5 kg (9¼lb) turkey, wishbone removed, defrosted thoroughly if frozen
100 g (4 oz) butter
150 g (5 oz) smoked streaky bacon
2 tablespoons Rowse Pure & Natural clear honey
For turkey gravy
1 onion quartered
1 carrot quartered
2 stems celery, sliced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 chicken stock cube
1.2 litres (2 pints) water
For the Stuffing (can be made ahead)
To make the stuffing, heat the butter in a frying pan, add the onion and fry gently for 5 minutes until softened. Add the fennel and fry gently for 5 minutes then add the honey and fry for 5 more minutes, stirring more frequently until the onion and fennel are pale golden then take off the heat.
Grate the rind from the lemon, add to the frying pan. Cut the lemon in half, squeeze the juice from one half and add to the pan. Reserve the other half.
Strip some of the leaves from 3 stems of rosemary and chop to give about 3 tablespoons. Stir the chopped rosemary, parsley, breadcrumbs, beaten egg and lots of salt and pepper into the honied fennel mixture. Cool. This can be made the day before it is needed, pack into a plastic box, cool and chill in the fridge.
For the Turkey
Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan oven 160°C), Gas Mark 4. Remove the bag of giblets from the turkey. Rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water. Drain well and add the remaining half lemon and three stems of rosemary to the cavity. Spoon the stuffing into the neck cavity, press firmly until tightly packed. Fold the neck flap back over the stuffing and truss with string if needed. Shape any remaining stuffing into balls and add to the roasting tin for the last 30 minutes of cooking.
Weigh the turkey on the bathroom scales and calculate the cooking time allowing 20 minutes per 1 kg (2 ¼ lb) plus 90 minutes. Place in a roasting tin, melt the butter in a saucepan then brush generously all over the turkey, season the breast with salt and pepper and cover with bacon. Wrap loosely with foil then roast for calculated cooking time, brushing at intervals with extra butter and removing the foil and bacon for the last 30 minutes of cooking time.
To test if the turkey is cooked, insert a skewer through the thickest part of the leg through to the breast, if the juices run clear it is ready, if not return to the oven and test at 15 minute intervals, recovering with foil if needed.
Drizzle the turkey skin with honey and cook for 5-10 more minutes until burnished and glistening then transfer to a warmed serving plate, cover tightly with foil and keep warm in a very low oven, or if you need the oven space to brown the potatoes, put on a work surface, cover with foil and a thick towel to keep the turkey hot. Leave to rest for 20-30 minutes.
Remove foil and garnish the turkey with rosemary, holly and cranberries, sliced lemon or a fennel seed head, if liked.
To garnish: Fresh rosemary, holly leaves and a few cranberries or sliced lemon and a fennel seed head, optional
For the Gravy
Add the turkey giblets to a saucepan with 1 quartered onion, 1 quartered carrot, 2 stems celery, sliced, 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, 1 chicken stock cube and 1.2 litres (2 pints) water. Bring just to the boil then partially cover with a lid and simmer very gently for 11/2 hours. Strain and reserve. This can be done the day before and then chilled in the fridge.
When the turkey has been transferred to a serving plate to rest, pour the fat from the roasting tin leaving the meat juices behind.
Stir 3 tablespoons plain flour into the meat juices then put the roasting tin on the hob and cook for 2-3 minutes. 4. Gradually mix in the strained stock, 120 ml (4 floz) dry sherry, salt and pepper.
Bring to the boil, stirring and cook for 3-4 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed then strain into a large jug.
Tips: Weigh the turkey on the bathroom scales and calculate the cooking time allowing 20 minutes per 1 kg (2 ¼ lb) plus 90 minutes. If using a fan oven, lower the temperature down by 20°C to 160°C.