Choose the size of turkey you need

First of all decide on the size of bird that you need. For birds up to 4.5kg/10lb, allow 350-450g/12oz – 1lb per person and for larger birds allow 200-350g/8-12oz per person. Then check that you have a roasting tray large enough to fit the bird in and also that the bird plus tray together will fit in your oven!

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Baste the bird

Baste the bird with butter or olive oil, cover loosely with foil and then place in the roasting tray. If you roast the turkey upside down, the juices from the back and legs will run down into the breast and keep it moist. You should baste the turkey every 30 to 40 minutes and remove the foil for the last 40 minutes of cooking time so that the skin can become crisp.

Make sure the juices run clear

To make sure that the turkey is properly cooked, pierce the thickest part of the thigh with a skewer. The juices should run clear. An even better way to check is with a meat thermometer – the centre of the bird should reach 75C/167F.

Rest the bird

When the turkey is cooked, remove from the oven, cover with foil again and leave it to rest for about 30 minutes. If you have an Aga, just move it into the simmering oven (if it will fit!) Like all meat, turkey benefits from a rest before it is eaten, as this will make it easier to carve and more tender.