Christmas is fast approaching, the one day of the year where we can sit back, relax and stuff our faces with our loved ones. The day can however be stressful and intimidating if you are hosting dinner with all the different elements to juggle. As a result of the ongoing pandemic, a survey found that 42% of Brits are planning to use shortcuts with their dinner prep this year to make up for lost family time. We are here to inspire you with handy hacks which will minimise cooking time on the day and allow you to join in the fun!
Start off by organising your fridge/freezer beforehand. All you need to do is throw anything which is past its use-by-date or make room by relocating jars, chutneys to a dark, cool cupboard. This should help increase the space and reduce stress trying to find things. Another way to make room for the fridge is by making the most of the winter weather and store drinks in the garden to chill or place them in a bucket with cold water and ice. No one will appreciate a warm beer…
Do as much as you can on Christmas Eve
This may seem a bit obvious, maybe, but good preparation will go a long way. Prepare as much as you can the day before, it will help make your day run more smoothly. For the starter, you could serve a homemade soup which you can make in advance – it always tastes better reheated the next day anyway! Alternatively, you could do Smoked Salmon, there is a reason why it’s the traditional starter choice, minimal effort is required.
You can do all the peeling and prepping of root vegetables and potatoes. Blanche them in boiling, salted water, refresh them under a cold running tap then put in a covered container until you need them. If you have not already tried, you should try roasting your Brussel Sprouts instead of boiling them. Roasting them caramelises the natural sugars that are found which results in a much sweeter sprout, do so with some chestnuts and pancetta and don’t be afraid to let them get brown and crispy round the edges. Roasting is a much better alternative to boiling and this will make the veggies extra crunchy when they’re cooked, help reduce time as you will not need to worry about balancing multiple pots and pans on the hob and washing up will be minimal.
This may seem controversial, but you could also cook your turkey the day before. After cooking, rest it, leave it to chill over-night and bring it back to room temperature an hour before its time to eat. The meat will re-heat from the piping hot gravy. This will not only save loads of time but the turkey will be fully rested and succulent and the skin will be extra crispy. Plus think of all the extra oven space! Did you also know that Cranberry sauce is another faff Christmas day task that can be done the day before? This will also give the sauce time to mature. Don’t forget you can easily set the dinner table the day before!
It’s not a one man/woman job
In the spirit of generosity that is Christmas, everything will come together nicely with a little pitching in. After all, it is a family event to eat Christmas dinner so it should be a family effort to help. Share the tasks out and ask people to bring a dish or two…
We wish everyone a fantastic Christmas celebration with your loved ones and a very happy New year when it comes from our team at Inspire!