Top chefs' tips: Cooking for Christmas on a budget – BBC

Chefs rarely get Christmas off – if they are not cooking for customers, they are slaving over a hot stove for family.
BBC News NI has spoken to three established names who are in that latter category.
However, far from feeling bah humbug about having to do their job while on holiday, they all love being able to take the stress and strain away from others.
They shared the tricks of the trade and offered some advice about keeping costs down, especially this year with so many people feeling the pinch.
Gemma Austin is 31 and has her own restaurant, A Peculiar Tea, in Belfast. The Carryduff native has competed in BBC Two's Great British Menu twice.
After years of working over Christmas, she can now call the shots and is off for several days.
But she will be in the kitchen on Christmas Eve to prepare dinner for her "turkey and ham people".
"My mum used to do the cooking but with having the restaurant, we prep everything here. There's nothing to do other than reheat stuff on Christmas Day.
"Reheating works because the longer something sits, the longer it has to develop flavour. A wee bit of butter on your turkey and ham before reheating in the microwave means they won't dry out."
Gemma said everyone in hospitality was feeling the rising costs of food and energy.
"Our electric bill is 10 times what it was last year and our food is at least double, so it's definitely harder to keep going than it was this time last year. We are just lucky that we are always busy."
LEFTOVERS: Fajitas – use the scraps in a wrap. Just add mushrooms, onions and peppers.
FINAL WORD: "Buy if you can from local people and don't buy too much. Whatever food you can afford, buy that. Don't stress because all that matters is that the right people are there."
It is no wonder Brian McDermott is going turkey, ham and all the trimmings, plus trifle.
The Donegal chef, who has been in the business for 27 years, has built a reputation on tasty, healthy food based around traditional recipes.
BBC Radio Foyle's resident chef will only be cooking for four this year – his wife and two daughters.
"I don't consider that work because I absolutely love it when it comes to cooking for family," he said.
The 46-year-old said the cost of living crisis was "every conversation, every day for the past number of months" but he felt it needed to be put aside for the occasion of Christmas.
He will not be shying away from using the oven for the "all-time roast dinner" but he said a slow cooker was good for cooking the ham.
"Turkey doesn't have a huge amount of flavour – the flavour is increased when we roast it. Don't be scared of the oven – it is our friend in terms of heat and nutrition that we need to survive this and be resilient."
Preparation is the thing so grab a pen and paper, he said.
"Everything starts with a menu. You cannot go shopping for Christmas ingredients until you jot down what it is."
LEFTOVERS: His 4kg bird for his family of four will do a secondary dinner on Boxing Day, and a pie or curry on day three and four.
FINAL WORD: "You know your family. Don't do something they won't enjoy."
Marty McAdam has two restaurants under the one Enniskillen roof – the Street Kitchen for brunch and lunch, and Paget Lane for fine dining.
The 35-year-old, who competed in this year's Great British Menu alongside Gemma, was a chef on a yacht for a number of years and moved home five years ago.
He will be cooking for 10 people this year, which he said was nothing compared to the pressure-cooker environment of restaurants.
Christmas dinners of old were "lovely but chaotic".
"Turkey being cooked for hours and hours and hours," he said. "You'd wake up Christmas morning and the potatoes were being boiled and everything would be done last minute.
"When I came home, I decided to take the burden off my parents. My big thing is that I cook everything off on Christmas Eve."
He confessed to using the perks of the job – an industrial kitchen and maybe a few staff.
LEFTOVERS: Two days of the same meal and very little cleaning up.
FINAL WORD: "The most important thing is that you are with family and friends. Make it as stress-free as possible – enjoy the day for what it is."
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