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    Energy saving Christmas dinner

    Christmas is just around the corner, and so is the most important part of the day - Christmas dinner! Cooking up your festive feast often uses most appliances in your kitchen, and with energy bills on the rise that can become expensive. So we've found a way to cook Christmas dinner in just 2 - your slow cooker and air fryer. Follow our recipe to save you time, money and washing up. Bonus!

    Here's what you'll need:

    The good stuff

    • Meat of your choice
    • Pigs in blankets
    • Stuffing
    • Yorkshire puddings

    The veg

    • 1kg of potatoes
    • 500g of carrots
    • Onion
    • 2 cloves of garlic
    • 250g sprouts
    • 400g of parsnips

    The seasonings

    • Oil of choice
    • Salt and pepper
    • 1 tbsp of honey
    • Knob of butter
    • Bay leaves
    • Cider/dry white wine
    • Thyme
    • 2-3 tablespoons of water
    • 2 tablespoon of cornflour

    Step 1 - Prep your turkey and veg

    Remove the turkey from the fridge at least 30 minutes before you want to start cooking (if frozen, make sure it's fully defrosted. Meanwhile, peel and chop your potatoes into 5cm cubes and set aside to soak. Then, peel and chop your carrots and parsnips into thin baton shapes and place in a bowl along with your sprouts.

     

     

    Step 2 - add your seasonings

    Rub butter, salt and freshly ground pepper all over the turkey. Then, put the onion, carrot, garlic, thyme, bay leaves and cider (or dry white wine) in the slow cooker, then add the turkey, skin-side up. Close the lid and cook for 6 hours on low without opening the lid.

     

     

    Step 3 - roast your vegetables

    When there's an hour left on your chicken, drizzle the veg with your oil of choice and plenty of salt and pepper. At this stage, you can also add a squeeze of honey to the mixture. Place in your air fryer at 190c and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, not forgetting to give them a shake one or two times during the cooking process.

     

     

    While the veg is cooking, pat the potatoes dry with paper towels and place in a large bowl. Pour in oil and your choice of seasonings. And then once the veg is cooked, place the potatoes into the preheated air fryer and cook for 24 minutes, giving them a shake halfway through.

     

     

    Step 4 - check on your turkey

    After 6 hours, remove the turkey from the slow cooker and place on a large plate. If you have a meat thermometer, check that the meat has reached 70C/158F in the centre. Cover in foil and leave to rest for 10 mins.

     

     

    Step 5 - add in your extras

    Whilst the chicken is resting, pop your pigs in blankets and stuffing in the second drawer of the air fryer for 8 minutes.

     

     

    Step 6 - make your gravy

    Meanwhile, increase the slow cooker temperature to high and reduce the cooking juices, and use a slotted spoon to remove any leftover vegetables. In a cup, mix cornflour and a few tablespoons of water and whisk the mixture into the warm juices until thickened.

     

     

    Step 7 - Plate up and dig in!

    Once the timer goes off, remove everything from the air fryer and pop the Yorkshire puddings in for 3 minutes. In the meantime, start to plate up all your food.

     

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    For dessert, Christmas Pudding

    It’s not Christmas without the rich and sticky pudding filled with boozy fruits, nuts and spices. Cooking your Christmas Pudding in the slow cooker not only takes the stress out of steaming, but also saves you from having your hob switched on for hours on end.

    Here's what you'll need:

    • 100g currants
    • 100g sultanas
    • 100g candied orange peel
    • 50g candied cherries, plus some for decorating
    • 1 cooking apple – around 150g
    • 2 tbsp maple syrup
    • 175ml rum
    • 125g fresh, white breadcrumbs
    • 150g suet
    • 150g dark brown muscovado sugar
    • 100g plain flour
    • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
    • ¼ tsp ground cloves
    • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • Zest of one lemon
    • Zest of one orange
    • 3 large eggs

    The Week Before

    1. Put the currants, sultanas, orange peel and candied cherries into a bowl, add the rum and cover with Clingfilm.

    2. Leave the fruits to soak overnight or even up to a week.

     

    The Day Before

    1. Grease your pudding bowl including the lid and mix together all remaining ingredients in a large bowl.

    2. Add the soaked fruit and the rum and mix it all until well combined.

    3. Put the mix into your greased pudding bowl, press it down and tap the bowl on your worktop a few times to release any air, then cover with the lid.

    4. Wrap the whole bowl in tin foil.

    5. Put the bowl into your slow cooker and fill with water making sure it comes half way up the side of the basin.

    6. Set the slow cooker to low and cook for 10 hours occasionally checking the water hasn’t evaporated – if it has, top up a little with hot water.

    7. After the 10 hours, carefully remove the pudding from the water, take off the tin foil and store until Christmas Day.

     

    On the Day

    1. On Christmas Day wrap the pudding up in tin foil again and steam for a further 4 hours on low in the slow cooker.

    2. Once the pudding is done steaming, carefully remove from the water, take the foil and lid off, put a plate on top and swiftly turn it upside down to unmould the pudding.

    3. You can decorate it either with a little holly or with some glazed cherries.

    4. Serve with brandy sauce.

    Optional: Flambé the pudding with vodka that has been heated up in a small pan and set alight with a match.

    Mince Pies

    Whether you’re making them from complete scratch, or using both shop bought pastry and mincemeat, popping your mince pies in the air fryer will save you both time and pennies and ensure you have a deliciously crispy Christmas treat.

    Here's what you'll need:

    • 100g plain white flour
    • Pinch of salt
    • 50g unsalted butter
    • 50g lard or vegetable shortening (e.g. Trex)
    • Cold water (up to around 2 tbsp)
    • Mincemeat – 1 hefty, heaped teaspoon per pie
    • 1 egg
    • Milk (to glaze)
    • 80g ground almonds
    • A shallow muffin tin, greased
    • 1 7.5cm and 1 6cm fluted, round pastry cutter
    • Small cookie cutter in whatever shape you like – star, holly leaf, snowflake etc
    • Pastry brush

    Here's how they're done

    1. Lightly grease individual pie cases or a muffin tin that will fit in your air fryer. Tip the mincemeat into a bowl and stir so that the liquid is evenly distributed.

    2. Rub the flour, sugar, salt and butter together until it resembles breadcrumbs, then slowly stir through the beaten egg and ground almonds.

    3. Bring the mixture together with your hands, wrap in clingfilm and chill for an hour or so.

    4. Thinly roll out the pastry on a floured surface. Cut out 6 circles making sure that they are large enough to fill the base of the prepared tin. Press gently into each hole, then fill with the mincemeat.

    5. Cut out another 6 slightly smaller discs and use to cover the mincemeat. Press the edges together to seal. Make a small hole in the top of each, then brush lightly with milk. Chill for about 30 minutes.

    6. Pop the pies in the air fryer for 20 minutes until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack and serve warm.

    Got leftovers?

    Once the big day is over, there are plenty of ways to efficiently use up everything, from the potatoes to the parsnips, without wasting a scrap. We’d recommend bunging every single leftover in your slow cooker – and yes, that includes the gravy – and simmering the mixture for a few hours until it’s tender. Once soft, whizz it all up using a hand blender and you’ll have a pot full of soup that’s nourishing, filling and requires both minimal effort and energy.