Christmas is often one of the only times that the whole family comes together around one table in large numbers in the year.So if can be daunting for many people as it not something you get to practise too much especially for a first time host. We hear from our customers every year on how important and special a time it is for families, and how their day is usually centred around the meal. That said, cooking the dinner is quite the task and can mean some members of the family get to spend less time with loved ones. But the good news is it can be made easier with a bit of preparation in advance.
There’s a lot to be done, but some people forget that most of the meal can
be prepped in the days before. Ham is almost as important as the turkey but the best way to reduce cooking time, and give you space in your oven, is to boil on the 24th . Leave it in the cooking liquid overnight to keep it moist and then on Christmas morning simply peel off the fat, score, stud with cloves and cover with your chosen glaze. Pop in the oven at 180 degrees for 40-60 minutes. As it
bakes, you can keep basting with the glaze every so often.
I always par boil the potatoes on the 24th and leave them in the fridge overnight – it actually improves their crispiness. Same goes for the vegetables. Gravy can be made weeks in advance, frozen and defrosted on the 24th . Simply add the
juices in from the turkey on the 25 th for an even richer taste.”
Make a timetable for on the day: Whilst there is a lot that can be done in advance of the big day, it’s still important to be organised as its easy to get distracted !!
My first bit of advice is to make a list. Decide what time you want to serve your dinner and work your way back – your turkey will take the longest so
that needs to go in first.Choose the right bird for you. The size and breed of the bird will dictate the cooking time.Think about ordering a turkey that adequately fits your needs to shorten the cooking time. If you’re not going to need a lot of leftovers, you probably don’t need to invest in a large bird. Ask your butcher to debone your bird if you’re not confident carving it – this makes life much more
Be safe: When you first collect your turkey make sure it’s stored in the fridge – not anywhere else as ( Attic , Porch , Shed etc !! ) keeping it the same concistant temperature is a crucial food safety precaution.
When you think your bird is cooked, make sure to use a meat thermometer to be certain you are looking for an internal temperature of 75'c in the thickest part of the Turkey and always allow the bird to rest for 30 minutes after cooking. This will reduce the possibility of undercooking – a very stressful discovery
when you’re about to dish up to hungry guests.”
Focus on quality trimmings: If you can buy pre-made, quality trimmings do – the bread, the soup, tthe stuffing, sides and your desserts. It might be a little more expensive to buy pre-made, but even picking up one or two things will mean you have more time to enjoy the day out of the kitchen.
Also if someone offers to help, let them. It can be the start of new family traditions with each able member taking responsibility for something to alleviate the pressure on the one who usually cooks
But the most important thing - Have Fun !!!