Recently I learnt that a roast dinner is consumed within an average of ten minutes. It really does give cooking one a different perspective when you think of it like that. And perhaps this might explain why last year saw a 1.43 billion decline (4%) in the UK’s Sunday lunch*; crazy talk, that is!
Being a northerner myself, I love veg, meat and plenty of gravy on my plate. I think roast dinners are comforting, wholesome and the perfect time for families to gather round the table, whatever day of the week. But when it comes to effort, they’re only as difficult or as easy as you want them to be.
On the odd occasion, yes, I will make some things from scratch, but if you’ve got a houseful of hungry tummies to feed, it can faffy, messy and daunting. And since 72% of Brits think it takes too long (despite it being a 3rd of the UK’s favourite meal), I’m going to share a few of my cheats. You don’t need to fret over getting the timings right either or whether you’re meat’s cooked through; it’ll be all over in a jiffy. And more importantly, you won’t be compromising on flavour!
- Use Disposable Foil Trays.
I know they can be quite wasteful, but they really do save some time on washing up. I like to get one that’s large enough for my oven and fill every bit of space I can with vegetables, meat or anything I want to roast. And if you want to make gravy in it, they usually withstand heat over the hob too. They’re also recyclable and I have been known to throw them in the dishwasher if they’re still in good nick to get my pennies’ worth.
- Use McCain’s Roast Potatoes in Beef Dripping.
I’ve eaten at many cooks’ homes for dinner and what I learnt early on is that frozen roast potatoes are one of the best time saving things you can buy. The McCain Crispy & Fluffy roast potatoes are the tastiest ones I’ve ever eaten too (bold statement, I know, but true). They’re prepared the same way I would normally do too which is peeled, chopped, softened and cooked in beef dripping, whereas other roasties are battered. And who’s to know? They’re also crunchy on the outside yet light and fluffy on the inside, just the way I like them.
- Use a 3 Tier Hob Steamer.
As soon as I learnt how to cook in my late teens, I’ve always used a three tier hob steamer. There’s far too many benefits not to use one. You can:-Cook loads of veggies in one go, saving washing up.
-It uses the same amount of gas.
-It keeps the nutrients by steaming.
-You can make gravy from the water.
-And it’s dishwasher safe.
- Add Fruitcake To Your Stuffing.
One of my favourite tricks to “pimp up my stuffing” so to speak is to add some spare fruit cake, Christmas cake or pudding. All I use is 100g, heat it up in the microwave for about 50 seconds and mix it in to my instant stuffing before carring on as normal. And better still, have it roasting alongside the McCain roast potatoes for extra crispness from the beef dripping. It’s a family favourite.
- Use Steaks Instead of Joints of Meat.
I love cooking some sirloin steaks or pork chops because it’s family friendly when you have little time. Just fry your meat, leave them to rest in tin foil and it can be ready within 10 minutes.
- Cheating the Gravy.
A roast dinner would be nothing without gravy and there are many ways you can cheat it. My most preferred method if I’m in a hurry it to use the veg water from the bottom of the steamer and add a splash of red wine. Then, bring it to a simmering point to burn off a little of the alcohol and add your instant as normal. Once it’s done, pour it in to a gravy boat and keep it a secret. Shhhhh….
- Warm Your Plates.
If you don’t have oven proof plates, one hack you could do is to take them out of the dishwasher after its cycle for a restaurant feel and plate up!
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*McCain researched 2,000 Brits in December 2016
Disclosure: This video and post is an advertorial commissioned by McCain. As always, all opinions are honest.