Tooting Family Kitchen

Tooting Family Kitchen

Fun Family Cooking

34. United Kingdom: Cooking a British Family Feast

Thank you joining Tooting Family Kitchen for Week 34 of our 52 Weeks Challenge. It gives me great pleasure to stay at home on this special festive week and cook up a Christmas Family Feast representative of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Whilst I am a proud and patriotic Englishman, I am also very proud of the union that exists between the countries of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and have had the pleasure and privilege to serve alongside soldiers from all 4 nations during my military career.

Whilst there is a strong rivalry amongst us it is usually good natured and we appreciate and celebrate each other’s successes, which is why I think it’s good to kick off this week with a mention of England’s World Cup win of 1966! If you are not from The UK and are planning your first trip to Scotland, this is a great icebreaker to get the locals into conversation. It is possible there may be a handful of people out there that may consider this to be ‘old news’ and irrelevant (ridiculous, I know)…in which case, if you are visiting Wales for the first time, be sure to ask the locals how Wales got on in the 2020 Six Nations…I’m not sure how England did so will leave it to them to fill you in on the details.

Rivalries aside, collectively the United Kingdom has given the world some of its best loved sports. Although sometimes it’s hard to pin point an exact start point for sports as we enjoy them today, there are strong arguments to suggest that football, rugby, tennis, golf, darts and rowing (amongst many others) were all invented in the UK. Rory McIlroy, Jessica Ennis-Hill, Fallon Sherrock, Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury, Paula Radcliff, Lewis Hamilton, Andy Murray, Chris Hoy, Dina Asher-Smith and Nicola Adams represent just a handful of sporting stars that have achieved success on the highest sporting stages over the last few years, but of course there are many, many more before we even get into team sports!

Of course in the UK we have experience of taking a good thrashing too, which is why we are armoured with something else I am extremely proud of, ‘The Stiff Upper Lip’, the ability to remain resolute when faced with adversity… to take things on the chin and crack on! Only in the UK could the most catastrophic scenario be described in a meeting as “a slight hiccup”. The optimism we carry around in our daily lives is displayed best in the summer when year after year, month after month, week after week, we will glance up at the sky and say “I think it’s going to be nice next week”…don’t give up hope! It also takes a lot to annoy us, but you know you are getting close to the mark when you hear such fighting talk as “I beg your pardon”, “well excuse me” and “steady on”…this is when things are really likely to kick off and if there is one thing that is almost certainly going to push us over the edge, it would be putting the milk in the cup BEFORE the tea…don’t, just don’t! On the subject of tea, whilst many will accredit the discovery of penicillin as having a profound effect on our wellbeing, it doesn’t come close to the power of tea for us Brits…your world is falling apart, you are in absolute despair, you are completely helpless…the British solution…”don’t worry, pop over and I’ll put the kettle on, we’ll have a nice cuppa!” In fact we can pretty much solve any issue we are faced with by just using the single but powerful words of “tea?”, “pint?” and “pub?”.

Despite our International presence on the world stage in numerous conflicts and World War’s over the years, we do like to avoid confrontation at all costs. Only a Brit could be absolutely convinced that someone is lying and say “maybe I am just remembering wrong”, only a Brit is going to have absolutely no idea what someone is talking about and say “yes, I think that rings a bell”, only a Brit is going to get the worst hair cut imaginable and when asked by the hairdresser, “how does it look?”, reply with “yep, spot on, thank you” for fear of upsetting the hairdresser. We take being polite to another level and never leave the house unless armed with a lot of “thank you’ s” and “sorry’ s” . We say thanks to drivers who stop at zebra crossings, we apologise for not being a smoker when asked for a light…sometimes we get so confused when someone bumps into us we thank them for it! But if there is one thing that is likely to get our backs up as much as ‘milk before tea’, it’s not getting a big ‘thank you’, in return for holding a door open for someone or letting a driver pass…in which case be warned…it is very likely that you will face our wrath with our preferred act of (passive) aggression…a loud and sarcastic “you’re welcome!” And God forbid we ever start a sentence with, “with all due respect”.

The UK’s place in history needs no introduction and for good or far bad our influence on the planet stretches far and wide. Some of the best known explorers, artists, composers, authors, musicians, pop stars and inventors hail from the UK and as a language, English is the mostly widely spoken in terms of number of speakers and the third most widely spoken native language, however, I don’t know if this is something we should be thanked for. Having worked as an interpreter, I have an understanding that the difficult thing is often not to remember the words, but understand how the native speakers put them together. Au revoir, Adios, Auf Wiedersehen and Addio…all pretty straight forward right? Feel sorry for the person who has to translate “right then, I suppose it’s about time to start thinking about making a move”.

Moving on to gastronomy and the food scene in The UK has been absolutely buzzing for years now, with London often be referred to as the food capital of the world. Long gone are the days when our cuisine was looked down upon and whilst the huge number of cuisines available through our wonderfully diverse communities makes for great eating, the general standard of cooking when it comes to traditional British fair has been raised significantly too. Steak and Kidney Pies, Fish and Chips, Cullen Sink, Fry-ups, Shepherds Pies, Hot Pots, Bubble and Squeak and Cawl are all things of beauty when cooked well, but of course there is only one dish which is truly part of our national identity, the British Roast Dinner! Every Sunday in the UK pubs are packed out, restaurants are fully booked and kids are fighting over who’s mum does the best roast, as family and friends gather to share the amazing feast of roasted meat and potatoes with vegetables and gravy. Such is the popularity of roast dinners that the French started calling us “rosbifs” in the 18th Century.

Alarmingly though, I recently discovered that everything in the garden is not rosy (to use a British idiom to describe a catastrophe of epic proportions), when my friend Matt broke the news to me that he hated roast dinners. Shocked, I dug deeper and found out that Matt is representative of a growing number of people, who despite being British born and bred, are not fans of a roast dinner. Nor will they be turned by people who say “well, that’s because you haven’t tried my Great-Auntie Gertrude’s yet”. Whatever next? Some may even question the Great British past time of complaining all afternoon about over-eating on roast turkey, potatoes and brussels sprouts, before falling asleep on the couch and waking up to watch an extra long edition of ‘The Vicar of Dibley’?! So to Matt and all you roast haters out there I say…“with all due respect…steady on!!!”

Tooting Family Kitchen cooks a British Christmas Roast Dinner

Everyone's favourite job!

Peeling chestnuts

Sage is apparently pretty funny!

Checking out the ham ingredients

Pigs in blankets assembly!


Boiling the ham

Oven ready...

Glazing the ham

Roast Turkey

What’s in it...

1 x 6kg Turkey
6 rashers of streaky bacon
Olive oil
Sea salt

What to do with it…
  1. Remove the turkey from the fridge a good hour before roasting and allow to get down to room temperature. Make sure any giblets are removed and pat all over (inside and out with kitchen paper).

  2. Give the turkey a good douse of olive oil and rub generously with sea salt inside and out. Wrap some of the streaky bacon rashers around the turkey legs and place over the breasts (this should keep them moist throughout cooking).

  3. Cover the turkey in tin foil and cook in a pre-heated oven on top of the bed of gravy ingredients in a pre-heated 180C oven for approx. 20 min per 500g or until juices run a clear when the pierced with a skewer to deepest part of breast – remove foil for last 45 mins to bronze the bird.

  4. When cooked through remove the turkey to a carving block/platter and loosely cover in tin foil.

  5. At this stage its best to let it rest for at least an hour and this is plenty of time to get the potatoes in and get to work on the gravy – when the turkey has finished resting pour any juices that have come out into the gravy.

Honey and mustard glazed ham

What’s in it...

2kg unsmoked gammon joint

1 litre of good quality cider

1 litre of water

1 onion, peeled and quartered

1 stick of celery, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

1 tsp whole pepper corns

1 bay leaf

1 cinnamon stick


100ml of honey

2 tbsp of wholegrain mustard

2 tbsp. red wine vinegar

Handful of cloves

What to do with it...
  1. Put the gammon joint in a large heavy bottom pan and cover with the cider and water, onion, carrot, celery, bay leaf, cinnamon stick and pepper corns ensuring the liquid covers the meat, otherwise add a little more.

  2. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for a 2 ½ hours topping up with water as you go to ensure the meat stays covered.

  3. When finished remove the ham from the liquid (retaining liquid for a future soup or stock) and leave to cool slightly whilst pre-heating oven to 180C (timing wise this should work with removing the turkey and allowing to rest).

  4. Move the ham to a roasting tray and careful cut away the skin leaving a layer of fat. Discard the skin and score the fat ever 2cm in a criss-cross pattern before pushing clothes into each segment.

  5. Heat the honey, mustard and vinegar and combine and generously brush approx. 1/3 of mixture over the fat before placing ham in the oven.

  6. After around 15 minutes add more of the mixture and baste and do the same again after another 15 mins. Cook for 45 mins in total and the glaze should be golden, sweet and sticky. Allow to rest for around 15 minutes loosely covered in tin foil and serve.

Pigs in blankets

What’s in it...

24 chipolata sausages

12 rashers of streaky bacon

What to do with it...
  1. Cut the bacon rashers in half and wrap a piece around each sausage.

  2. Place on a baking tray and cook in a pre-heated oven to 180C for approx. 30 min or under golden brown and cooked through.

Sausage meat and chestnut stuffing

What’s in it...

400g of sausage meat

50g of butter

1 tbsp olive oil

2 onions

1 stick of celery

4 cloves of garlic

1 handful of chopped parsley

1 handful of chopped sage

1 handful of dried cranberries (soaked in port optional)

250g chestnuts – roasted, peeled and chopped

Salt and pepper

What to do with it...
  1. Melt the butter and oil in a pan and when hot gently fry the onions and celery for 5 mins until translucent and then add garlic and continue to fry for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool in a large bowl.

  2. When cooled, combine well with the sausage meat, sage, parsley, cranberries and seasoning.

  3. Cook either by stuffing the neck of the turkey or baking in the oven at 180C for 50 mins or until cooked through.

Roast Potatoes

What’s in it...

1kg of Maris Piper (or similar) potatoes

4 tbsp goose fat

½ bulb garlic

Sprig of rosemary

Sea salt

What to do with it...
  1. Peel the potatoes and cut into pieces of approx. 5cm (depending on size of potatoes could be halves or thirds) and place in a large pan of salted boiling water. Simmer for approx. 12 minutes until the potatoes are cooked through but not falling apart. Drain in a colander and allow to steam off and cool down – this can be done well in advance of cooking.

  2. When ready to roast pre-heat oven to 180C . Place goose fat into a roasting tray and place in oven to heat for 5 mins. Whilst waiting don’t peel the garlic cloves but crush slightly with the back of a knife and give the potatoes a good shake to rough up the edges.

  3. When the goose fat is really hot carefully put the potatoes, rosemary sprig and garlic cloves into the pan and coat well in the fat. Place in the oven and roast for 30 minutes before removing and turning the potatoes over and roasting for another 20 minutes. Remove from the oven when crispy and golden brown on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Sprinkle well with sea salt and serve.

Honey roast parsnips and carrots

What’s in it...

500g of parsnips

500g of carrots

4 tbsp of olive oil

4 tbsp of honey

3 sprigs of rosemary

Salt and pepper

What to do with it...
  1. Peel the carrots and parsnips and cut the larger ones into halves or quarters and place in a bowl.

  2. Heat the oil and honey together in a microwave and toss together with the carrots and parsnips until well coated. Place on a roasting tray and season well with sea salt and pepper and throw in the rosemary.

  3. Roast in a pre-heated oven at 180c for approx. 40 mins flipping them half way through. They should be nice and golden on outside but soft and cooked through.

Christmas pudding

What’s in it...

400g dried mixed fruit

100g shredded suet

1 cooking apple, cored and grated

Zest of 1 orange

Zest of 1 lemon

50g chopped almonds

25g candied peel, chopped

3 tbsp brandy

150ml of strong stout

2 large eggs

50g self-raising flour

100g white breadcrumbs

1 tsp mixed spice

200g muscovado sugar

200g butter, chilled

What to do with it...
  1. In a large bowl mix the dried fruit, peel, spice, zest and nuts together and combine with the suet, sifted flour, sugar, eggs and bandy.

  2. Stir in the stout and keep mixing well and then grate in the butter and combine.

  3. Butter some glass or plastic bowls suitable for steaming and fill up with the mixture allowing a little room for expansion. Cover with a double layer of baking paper or foil and tie tightly with string.

  4. Steam the puddings for 6 – 8 hrs before allowing to cool and recover with fresh baking paper or foil. Store these in a cool dry place but once a week poke some holes in the pudding with a skewer and pour in another couple of tbsp of brandy.

  5. On Christmas Day steam puddings for another 2 hours and when ready to serve heat 3 tbsp of brandy in a pan before pouring over the pudding and setting a light. Serve with brandy butter or brandy sauce.

Our Christmas Dinner!

Let's get carving

Ready to tuck in!


It is on fire!

Merry Christmas to you all x

United Kingdom, that was epic!

Next week we are excited to head down under to cook up our New Year’s Australian Feast! … please don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE (scroll to bottom) & SHARE and if you have any International Food ideas or recipes from around the world you wish to share please do drop us a line 👍


Check out other destinations here.


You can also follow us on Instagram, twitter and Facebook


See you next week!

Tooting Family Kitchen


#tootingfamilykitchen #getkidscooking #familycooking #homecooked #worldfood #tooting #UK #Britishfood #kidscooking #roastdinner #getkidscooking #familycooking #internationalfood #CookingBuddies #merrychristmas

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *