Devouring an amazing Christmas feast shouldn’t mean slaving away for 12 hours while the rest of your family gets to enjoy the day. With our handy tips and tricks, take our advice and take the stress out of Christmas day. And of course, make sure to drink some mulled wine!
PLAN, PLAN AND PLAN AGAIN
In the days leading up to Christmas make sure you get all your food shopping out of the way. As well as all the grub for the day itself, stock up on mustards and chutneys that will make sandwiches interesting over the coming days. Make sure that your freezer has two sliced pans and that you buy some par-cooked baguettes. Fill the ice cube trays and take a stock take of your mixers; do you have enough sparkling water soft drinks for children and driving adults? Check out your fresh herb situation; the last thing you want is a Christmas Eve Sage Dash on your hands! This is also a great time to fill the freezer with some yummy bites that can be whipped out at a moments notice. Think sausage rolls and gubeen and chorizo swirls. In the weeks leading up to Christmas we keep a large notepad on a hook in our kitchen, where we add Christmas food ideas to, so we always have a list ready to go.
THE DAY BEFORE
Traditionally in Ireland, Christmas Eve was a day where children spent time with their fathers. The reason? So that their Mums could get on with the dinner preparations, of course! While times have changed and it could be any member of the family cooking this year, there is no doubt that a little preparation goes a long way. Prepare your sausage meat stuffing on Christmas eve, roll into a large sausage and wrap in tin foil ready for baking (remembering to keep a little aside for stuffing the turkey). If you are choosing to brine your turkey, get it in it’s aromatic bath first thing on Christmas Eve. If not, you can stuff and dress your turkey with bacon and herb butter on Christmas Eve, even placing it in its tin in the fridge, ready to go in the oven the next day, provided you have the space. Ham can be boiled on Christmas Eve, cooled and covered with a glaze, ready for baking on the day, and sides like Brussels sprout gratin and mashed potato can all be prepared in advance. Set the Christmas table once the children have gone to bed, so you don’t have to worry about that in the morning.
ON THE DAY
Get delegating. This is hands down the best advice we can give you about Christmas day. Choose someone to be in charge of drinks, one in charge of children, one in charge of clearing the table. For breakfast, if you have a crowd, bake a load of homemade sausage rolls and serve at room temperature with some chutney. Rather than offering a starter at dinner, set platters of crudites and dips in the sitting room, along with some smoked salmon on brown bread. Write out a timeline for yourself and the dinner. Remember that a turkey can rest for over an hour without losing heat, so you can roast potatoes and bake your ham while it is resting. Try not to get overwhelmed and give yourself breaks in the day. Finally, make an extremely large sign for the kitchen door, informing everybody that the bread and spreads are in, and that the head chef will be off for the coming days, so everybody can make do with leftovers and Christmas sandwiches.
Check out our full collection of Christmas recipes here