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Christmas Dinner Tips Tanner Brothers

Christmas Dinner Tips from The Tanner Brothers

Chef James Tanner shares his advice on how to avoid Christmas dinner chaos

Preparing Christmas dinner is no small feat, and for many of us, we’d rather spend Christmas Day with a glass of wine in hand surrounded by our friends and family. However, rather than putting our feet up, we’re often stuck in the kitchen peeling carrots, boiling potatoes and wondering if we might have been a little too ambitious when we bought that enormous turkey.. We’ve all been there, and we’ve all silently sworn that we’ll be ‘better prepared next year’.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. With a little pre-planning and some creative use of our freezer space, chaotic Christmases can be a thing of the past…

1 – Order ahead

To avoid panic filled aisles in the weeks leading up to Christmas, you should start to make your orders now. This might also give you a choice from the best produce available, and not the last, sad looking turkey or wilted vegetables.

2 – Start cooking now

There are lots of dishes which can be cooked now, with some even tasting better with the extra time. Your Christmas pudding can be made now, and if kept in a cool, dark place, with mature nicely. Gravy can also be made in advance and frozen, with the juice from the turkey added just before serving. Stuffing also freezes well, and if made in an oven dish, can simply be popped in the oven on the day.

Obviously there are some things which taste better if made from fresh, but you can still ensure you have a head start with a few simple tricks. Peeling the potatoes a few days in advance, boiling your sprouts and parsnips the day before, as well as making the Yorkshire pudding batter will significantly lessen the load.

3 – Keep it simple

Don’t tackle too much at once! Remember, Christmas Dinner is just a roast, with a few added extras. Don’t try to make elaborate, new dishes which haven’t been tried and tested. This will give you more time to make sure your dishes are perfect, such as increasing the likelihood of your potatoes being crispy and the turkey being moist.

But for those of you who want to be a bit creative, simply put a new twist on traditional favourites. For instance, honey roasted parsnips with pancetta and red onion, sprouts with chestnut and orange, or even garlic buttered savoy cabbage – all involving little effort, with just a few extra ingredients!

4 – Be organised

Nothing is worse than having no freezer or fridge space, make sure you clear enough space for all your food prep in the lead up to the big day.

An age old saying, but one that is still true – ‘preparation is key’. Be organised and start marking lists of things that can be bought in advance, as well as rough timings of when to cook what. Don’t leave it all to the last minute, or you will miss out on the festive fun, and spend the majority time in the kitchen with sauce in your hair, as well as feeling exhausted. A well written list, and a rough schedule will likely mean the difference between a hot lunch, and a host of hungry guests.

5 – Christmas Eve

For those of you not racing round the house trying to put the kids to sleep, make sure you do all the last minute prep the day before. This includes weighing the turkey and working out its cooking time – this will determine when you will eat, so needs to be right! Another tip, if a bit obvious, is to make sure all your frozen food is out of the freezer and defrosting.

Finally, don’t forget to leave out a mince pie and carrot…


1 comment

Mary 21st December 2016 - 4:39 pm

Preparing for Christmas dinner is always a bit of a chore. Luckily, nowadays there are so many ways to get a variety of gourmet ingredients delivered right to your door in food boxes! And so many of them are locally and organically sourced as well, which just adds to the quality and taste. Thanks for your great advice!


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