The Christmas season is in full swing and it’s time to turn your attention to the annual feast. What’s the plan this year? If you’re cooking Christmas Dinner at home for the extended family, you need to get organised.
Here’s a helpful countdown to make sure everything gets done on time and nothing is forgotten, leaving you calm and collected, ready to cook the bests meal of the year. Merry Christmas!
6 – Choose your recipes
Whether you stick with the family favourite recipes or you’re feeling experimental this year, choose your recipes for starters, main course, pudding, nibbles and party foods now. Depending on whether you’re catering for Christmas Day only or the entire holiday, make a menu plan and stick to it. Don’t forget to include Christmas breakfast, canapes and buffet food for informal get-togethers with friends and neighbours. And if you decide to serve some shop bought goodies too, that’s absolutely fine.
5 – Order the turkey
Assuming that you’re having turkey, it’s a good idea to order a fresh one in advance – much tastier than a frozen bird. If possible, visit your local butcher or turkey farm and choose the right size for the number of guests. As a general rule, a small turkey (2-4kg) will feed 4-8 guests, a medium bird (4-5kg) is enough for 8-10 guests and a large turkey (5-8.5kg) will suffice for 10-17 guests. Ask about collection or delivery from 21st December.
4 – Select Christmas drinks
If you’re entertaining, you’ll need wine, champagne and a good selection of spirits to keep all your guests happy. Now is a good time to make your selection, get them ordered/bought – don’t forget the glass hire –and keep them in a cool garage until the big day. A bottle of wine will give you 6 glasses and you should allow for at least 2 glasses per person with the meal, plus extra for afterwards. A bottle of spirits should give you 16 servings but don’t forget that you will also need mixers – about a litre for every 3 guests.
3 – Organise your groceries
Make a definitive shopping list of everything you need for Christmas Day and Boxing Day, but don’t go to the supermarket yourself. For minimum stress, order all your festive groceries online NOW and choose a delivery time to suit you. That way, you won’t have to do any lifting of heavy shopping bags, nor see your kitchen storage cluttered up by all those Christmas goodies, including the big fridge freezer in the garage.
2 – Prepare in advance
Rather than leaving it all to the 25th, try to make as much in advance as you can. Gravy and stuffing can be prepared up to 1 month ahead and frozen, as can the Roast Potatoes. Make Cranberry Sauce up to a week before Christmas Day. Did you know that Bread Sauce actually tastes better made a couple of days before as it gives the cloves and onion more time to infuse into the milk?
1 – The night before Christmas
Peel and chop all your veg on Christmas Eve and store them in the fridge covered with cling film until they’re ready to cook. Some families prefer to slow roast the turkey overnight, so that the main cooking is done by the time everyone gets up. A genius idea when you consider that a large bird can take 4 hours to cook, and more like 6 hours when you add in the time it takes to bring the turkey from chilled to room temperature before cooking, and resting time after cooking.
Finally, take a deep breath and pour yourself a glass of Baileys. Merry Christmas.