Traditional Sunday Lunch


Sunday Lunch

By Jon Noble

2nd Apr 2021

chicken in the oven

Growing up as a child in the 1980’s there were a lot of traditions that have sadly been lost in today’s fast paced culture. One tradition that was always important to us was the family Sunday Lunch, the one time that we would all get together and sit around the table as a family and enjoy a meal together.

I remember that my mum always seemed to have everything under control in the kitchen, and every Sunday she would prepare a delicious Sunday roast for the family, although times were a bit tough financially she would never fail to get that Sunday Roast on the table

Life was definitely less complicated back then. Yes we had much less but in many ways we had more, we appreciated what we had and always made the most of it. I suppose that was part of the reason traditions were so important to us. You could pretty much guarantee that we would be having roast Chicken most Sundays. But now and then Mum would give us a special treat and she would make Roast Breast of Lamb.

two cast iron kettles on a stove

So how did she do it so effortlessly, so delicious and always in such abundance? She had her tricks and no doubt a few tips handed down from her Mum. I am going deep into the furthest recesses of my memory to recreate some of those ideas, so that they do not get lost in time for ever.

The first thing I do when preparing a Sunday lunch is get the vegetables cooked, you can do this the night before if you like. Let me explain, I cook my Carrots, Cabbage, Broccoli (Al Dente) cool it under cold running water then drain it dry. These will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Swede is a bit different, you can cook it the same but DO NOT cool it down as it needs to be mashes hot with butter and pepper. So one your Swede is cooked drain it dry then mash it in the pan with a potato masher. I normally add ¼ tsp of black pepper to mine for a little extra kick and a nice knob of butter. Once this has cooled, it too can be stored in the refrigerator.

Make a Stock : Always keep you vegetable peelings to make a stock for your gravy, keep a pan with 2 litres of water and throw all of your vegetable peelings into it with some salt, chopped up brown onion and a snapped up stick of celery. You can bring this to a boil on Sunday morning then let it simmer and reduce by half for a few hours.

Another great idea for cooking Swede it to grate it prior to cooking, you will find that the grated Swede will cook a lot faster. Give it a go.

So if you are having Mashed Potato with your lunch, this can also be cooked and mashed the day before, same as the Swede. If you like Parsnips then it is a great idea to make Parsnip Mash for an added twist.

Sunday morning all I have left to cook is normally the Roast Potatoes, Gravy and Meat. I’m pretty sure this is how my mum used to make it look so effortless on a Sunday. Most of the work was done the night before.

The one thing that my Mother always made were Yorkshire Puddings, obviously this side is predominantly served with Roast Beef, but she always made her own. This is something that has almost been replaced by frozen products.

I have always made my own Yorkshire Puddings and they always turn out better than anything you could ever buy in the shop. It would be awful if this knowledge were ever to be lost so please take a look at my recipe for these simple Yorkshire Puddings , you will love them and there is something so satisfying about making your own.

To finish off this perfect Sunday lunch I am going to take a look at a few of our house recipes that you can try as well as giving you a cool link to some Meat Cooking Times, so that you can get that joint of meat cooked perfectly to your liking.

Traditional accompaniments
Apple Sauce – Pork
Mint Sauce – Roast Lamb
Horseradish Sauce – Roast Beef
Chicken or Turkey – Cranberry Sauce

So we find ourselves at the point where we need to get that joint of meat cooked perfectly. All your vegetables are cooked and you have you accompaniments made up. You can find convenient cooking times for Beef, Lamb or Pork on our Cooking Guide.

Warming it all up

With all of the work done , the best way to do this is simple and rather obvious I think. Plate it all up cold. That’s right, put your cooked vegetables, stuffing, roast potatoes on the plates. Wrap it in foil and heat it in a medium oven for about 20 minutes.

When the plates are hot, the food is hot and you can slice your meat and put it on the plates hot. Serve the hot plates directly with gravy and accompaniments.

If you follow some of these ideas you should end up with something resembling a Traditional Sunday Roast. Of course when I was a child there were always a lot of mouths to feed and you could pretty much guarantee that even though the food was delicious you were always left wanting a bit more. I guess that this is where my final memory comes from.

Once your plate was empty there was always plenty of gravy left over, and what better way to soak up all of that delicious gravy than with a slice of fresh bread. We would look forward to this tradition almost as much as the meal its self.

Soaking up all of the tasty gravy with a slice of bread was the finishing touch to our Sunday Lunch.

Sunday Lunch just like my Mum made…….. Almost.