How to De-stress your Christmas Day Cooking
Karen Poynter, Executive Chef for our catering partner Chester Boyd, has seen and cooked her fair share of Christmas feasts. This year, she wants to share her insights into the best and simplest ways to sprinkle a little yuletide magic on your Christmas.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, so then why is it so stressful? Christmas should be about spending time with family and friends, not being chained to the stove. Keep things simple, plan carefully and cook with love – and a small glass of something special on the side!
Make a List, Check it Twice!
The key to a perfect Christmas day is to planning, so create a menu where you can prepare at least some of the items in advance. So start now, once it is written down it is out of your head, leaving you free to enjoy yourself!
- Write menus for all your meals over the Christmas holiday and have recipes bookmarked.
- Write a master shopping list. Shopping is one of the biggest jobs at Christmas so make it easy and categorize ingredients and equipment or pre order. There is nothing worse than waking up on Christmas morning and realizing you are missing a key ingredient.
- Make a time plan for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day; this will help organize not only your cooking but your mind as well.
Don’t overlook small jobs that will make your Christmas preparations smoother:
- Sharpen your knives to make chopping and carving easier.
- Clean out the fridge a week before to make space for the Christmas food and treats.
- Clean the oven this will be a lot easier than after the big day.
- Make time for you after all this is your Christmas as well so “eat drink and be merry”
There’s nothing worse than spending your day peeling carrots, boiling brussels and hoping you’ll have time to get the cranberry sauce out of your hair rather than enjoying a glass of wine with your family and friends. Most vegetables can be prepped the day before and left peeled in water overnight. If you’re making red cabbage you can cook it in advance to reheat – it can even be frozen! Cooking Christmas dinner needn’t be stressful if you prepare some of your dishes ahead of time. Then you can focus on those key showstoppers on the day itself: the potatoes, the turkey and the gravy.
Christmas Roast Potatoes
Crisp and golden, nothing beats the crunch and flavour of a perfectly can you buy klonopin online seasoned roast spud. If you’re keeping your dinner simple then I recommend really making the extra effort when it comes to your potatoes – your family will be talking about them all year!
- Preheat the oven to 180?C, gas mark 4. Put the potatoes in a colander and hold under running water for 5 minutes to wash off the starch.
- Place in a large pan, then cover with cold water. Add 2 rosemary sprigs, 6 thyme sprigs and 2 bashed garlic cloves. Bring to the boil, and then simmer until very soft and starting to crumble (about 25–30 minutes). Drain carefully and leave to cool in the colander.
- Put the beef dripping and duck fat in a roasting tray large enough to hold all the potatoes in a single layer. Place this in the oven for 15 minutes (once melted, the fat should come about 0.5cm up the sides). Add the potatoes to the tray with the remaining garlic cloves. Stir to coat in the oil and place back in the oven for 1 hour, gently turning every 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, to make the herb salt, grind the salt, sage leaves, rosemary leaves, thyme and juniper in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle to a fine powder.
- After 1 hour, add the remaining rosemary and thyme to the potatoes; return to the oven for 20-30 minutes or until the potatoes are golden brown and crispy. Drain on kitchen paper; season with 4 tsp herb salt before serving.
Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without a full flavoursome gravy, it really brings everything together. For the best flavour I really recommend using a good stock. Here’s my method:
- Peel carrots, onion and garlic and rough chop. Then add the vegetables to the sauce pan, One that can hold 3/4 litres.
- Add thyme, bay leaf and red wine and heat up.
- At this point add the chicken, beef jelly pot, redcurrant jelly and melt.
- Add the cold water and bring to boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
- With the cornflower add a little cold water to make a paste then add this to the stock to thicken. The more you add the thicker it will be. Bring back to the boil whisking at all times then pass though sieve.
- For extra luxury finish with a knob of unsalted butter or truffle oil.