Food & Drink Lifestyle

5 tips for a making stress-free Christmas dinner

Christmas dinner
Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

If the thought of cooking Christmas dinner gives you the heebies, these tips will help calm your nerves.

From writers to chefs, these food experts know a thing or two about cooking the perfect Christmas dinner.

Bonny Porter, founder and head chef of Balls & Company

If you’re opting for ham this Christmas, ask your butcher for advice. You are looking for a balanced cure, a natural meaty texture – not wet, rubbery or chewy – and a good smokey flavour. Also, no one likes it when the host is slaving away in the kitchen the entire time.

Henrietta Clancy, author of Just Soup

Make soup to start on Christmas Day. It can be made a month in advance and frozen, or several days before and just heated up to serve. The Christmas meal is long, so kick off with something lighter to put you in good stead, such as a spiced roast carrot soup, or opt for a French onion soup.

Sandia Chang, founder of Bubbledogs

Have an equal amount of food that can be precooked and to cook. For example, I always have a honey-glazed ham precooked and accessible all day for people to munch on.As for the cooking, I like cooking things slowly in ovens or slow-braised on the stove so that I can spend more time with my friends and family.

Caroline Craig and Sophie Missing, authors of The Little Book of Brunch

“Cooking Christmas lunch always takes longer than planned. Blanch vegetables like sprouts, carrots or parsnips so they’re ready for roasting on the day, pre-cook the stuffing so it just needs reheating – freeing up valuable real estate in the oven – and peel and chop your potatoes and keep them covered in cold water ready for par-boiling.

Ravinder Bhogal, chef patron, Jikoni

Give your Christmas some zing by using spices that will elevate the most humble ingredients. Make a saffron butter for your turkey, add earthy cumin and zesty toasted crushed coriander seeds to your roast potatoes, sprinkle cinnamon and pink peppercorns on your red cabbage and caraway seeds over your carrots and parsnips. Sprouts also become charismatic with a hint of pul biber.

All tips were brought to you courtesy of Dobbies.