How to Prepare Christmas Food in Advance

What better than to know that you’re ahead of the game on Christmas Day! You can bask in the knowledge that most of the cooking has already been done. This means you have more time for the finer things in life, like tending the log fire, dusting off an old bottle of claret or frantically hoovering up before the first guests arrive!

Here we present a few ideas that are guaranteed to buy you some valuable time during the festive season, and more importantly will taste great too. Many of these suggestions will be made much easier if you can allow adequate space in your fridge and freezer.

Quick Roast Potatoes!

It’s quite often the side dishes on Christmas Day that can be the most fiddly. All you need to do is to peel and cut your potatoes nice and chunky, then bring a good size pan to the boil and salt as necessary. It is best to cook the potatoes until they are just soft for about six to seven minutes. Drain off all the excess cooking water, return to the pan and then sprinkle with generous amounts of flour. Apply a bit of muscle at this stage and bash up the potatoes, which will mean a roast spud even worthy of a prize!

So now all you have to do is line up these little beauties on a baking tray or similar and freeze! The tip here is to put them on a sheet of greaseproof paper. You can happily freeze for up to a month. On the day, just pop them in the oven and cook them as regular roast potatoes!

Groovy Gravy!

Chop up an onion add some garlic, and sauté until soft. The next stage depends on what you have available at home. You can add a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, no need for anything too fancy as it is really just adding a bit of bite to the gravy. Cook and reduce this until it has lost most of the water and has lost some of the harsh acidity. Add a large cup of good quality chicken stock or similar and stir. The final key is to thicken with a spoon of cornflour, being careful to stir continuously. You can even add a little English mustard powder to this if you like.

The time-saving advice is that you can now leave this to cool and freeze or place it in the fridge a few days before the big day!

Instant Yorkshire Puddings

Well, the truth is they are not instant, but pretty darn close!

We advise a traditional mix of plain flour, eggs and milk and using a vegetable oil. To add an extra bit of style to this, use a multi-hole pudding tin to produce mini-Yorkshire puddings to die for! So, make your batter (best to use a trusted recipe), season well and ensure all the lumps are taken care of.

The oven must be scorching hot and then drizzle the oil to cover all the whole baking tin. Then heat up the baking tin for a few minutes, then pour in your batter. Place the tin carefully in the middle of the hot oven and allow 20 to 25 minutes to cook and rise until golden brown! Take out and leave to cool. Now, all you have to do is freeze these small delights until you are fully ready for all things Jingle Bells!

Turbo Pigs in Blankets

Yes, this seasonal classic can be tricky when you’re trying desperately to appear calm while chit-chatting with special guests! So grab some chipolata style sausages and then wrap in smoky streaked bacon. If you want to make a large quantity, you can always cut a rasher in half and still wrap around the sausages. Set your oven at about 190 C, and when hot place the baking tray with your pigs in blankets for about 30 minutes or until golden brown! We would suggest to ‘just cook’ until brown, then whip out of the oven and let them cool off.

When cold place them carefully in a good size freezer-friendly container. Finally, it’s best to take them out 20 minutes before, to thaw and soften when you are ready to bake them on the day!

Mince Pies … Made Easy!

Making mince pies in advance is quite a classic regarding time-saving festive activities! Oh yes, some people are THAT organised!

First of all, make a nice buttery pastry and very important to knead this into a ball but don’t add any extra liquid. This needs to be firm and similar to a short-bread dough.

Heat up your oven to 200C. Now you need to line with pastry your mini baking tray, best with a 12-hole type and spoon in some mincemeat, cover with a pastry lid and then bake. You only need to press the edges of lid and base together without the need for any milk or egg white.

After they have baked and cooled off, these will freeze very well until you are ready for friends or family!

Cranberry Sauce is Go!

This is a seasonal favourite in many homes during the Christmas holidays! The ingredients speak for themselves; muscovado sugar, orange juice and fresh or frozen cranberries.

Just bring to boil the sugar and orange juice, then stir in your cranberries. Just simmer until everything has reduced slightly, but no need to overcook. Allow to cool, and then you will see this will thicken. This will keep in a fridge for about a week, and will take away another timely chore on a day when fun should be the main goal!

Enjoy more time and more fun during the Festive Season!