Oh, it’s such an important eating day, however it really does not need to be a 72 hour prep and cook-a-thon. Really! It can be made much simpler. Yes I love to cook and yes there has to be a little effort, but let’s enjoy it more, sit back and have fun! My hot tips for dealing with ‘Familymas Day’, Christmas lunch or festive dinner gatherings…..
1. THINK seasonal food. I always choose foods that are ‘in’ and are abundant. They are cheaper, have so much more flavour … it simply makes more sense! At this time of year think stone fruits, berries, cherries, beans, asparagus and much more!
2. PLAN recipes you can prepare earlier. Every recipe will have something you can do ahead of time to make it a whole lot easier on the day!!
3. LIST down the recipes and create a detailed TO DO list. Plan your menu and see what you can start before hand, For example…Prepare the stuffing for the chicken, Whizz up the dressing for the salads, Make the ice cream, Cook the Pavlova shell, Bake the shortbreads, Roll the rum balls. So many bits and bobs can be made and stored, remembering to cover well, and refrigerate in air tight containers up to 5 days, if not more. (The trick in my house is to NOT let the teenagers know there is home-made ice cream in the freezer!! It simply will not last until Chrissie day!)
3. WRITE a schedule for yourself and the family. Begin in the week before. Get all the family involved and give everyone a job! Delegating now will make the big day so much easier.
4. SET the Chrissie table days in advance and cover with clean sheets!! This saves so much time, stress and panic the night before. It also means you can take your time to feel creative rather than rushing!
5. ORDER in the festive drinks - bubbly, your favourite whites or reds. Do this at least 3 days before. I place my order with a local bottle shop and they will often deliver right to me, which means I also don’t need to fight with crowds, parking etc. The teenagers will be stacking the fridge and then making the place cards!!
7. REMEMBER to use the BBQ! The best thing I ever did was master cooking the pork and chicken in the hooded BBQ. The result is delicious, there is less mess in the kitchen (and heat too) and the food is ready to take straight to the table. Or you can cook it ahead of time and sit aside (in a cool spot) until required. But in hot weather remember the protein rule: keep refrigerated at all times.
Merry Chistmas to all my KitchenAid cooks, lovers and wonderful KA fanatics! I hope Santa brings you a couple of extra ‘attachments for your mixer’.
What are my favourite recipes for this Christmas? Here they are: