Christmas is a special time for families, and we value the couple of days off too much to allow a huge workload to get in the way.
Being organised well in advance gets rid of the hassle and any pressure.
To help reduce the stress levels, SuperValu and I have made some simple videos with an abundance of tips, hints and recipes to help you prepare for one of the most special days of the year. Everything from how to make the perfect gravy, stuffing and roasties, to some fantastic easy to follow desserts, definitely worth a look. There’s also some fantastic Christmas recipe ideas in the SuperValu Fresh Christmas magazine, but if you’re under major time constraints check out our ‘Prepared By Our Butcher’ range, which offer the highest-quality ingredients for the festive season.
We like to enjoy Christmas Day as a family so Catherine and I do most of the prep work on Christmas Eve; peeling the potatoes, making the stuffing, mulled wine etc.
We get the children to set most of the table, well at least the cutlery and the condiments, A final polish of the glasses and we’re ready! This year we’re having a traditional Christmas dinner with turkey, ham and all the trimmings, so here’s how it goes for me.
Firstly, the turkey - it’s vital that it’s kept in the bottom of the fridge to prevent it dripping on to other food, which may cause contamination. When you’re ready to stuff and cook it, loosen the skin and then using your hands slide some softened butter underneath and massage carefully into the breasts. This helps to keep the meat moist and adding a few slices of streaky bacon also prevents the meat from drying out. A good sprinkling of salt and pepper gives a lovely crispy skin.
After that, here’s my Christmas Eve to-do list:
- Peel your potatoes and prepare the vegetables, then keep them covered in the fridge.
- Make your stuffing – traditional breadcrumbs with onion and sage, sausage meat and apricot, or you could try something sweeter like cranberry and butternut squash – again, store in the fridge.
- Bake some mince pies to nibble on Christmas Eve and to leave out for Santa. Just make sure to keep some to reheat on Christmas Day.
- If mulled wine is on your Christmas Day menu, you can make it straight away as it improves overnight, and you’ll also have to try it out to make sure you’re happy with the recipe!
- Get your white wine, beers and champagne into a cold spot – outside if you have no room in your fridge, even the boot of the car if you don’t have the outdoor space!
- Prepare your Christmas Day desserts – traditional trifle is a MUST for me but of course the Christmas pudding is already made. Make sure there’s plenty of fresh cream and/or ice cream which can be flavoured with brandy or your favourite liqueur.
- Place the ham on to boil. Once cooked remove the outer rind leaving an even layer of fat. Score the fat and insert the cloves, cover and place in the fridge for glazing and the final baking on Christmas morning.
It’s usually an early start in our house on Christmas morning as Tom, Sophie and Emily are eager to open their presents, so at this stage I get the turkey ready for the oven, bringing it to room temperature for about half an hour before placing in a preheated oven. Once it’s on, it’s a pot of tea and a light breakfast before heading off to Mass. After Mass we make some eggnog and open our presents, then it’s time to get cooking. We don’t do the champagne or Prosecco cocktails until after the cooking is complete, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Here are some of my favourite Christmas recipes... now get cooking!
Smoked Bacon and Two Cheese Filo Tart
Heartwarming and cheesy goodness. Try this recipe if you've still got enough energy after cooking the Christmas dinner.
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