This is a recipe that I posted a couple of years ago, but I thought I would re-post it, so you can all start getting ahead of the big feast without searching through my archives.
I know Christmas is still weeks away, and I also know that December can fly by faster than Superman on his way to meet Lois Lane when we are busy. It is for this reason that I have decided to get ahead of the Christmas dinner game and prepare my Cranberry Relish now. It only takes ten minutes to make, so I probably could have made it on the day, but why would I want to do that when I could be relaxing with kids?
This recipe will keep well in the fridge for a couple of weeks, but I have chosen not to take any chances. I am making it now and freezing it. Then I can just pop it out a few days in advance (I will be setting a reminder on my phone so I don’t forget) and it will be ready to go with my turkey dinner on the big day.
Carmelised Cranberry Relish
Skill level: Easy
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
- 1 red onion, finely diced
- Knob of butter
- 1 large orange
- Thumb sized piece of ginger, finely sliced into matchsticks
- 100g/4oz caster sugar
- 500g/1lb cranberries (fresh or frozen)
- splash of Port (optional)
- Use a zester to zest the orange, or use a speed peeler to peel off the zest then finely shred it with a knife and set aside with the ginger.
- Halve and juice the orange. Tip the orange juice into a shallow saucepan and boil gently with the sugar until you get a light amber-orange caramel.
- Scatter the zest and ginger into the caramel, cook for 1 minute, then tip in the cranberries and port if using. Cook everything on a high heat for 5 minutes until the cranberries are starting to split but still have texture. Leave to cool and serve with the turkey.
This recipe will keep for a few weeks in the refrigerator, or can be frozen for up to a month.
The menu is planned, your shopping is ordered, and timetable is complete, so now is the time to start getting ahead. For every minute you spend getting ahead, it is one more minute you can spend relaxing and enjoying your company on Christmas day.
Many parts of your meal can be prepared beforehand, stuffing can be made and then frozen, or stored in the fridge for a couple of days, your cranberry sauce can be made the week before, or even weeks before and then frozen. This will free up time and oven space on Christmas day, just remember to take everything out of the freezer with enough time to let it thaw.
Over the next few days I will share with you some of the recipes I have used for the last few years which I have successfully prepared in advance.
So what are you waiting for, get those cook books out and start planning.
You’ve completed your menu, made your list, checked it twice and filled your refrigerator, cupboards and freezer to the max. Life is peachy, all you have to do is wait for the big day and cook away… right?
Perhaps if you are a Christmas dinner veteran, very lucky, or super organised you could get away with it. If however, you are like me, than it is better to quickly jot down a timetable, to make sure everything runs to plan. Afterall, the last thing you need is the stress of your little ones asking over and over if dinner is ready on Christmas day, because you forgot to put the roast potatoes in the oven.
Of course I am not saying you have to get out a clipboard and a stopwatch, my timetable is pretty basic, but it works. I simply decide (or am told) what time dinner is to be served and then work backwards. Then I add an extra half hour to cover any mishaps, and I end up with something that looks like this:
Continue reading “The Stress Free Christmas Dinner Plan; The Timetable”
Christmas is just over a month away, for some of us, this means a slight nagging panic is starting to settle into your bones over preparing the Christmas feast. The rest of you, fortunate enough not to have swerved the responsibility of preparing your Christmas feast; congratulations, you are free to go put your feet up and watch It’s A Wonderful Life. The rest of us have work to do.
For those of you. who have followed this blog since the beginning, you will know that I began this blog when, for reasons I am still unsure of, I agreed to prepare my families Christmas feast a few years ago. Thinking back, it was a bit of a chaotic experience, probably with a soundtrack that would consist of a series of high-pitched bleeps, and Domesticated Mum saying “calm down dear” repeatedly.
It must have been a success though, as I have been asked to repeat the task every year since. It has also become the one meal, I increasingly enjoy preparing every year. The panic and the swearing is gone (mostly), because I have learned the secret to the perfect Christmas… PLANNING!
Now I know it may sound a bit obvious, but in order to create a panic free Christmas feast, planning really is the key. Don’t leave anything to chance. Plan every detail, and follow that plan, and a stress free Christmas dinner will be yours.
Of course not all of us know how to make a plan, which is where I come in. Follow my instructions, do as I say (not as I do) and Christmas dinner bliss, is just over a month away.
Continue reading “The Stress Free Christmas Dinner Plan; The Menu”
Whenever you watch one of those festive family films there is normally a scene at some point where the perfectly cooked bird is brought to the table and some clever person starts to expertly carve it. Personally it took me years to learn how to carve a turkey, or even a chicken, but with a little knowledge it really is an easy skill to master.