First make the stuffing. Heat the vegetable oil in a small saucepan, add the onions and garlic and cook for 10 minutes or until soft.
Add the brandy, if using, and reduce, carefully if you are using a gas stove as the brandy may ignite. Cook until all the brandy has been reduced.
Add the sausage meat and break up with a wooden spoon off the heat and place in a bowl, cool.
Next add the cranberries, ginger, thyme and egg mix well together, add the salt and pepper and enough breadcrumbs to stiffen up the stuffing, do not make it too dry. Cool.
Set the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.
Cream the softened butter with the lemon zest, lemon juice, the parsley and seasoning to taste until well blended.
Place the turkey on a chopping board, double check to make sure the bird is thoroughly thawed, then using your fingertips prise the skin away from the flesh. Take care not to tear the skin. Reserve a little of the herb butter then place the remaining butter under the skin, pushing it as far as possible under the skin towards the neck cavity, then pat down so all you see is the butter under the skin.
Stuff the neck cavity with the prepared stuffing and secure neck flap. Any remaining stuffing can be made into balls and cooked separately.
Next, season the inside of the bird well and secure the legs with string. Weigh the turkey and calculate the cooking time at 20 minutes per kg plus 90 minutes.
Pop into a roasting tin, add the white wine, bay leaves and plenty of salt and pepper, smear with a little of the butter and cover the complete tray with tin-foil, nice and tightly.
Pop in the preheated oven and cook according to calculated time (3 hours 20 minutes for a 5.5kg bird)
After 2 hours, remove from the oven and baste, re-cover and cook for a further 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and discard the foil. If the turkey looks cooked, insert a long clean skewer into the thickest part of the thigh and if the juices run clear then the turkey is cooked. If the juices are still pink, baste the turkey again and pop back in the oven and cook for a further 10-15 minutes or until the juices run clear. Baste again during this time.
Do keep an eye on the bird, each oven is different so it may cook quicker or slower.
Remove from the oven and cover tightly with foil and leave for about 30 minutes before you carve.
Remove the legs, they should pull away, then slice the breast. The guests should be able to see the white and dark meats.
Just cut as much as you need, the meat will not only keep warm and be juicier on the bone, but it will be easier to carve when cold.
For the stuffing: