Tips for a greener Christmas dinner

Enjoy a traditional Christmas lunch at Sizergh

The festive season is one for indulgence – from family time and cheesy films, to gifts and of course food. But something that we can cut down on, without compromising the fun, is the amount of energy we consume.

As he’s something of an expert on food, we asked our development chef, Clive Goudercourt, for his top tips for using less energy and being more environmentally friendly in the kitchen over the Christmas period. Here are his top tips for a greener Christmas dinner:

Get the right turkey

Consider carefully the size of turkey you actually need. A crown or butterfly might be sufficient – 2.5kg (6lb) is more than enough for six people. Cooking at 180C for 20 minutes per 450g (1lb) plus 20 minutes is sufficient. This means you should be able to cook your turkey in around 2 ½ hours.

Shop local

Buying fresh produce from a local market supports UK producers and has significantly less food miles. You could grow your own herbs, rosemary, thyme and sage too.

Top tip: Swap olive oil for extra virgin cold-pressed rapeseed oil and if you’re having cheeses, choose British varieties (Cheddar, Stilton, Cornish Brie), rather than imported varieties.

Buy less and compost more

Compost your food peelings and buy the fruit and vegetables you need loose rather than in plastic bags to reduce your waste. Sometimes a large pack of something looks good value but if you only use half of it before it’s out of date then it isn’t.

Get everything out at once

Be prepared. Make sure all your vegetables are prepped in advance and you have everything to hand. Get all your ingredients out of the fridge at the same time rather than opening the door multiple times. This will save energy – yours and the fridge’s.

Roast those greens

Rather than boiling your vegetables, try roasting them instead. This means less pans and boiling water on the hob and they can be put in the oven with your turkey.

Recipe alert: Chop carrots, parsnips, swede, leek, celery and red onions into equal sized pieces, drizzle with rapeseed oil, salt and pepper and throw in a sprig of rosemary and thyme. Roast in the oven for around 45 minutes, then remove and drizzle with a couple of spoons of honey to finish. Delicious!

Put a lid on it

If you’re boiling anything, put lids on your pans to help keep heat in and reduce energy. You’ll create less steam so you can put your extraction unit on a lower setting too. When you have finished boiling your vegetables, you can use the water left in the pan for your gravy rather than boiling fresh; this saves water, heat and vitamins.

Spruce up your sprouts

Stir fry sprouts rather than boiling them. Chop chorizo and place in your frying pan with a drizzle of oil, add flaked almonds and shredded sprouts, a twist of salt and pepper. Then stir fry for 2-3 minutes and serve.

Top tip: Buy sprouts on the stalk rather than in bags, they keep for a lot longer.

And for desserts… microwave your pudding

Microwave your Christmas pudding rather than steaming it. Done correctly, the quality of the pudding will still be great and an average pudding is cooked in 3 minutes rather than 2 hours on the hob.