Gas mark 4, so that the turkey is going into a hot oven.

The easiest way to calculate Turkey Cooking Time is to convert the weight to Pounds (lbs) and Cook the bird for 20 Minutes per pound with another 20 minutes Extra added to the total cooking time. 
To convert from kg to pounds multiple the kilogram weight by 2.2 

Example:
A 5kg Turkey x 2.2 = 11 pounds
11 pounds x 20 minutes = 220 minutes 
PLUS add the 20 minutes Extra
equals 240 minutes (4 hours) Total Cooking Time

9. About half an hour before the turkey should be done, remove the foil from the breast to crisp up the skin.

10. Test the turkey using a sharp pointed knife by inserted the knife the meaty area above the top of the leg. Push in the blade and the gently ease down on it. Juice from the turkey will run down the blade.
If the juices run clear then it is cooked. If there are traces of pink in it give it another half an hour in the oven and test it again.


If you have a cooking thermometer ensure that the centre of the thickest parts return a minimum temperature of 65°C.

11. After you take the turkey out of the oven let it rest, under tinfoil, for about 15 minutes before carving. This lets the hot juices relax and spread evenly through the meat, giving a moist and juicier bird.

12. Relax, Don't Panic and Enjoy!

My Favourite Stuffing Mix

This is a stuffing recipe that I have used for years. It is versatile and adaptable and can be used with any type of meat. This makes enough for 8 people - generous portions!

This is my recipe but you can add whatever herbs you like to your stuffing!

My Ingredients:
250g (10oz) butter
200g (8oz) diced onion
100g (4oz) diced red onion
100g (4oz) grated carrot
1 tblsp chopped thyme
1 tblsp chopped parsley
1/2 tspn cracked black pepper
2 cloves garlic diced
1 tablespoon of Mixed herbs
300g (12oz) white breadcrumbs made with crusts and all
300g (12oz) wholemeal breadcrumbs made with crusts and all
Use Gluten Free Bread if you wish

My Method:
1. Simply place the butter and all other ingredients, except the crumbs, on a medium heat and cook gently, stirring, until the onions and other veg are soft.

2. Add the breadcrumbs and mix in well until the crumbs have absorbed all the butter and juices.

3. If the stuffing feels a little dry (depending on the type of day, the weather, the heat of the kitchen or one of another hundred amazingly uncontrollable conditions) I tend to add a little splash of my favourite white wine at this stage and mix well and then add a little of the cooking juices from the cooked turkey just before serving.

Enjoy your Turkey!

Zack

Make Your Own Christmas Pudding and Whiskey Custard

Christmas pudding is also known as plum pudding because of the abundance of prunes in it! This rich tasty pudding is made of a mixture of fresh or dried fruit, nuts and suet (beef or mutton fat) and traditionally boiled or steamed. Vegetarian suet may also be used.

The pudding is dark and can be saturated with whiskey or brandy, dark beer, or other alcohols. They used to be boiled in a "pudding cloth," but today they are usually made in pudding bowls.



People have always stirred lucky charms into their Christmas pudding mixture for good luck, similar to those in Halloween Barmbracks. These charms included silver coins (for wealth), tiny silver wishbones (for good luck), a silver thimble (for thrift), a gold ring (for marriage) or an anchor (for safe harbour) and whoever got the lucky serving, would keep the charm!

Ready-made and cooked puddings are available in the shops but they will never compete with the pleasure that comes with making your own Christmas Pudding!

So, here's my easy to make Christmas Pudding recipe with a whiskey (or brandy) custard cream too!

My Ingredients:
125g ready-to-eat prunes, chopped
225g raisins
225g currants
225g sultanas
Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
50g chopped almonds
1 cooking apple, peeled, cored and grated
1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
225g demerara sugar
225g suet (I use vegetable suet rather than beef suet)
125g fresh white breadcrumbs
125g plain flour
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
3 eggs
150ml Stout
1 tbsp black treacle
35ml Irish Whiskey

It sounds like a lot of work - but the Christmas Pudding is very easy to make!
My Method:
1. In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together.

2. Whisk the eggs, stout, whiskey or brandy and black treacle together and stir into the mixture.

3. Cover and leave to stand overnight in a cool place.

4. Butter three x 600ml pudding bowls and put a circle of grease-proof paper in the base.

5. Pack the mixture into the bowls and smooth the top. Leave about 2.5 cm space to the top of the bowl.

6. Cut a double layer of grease-proof paper into a 30cm circle. Cover each pudding with the paper and tie with string around the edge. Tie another piece of string across the top of the pudding so that it can be easily lifted in and out of the pan.

7. Put the bowls into a heavy-based saucepan (placing an up-turned plate in the bottom of the pot first, to raise the pudding bowls off the bottom of the pot). Pour boiling water around the edge until it comes two-thirds of the way up the sides of the bowls. Cover with a lid and simmer for 3 hours. Top up the pot with boiling water to the starting level every hour.

8. Lift out the puddings after 3 hours and let them cool. Put on a new grease-proof or parchment cover and then cover tightly with foil.

9. Store in a cool dark place until Christmas. The puddings will keep for up to six months.

10. To serve cut into portion sizes and heat in a microwave, on full power, for 1 minute until piping hot. Warm two tablespoons of whiskey or brandy in a small saucepan. Set alight and carefully pour over the pudding. Serve with my flavoured custard cream (see recipe below).

Christmas Pudding with a Brandy Custard Cream!
Whiskey Custard Cream
This is a very simple and tasty Christmas cream that I prefer to serve with my Christmas Pudding more than anything else!..

Whip 250ml cream until it holds a figure eight shape and stir it into 250ml of cold custard. You can make this yourself or buy it pre-made. Pour in 35ml (one shot) of Irish Whiskey (or brandy) and add a pinch of grated nutmeg and stir until smooth.

This can also be served over warmed mince pies for a delightful change to the usual! Enjoy!

Animated version of Gay Byrne's Christmas Cake Recipe

This is Irish TV Personality & Legend, Mr Gay Byrne, giving a spoof Christmas Cake Recipe where he gets to tasting the whiskey (that's supposed to be for the cake) just a little too much!

Gay, affectionately known as Gaybo, is one of the most famous Irish TV personalities and one of the founding fathers of modern Irish television journalism. He hosted and produced the RTE Late Late Show, which has broadcast every Friday night since it's first show in 1962 until he retired in 1999!

The Late Late Show is Ireland's most popular and prestigious television show and is also the longest running chat show in the world.

Gay sometimes tells a story about him making a Christmas Cake, where he follow a recipe and as he cooks it he makes regular tasting checks on the quality of the whiskey, with humorous results!

I pasted Gay's face into a Santa Claus suit and used a little bit of PhotoShop to make this wee animation to go along with the story. It's the best I could do in an hour but I had a laugh myself at the finished film clip!

So sit back and listen to...

Gay Byrne's Christmas Cake



Enjoy!

For more from Zack see www.IrishFoodGuide.ie

How to Make a Real Irish Coffee

I thought you'd like to have this recipe for my Irish Coffee, as Christmas is around the corner and you might have far too much Irish Whiskey lying around the house but they're delicious at any time of year!

The important rules for making a perfect Irish Coffee are:

1.  Whip the cream before you start!
2.  Make sure your Coffee is hot and strong.
3.  Heat the Glass with boiling water before you assemble the drink, but place a teaspoon into the glass before you add the hot water and this will stop the glass from cracking.
4. Pour out the water and 3/4 fill your glass with hot strong coffee.
5.  Stir in the sugar until dissolved, but don't take too long doing it!
6.  Add the whiskey and stir it well so that the coffee is still turning gently when you are putting the cream on top.
7.  Never mind about pouring the cream over the back of a spoon or any of that nonsense! Simply dip your teaspoon into a glass of hot water and quickly, but carefully, scoop the whipped cream and place it on top of the hot coffee. The hot spoon will make it slide on to the Irish coffee.
8.  Three or Four teaspoons of lightly whipped cream will be sufficient and it will float perfectly on top of your Irish Coffee if you have followed all of the above simple steps.


You can right-click on this picture below, save it as a image, Print it out on card and stick it on your fridge for Christmas. By New Year's Day you should have perfected the recipe and method for making a yummy Irish Coffee!




Enjoy!

Zack

How to prepare a 'stress-free' Christmas Dinner

The LYIT 'Chef Academy' will launch this evening (15th December) across all LYIT social media platforms. The 'Chef Academy' will launch with a live stream video from Tim Dewhirst, LYIT Culinary Arts Lecturer and also, Nicola Dunnion, Head of Department of Tourism & Sport on the link below. 



The LYIT 'Chef Academy' aims to spotlight careers and opportunities available in the Culinary Arts industry. Over the coming months, LYIT's 'Chef Academy' will showcase cooking demonstrations in the state-of-the-art Killybegs facilities. 

Also, the LYIT's on-campus restaurant, in Killybegs, will offer fine dining menus at reduced rates and a targeted educational promotional campaign will begin in post-primary schools across Donegal. 

Additionally, as part of the programme, students enrolled at the Killybegs campus will have the opportunity to enter cookery competitions in 2022. 

The main purpose of the ‘Chef Academy’ is to spotlight a career in Culinary Arts. This evening at 7pm, Tim Dewhirst, LYIT Lecturer in Culinary Arts, will be live from LYIT's professional kitchen and will provide a cooking demonstration on 'How to prepare a ‘stress-free’ Christmas Dinner'. 

This is one of many videos to come from LYIT’s ‘Chef Academy’. We hope you enjoy this helpful guide from the very experienced and talented chef, Tim Dewhirst. 

Tonight's live stream will showcase "How to prepare a 'stress-free' Christmas Dinner". 

Chef Tim will show you how to prepare all aspects of the Christmas Dinner, in a stress-free way!

And you can watch it LIVE TONIGHT at 7pm on YouTube at this link: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWVkKPCPBkU 


Enjoy!

The Wild Atlantic Way is the world's Longest Coastal Route