I am very excited for Christmas this year because for the first time Rob and I have decided to host Christmas dinner for our family. We alternate Christmas each year between England and Ireland and this year we are at home. Normally my Mum cooks but we have decided it is her turn for a break and our turn to step up to the Christmas challenge.
I am already so excited and have been pouring over magazines, cookbooks and online forums for recipes! There are lots of possibilities out there! But in my hunt for recipes I have also come across a lot of great advice about the organisation behind the feast! I am told that preparation is key in order to have a Christmas Day where the family is fed and the cook is happy.
Here are the best tips that I have found to help any novice get ready for hosting Christmas Day:
- Do an audit of your kitchen – do you have enough oven dishes, pots and pans? Don’t forget your serving dishes, salt and pepper, gravy boats…etc. Work out what you will use each dish for and if you are short of anything borrow from your family.
- Wash any glasses or dishes that you haven’t used in a while a couple of days earlier to remove any dust that has collected.
- Work out your timings backwards; if you want to eat at 3pm, your turkey needs to come out of the oven at 2pm…etc. Do this for every element of the meal.
- Once you know your timings write down all your tasks in chronological order and tick them off as you go. Stick your list to the fridge to keep it safe before the big day.
- Buy a meat thermometer. Then you can have peace of mind that the turkey is fully cooked
- Set the table on Christmas Eve – it takes time to lay a full table, instead of rushing around to do it in-between cooking tasks, do it at a more leisurely pace on Christmas eve.
- Peel the spuds and veg the day before and put them in water. One less job to do on Christmas Day!
- Have you’re drinks station set up outside of the kitchen – set them up in the dining room so people can help themselves without getting underfoot in the kitchen
- Fill the sink with hot soapy water and wash up as you go – or better yet assign someone to be on washing up duty as you cook. When it’s time to eat have some of the dishes soaking in the sink.
- Ask for help – delegate and be specific! You are cooking, it’s your house, you’re the boss!
- Keep your gravy in a flask to keep it nice and hot then transfer it to a gravy boat at the last moment
- Have nibbles about just in case the food timings don’t work out.
- Remember it’s just a roast dinner and everything will be fine!