So we moved to France and were basically living in a barn with two small children and all our belongings on the floor. It was snowing the first year and we had a hole in the kitchen wall where we were planning to fit a back door. The children were sleeping in the dining area. We had no kitchen units to speak of. We were using an old gas burner outside on a table and a tiny Baby Belling cooker that my husband had found on a dump and saved “because it might be handy one day”…Oh, we did laugh…little did we know…!


It’s Christmas. We will have turkey, of course!

Supermarkets are OK here, but they are not generally, at this time of year, as one would hope, crammed to the rooftops with lovely plump turkeys all ready to go. Oh no… anorexic is the word that comes to mind, if you can even find one.

My husband’s parents were coming to stay (not with us, don’t worry, but down the road in a nice warm hotel!). “I shall go to the market and get a live turkey on the way back from the airport”, says my husband after a couple of glasses of red, as I imagine it sitting on the backseat of the car in between the two in-laws. ” It can live in the garden for a bit and we’ll ‘deal’ with it on Christmas morning…It’ll be fun!”. Can you imagine the absolute delight on the faces of the children ! I don’t think so…No way!! This was NOT going to be happening!

We came to an agreement. He’d go to the market and get an OVEN-READY turkey. That was the deal. He duly went and ordered it the week before and all would be well. But…the following Tuesday the turkey lady was nowhere to be seen. This was a problem. He didn’t have her name, address, phone number or turkey. However he did recall that she had quite a severe speech impediment, which, with it being our first year in France and his grasp of the language not quite on point, had made for an interesting exchange at the time.

With a little help from the other marketeers he established her village and set off on his motorbike to find her. After a little scout round, with no poultry evident, he visited the mairie and asked if they knew of a woman with a speech impediment and an oven-ready turkey. Luckily they did and he made his way to the farm. Now she did have some excuse for not being present at the market but apparently it was completely unintelligable! However she did have our turkey, so it was stuffed in a rucksack with it’s neck hanging out and brought proudly home like some sort of trophy.


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So, we had a turkey and we shoved it in the Baby Belling where it touched both sides and the roof of the oven. Roast spuds were clearly not going to be an option. As French anorexic turkeys go , it was, I would say…average! That is to say, quite a large ratio of bone to edible meat.

Now, I am finally coming to the point of this post. I find this whole scenario, the Christmas dinner aftermath, a real lowpoint of the festive period! The carcass; the gristly bits; the dry bits of turkey leg meat that no-one wants; the enormous amount of room required in the fridge for just a few leftovers; the guilt of not really wanting to make turkey soup because you hate any waste, when everyone else is vegging out in front of the film; not to mention the giblets and the parson’s nose! At this point I am usually exhausted, rather too merry for my own good, massively too full and just want it to all go away.

I have found a solution and I love it and I’m going to do it every Christmas forever more! 






I buy two fresh turkey breasts early in December, before any kind of Christmas stress kicks in. I make a delicious turkey breast roll with home-made stuffing , wrapped in bacon. I then pop it in the freezer and all I have to do is remember to defrost well in advance of The Day. It cooks without any fuss, carves beautifully, nobody has to settle for leg or wing, and it is amaaaazing cold the next day. SO EASY. It sounds a fag in advance but it really takes 20 minutes tops. We did one the other week as we have a “Fake Christmas Day” before our daughter goes off to do her winter season in the mountains and I was reminded how very simple it actually is.

Here is the result of me persuading my dear husband to take photos of the process for my little tutorial. “Come on, please concentrate, and just get the breasts in focus!” It’s not a lot to ask!  Aaaargh!


Oh well…! I do just love that comforting feeling that the main part of Christmas lunch is in the bag, done and dusted, off my mind. Bliss!

Which reminds me…we’ve already eaten ours so I had better go and do another one!

If you would like to feel ultra-smug too, I have a step-by-step guide with photos of how I do it. I have put it on a free PDF download. You’re going to love it even if not for Christmas, it’s great for a dinner party or even a cold buffet in the summer!  Go on, give it a go!  You won’t be disappointed! Simply scroll back up and click the link to grab all the details.


Got some Christmas shortcuts or ideas to share?  I would love to hear from you x

Get ahead for a stress-free holiday with this delicious prepare-in-advance turkey recipe from