Christmas is all about spending time with family and enjoying a few creature comforts, but it can be difficult to relax if you’re worrying about cooking. The key to the perfect Christmas dinner is good planning and lots of help (or you could just cheat).
With Christmas food it’s madness to do everything on the day. Christmas cake needs to be made weeks in advance, and you can make cranberry sauce beforehand, storing it in a jar in the fridge. Wash and prepare your veg the day before and keep it in water overnight (including the potatoes). Even bread sauce will keep for a few days before being reheated come Christmas. If you do as much as you can in advance, the only big jobs on the day will be cooking the turkey and the roast potatoes.
If this still sounds too much, you can always get family members to help. If they’re coming over on the day, they can always cook some vegetables or prepare a dessert to bring with them. Or buy essentials like cranberry and bread sauces, stuffing, Yorkshire puds and gravy, rather than making them yourself.
Get Your Pans in Order
Planning ahead also means you’ll need fewer pans on the hob at once. Even so, you’ll probably want to rehearse where everything will go before Christmas comes. There’s nothing worse than finding you’re short of hob space or can’t fit the potatoes in the oven. Having a double oven is a definite advantage. Your potatoes need a dry atmosphere to crisp up, but you want your turkey moist and succulent, so keeping them separate will help.
You can also plan the menu to give you less work to begin with. If you want to serve potatoes cooked three different ways, a starter and an array of desserts, everything will take longer to prepare and you’ll have trouble fitting it in the oven. So pare things down and simplify. It’s also important you cook a sensible amount so you won’t be eating Turkey sandwiches until February. Having said that, take your guests’ dietary requirements into account. Vegetarians and people with intolerances and allergies all need catering for.
The absolute best training for Christmas is to cook a roast every Sunday for the rest of the year – then the potatoes, Yorkshire puddings and meat won’t worry you at all. It might be too late for this year, but there’s no harm sticking with something familiar for Christmas dinner. Turkey is traditional, but you could always cook a joint or chicken if that’s what you’re used to. It’s better to have another meat cooked well than turkey cooked badly: just make sure there’s enough for everyone.
Once the meal’s over, the last thing you want to do is wash up. So don’t. If you’ve got family round, get them (or the kids) to help, and put as much as you can in the dishwasher. Most dishwashers will take around 12 place settings if loaded correctly, and slimline designs will usually hold 9. Leave large pots and pans to soak – you can do them later.
At the end of the day, all that matters is enjoying a day with your family. Everything else is just gravy.
If you want more hob, oven or dishwasher space this Christmas, check out our online store. We have a range of exclusive Blomberg products, plus cookers and appliances from other top brands like Bosch, Beko and Zanussi. Built in designs can make your kitchen really special, so pop one on your Christmas list.