Cooking at Christmas - 6 Great ways to make it easy

Cooking at Christmas - 6 Great ways to make it easy.

1. Plan thoroughly

The first step is to create a clear plan. How many meals are you going to provide? Typically, this will include Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and perhaps one extra day.

Carving the Christmas turkey

Main image by PublicDomainPictures at Pixabay. 

Don’t neglect breakfasts. If you have house guests and you want to provide something more special, make sure that you include them in your plan. 

Go through meals on your list, and make a note of what you’ll need. If you’re going to try new recipes, make sure you include all those extra ingredients, which will add the finishing touches to the dish.

Now that you’ve created your shopping list, start buying store-cupboard items as early as possible, so you can cross them off.

Gradually stock up with ingredients as you approach the holidays to avoid one huge, last minute, panic trip to the supermarket.

2. Have meat delivered to your door

Another way to minimize the amount of time you spend fighting the crowds in your local supermarket, it to organize a Christmas meat delivery from a high-quality online butcher.

Whether you choose individual items or a full hamper containing turkey, gammon, bacon and sausages, just ensure you place your order early, as soon as you’ve made your shopping list, and that’s one less thing to worry about.

3. Make the menu simple

It’s easy to complicate things when we’re trying to provide the best for our family and friends. If you’re going to use a new recipe, try it out well in advance. 

Not only to check the taste and the look but also to make a realistic assessment of how long it takes to prepare.

Beware of recipes that list ‘peeled’ vegetables and ‘cooked’ pasta or rice as ingredients, as you’ll need to spend extra time preparing these.

In addition, look for delicious recipes with a limited number of easy-to-find ingredients. Go for fresh natural products so the flavour shines through.

4. Cook for the actual number of people

Whenever we see images of Christmas dinners, there’s always a table with 8 or more people enjoying a huge feast. But the reality is that for many of us, we’ll be cooking for a smaller group. So don’t make life hard by cooking vast quantities which will go to waste.

Calculate 250 grams of potatoes per adult, and 250 grams, in total, for the vegetables.

5. Prepare what you can in advance

If you don’t want to spend Christmas morning in the kitchen, but would rather have time to relax and enjoy the celebrations, prepare whatever you can, the day before.

For example, peel the vegetables, and blanch them in batches, drain, rinse them in cold water, cover and place them in the fridge until you’re ready to cook.  Potatoes can also be parboiled 1 day in advance.

6. Simplify the timing

One of the biggest stress factors is getting the timing right. First, allow two hours for the turkey to get to room temperature once it has come out of the fridge, so there are no last-minute panics because it isn’t cooked through.

Once it’s been cooked for the allotted time, remove it, and loosely cover in foil- this will keep it hot for up to an hour.

Now, timing the veg is much easier. Just before you’re ready to serve, mix your vegetables together in a frying pan, with a little water.

Add around 50g of butter per 250 grams of veg. In less than 5 minutes, they’ll be tender, and ready to serve with the turkey.

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Jan