A sharpened carving knife is essential and a long carving fork is useful for steadying joints as you cut. A metal carving dish with prongs to grip the meat will also help to retain heat. Warm plates and serving platters in the oven for a minute or two to avoid dishing up lukewarm meat.
Rolled joints with no bones are the easiest to carve as they require simple vertical slicing along the length of the roll. Remove any string from slices before serving.
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For rolled pork, it’s easier to remove the whole rack of crackling off the joint and break it into strips rather than attempting to cut straight through both at once.
Carve chicken by slicing vertically through one side of the breast, then cut vertically through the leg to create a drumstick and then at the thigh to give two leg joints. Detach the wing. Repeat on the other side. Slice any stuffing into sections.
Leg of lamb or pork is carved in small slices parallel to the big bone running through the joint.
For shoulder joints, use your finger to find the shoulder bone. Cut down into the meat on one side of the bone. Turn the knife to cut horizontally and remove the chunk of meat in one piece. Repeat on the other side of the bone before turning the joint over and cut the bone from the underneath. Trim off any remaining bits of meat. Carve the large pieces into slices against the grain.
HOW TO GUT A FISH
1 Place the fish on its side on a chopping board (preferably one colour-coded blue for fish), or on its back if it is a big fish. Wear latex gloves if you’d rather. Take a sharp knife and slice the fish open as shown.
2 Insert the knife through the gills and slit through the skin flap.
3 Holding the head in one hand, pull away the gills and the entrails, then scoop out any remaining guts, dark tissue lining and clingy membrane. Rinse out the cavity under the cold tap to remove any last small bits.