Looking forward to planning the Christmas dinner, or slightly dreading it?
Follow these simple steps to take the stress from the run-up to the big day
1.Be an educated shopper Book an online delivery (or click and c ollect) slot from your supermarket early. Or even book 2 – one for everything you want and also the second for what you forgot! Order any meat from your butcher in good time. And stock up on non-perishables like snacks, crackers, crisps and sweets so they’re ticked off the list early.
- Make storage space clean your freezer out beforehand so there’s room for pre-prepped or shop-bought mince pies, sausage rolls and other time-savers. Ditch or consume all those jars in the refrigerator with barely anything left in the bottom and just use the fridge for items that actually need it such as dairy products as well as the turkey. Veg will befine in a cold dark place or in a garage.
- Work out the maths You want sufficient, but not too much. As a rough guide,250g in total of veg (prepared weight) and 250g potatoes (peeled weight) per person is plenty, especially with all the other goodies you’re going to be serving up. A 2kg turkey will serve 4- 5 people generously;
If there are far more you, add 500g for each excess person (therefore a 4kg turkey will function 8- 9). At this time of year, leftovers are never a bad thing!
- Remember non-food essentials Stock up on the basics for prepping, cooking and storing. The festive season calls for lots of clingfilm, foil, freezer bags, foil roasting trays, Ziploc bags and Tupperware Allow time for the cake Marzipan your Christmas cake at least two days before you want to ice hockey to allow it to dry. It will behappy enough draped in a clean tea towel
- Do not be overly tough Christmas dinner is a huge meal, so you don’t need fancy canapes, particularly ones that require heating and take up oven room. We love simple dips like mixing a few spoonfuls of Thai sweet chilli sauce into a 200g tub of cream cheese and functioning with cucumber sticks and tortillas.
- Prep veg the day before Soaking trimmed and peeled veg in plain water will make them soggy.Instead, wrap them in damp kitchen paper and leave somewhere cool overnight. Require veg prep a step farther by blanching sprouts and carrots per day early. Insert the veg to salted boiling water, bring to the boil and cook until nearly prepared. Run them under cold water to cool, then drain, pat dry and store in. The refrigerator wrapped in moist kitchen towel. A couple of moments before serving, warm the veg in a pan of boiling water for 1-2 mins or toss in a frying pan with a knob of butter for 3-4 mins till warm. Parboil and fluff up the potatoes by vibration in a c oland e r,then cool before sending overnight at a food bag, at the refrigerator or a cool dark location.
- Prepare make-ahead gravy Just sweat a few sliced shallots in butter, put in a good glug of dry Madeira, then reduce to 2 tbsp. Add good chicken stock and reduce untilyou have a wonderful consistency (or add a spoonful of cornflour mixed with a drop of water). Chillin the fridge. On the afternoon, reheat and add the skimmed turkey juices.
- Delegate tasks to others Get someone to lay the table first thing in the morning, or even the night before.
And maintain glasses and beverages out of the kitchen. Establish a minibar in a different space and place somebody in control of it. Make others responsible for jobs like ensuring that there are enough ice cubes and assessing carving knives are sharp.
- Steam the Christmas pud ancient That way you don’t need to worry about hob space. The batter will sitoff the heat, over the hot water, for up to 2 hrs. Or cook it in a slow cooker (it’ll take about 5 hrs). This will prevent it boili ng dry or filling the kitchen with steam – and also the hob will befree for sprouts and gravy.