Christmas is the perfect time of year to indulge her twin passions – food and family. Follow Rachel Allen's recipes for a seamless meal.
The Allen family are based at the Ballymaloe cookery school in County Cork, where those passions have been intertwined for generations. The story began with a restaurant run by Myrtle Allen, the grand-dame of Irish cooking.
Under Myrtle’s daughter-in-law, Darina, it became a world-famous cookery school. Rachel married Darina’s son Isaac, and now teaches at the school, appears on TV and writes best-selling cookery books. The couple have two sons, Joshua, nine, and Lucca, six. “We all love Christmas – it’s our favourite time of the year.”
Make your life easier by using Rachel‘s timeplan to get ahead for Christmas and to help you get everything ready at the right time on the big day.
Up to six weeks in advance
Make your Christmas pudding up to six weeks in advance. Keep in a cool dry place.
Two days before
Make the sugar syrup for the cocktail, then chill.
Make the turkey stock for the gravy and chill.
Make the herb stuffing for the turkey.
Peel the potatoes, place in a bowl and cover with cold water.
Make the smoked salmon terrines and chill.
Prepare the turkey, stuff, weigh and calculate the cooking time and cover with its butter-soaked muslin. Place in the roasting tin and chill.
Make the Brussels sprout mash, cool and cover with cling film, making sure the film settles on the mash so the mash doesn’t discolour, then chill.
Make the trifle and chill.
Make the brandy cream for the pudding.
Christmas day: Breakfast at 10am; Lunch at 3pm
09.00 Make up the pancake mixture and set aside.
09.30 Cook the pancakes and keep warm while you cook the bacon.
10.00 Serve breakfast.
11.00 Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4. Parboil the potatoes, drain, rough up and set aside.
11.30 Put the turkey in the oven. Make the dressing for the salmon terrine starters and chill.
13.50 Heat the oil or fat for the potatoes, add the potatoes and place in the oven.
14.00 Make the cocktails and pause to enjoy them!
14.40 Remove the turkey from the oven, place on a warmed serving platter, cover and keep warm to rest. Turn the oven up to 200°C/fan180°C/gas 6 to crisp up the spuds. Turn the spuds at this point. Make the gravy. Remove the terrines from the fridge and assemble the starters on plates, ready to serve.
14.55 Put the pudding onto reheat.
15.00 Keep everything warm while you serve and eat the starter.
15.15 Take the trifle out of the fridge. Reheat the sprouts and gravy. Remove the spuds from the oven. Carve the turkey and serve the main course.
16.00 Serve the trifle and Christmas pudding.