Rachel Allen's foolproof festive feast

TV chef, author and mum Rachel Allen has a five-step guide to a foolproof festive feast
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Rachel Allen
Rachel Allen keeps Christmas dinner traditional and easy
From tips on preparing the turkey to the icing on mulled wine cupcakes, yummy mummy Rachel Allen reveals her take on traditional Christmas food to satisfy all the family.

Brilliant brunch: poached eggs benedict

As kids keep you busy early on Christmas morning, cook a brunch rather than breakfast.

Poached eggs benedict with quick hollandaise is always a winner. First make the hollandaise sauce. Place two egg yolks in a heavy saucepan on a low heat and whisk thoroughly. Add 110g of butter bit by bit, whisking all the time. As soon as one piece melts add the next. Keep cooking very gently until the sauce has thickened, enough to coat the back of a spoon. Finally, add one tbsp of lemon juice. The process should take five to seven minutes from start to finish.

Poach two eggs, with a dash of vinegar in the water, gently for three to four minutes or until the whites have just set. Place a piece of grilled bacon each on two slices of hot buttered toast, set an egg on top and spoon over the sauce .

Naughty nibbles: blinis with smoked salmon and crème fraîche or lumpfish roe

I like to offer guests blinis with smoked salmon and crème fraîche or lumpfish roe. To make the blinis you'll need 75g white flour, 40g buckwheat flour, a pinch of salt, 1/8 tsp baking powder, an egg and 100ml milk. Place the flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl and mix together. Beat in the egg and milk until there are no lumps. Heat a frying pan, pour in portions of pancake mix and cook for one to two minutes on each side. Then add your topping. I always have pâtés at the ready. They can make good substitutes for roe.

Rachel Allen Christmas turkey
Rachel's top tip for cooking the perfect turkey is to weigh the stuffed bird to find the right cooking time

A sumptuous starter: celeriac and hazelnut soup

The perfect starter is a celeriac and hazelnut soup. Melt half to one ounce of butter in a saucepan. Add in a chopped onion and a potato. Peel one small celeriac, chop it and place in the saucepan with salt and pepper. Cover the pan with a butter wrapper. Cook the vegetables slowly, on a low heat, until they are softened but not too golden. Then add about a pint of milk, chicken stock or turkey stock. Cook for a few more minutes until the vegetables are completely soft and liquidise them. Serve sprinkled with hazelnuts and chopped parsley.

Tasty turkey

The trick is to weigh the turkey with the stuffing inside it. Stuffing should consist of onions, breadcrumbs, herbs and maybe a tiny bit of lemon zest and bacon. Then spread butter, salt and pepper on the breast side of the turkey to make the skin crisp. Give 20 minutes per pound with an extra 20 minutes at the end at around 160/170 C.

Mulled wine cupcakes

For mulled wine cupcakes with Irish whiskey and chestnut frosting, preheat the oven to 180C. Lightly grease and line the base of a shallow baking tin. Sift 300g flour, one teaspoon of baking powder and two teaspoon of cinnamon into a bowl. Using an electric whisk beat 175g block of butter, 150g brown sugar and finely grated orange rind together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in two eggs and 150ml soured cream. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 25 minutes until golden and cooked through. To make the frosting, beat 200g butter and 100g chestnut purée together in a bowl using an electric whisk. Gradually beat in 450g icing sugar then two to three tablespoons of whiskey. Using a pastry cutter, cut out circles from the cooled cake. Carefully fit a layer of cake in the base of small jars. Fill a piping bag with the frosting and pipe a layer over the cake. Top with another circle of cake. Pipe a rosette of frosting on top of each cake and secure the lid to the jar. Tie each with a ribbon and serve.

Rachel Allen and Kerrygold have produced the Kerrygold Community Recip-e-book, available now on a free download. Visit facebook.com/KERRYGOLDUK

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