Mum who has eaten Christmas dinner every day for 23 years reveals her £2 roast hack

Molly Powell
PA Real Life
Tuesday 28 November 2023 12:24 GMT
Jayne adds pigs in blankets, stuffing and Yorkshire pudding to her roast on Christmas Day
Jayne adds pigs in blankets, stuffing and Yorkshire pudding to her roast on Christmas Day (PA Real Life)

A woman who has eaten a Christmas dinner every day for the last 23 years “whatever the weather” – as she believes they are “easy to make and nutritious” and associates them “with being a child” – has recommended her inexpensive one-pan roast as a cost-of-living hack as the festive season begins.

Jayne Winteringham, 68, a sales consultant from Bristol, has devoured more than 8,000 roast dinners since the year 2000 and began eating them every day after her four children, who she does not wish to name, moved out.

Her roast dinner must-haves are gravy, sprouts, meat and potatoes, which she cooks in one pan for around 40 minutes every day after work, and to stop herself getting bored, she adds an array of condiments such as mustard or cranberry sauce.

Even when going out for meals, Jayne picks whatever is closest to a roast, and when her children were young, she often used to take them to a Toby Carvery after a hot summer day at the beach.

Jayne cannot see herself giving up her favourite meal any time soon (PA Real Life)

Looking forward to Christmas dinner this year, which will include pigs in blankets, stuffing and Yorkshire puddings to make it extra special, Jayne shows no sign of slowing down her habit – which she believes keeps her slim and is cost-effective.

Despite the rising price of meat Jayne said her daily roasts, usually made with chicken but sometimes turkey or sausages, cost around £2 per meal – and she uses the leftovers by turning them into bubble and squeak for breakfast and soup for lunch.

Jayne told PA Real Life: “A roast, or a Christmas dinner, is my favourite meal and I have it when I’m out for a meal too.

“In the summer, I still cook it, whatever the weather, and it has to be piping hot – there’s nothing worse than a cold roast.

“Sometimes I make a roast sandwich in the summer, which is lovely.

“(The cost-of-living crisis) has been OK – it’s not an expensive meal really – the vegetables are still cheap and I’ve noticed the difference in the price of meat but I tend to just cook one chicken breast per meal, so it’s not as bad.

“With the way I cook it, all in one pan, and just veg in the microwave, it’s quite cheap compared to doing it all separately.”

Jayne first began eating roast dinners every day in 2000, missing only around two days a year, after her children flew the nest.

“You can put all of it in the oven, it’s an easy way to eat, and it’s nutritious,” Jayne explained.

“I always used to cook a Sunday roast for the children, and I have a lot of happy memories associated with it.

“I associate them with being a child – when I was young, my parents were religious and we’d always go to church then come home and have a roast or go to visit relatives and have one there.”

Jayne began eating roasts every day after her children moved out (PA Real Life)

Day-to-day, Jayne’s preferred meat is chicken, but she also likes serving up turkey, sausages or bacon with vegetables and gravy.

She explained her staples: “I always have gravy, roast potatoes, meat, Brussels sprouts.

“For meat, I have chicken the most – it’s my favourite meat and not too expensive.”

Jayne spends just £2 per portion, and thinks it is ideal amid the cost-of-living crisis.

She said: “It’s a nutritious way of feeding yourself, and doesn’t cost much.

“I’d recommend it to others at the moment because I’ll cook enough so I can use it another day.

“I often have bubble and squeak for breakfast or make a soup to use the veg and the meat.

“I don’t like throwing away any food so I try to use as much of it up as I can, and it makes it cheaper.”

She explained the cooking process, step-by-step: “I start by par-boiling the potatoes, until they’re soft.

“Then I shake them up and put them in the oven with a chicken breast and let them cook in the meat juices.

“When the potatoes and meat are nearly done, I microwave all of the vegetables so they are nice and steamed.

“Then I serve it all up with some gravy – it all takes me about 40 minutes.

“I make the gravy using the vegetable water and meat juices, with a stock cube and some cornflour.”

Jayne said she always includes Brussels sprouts despite thinking they taste “quite disgusting” on their own.

“I know a lot of people don’t like them but I always have Brussels sprouts, often with some bacon or cranberry on them,” she said.

“I think the flavour of them is quite disgusting really but it complements the gravy and meat.

“With a bit of butter on, they can taste quite nice.”

On what her loved ones think, Jayne said: “They just find it funny and aren’t that surprised, everyone knows how much I love a roast!”

Despite eating more than 8,000 roast dinners in the last 23 years, Jayne said she she is not bored of them.

“I mix it up to keep it interesting – I put different condiments on it, like horseradish, cranberry, mustard or mint sauce,” she said.

“There’s not just one way of eating it.”

Jayne still looks forward to Christmas dinner every year and sharing her most loved meal with her children.

She said: “It’s my favourite meal so of course I’m still excited for Christmas, I can’t wait.

“I add stuffing, Yorkshire puddings and pigs in blankets – I still have them occasionally when it’s not Christmas but it just makes it extra special.

“If my kids are here, they love it.

“One year we mixed it up a bit and had a roast with a Mexican take, which my daughter cooked.”

Looking to the future, Jayne cannot see herself giving up her favourite meal any time soon.

She said: “Now I have this reputation I can’t stop now!

“I just love roasts so much, and it’s my favourite meal, so I’m sure I’ll be eating them for many years to come.”

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