It will be alright on Christmas day
The devil, they say, is in the detail, and a successful Christmas day is one where every single last detail has been covered – from the basics to the seemingly inconsequential. The more attention you pay to the tiniest details the more your guests will love the overall experience. Here are our top tips for how to make sure your Christmas day runs smoothly:
Double check your guests’ dietary requirements in advance of the party. It can be useful to label dishes that have been specifically prepared for guests who can only eat certain things vegetarian, gluten intolerant etc. It’s amazing how committed carnivores can be attracted to the lovely vegetarian options!
Make sure your bird will fit in the oven and you have a roasting dish large enough. Seriously, it’s happened before – big bird, small oven. Not a good look!
Less is more if you’re hosting Christmas for the first time. You don’t have to do it all, menu-wise or physically. Delegate to survive! Anyone who likes to chat, give them some peeling, and they can talk to you at the same time.
Give your creative friends the job of dressing the table and the person you like least the washing-up!
Be prepared. Everyone laughs at it, but a Gantt chart is key to learning how to cook a big Christmas lunch on time. Work backwards from your intended serving time and be realistic about how long peeling veg etc will take.
Don’t try to cram everything into the same oven. The turkey should rest for an hour, loosely covered in tin foil and tea towels, giving you an empty oven in which to roast potatoes and other trimmings.
Don’t truss the bird – keep the legs loose and hanging free. The leg bones conduct the heat through the thighs, which take more cooking than the breast meat. If you truss it, by the time the legs are cooked, the breast meat will be dry.
Make your stuffing in advance and refrigerate it!
Don’t skimp on the gravy –there is never enough. You can make it a few days before and then add the roasting juices on the day.
For extra-crispy roasties, add half a teaspoon of baking soda to the water in which you boil them. The higher pH breaks the pectin down more quickly, giving you fluffier edges and more surface area to crisp up.
Gin is the solution. Just when things started to get stressful, oven smoking and pans bubbling, pour yourself the strongest G&T imaginable. Then you don’t care if anyone liked their dinner or not.
Use foil baking trays to roast with! You can bin them and so there is less washing up!
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