I need to prepare ahead for Christmas so I don’t go truly mad. I’d love to be able to drift through the big day with a relaxed glow but honestly, it just doesn’t happen! If I make a plan, write a list (or two) and get a few things in the freezer it helps not only with the practicality of getting food on the table but just with helping me avoid panic.
Whilst I don’t want to run anything with military precision, there are always more people around to be fed just as I would like to kick back and relax a bit. So, my way around this is to get all the extras for Christmas Day in the freezer – the roast potatoes, bread sauce, gravy base, cranberry sauce, sausages in bacon etc. These can be done in not much time now and I can’t tell you how reassuring it is to know all you have to focus on on Christmas Day is the bird, some greens and pudding (really).
I adore canapés, the greedy me loves something before supper and it adds necessary ballast, I need a liner when I am drinking! Canapes add a bit of sparkle to events (even just the four of us gathered by the fire) and as I never feel like making these at ten to six in the evening, having some in the freezer is a win win. Cheese gougeres (November 2016) and cheese sables (December 2013) would be a suggestion and they just need a few minutes in a hot oven.
Some delicious bread goes a long way to augmenting a lunch of leftovers, a soup made from tired vegetables or a salad served with Christmas cheese. Either buy a good loaf and stash in the freezer or make a loaf of soda bread (seedy soda bread April 2013/olive, thyme and chilli soda bread December 2018) which doesn’t need proving and is simply stirring store cupboard ingredients in a bowl and putting it in the oven.
A plan means you can relax, a suggestion of what you want to eat and then knowing you have what you need in the store cupboard. I like to spread the shopping, both physically and financially. Buy a few things now to hide in the back of the cupboard or freezer. Top up pantry essentials. A roll of good puff pastry or flour to make some shortcrust means you are minutes away from a tart or galette, there are four or five recipes in the archives here for both sweet or savoury versions. Whilst leftovers are an integral and important part of Christmas, a list of a couple of great salads to jazz up the cold turkey means you are a step ahead, maybe my Christmas salad (December 2013) which is crunchy, fresh and ideal or have a celeriac in the fridge and make Celeriac Remoulade (January 2016). If you don’t feel like it, you can always make celeriac soup or a comforting gratin. Options and ideas are what I like.
Christmas should be cosy, sparkly and fun and it can be. Realistically though, there is also a lot to do. Knowing I have treats in the freezer and some bottles of fizz in the fridge, a list of easy ideas and the wherewithal to make them goes a long way to helping me enjoy it all. Make a plan and write a list. Buy some, make some, freeze some. Have fun.
For many more tips and suggestions, see my posts 8 December 2020 and 21 December 2020 here.