TERRIFIED of cooking turkey this Christmas? Fear not — the Meat Trade Journal’s ‘best butcher in the North’, Riley’s in Crawshawbooth, offers top tips on how to best prepare the bird.

Husband and wife team Geoff and Paula Riley took the title at the publication’s recent Butcher’s Shop of the Year Awards recently, so who better to turn to for advice?

Choose the right bird For taste, a free range, bronze turkey is best. The combination of traditional farming methods, fresh air, exercise and a more natural diet make the meat moister than other breeds. Half a kilo per serving is perfect.

Stuff it If you do choose to stuff, only stuff the neck cavity. All you really need is a peeled, halved onion in the turkey cavity to complement the flavour of the meat.

Top taste Less is more. Keep it simple by only adding a little salt. Bronze turkeys are moist and firm in texture due to natural methods of raising.

Cook to perfection Temperature and timing are key. Pre-heat your oven to 210c/gas mark 7 and cook the turkey at this heat for the first 30 minutes. Then turn down the oven to 170c/gas mark 4 for the remaining cooking time. Cooking time is approximately 35 minutes per kg for turkeys up to 6.5 kg, and 30 minutes per kg for turkeys over 6.5kg. Cook the turkey upside down until the last 30 minutes, when the skin will just brown off. Stab the breast — if the juices run clear, it’s ready.