Christmas Cooking - from Hill House Farm...

Cooking at Christmas can be a minefield, here’s a few simple tips from us to create a stress free and utterly delicious Christmas feast for all!

Let’s talk turkey

This is how we like to cook our turkeys, times may vary depending on your oven and you should always check the core of the turkey with a meat thermometer to ensure it is cooked to 65c when it leaves the over.

Cook the turkey at 180c in a fan assisted oven.  Cover the top of the bird with foil for the first half of the cooking time then remove for the second half of the cook.  Baste your bird regularly around once every 45 minutes or so.

We recommend placing the turkey on a trivet of vegi tops, roughly sliced onion and herbs, then put some vegetable stock or white wine in the bottom of the tray below your turkey.  As the liquid boils in the oven it will infuse into your turkey and ensure it is super moist when you come to eat it!  This is far more effective than just basting the bird with the cooking liquor.

Once the bird hits 65c, remove it from the oven wrap tightly with 2 layers of food wrap and allow it to rest for at least 30 minutes.  The latent heat in the turkey will continue to rise, just look at your meat thermometer and you will see.  Any meat juices that gather in the food wrap are perfect to add to your gravy.

Guideline cooking times are as follows


Whole Bird or Crown

Boned & Rolled


1 ¾ - 2 hours

2 hours 20 mins to 2 ¾ hours


2 hours – 2 ¼ hours

2 ¾ hours to 3 hours


2 ¼ hours to 2 ½ hours

3 hours to 3 hours 20 mins


2 hours 20 mins to 2 ¾ hours

3 hours 20 mins to 3 ¾ hours


2 ¾ hours to 3 hours

3 ¾ hours to 4 hours


3 hours to 3 ¼ hours

4 hours to 4 hours 20 mins


3 ¼ hours to 3 ½ hours

4 hours 20 mins to 4 ¾ hours


3 ½ hours to 3 ¾ hours

4 ¾ hours to 5 hours


3 ¾ hours to 4 hours

5 hours to 5 hours 20 mins


3 ¾ hours to 4 hours 20 mins

5 hours 20 mins to 5 ¾ hours


4 hours 20 mins to 4 hours 35 mins

5 hours 20 mins to 5 ¾ hours


4 hours 35 mins to 4 ¾ hours

5 ¾ hours to 6 hours


4 ¾ hours to 5 hours

6 hours to 6 ½ hours


The key to a great roast turkey in our opinion is the digital meat thermometer.  Ensure the core of the breast meat or boned & roll joint reaches 65c, then remove and rest the bird for at 30 minutes to ensure the perfect moist roast turkey.

Christmas Gammon

There are scores of recipes on line for gammons in different glazes, cooked in soft drink and goodness only knows what else!  We like to keep it simple and let the flavour of the pork stand out!

Place your gammon in a pan of cold water, make sure it’s fully covered, then bring gently to the boil.  Once the water boils, remove the gammon, then tip away the boiled water, refill the pan with cold water, and place the gammon back into the pan – bring it to the boil once more.

Do this 3 times, on the third time, add bay leaves, peppercorns, cloves and star anise.  Place a lid on the pan when it reaches the boil then put it into the oven at 140c, for 20 minutes per 450g of gammon.

When cooking time is up, whip it out of the oven, remove the gammon from the pan and keep the cooking liquor – this ham stock makes the most fantastic pea and ham soup and is not to be wasted.

While the joint is still hot, remove the strings from the gammon, and then carefully remove the skin, without taking too much of the fat off.

Place the gammon on a roasting tray, score the fat with a sharp knife then with a little cider and honey cover the fat, place into the oven at 200c for around 10mins until the top is a beautiful golden brown.

Eat hot with plenty of mustard or enjoy cold for days and days after with bread and pickles.

Christmas Beef

You’re going to need that digital meat thermometer again.  For roasting joints I like the oven to be at around 190 – 200c, I prefer my beef medium to rare but I have a son and wife who like it more well done.  You can please everyone with a beef joint cooked correctly!

Push the probe deep into the middle of the joint you are cooking, before cooking you should be aiming for your beef to be at room temperature, so circa 14c, so bring it out an hour before you plan to cook it.

Season the joint well with salt and pepper, again I prefer to let the beef flavours do the talking rather than put lots of herb or spices onto the beef before cooking.

Place the beef into the hot oven, roughly for most roasting joints the rule of thumb is 20 mins per lb, or 500g which ever you prefer and then 20 mins over.

However with the probe you can see when the beef is cooked to your liking.  The core temperature will tell you how well done it is –

Rare – 40c
Medium Rare – 52c
Medium – 64c
Well done – 75c


If like me you are cooking for differing tastes, a joint that is medium to rare in the core will have well done ends, which means you can please everyone although just remember who likes what when you come to carve!


We wish you and your friends and families a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year – please don’t forget to share your Christmas food pictures on our social channels!

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