Make a list…check it twice!
The biggest family gathering of the year, probably, can mean all kinds of stressful situations in the kitchen. If it is your turn to provide the feast, you can help the day to run smoothly by making a list. Start from your serving time and work backwards, that way you won’t miss a single party popper, present or parsnip.
2.00pm Serve starters
1.30pm Carrots & parsnips in the oven
1.00pm Roast potatoes in
12.45pm Take turkey out to rest
Just because it is a special occasion, doesn’t have to mean that the fizz has to cost a fortune. There are some fantastic alternatives to Champagne, Prosecco and Cava that are tasty, fizzy and cost a fraction of what you might think. Remember, before prosecco took off we never deviated from champers…Pignoletto could be the next big thing!
Pignoletto Frizzante wine is the quintessential Italian aperitif. With a satisfying fizz and a fruity, off-dry taste it is the perfect accompaniment to nibbles and starters.
Moscato d’Asti, also from Italy, is slightly sweeter in taste and generally low in alcohol. Not one to be dismissed, this goes perfectly with puddings and might be the pick me up that you need after a heavy lunch.
Lambrusco is one we have all heard off but rarely pick off the shelf. Light, fizzy, dry and rich on the palate this is a tantalising tipple to accompany cold meats and hors d’oeuvres- just right for that boxing day ham.
Crémants are wines that are made using the traditional champagne method, outside of the Champagne region in France. Look out for bottles featuring this label as you will be able to choose between flavours that vary depending on their region. This is a great substitute and definitely not a compromise.
The ghost of Christmas present…
Have you been practising your ‘pleasantly surprised’ face? No one likes getting rubbish presents so why not ask everyone what they would like beforehand-and there is nothing wrong with dropping hints for your stocking either. Make Christmas easier, happier and inevitably cheaper by buying just one present that they actually want.
Rocking around the Christmas tree…
So, you have eaten, filled the dishwasher twice, dropped four wine glasses, opened presents and Grandpa is now snoring. What now? Get the party started by preparing a Christmas playlist to pop on after everyone’s dinner has had a chance to go down and work off some of that brandy butter.
Tidings we bring…
Going to your family or friend’s house for Christmas this year? Make sure you don’t arrive empty handed and sit down all day being waited upon. Telephone ahead and see if you can bring extra plates, cutlery or a chair and be prepared to get your Marigolds on-they will love you for it and you will definitely get an invite next year.
Elf and safety…
Wine at breakfast, four times the amount of food you would normally cook sitting around the kitchen, sharp knives, dogs, children running around with their new ‘Power Rangers Dino Super Charge T-Rex Morpher’ and even a couple of sets of divorced parents to placate, Christmas cooking can get dangerous.
Ban children from the oven area during cooking, delegate jobs and take your time to stay safe this Christmas Day.
Sleigh my name, sleigh my name…
Have some dodgy relatives? An uncle that just doesn’t know when enough wine is enough? Place names will keep you in control of some of the more predictable confrontations on Christmas Day. Sit the dodgy uncle with the raucous kids and leave Grandma to have a quiet meal with your sister.
It can even be a useful way to keep children out of the way whilst you are doing preparation on Christmas Eve as they can decorate and make name tags for the table whilst you lay the table.
So, your roast potatoes are not like his mum’s? So what? Don’t let Christmas past get in the way of your day. Here are some great rebuttals for all of those unhelpful Christmas crackers:
“My mum used to cook her roast potatoes in goose fat, they tasted fantastic.”
“Well, because your family has an inclination to become overweight I thought you would appreciate me cooking them in healthier rapeseed oil instead.”
“Does anyone want to help dish up the veg for me?”
“Please would someone come through to the kitchen and get some serving dishes?”
“OH GOD, the dog’s got the turkey!”
Everyone rushes to the kitchen…
“Great, thanks guys. Right, you can do carrots and you the potatoes…”
“Mum, why is his present bigger than mine?”
“You should’ve thought about that when you didn’t want to brush your teeth on 21st June.”
All about that baste, about that baste…
It is true, and we have all tasted it, turkey can get really dry. Make sure you baste every hour and rest that turkey for at least an hour before serving. Covered in foil, it will stay piping hot and allow the meat to relax and become juicy again.
Save money this Christmas with our money saving checklist:
- Make the most of those supermarket money-off vouchers. Make a list and plan your food shop to coincide with getting the most use from your vouchers.
- Delegate items to guests so that they can contribute to the big day. Offer a choice so that they feel included and leave it to them to choose the crackers, pudding or cheeseboard.
- You don’t have a sleigh, or elves, so posting presents can get expensive. Look online for discount couriers that can save you money.
- Use cash. It has been proved that spending cash is better than using a card if you want to save money on the high street. There are no ‘mindless purchases’ and once it is gone, it is gone…
Save on your drinks bill for the big day and have a go at brewing your own beer. Kits can be bought for as little as £20.00 online and will make plenty of pints in time for Christmas. You can even choose a festively named brew to make it extra Christmassy.
After the festive buzz has died down, no one will remember who bought what at Christmas. Round up all the unwanted gifts and plan a trip to the high street. Exchange or return everything you don’t like and buy something to start your new year exactly how you want to; like a new pair of trainers, maybe?