Paul Flynn, chef and owner of The Tannery Restaurant, Townhouse and Cookery School, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford is renowned for cooking modern Irish food. Paul’s dishes are known and loved for their deep earthy flavours and the menus give nothing away in their simplicity yet the tastes are hugely exciting. Here, he shares his top tips for cooking this Christmas
What is your first food memory of Christmas?
My first memory of Christmas is my mothers Christmas pudding. I always remember running across to the local pub across the road to get a bottle of stout for our Christmas pudding.
Can you tell us a little about your Christmas celebrations, and what it means to you?
As I spend my time cooking for others Christmas is a very special time of year for me and my family as I get to cook for them. We love Christmas and star t talking about Christmas dinner in mid October. I usually finish up work on Christmas eve and go home to start preparing for the day ahead, this means I get to spend Christmas day with my family instead of cooking all day. I plan ahead and make sure I have all the prep done.
Do you follow your mother’s recipe for Christmas dinner or have you evolved?
DEFINITELY NOT! My mother was not a great cook. I was the youngest of 8 children and I remember my mother cooked the turkey on Christmas eve and when my older brothers came home from the pub they ate the turkey! After that my mother would cook the turkey and keep it under the bed and she would cook a chicken for the boys to devour.
What unusual addition is unique to your Christmas feast?
This Christmas we will have duck. I am a firm believer less is more and I don’t believe in overloading the plate with lots of food instead have a plate with enough to fill you. I like to make relatively easy dishes so I do not have to spend the day cooking. I prepare a lot of dishes in advance which means I can put them in the over to reheat such as potato gratin.
What are your top three tips for a person cooking their first ever Christmas dinner?
My top tips would be plan your meal ahead and write out what ingredients you need this will stop you overspending. Don’t overload your trolly.
Prepare what you can in advance. Write out a time guideline, this will really take the stress out cooking on Christmas day.
Less is more you do not have to overload your plate with lots of sides. Pick sides that you know everyone will love and they will go with your dish and stick to it.
What are your top tips for cooking roast turkey?
My top tips for cooking the perfect turkey would be to in a roasting tin create a platform of veg and giblets with a knob of butter and some smoked bacon or rashers, herbs and a stick of cinnamon. Pour over 1 litre of cider and place the turkey on top. Rub a thin layer of butter on the skin of the turkey.
Make a lid using tin foil and seal around the tray covering the turkey.
Place in the oven at 180Cfor 1-1.5 hours depending on the size of the turkey. This will have a steaming effect on the turkey.
Remove the tin foil and put back in the oven and allow the turkey to brown. Then remove the turkey and strain and reduce the juices to make a gravy. This will make a more natal tasting gravy than using granules and it tastes fresher and lighter.