Christmas dinner is the often the meal that the whole family looks forward to all year. So if you are faced with the task, the panic can often set in and the stress levels start to rise. So here are Caroline’s top tips for the perfect stress free Christmas dinner.

  1. Make a list of everything you will be cooking and identify anything that can be prepared in advance and frozen. Buy your sausages and bacon fresh, wrap the sausages in the bacon and pop in the freezer ready to be brought out and cooked. Stuffing and red cabbage also freezes really well.
  2. Peel and prepare all of your vegetables the day before, ready to cook on the day.
    • Green vegetables such as broccoli can be blanched the day prior… Blanching – Get a pan of water to a fast rolling boil, plunge in your green vegetables, bring back to the boil, strain, and plunge into ice cold water. Once completely cold, remove and refrigerate. These can then be refreshed on the day in a pan of boiling water for 5 minutes.
    • Cauliflower cheese can be made the day prior and will sit happily ready to pop in the oven on the day.
    • Root vegetables can be peeled, chopped and left in cold water, ready to cook on the day.

3. If you buy a fresh turkey with giblets – boil up the giblets with carrots and onions in the days prior with some white wine. This will make a stock that you can chill and then make the gravy with.

4. If you want Yorkshire puddings and are panicking about oven space, you can make these the day before or on the morning and then just pop them back in the oven for 5 minutes to heat through just before serving. This also allows you to ensure that you can have the oven nice and hot when you make them.

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5. Cook your brussel sprouts fresh on the day, dip your finger into water, then into bicarbonate of soda and then put your finger in the brussel sprout water. This small amount of bicarb will keep the sprouts lovely and green but not soggy.

6. For perfect crispy roast potatoes with fluffy centres, par boil them until your knife goes in a third of the way easily then drain and leave to air dry to allow the steam to evaporate. Shake the pan gently to rough up the edges of the potatoes (this will give you lots of crispy bits). Then tip them straight into a hot roasting tray with a mixture of hot normal vegetable oil and butter. Don’t bother with any fancy olive oil or goose fat.

7. Now for the turkey, this will happily sit out for one to one and a half hours wrapped in tin foil to rest. The turkey will actually benefit for this time, relaxing the meat fibres and making for tender, easy to carve meat. It also free’s up the oven for your potatoes, allowing you to crank the temperature up.

8. Oh and one final tip… Cranberry sauce… don’t even both trying to make it. Just buy it, life is too short.

We hope this helps you enjoy a stress free Christmas dinner that the whole family can enjoy including the designated cook! Merry Christmas!!