Top Tips for Christmas Dinner & Your Sanity aisling larkin
Preparing, Cooking and Serving 
  • Shopping – book your click-and-collect spot. 
  • Order your meat from your butcher in plenty of time. 
  • Clear out the freezer in advance.
  • Start using up old jars of sauces in the fridge now or do a little deep clean.
  • Delegate, delegate, delegate. If someone is coming to your home for Christmas dinner they are bringing something –  end of !! 
  • Vegetables will last great in a cold dark space like a shelf in the garage. 
  • Peel and chop all the veg on Christmas Eve. Wrap them in cold damp kitchen paper and store them in a cool dry place.
  • You can prepare the vegetable on Christmas Eve by either cooking them or blanching them. This means to boil them rapidly for a few mins ( sprouts and broccoli  –  5 minutes and carrots and parsnips 8/9 mins. Strain them in a colander and then plug them into ice-cold water or run the cold tap over them. Wrap them in damp kitchen paper. A few minutes before serving heat them in a pan of boiling water or toss them in butter in a frying pan. 
  • For the roast potatoes, parboil, steam, and roast in oil and butter.
  • Buy pre-prepared red cabbage or maybe one other to supplement your sides from scratch
  • Prepare the freeze starters and gratins. 
  • Vacuum pack and freeze as much as possible. 
  • Quantities of potatoes and vegetables – about 250g vegetables and 250g potatoes is plenty per person.
  • Turkey tips: don’t wash the turkey, do not cook it until it is fully defrosted ( if using frozen ) remember to remove the giblets. Stuff the cavity ( with care ) or stuff under the skin and fill the cavity with aromatics like fresh orange, rosemary, thyme and bay leaves. 
  • Remember to add cling film, tin foil, parchment paper, freezer bags, foil roasting trays and turkey bags to your shopping list. 
  • Buy yourself something comfy and gorgeous to wear as you cook. 
  • Making drinks, glasses, ice etc be someone else job. 
Top Tips for Getting Dinner to the Table Hot 
  • Warm plates. 
  • Electric plate warmer. 
  • Warming drawer. 
  • Heat plates in the microwave  –  sit a small jug of water in with them. 
  • Carve all the meat. Layer up turkey, stuffing and ham to create portions. Place on a serving platter. Cover with buttered parchment or foil and then place in a homemade bain marie and pop in the oven to steam and heat.
  • Take the meat out of the oven to rest. Wrap in 1 layer of butter foil, then 2 other layers of foil and then cover with a warm towel/blanket
  • Buy a hostess trolley. 
  • Use a steamer or a slow cooker on low to keep the veg warm once prepared. 
  • Cover the turkey with a butter-soaked muslin cloth 
  • Piping hot gravy and lots of it.
Serving Tips 
  • Decide on your serving style. Family-style dining is where everything is put in the middle of the table and everyone serves themselves. This is a lot less work and allows people to have exactly what they want. Buffet style means laying everything out on the counter or another table and people walk around with their plates and are either served or served themselves. Restaurant style means you plate it each dinner for everyone and hand them out as they are ready. 
  • Always make extra gravy and make it extra hot. Let this be the last thing to go to the table. 
  • The most important things to have hot to the table are vegetables. 
  • Have lots of tinfoil to insulate everything and keep it warm for as long as possible if needs be. 
  • Warm your plates. ( way earlier than you think and for longer than you think)
  • Allow all of your meat resting time. This will free up the oven for the roast potatoes and the vegetables etc. 
  • The turkey will happily rest for 45 minutes. Cover with buttered parchment or leave in the turkey bag and cover with layers of warm towels.
Christmas Dinner Time Plan
Aisling Signature

One Response

  1. Heard you on newstalk with Kieran, can’t wait to follow your prep times and some of your recipes.

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