With the growing popularity of TV chefs such as Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsey and Nigella Lawson, over the last few years, cooking a sumptuous feast over the Christmas period has never been more exciting. We would love to hear your ideas too!!
When added to all the marvellous tips floating around on the Internet and all the new foods and flavours that are about, it’s enough to get your mouth watering just thinking about it.
We know we have some great cooks here at the Elms Retirement Village so the chances are you are already a dab hand at Christmas dinner, but if you’re cooking for the family on the big day and like the thought of doing something different or special, these hints and tips could come in useful..
Yum, yum – yes, it’s the food bit…
1. Choose your bird wisely – most chefs agree that the better quality birds come at a higher price so buy the best you can afford. Why not go really traditional and add a roast goose to the mix, like Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay?
2. If you are great with the leftovers, try buying a bigger bird, they often come cheaper the bigger you go and you could maybe try a gorgeous Massaman curry, chilli or casserole for Boxing Day.
3. Roast potatoes – when done right, these are to die for. Goose fat is a firm favourite for perfect potatoes, but many top chefs favour simple olive oil and seasoning. And for the ultimate roast potato, squash them slightly with a fork before roasting to gain better coverage and more crunch.
4. Sprouts – love them or hate them, they’re a staple at Christmas time. Choose smaller ones, they’re easier to cook. And if you want them extra special, why not mix them with sautéed pancetta and minced shallots, chestnuts or ginger and poppy seeds?
5. Cranberry sauce – Nigella likes to make her own cranberry sauce, but, if you’re not that adventurous, a standard jar of cranberry sauce tickles up really nicely at Christmas. Try adding brandy or port with orange peel or zest. If you’re not keen on experimenting at the time, try it out a few days before and keep it in a covered container in the fridge.
It’s all in the preparation..
6. Planning – now’s as good a time as any to start. Make some lists and plan what you need to buy, what you want to make and when you want to make it. Gravy, stuffing and bread sauce, for instance, freeze really well, so you can do them well in advance. And red cabbage, when cooked and kept in the fridge improves with time, so there’s no need for rushing about at the last minute.
7. Shop around – there are some big supermarket discounts in the days before Christmas, so keep warm and have a look online from the comfort of your own home. And don’t be tempted to do it all in one place – where one shop might be good for veg, the other might have some great deals on turkeys, for example.
8. Prepare as much as you can the day before, because Christmas Eve is all about peeling veg! Once prepared, keep them in cold water – you can even have them in their saucepans overnight, ready to go.
9. Make a to-do list for the big day and tick things off as you do them.
10. And finally, do as much as you can beforehand and get an early night on Christmas Eve so you’re not exhausted for the big day – that way, you can make it fun too!
Feature image source