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How to Avoid a Christmas Dinner Disaster

Here Helen shares the eSpares guide to getting your kitchen and appliances stocked up and performance-ready.

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Video Transcript:

Hi, I'm Helen, welcome to the eSpares guide to avoiding a Christmas dinner disaster.

This isn't going to be some Delia-style demo where I show you how to get the perfect crispiness to your parsnips. I'm going to share with you a few tips on how to have a stress-free time preparing Christmas dinner. So let's get started with the most important thing, the oven.

If you don't use your oven often or have any doubts about it, you should check that it's working well and getting up to temperature well in advance of the big day. This gives you plenty of opportunity to buy and replace any spare parts. One of the most common parts that needs replacing on an electric oven is the element. This is a pretty straightforward fix-it task, and you can see my colleague Mat change the oven element in another eSpares video.

Next up, make sure your oven is reaching the correct temperature. If it's not, your turkey won't cook through properly and you could end up giving everyone food poisoning, that's not the sort of Christmas present you'll get many thanks for.

This inexpensive oven thermometer just sits in the oven and shows you the actual temperature inside. If it's not heating up correctly, there may be several explanations. You may need to replace the oven thermostat, but the most likely cause is the oven door seal. If it gets damaged or worn it will let hot air escape and you'll need to replace it straight away. You can see me do just that in another eSpares video.

So now I'm confident that my oven isn't going to let me down on the big day. What next? Well, I recommend giving it a good clean with a specialist oven cleaner, as spills and grease can cause smoke and fumes that can sour the turkey. And since space is always at a premium when cooking a roast, why not get yourself an extendable oven shelf from the eSpares website. Give yourself some extra room for those roasted vegetables.

Now it's time to cook the turkey. If you've gone for a frozen bird, make sure you give it plenty of time to defrost and get to room temperature, you don't want to be trying to cook a frozen turkey. If you've gone for a fresh bird make sure to leave it out the night before to make sure it's at room temperature for cooking. I'm going to be roasting it on an extendable oven tray. This is suitable for almost any size of bird, make sure you follow the cooking instructions carefully, turkey cooking instructions are available in the eSpares advice centre. Now that the turkey's in the oven it's time for a glass of wine.

Oops, the inevitable Christmas wine spill. Wine Away is an eSpares favourite, it's a red wine stain remover that's made entirely of natural ingredients. I blot away the excess and then I spray liberally, voila!

Back to the turkey, I think it should be done now. To check that it's been cooked through properly I'm going to insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the bird, between the thigh and the body. The correct temperature should be at least 82 degrees Celsius and 180 degrees Fahrenheit, and the juices should be running clear. Now I need to transfer the turkey to the carving board. I'm going to use these handy turkey lifters. Now, if you've ever dropped a roast on the floor, like I have, you'll appreciate how useful these are.

I hope that this has been useful and that you have the perfect Christmas. Best wishes from all of us at eSpares.


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