Published: 00:01, 18 December 2017
1. Order ahead: To avoid the panic-filled aisles the week before Christmas, start making your orders now. This might also give you a choice from the best produce available, and not the last, sad-looking turkey or wilted vegetables.
2. Don’t delay: There are dishes which can be cooked now. Your Christmas pudding can be made now, and if kept in a cool, dark place, will mature nicely. Gravy can also be made in advance and frozen, with the juice from the turkey added just before serving. Stuffing also freezes well, and if made in an oven dish, can simply be popped in to cook on the day. And don’t forget about the non-meat eaters in your party.
Obviously, there are things that taste better fresh, but you can, for instance, peel potatoes a few days ahead and make the Yorkshire pudding batter.
3. Keep it simple: Remember, Christmas dinner is just a roast, with a few added extras. Don’t try to make new dishes – picking a tried and tested dish means having more time to make your dishes are perfect, with the crispiest roast potatoes and the most moist turkey. If you want to be a little creative, put a new twist on old favourites, such as honey roasted parsnips with pancetta and red onion, sprouts with chestnut and orange, or even garlic buttered savoy cabbage.
4. Preparation is key: Don’t leave it all to the last minute. A well written list and a rough schedule could mean the difference between a hot lunch and hungry guests.
5. Christmas Eve: For those of you not racing round the house trying to put the children to sleep, make sure you do all the last-minute prep on Christmas Eve. This includes weighing the turkey and working out its cooking time. Make sure all your frozen food is out of the freezer and defrosting. Then pour yourself a drink! And don’t forget to leave out a mince pie and carrot…
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