It’s that time of year when everyone is busy thinking about Christmas, there’s the gifts, parties, trying to fit seeing everyone in and of course the food.
There’s always lots of food at this time of year and if you’re hosting,it can seem like a mine field navigating through it all.
Fear not, with some careful planning and organisation you will have it all under control on the big day. If you’re still stuck on where to start then don’t worry as we’ve listed some key pointers for you.
First things first, check dietary requirements for anyone you will be catering for. Including possible allergies or preferences, the last thing you want is to serve a vegetarian turkey…
Next make a list of what you’ll need. Check out where you’ll be sourcing it from and confirm how many people you’ll be cooking for. This will help when looking at how much you need as well.
An important thing to consider if you’re buying meat is if you’ll be buying fresh or frozen.
If it’s frozen it’s imperative that you allow enough time to defrost it fully, before you’ll need it.
You should be able to find defrosting instructions on the packaging but if in doubt you can always seek advice from a local butchers or meat counter.
Familiarise yourself with recipes which you intend to use. There are lots of ideas online or you if you prefer a cookery book your local library will be well stocked too.
Ask friends and family too – no doubt they will have some traditional favourites that you’ll want to try.
Preparation really is key though. You could start by making things in advance and freezing them.
Yorkshire puddings and stuffing are both freezable and can be taken out beforehand ready for you to reheat.
The night before you can prep all your veg, place it in pans of cold water, covered with a lid. Then in the morning all you have to do is, drain them and refill with fresh water and you’ll be good to go.
Ensure you check all the timings of everything that needs to be cooked in the oven. It can be a bit of a juggle but remember if you time it correctly you can keep roast potatoes/parsnips warm whilst cooking other things.
Try to keep everything covered and warm until you’re ready to serve. If you have room, you could also warm the plates to ensure everything stays hot when served.
Think about how you are going to serve the food too. Will you be dishing it all onto plates and handing it out or will you be laying it out on the table for people to serve themselves?
Either way ensure you have sufficient plates, cutlery and serving dishes.
To make life easier disposable baking trays are reasonably cheap to buy and can be thrown away and recycled afterwards – this helps with the washing up afterwards too!
Another thing you can do the night before is set the table. Have it all laid out and ready to save time on the day.
When it comes to desserts thinkg about what will you would like to serve. Will you be making them from scratch or buy them.
If you’re having a lot of guests it can be easier to ask them to bring something along. This is also handy in you’re not to sure what everyone likes and dislikes.
Lastly it can be the little things that get forgotten so don’t forget the basics such as; cooking oil, kitchen foil, milk, gravy ingredients, tea, coffee, pepper, salt, after dinner chocolates and/or nibbles.
It’s better to be overstocked than find yourself panicking last minute because you’ve forgotten something that you can’t now locate.
Above all enjoy it. Christmas should be a fun and sociable occasion, with everything in place, everything should be fine.
Once the dinner is sorted, you can sit back open the wine and enjoy!
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