There is only two weeks left until the flight of the jolly fat man we all know and love. For those of us responsible for cooking the Christmas Lunch or dinner, that could mean that a sense of panic is setting in as the pressure of making a magical Christmas meal grows.
For myself it will be the third time in four years that I have been coaxed into cooking what is arguably the most important meal of the year, but for the first time, I am actually looking forward to the challenge of creating some Christmas foodie magic. Part of this feeling of excitement is that I am actually much more confident about my cooking and baking skills, but mostly it is because I have picked up a lot of tips over the last few years to take some of the stress out of Christmas dinner.
Tips for Christmas Cooking Bliss
- Get a head start. Cook as much as you can in advance to limit the amount you have to do on the big day. Personally I have already cooked and frozen my stuffing, and made my cranberry sauce. Christmas Eve I will prepare my vegetables, and cook my roast potatoes. (More about that below)
- Make yourself the head chef, and delegate the other jobs to your helpers. As the head chef you control the kitchen, cherry pick the jobs you like the best and delegate tasks like setting the table, peeling vegetables and fetching you a glass or two of cheer to your helpers.
- Make time to play a game or watch some television. All work and no play makes Jack or Jacqui a very grumpy elf, so make sure you leave a space of time to take a break and have some fun, watch some television or play a game with the kids.
- Swap Christmas lunch for dinner. If you are nervous about having enough time to cook lunch in time for the Queen’s speech than break tradition, and have your big Christmas feast at dinner time.
- Write yourself a timetable. Sit down and get out your recipe books and plan your time-table ahead of time. Don’t forget to plan your break time.
Cook Roast Potatoes in Advance
Almost as important as a delicious bird are the roast potatoes. Nobody likes soggy, greasy roasties, and lets face it, dealing with pans of hot fat after a couple of glasses of Christmas cheer isn’t the most safe option… And if you didn’t know the potatoes will never crisp up outside if you cook them alongside the turkey, the most moisture from the turkey won’t allow it.
So your best bet is to cook the roast potatoes a day in advance, or even more if you space in your freezer. Store them in a cool place and then on Christmas day you just need to re-heat them in the oven while the turkey (or other chosen meat/veggie centre piece) rests.
Of course if you don’t have time on Christmas Eve to be cooking roast potatoes you could always delegate the job (see #2 above).