05 December 2016
As soon as you’ve bought your turkey, suddenly it’s looking a lot like Christmas. But what about everything else? Here are just a few tips and hints on how to approach Christmas Dinner this year:
1. Don’t do too much
It’s very easy to “think big” at Christmas but the reality is, there’s often far too many leftovers. To avoid waste of both food and your precious time, carefully consider how many meals you need to make over Christmas and how many people you will be catering for.
2. Plan ahead
Then, write a good list and make sure any “extras” you buy could also potentially keep until after Christmas. Try not to stock up on too much fresh produce and bulk up with store cupboard ingredients and frozen foods where possible.
3. Get baking in November
Your Christmas pudding, cake, sausage rolls and mincemeat can all be prepped well in advance and then kept in suitable storage conditions. This will take the pressure off during early December and leave you with time to do that all-important job of shopping on behalf of Father Christmas.
4. The freezer is your friend
Make your sauces, gravy, par-boil your spuds and prep your other veg and then freeze them. Defrost them the night before and hey presto, your side kicks to Christmas dinner are ready to roll.
5. Dress rehearsal
If there are dishes you’ve never cooked before, why not try these out in advance. Sometimes attempting to cook new things on top of an extravaganza can be too much. If there are new side dishes or a dessert you’d like to try, why not test it out one Sunday lunch leading up to the big day.
Christmas should be about spending time with your loved ones, not being in the kitchen. Don’t worry about cheating. All the best cooks do. Be realistic. Think what you are happy to make and if there is anything that feels out of your comfort zone, then find other ways, including pre-prepared produce to help you on your way.
7. Cook what you love
You know your family best and what they love the most. Christmas is about bringing people together by cooking all their favourites. If most of your family don’t like Brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce or roast potatoes, then serve buttery carrots, mint sauce and mashed potatoes – if that’s what they like! Make your own rules at Christmas.
Possibly one of THE most important pieces of advice for this Christmas. Assign jobs to EVERYONE. Even if they are small things like keeping Mum’s drink topped up or taking the bins out. Make a game of it and give members of your family a festive job description such as Turkey Elf: Head of Carving or Egg Nog Elf: Head of Drinks.
9. Don’t panic
If things don’t go to plan it doesn’t matter. Chances are you’ve bought enough of other things if certain dishes don’t pan out. The more relaxed about things you can be, the more likely it is that things will turn out just fine anyway.
10. Let the bubbles flow
From around October. We’re just kidding. But in seriousness, and this might sound obvious, but enjoy yourself. Cooking Christmas dinner can very demanding so try to take things in your stride, pop open the Cava and turn the Christmas tunes up.