Aside from keeping the sherry within grabbing distance, there are many ways to ensure a stress free time in your kitchen this christmas. Chefs are generally over worked but one way they make sure that Christmas doesn’t turn into a catastrophe in the kitchen during the big day is by being prepared. As well as being a Girl Guide Motto, not being prepared in a busy kitchen operation is a sacrilegious, therefore it is an unwritten rule that prep is key. This should be the key for any type of occassion cooking, yet people up and down the country will still be getting it very wrong this Christmas.
Fancy being let into a few professional secrets?…read on
Weeks in advance
You can start preparing weeks in advance for christmas by buying smoked meats and fish and freezing them.
Mince pies can be made in advance and half baked, left to cool before being removed from the tray, frozen on a flat baking tray and then bagged and left in the freezer. Add some instructions on the front of the bag such as “Heat on a baking tray at 170 for 10-15 minutes” so anyone who is looking for a quick snack can help themselves.
Days in advance
Things like cranberry sauce can be made days in advance and kept in an air tight container in the fridge. Brandy butter will keep for many days over the Christmas period so don’t be scared to whip some up a few days before the big day and keep in the fridge. See our recipe here for brandy butter
Make your gravy in advance and leave in the fridge 1 or two days before – it will last absolutely fine in an air tight container and probably taste all the better for the time it has for allowing all the flavors to muddle together. Once the meat has been cooked on Christmas day you can add the juices from your preferred meat to the ready made gravy to give it an extra flavour boost. Read our recipe here for homemade gravy that you can make in advance.
Hours in advance
Bring the meat that you’ll be serving for the main feast to room temperature by removing from the fridge an hour or two before.
Marinade your carrots and parsnips in a large seal able bag with oil, herbs and spices. Simply throw into the baking tray when you are ready to cook them.
Par boil the potatoes, fluff up and salt and put in the fridge. When you are ready to cook them simply heat the oil in the oven tray and add the potatoes.