Christmas day is approaching, and let’s all be honest, it’s the most stressful meal to cook, not to mention the most time consuming. Traditionally turkey and all the trimmings;

  • Turkey
  • Stuffing
  • Pigs in Blankets
  • Roasted Potatoes
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Vegetables
  • Yorkshire Pudding

Sounds easy enough, but when the Turkey has potential to give you food poisoning, people tend to overcook, or even worse, not plan ahead, and the turkey isn’t thawed when they put it in the oven.

So GBBO judge Prue Leith has an interesting concept. Buy your turkey, stuff it and then freeze it. The only problem is, it takes longer to defrost, by around an extra day. What ensues is that people may unwittingly give their guests and themselves food poisoning.

By all means, use this technique, but be very careful. It does work, but you need to plan ahead, ideally taking the turkey out of the freezer on the 22nd. However, we have an even better idea. Instead of flapping about and panicking on Christmas day, cook the turkey on Christmas Eve, carve it, keep what you need in the refrigerator and freeze the rest in meal sized bathes (cooked meats can be frozen).

This means when cooking everything else, you have enough room in your oven to actually fit things in and the turkey can be reheated in the microwave with a small amount of water to help it retain moisture.

Pigs in Blankets can also be a dodgy one, especially when you’re dealing with raw pork, and as bacon cooks quicker than sausages,  I have known people to think that the entire thing is cooked through when in actual fact, it’s raw in the middle.

I recommend either part cooking the sausages and then wrapping in bacon, or fully cooking with the turkey, and then wrapping in bacon to put in the oven on the day along with the rest.

The bane of every cook’s life is roasted potatoes, they have no actual time guides, it’s a matter of how big the potatoes are. So people have been known to put the potatoes in with the turkey, and the pigs in blankets, and then end up with cooked potatoes and pigs, but raw turkey. There is also the Yorkshire pudding, which take about 5 minutes.

The trick with Christmas Dinner, like all other large meals, is time, time, time.

Make a list if you must, but honestly, the more organized you are, the more stress free the entire affair will be.

If you pre prepare everything a day or 2 in advance, you literally have to fire up the oven, turn the microwave on and pour yourself a glass of champagne. No one will ever notice, and it means you have more time to spend with your loved ones.

Don’t be last minute about everything, because that is a recipe for disaster, and fighting over the last Turkey in Asda is so uncouth. Plan it in advance, and everything will go to plan.