Christmas Day is barrelling towards us at a terrifying pace, so we asked our family and friends for their top tips to help you get organised and arrive at your Christmas table with festive cheer aplenty and as little drama as possible.
The key to a stress-free Christmas meal is prep. It’s essentially a Sunday Lunch so pour yourself another glass of wine and don’t stress.
Pre-order your meat and cheese! There’s nothing worse than running around trying to find the last pack of Pigs-in-Blankets in town. Just order in advance and make sure you’ve chosen a date for collection that works for you. Most people go for Christmas Eve, but if you’d rather start the celebrations early then pick your bird up a few days before.
Peel your veggies the night before. Just pop them into a container and cover with cold water – they’ll be perfectly fresh for the next day and it’ll save you a whole lot of faff.
If you’re making your sauces from scratch, make these the night before too. The same goes for stuffing – it’ll be fine pre-prepared in the fridge ready for the oven and it’ll give you more time to open pressies on the day.
Remember to provide for your Veggie pals. The best Nut Roast we’ve ever had is Jamie Oliver’s Cranberry & Pistachio Nut Roast (https://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/uncategorised-recipes/best-ever-cranberry-pistachio-nut-roast/), perfect with Bread Sauce and a healthy helping of Braised Red Cabbage.
Don’t forget pudding! Whether it’s a classic Christmas Pud, warm Mince Pies with Brandy Butter or a slice of Panettone and an ice cold glass of Limoncello, you’ll fancy a nibble of something sweet after all those savoury delights – if you can’t have a 3 course dinner on Christmas Day when can you?!
Steer Clear of Dry Turkey
The thing to remember when cooking a bird is not to over stuff the cavity – this can really slow the cooking time down. A chopped apple, onion and some fresh sage, rosemary and thyme are more than enough for stuffing and will give your bird plenty of seasoning.
To prevent the legs from cooking faster than then rest of your bird try melting some Duck Fat or Butter, pour over the legs then wrap snuggly in foil.
To keep your Turkey moist be sure to baste every hour and, if you can, invest in a meat thermometer to monitor the temperature. The best out there is the Meater – it’s wireless so you can leave it in the oven and your phone will let you know when it’s time to come out!
Test the bird in the deepest part of the thigh (above the crease where the breast begins) and once you reach 75C you’re done. Don’t forget to give yourself around 20 mins to rest the Turkey too – it’ll allow the juices to seep back in and relax the meat for the most succulent of birds.
It’s not Christmas in our house without an evening Cheeseboard and a rubbish film. If you’re serving one too then try to keep things simple. Choose three big hitters and you’re guaranteed to satisfy even the biggest crowd.
A bold Cheddar like Westcombe, a smooth tangy Blue – Colston Bassett Stilton is our favourite – and something good and creamy (try Sharpham Devon Brie) is the perfect combination. Serve with a pile of Crackers, some seasonal Clementine’s and a rich and fruity Chutney.