Festive Feasting Savings!
culinary Ben

Festive Feasting Savings!

Saving on your festive feast
Or 
Festive Feasting Savings!

Are you dreaming of the delightful aromas and flavours of a turkey Christmas dinner with all the trimmings but wondering how to do it on a budget? In this season of rising energy bills, I want to give you some ideas of how you can keep your food and energy costs down without compromising on your festive feast. I’ve tried to keep the preparation and cooking methods as simple as possible to encourage you if you’re daunted by the thought of preparing a Christmas dinner and/or to give you more time to enjoy the festivities with family/friends

Pictured is a Christmas dinner which I prepared and cooked using the oven for 45 minutes instead of having the oven on for 4-5 hours; struggling to fit the turkey, roast vegetables and potatoes in the oven and keep everything hot ready for dinner. Reducing the use of the oven to 45 minutes, could save you approximately £4.71 on energy bills and with a bit of culinary creativity with the turkey you could save approximately £10.12 on the food costs. This is based on cooking a Christmas meal for 8 people. Proportionately, if you were cooking for 4 people you would likely save approximately £9.00 on food and you’d still save approximately £4.00 on energy bills.  This may not seem a lot, but if you adopt these methods of cooking for one roast dinner per week for 4 people you could save over £208 a year on your energy bill alone.

The key to achieving this is by using the microwave for certain tasks with the goal of not compromising the quality of the end result.

The microwave can be a godsend for fresh cooking from scratch, especially vegetables because:

  • The short cooking time helps preserve heat-sensitive vitamins (like vitamins C and B9)
  • The internal temperature also goes no higher than boiling which helps preserve the flavour of the vegetable
  • Since there is little to no water in the container, few nutrients (like water-soluble vitamins and minerals) are lost during cooking

Some vegetables cook really well in a microwave like aubergine, courgettes, carrots and those with a higher water content. This is not the case for potatoes which are starchier, but for partial cooking before roasting it works well.

Here I’m going to show you my costs for the different methods of preparing and cooking Christmas dinner for a household hosting 8 people. 

**using a supermarket high street chain using standard quality ingredients

Text in blue is what you need to buy and what I recommend should be prepared and cooked the day before. The turkey and onion baubles should definitely be kept in the refrigerator as recommended in the recipes. If you are restricted for space in the refrigerator a clean, cold wet tea towel (or cling film if preferred) over the vegetables works well.

Text in red is what I recommend should be prepared and cooked on Christmas Day

Using a 2400 Watt oven and a 1500 Watt stove
** shopping list ** shopping list cost Cooking temp. & times Energy Costs*
   
Food preparation  
**fresh whole turkey 4kg  £19.96 Roast @ 190℃ for 240 minutes of energy used £3.26
** Pigs in blankets £3.00 Roast @ 190℃ for 20 minutes   
TOTAL £22.96  
1400g potatoes (1200g after peeling, cover with water)   Drain in a colander.With 1.4 litre of clean water Par-boil on the hob 17 minutes.                 £0.14
    Drain in a colander.  Roast 180℃ for 60 minutes Included above in the oven with turkey 
      TOTAL £3.40
500g carrot              (450g after peeling, cover with a cold wet tea towel)   Roast on a tray for 180℃ for 60 minutes £0.82
500g parsnips          (450g after peeling, cover with a cold wet tea towel)    
Drizzled with maple syrup   TOTAL £0.82
500g red cabbage    150g dried cranberries            Zest of 1 orange      50g demerara sugar   With 100ml water and simmer on stove.                  50 minutes of energy used  TOTAL £0.42
Cover with a clean,  cold wet tea towel       
Onion baubles (to recipe)   After 25 minutes of the cabbage cooking put the Onion Baubles in the oven   Included above in the oven with turkey
400g brussels sprouts (remove the outer layer and cross the root, cover with a clean cold wet tea towel)  

With 400ml water and (3 minutes to bring to the boil and simmer for 4 mins)        7 minutes of energy used

 
   
  TOTAL £0.06

Bread sauce              

2 x 40g packet

  With 600ml milk (bring to the boil (5min) and simmer for 2 min)) 7 minutes energy used TOTAL £0.06
Instant gravy   Follow the guidelines on the packet  N/A
** Christmas Pudding 680g   With 300ml water in slow cooker 120 minutes of energy used  
  TOTAL £1.00
   

 

Using a 900 Watt microwave, a 2400 Watt oven and a 1500 Watt stove FOOD & ENERGY savings
** shopping list Cooking temp. & times Energy Costs* Food Energy
Cost    
Food preparation    
  #microwave the potatoes and place in the oven first before you start cooking the turkey# Oven to roast turkey parcels, roast potatoes, roast root  vegetables together 45 minutes of energy used £0.62     
  # start microwaving cabbage when the potatoes have been in the oven for 5 minutes#      
Prepare the turkey paupiettes as recipe on the website      ** x 2 packets of 400g (4) turkey steak £4.25 = x 8 turkey steaks £8.50             ** 250g streaky bacon 16 slices £2.09                        ** 400g butcher style pork sausage meat £2.25 In a large frying pan, fry all the Turkey Paulette (2 minutes to heat the pan and 2 minutes on each side) 10 minutes of energy used        Roast @ 190℃  25 - 30  minutes of energy used £0.08 £10.12 £2.64
  Place the turkey in the oven when the roast potatoes have been in the oven for 15 minutes with the root vegetable and onion baubles      
TOTAL £12.84   £0.06    
#1400g potatoes (1200g after peeling and cut into ¼ or approx 3cm, cover with water) Drain in a colander. Microwave with 200 ml of water (6 minutes then turnover and cook a further 6 minutes) 12 minutes of energy used, Drain in a colander, lay on parchment and lightly drizzle with oil, seasoning and mix.          Roast at 190℃  for 45 minutes Included above in the oven with turkey    
    TOTAL £0.76    
500g carrots                 (450g after peeling and cut into ¼, cover with a clean, cold wet tea towel) Microwave the carrots with 150ml water for  (5 minutes then turnover in bowl and cook for a further 4 minutes) 9 minutes of energy used £0.05 £0.00 £0.74
500g parsnips                 (450g after peeling and cut into ¼, cover with a clean, cold wet tea towel)  Microwave the parsnips with 150ml water for (3 minutes then turnover in bowl and cook for a further 3 minutes) 6 minutes of energy used  £0.03    
Drizzled with maple syrup Drain in a colander, lay on parchment and lightly drizzle with oil, seasoning and mix. Roast for 30 minutes on with the Onion Baubles. Place in the oven with the turkey when the roast potatoes have been in the oven for 15  minutes Included above in the oven with turkey    
    TOTAL £0.08    

500g red cabbage          

150g dried cranberries      

Zest of 1 orange                50g demerara sugar

Microwave with 100ml of water (2 times for 10 minutes each time turning over in between)  20 minutes of energy  £.0.10 £0.00 £0.32
Cover with a clean,  cold wet tea towel  TOTAL £0.10    
400g brussel sprouts (remove the outer layer and cross the root, cover with a clean cold wet tea towel) Microwave with 100ml of water (3 minutes then turnover in bowl and cook for a further 4 minutes) 7 minutes of energy used TOTAL £0.04 £0.00 £0.02
Bread sauce 2 x 40g packet Microwave with 600ml of milk (3 times for 2 minutes each time stirring in between)  6 minutes of energy used  TOTAL £0.03 £0.00 £0.03
Instant gravy Follow the guidelines on the packet N/A £0.00 £0.00
** Christmas Pudding 680g Microwave - 7 minutes of energy used TOTAL £0.04 £0.00 £0.96
    GRAND TOTAL SAVINGS £10.12 saving on food  £4.71 saving on energy