Big Zuu’s guide to a peng Christmas dinner: The grime star's back on Dave with a banging Xmas special
Move over Nigella and Jamie. We chat to chef, grime artist and TV star Big Zuu about his top tips for the best Christmas dinner ever.
Forget about Nigella’s Christmas puddings, Gordon’s giblets and Jamie’s stuffing. The only man you need to listen to if you want the best Christmas dinner this year is Big Zuu.
Grime artist and TV chef Big Zuu cooked up a storm earlier this year with his TV series Big Zuu’s Big Eats, where he dished up banging food for comedians, inspired by their passions and history.
And is Zuu excited about Christmas dinner... what do you think?
“Yeah bruv! It’s a roast with a different bird innit. A roast with a different bird,” hollers the charismatic and creative food lover.
“In England it’s so funny, we’re supposed to have a roast every week and we still go crazy over Christmas dinner. I love England man. We don’t care about many things, but the little things we do care about - we take it to another level mate. Christmas dinner is one of those things.”
If you’re nervous about what to serves your loved ones this Christmas, Zuu’s got some top tips on having a peng Christmas dinner to remember...
1. What will you be dishing up on Xmas Day?
I have to have a turkey. Some people have moved on from turkey roast. Some people are talking about salmon, some have lamb, but we still keep the turkey. It’s not Christmas dinner without the turkey.
My mum is old school. She’ll cook the turkey for five hours. Destroy it. It was like the Sahara desert. So dry.
But now we’re getting in the chef world, we know how to thaw the turkey, marinade it for the right amount of time, get a thermostat and put it in, check that it’s cooked, you know. So much stuff, it’s great.
2. What’s the best bit of Christmas dinner?
I love the turkey leg. It’s so buff. I feel like Fred Flinstone when I eat it. We don’t share the leg in my house. You get the whole piece. Me and my brother get a leg each and my mum fights us for some. I also love the croquettes. Croquettes man. I don’t know why I don’t eat them in everyday life. Once a year, they taste so good.
3. What’s your top tip for leftovers?
We do use the leftovers in the Christmas specials. We do something new with them that is really special, but I don’t want to give anything away.
But with leftovers I’m a big sandwich man. You make sure you get turkey breast as thinly sliced as possible and just bare coleslaw! And the thickest bread. You can’t go wrong, yeah. Cranberry sauce, can’t go wrong. That’s alright. But check out the comedy special for something to do with leftovers.
4. How do you make brussel sprouts acceptable?
My mum makes them with prawns. I don’t know why, I don’t know how. She makes them with prawns. It’s the weirdest thing. It tastes so good. She gets those itty bitty frozen prawns, banging garlic, banging onions, steam off the brussel sprouts, cook the prawns.
We do something with brussel sprouts in the specials, which is buff. It’s peng. If you don’t like brussel sprouts, I have something for you. It’s going to change the way you use them.
5. What’s your top advice if someone is cooking Christmas dinner for the first time?
Thaw your turkey. T-H-A-W. That’s it. Google it. How big your turkey is, it’s usually on the packet, then find out how long to thaw it and make sure you do it for the right amount of time, cook it for the right amount of time - it’s science. It can’t possibly go wrong.
It only goes wrong if you don’t thaw it long enough, marinade it long enough or cook it for the right time at the temperature. Control all the elements and you’ll be fine. Cooking is all about heat control.
That feeling of your side being part of the big Christmas army of dinner and someone putting it on their plate and loving it, it’s a good feeling man
- Big Zuu
Also, don’t just go and buy all the sides from Marks and Spencers. Yes, they are nice and you can just put them in the oven, But the whole point of cooking is the satisfaction of making something at the end.
Any sides you want to make, whatever you love - croquettes, a coleslaw, a macaroni cheese - just try your hardest to make it.
If you have everyone around you, if you have your bubble, the satisfaction of cooking and make it for everyone, it’s unbelievable man. Even if you’re not the main person who cooks in your family and you just want to help with a side, that feeling of your side being part of the Big Christmas Army of dinner and someone putting it on their plate and loving it, it’s a good feeling man. For real.
6. What’s on your Christmas soundtrack when cooking?
The cheesy ones all day. Lock in Magic FM. My mum is old school. She always says, "old is gold, don’t you know, old is gold". That’s what she’s told me since I was born. She likes to remind me of that. Anything 70s, 80s, 90s, that’s what I’m about.
My mum is 52, I’m 25 and my brother is 14. We’re all from different universes. But at Christmas we go on YouTube and show each other our favourite Christmas songs. My brother always surprises us with his new music tastes and new rappers he’s listening to. My mum just loves Chris Brown and stuff. And I’m trying to show them some woke, bespoke rapper. I love it bruv.
7. Do you have room for pudding on Christmas Day?
Me and my family, we’re so bad. We normally get the profiteroles. A massive Christmas tree of profiteroles all done. A cheesecake. I really like sticky toffee pudding. I might make that this year. We always have our mince pies. The Christmas pudding that no one ever eats. It just gets left, but you still get it. We just buy it because it’s tradition. I might see how you make one.
Watch Big Zuu’s Christmas Eats on Friday, December 11 and 18 at 10pm on Dave - BT TV channel 19. Catch up on UKTV Play.