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How to plan Christmas

We've put together a handy guide to help you navigate the Christmas food prep, breaking down all of the essential steps to create a magical, festive day.

How to plan Christmas


Navigating the festive season is a joyful yet stressful period. There is just so much to do in such little time. 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 you some time, we have put together a handy guide to help you navigate the Christmas food prep, breaking down all the essential steps. From planning your menu to preparing side dishes, this guide is our Christmas present to you!

It's never too early to start planning!

Have time to rock around the Christmas tree by following our steps to things you can start to prepare now:

  1. Begin your Christmas prep by writing your menu for the Christmas period - this will allow you to focus on which elements require preparation and identify any ingredients you may need to buy.
  2. Write two shopping lists (based on your menu) of all the ingredients you need. The first list should include all the non-perishable items that you can buy before the Christmas rush. The other list can mention perishable items that need to be purchased closer to the time.
  3. Check your cupboards for any items that you may already have or are running low on. Keep a careful eye on your spice rack, all dry and tinned ingredients, like sugar, treacle - especially mixed fruit.
  4. Whilst out shopping for your store cupboard ingredients, why not purchase 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 will feel when the supermarket shelves are empty nearer the time!
  5. Soak the fruits for your Christmas cake. You can soak your fruit in either alcohol (dark rum, brandy, sherry, or whisky all work well) or black tea. Make sure to try our Rum and Citrus Soaked Fruit Recipe for a fresh and zesty twist. You can start this anytime you like. We recommend the longer, the better.
  6. Bake your Christmas Cake. Although you can bake your cake just before the big day, it's best to aim for two to three months before. This will give the cake time to mature. Feed the cake with your preferred alcohol or tea, once every two weeks. Use a skewer to poke several holes in the sponge then pour roughly two tablespoons of the alcohol over the top of the cake. Wrap in cling film and store it in a tin or airtight container. If you want to make your Christmas Cake even earlier, leave off the icing and store in the freezer. The cake can last for months in the freezer, however the longer your store it the more likely it may become freezer burnt. Wrap it well in baking paper and a layer of foil and defrost when it is time to start feeding. Try our Rich Fruit Christmas Cake recipe or if you want a smaller version the Christmas Cake Tray Bake is a good option.
  7. Pre-mix the herbs and spices for all your Christmas dishes! Store your herbs and spices in small, air-tight pots. Make sure to label and date your containers so that you pick the right spice mix for your dish. Mix or shake and ensure that individual flavours are well combined to prevent any dominating tastes or aromas.
  8. 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.
All I want for Christmas is cake!

Think baked goods, puddings, and pastry - plus some optional time and space savings tricks!

1. Weigh out the dry ingredients you need for all your cakes, pastries, and puddings that you are planning to make. Place your ingredients into a sealed bag and label it with your recipes name, all the ingredients and weights you have added. Labelling your bags will help stop any confusion over the remaining wet ingredients that will still need adding to the recipe. Store in a cool, dry place until ready for use.

2. Buy your pastry. For any desserts or snacks that require pastry - whether this is filo, puff, or shortcrust - you can either buy ready-made sheets or make your own ahead of time and store it 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 your pastry 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 the time arrives. For your mince pie filling, view our mince pie recipe for some inspiration!

The space-saving trick:

If you are limited to oven space because you have too many pies on the go and are planning on cooking a whole bird or large joint for Christmas dinner, why not cook your meat ahead of time? All you need to do is to cook your meat, slice it into portions, and allow it to cool fully. Once cool, place into plastic bags and then store in the freezer until the day. The meat can be reheated in gravy on the day to prevent it from becoming dry. This space-saving trick truly saves a lot of space in the oven for other dishes. Alternatively, our mini oven is a flexible option that gives extra oven space when you need. it

I’m dreaming of a stress-free Christmas...

And just like that, Christmas has arrived! You can now relax and unwind with confidence, knowing all the hard work and preparation has paid off.

1. Use the pre-prepared ingredients or elements in your dishes. Whether you are busy shaping your pastry, making mince pies, or adding wet ingredients to partially mixed cake batters, all your preparation means your food is almost ready to go in the oven.

2. Cook or reheat any food that you have 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.

3. Enjoy!

Top Tips:

  • Label, label, label! Do not forget to label any bags or containers that you've placed in the freezer. Make sure to list the date that it was frozen and what it contains. Though we're sure Christmas will be a little more interesting, we're not sure that your dish will taste quite the same with the wrong ingredients added!
  • Remember to remove any frozen foods that need to be defrosted from the freezer the day or night before, particularly if you need to add any more ingredients on Christmas Day or items that do not need to be cooked (like Savoury Butters).
  • Play a game! For an added touch of festive fun and Christmas 'spirit', use our Christmas Coffee Advent Calendar in a game of coffee roulette! Pull a number from 1-25 out of a hat and try your hand at making that drink.

Dualit Products Used

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