3 back-to-basic winning recipes

  • Grandma Gunstones Bread Sauce
  • Tim’s Super Fast Apple Sauce
  • Lou’s Basic Homemade Gravy

It’s fun right?

Christmas is supposed to be happy and joyful and all that jazz…

But it can also be stressful and a complete disaster.

The main stress usually comes from the big days’ meal.

We hang all our happiness and success of the day on this Christmas feast. Get that wrong and it’s all over.

What’s worse is everyone has different ideas on what makes a cracking Christmas meal.

Stick to the basics

But from my experience, it’s almost always best to stick to the basics, do them well and only divert if you want to make something extra.

What I’m saying here is, don’t upset your mother-in-law or father-in-law by trying to ‘upgrade’ the traditional Christmas dinner with a fancy flourish of something.

Been there. Done that. Don’t advise it.

What people also seem to forget is, Christmas dinner is basically just a Sunday roast.

So, there is no need to get all hot and bothered about something you do throughout the year but suddenly lose your marbles when is has the word ‘Christmas’ attached.

Words of wisdom

I listened to Nigella Lawson on the radio one Christmas and these were her 3 words of wisdom, which I loved.

  1. Don’t worry about making sure everything is hot.
    1. It’s near impossible unless you have a commercial kitchen!
    2. So, make sure your roast tatties and your gravy are lovely and hot and that’s it.
  2. Rest your meat. It will make it lovely and moist.
  3. Invite a guest to Christmas Day… then your family will have to behave! Lol. Love that one 😊

So here is a few basics that are worth knowing when it comes to making a nice hot gravy to enhance your feast and keep the in-laws happy…

  • Grandma Gunstones Bread Sauce
  • Tim’s Super Fast Apple Sauce
  • Lou’s Basic Homemade Gravy

Know any other great simple gravies or sauces? Drop me a line…

Grandma Gunstones Bread Sauce

Course Side Dish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 150 g white bread (don't use sour dough)
  • 500 ml milk
  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves
  • 1/4 grated nutmeg
  • salt to season

Optional extras

  • 2 bay leaves use the cloves to stud these to the onion
  • 4 crushed juniper berries add to the milk infusion
  • 8 crushed peppercorns add to the milk infusion


  • Take the onion and stud it with 4 cloves.
    In a pan, bring to the boil the milk, butter, nutmeg and onion. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for a little the cloves, onion and nutmeg can infuse into the milk.
  • In a bowl break up your bread (cut the crusts off) and then slowly pour your infused milk through a sieve over the bread.
    Mix well and simmer on a low heat mixing every few min until smooth.
    The texture shouldn't be super smoother, nor really lumpy (somewhere in between).
    Use a whisk to help get the correct texture. If too dry and lump add more milk and vice versa.


You can freeze this but cool completely and then transfer to the freezer in a container.
When you remove from the freezer, defrost at room temperature, then reheat stirring often until hot all the way through. Add more milk if necessary.

Tim’s Super Fast Apple Sauce

Course Side Dish
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 8 people
Cost £


  • 6 apples, peeled, cored and quartered (Golden delicious are our favourite)
  • 240 ml apple juice (unfiltered is best)
  • 30 ml brandy or cognac
  • 60 g honey
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon


  • In a saucepan, combine your apples with all the ingredients.
    Place a lid on (slightly ajar) to allow steam to escape. and give the occasional stir as the apples soften.
  • Once cooked, use a hand blender (or potato masher) and blend to your desired consistency.
  • Serve!

Lou’s Basic Homemade Gravy

Course Side Dish
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 6 people
Cost £


  • Drippings from the roast turkey
  • 1 – 2 cups chicken stock (homemade if you have some)
  • 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 1/4 cup milk


  • Once you've removed your turkey (and are resting it), simply use the same pan with all the juices and drippings and leave on the stove top.
    Using a ladle, try and skim off us much fat as you can first.
  • In a cup, mix you milk and flour (this is to thicken your gravy and by mixing the flour with milk first, you avoid those horrible lumps of flour if you added it straight in dry)
  • On a medium heat, add in the chicken stock and milk-flour mix gradually, stirring it in to the leftover drippings.
    Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. (It will be your personal judgement on how thick you would like your gravy so it's important to add the milk-flour mix and stock slowly so you can gauge it.
  • Season with salt and white pepper to taste.
  • Serve!