700W Hand Blender
We've put together a handy guide to help you navigate the Christmas food prep, breaking down all of the essential steps and spreading them out over a four-week period.
Navigating the festive season can be a stressful time for many - there's so much to do and such little time, and worrying about whether Christmas Day dinner, desserts and nibbles will be ready to enjoy is not on anyone's wish list this year. To help save time, we've put together a handy guide to help you navigate the Christmas food prep, breaking down all of the essential steps and spreading them out over a four-week period. From planning your menu and writing your shopping list, to freezing condiments and prepping side dishes so that they're ready to go on the day.
1. Begin by writing your menu for the Christmas period - this will allow you to focus on which elements require preparation and identify any ingredients that you may need to buy. If you're struggling to decide which delicious recipes you want to use, we've created three separate options for you to peruse which may offer some inspiration for your own.
2. Write two shopping lists (based on your menu) of all the ingredients that you require - one featuring all the non-perishable items that you can buy before the Christmas rush, and another of perishable items that will be purchased closer to the time. Be sure to check your cupboards for any items that you may have already have, ensuring that you have enough for the recipes you plan to use.
3. Whilst you're out shopping for your store cupboard ingredients, we'd recommend purchasing a couple of fresh herb pots. Place them on your kitchen windowsill and nurture them - you will be surprised at how useful they are to add last minute flavours to your dishes. Just think how smug you'll feel when the supermarket shelves are empty nearer the time!
4. Pre-mix the herbs and spices for all your Christmas dishes - these can be stored in small, air-tight pots that have been labelled and dated so that they're ready for use. Mix or shake and ensure that individual flavours are well combined to prevent any dominating tastes or aromas.
5. Save any crusts or unused slices of bread - blend these into breadcrumbs using the Chopping Bowl attachment of the Dualit 700W Hand Blender. Once fine and even, transfer your breadcrumbs into a plastic bag, add a label, date it and then freeze.
Two weeks to go and we're taking things to the next level. Think baked goods, puddings and pastry - plus, some optional time and space savings tricks.
1. Weigh out the dry ingredients that you need for the Cakes, Pastries and Puddings that you are planning to make - place into a bag and label with both the recipe name and all the ingredients (plus weights) that have been included. This will stop any confusion over remaining ingredients that need to be added (for example, eggs, butter, milk etc.). Store in a cool, dry place until ready for use.
2. Buy your pastry. For any desserts or snacks that require pastry - whether this be filo, puff or shortcrust - you can either buy ready-made sheets or make your own ahead of time and store in the freezer. Remember to defrost the night before use and keep in the fridge until you're ready to bake - cold pastry gives a much better bake.
3. For Mince Pies, pre-cut circles (don't forget the lids!) and lay between sheets of baking parchment. Place in a plastic bag or airtight container, label and freeze. This is a great time saver and means that you can bake your Mince Pies whenever you like.
4. If you are limited for oven space and planning on cooking or roasting a whole bird or large joint for Christmas dinner, this can also be done ahead of time. Cook your meat, slice into portions and allow to cool fully. Once cool, place into plastic bags and then store in the freezer until the day. This can be reheated in Gravy on the day to prevent the meat from becoming dry but saves lots of space in the oven for other dishes.
Just like that, Christmas has arrived! Relax and unwind knowing that all the hard work and preparation has been done.
1. Use your pre-prepared ingredients or elements of dishes and snacks that need to be baked last minute - whether this is shaping your pastry and making Mince Pies or adding wet ingredients to partially mixed cake batters so that they're ready to go in the oven.
2. Cook or reheat any food that you had previously prepared and frozen, including your Pigs in Blankets, Stuffing and meat (or meat alternative if you're hosting a vegan or veggie Christmas this year). Ensure that all food is well cooked and piping hot before serving.