Countdown To Christmas
There’s no doubt that being in charge of Christmas lunch can be a stressful task. It requires more than just a few good recipes; it needs a road map. But our foolproof planning guide will have you cruising through the big day with ease and style!
3-4 days ahead
Make your cranberry sauce and Christmas pudding (if you haven’t already), cover and chill.
• Lay the table.
• Prepare your stuffing.
• Make the sauce for the Christmas pudding; cover and chill.
• Start preparing your Christmas Ham by boiling it in cider and spices for an hour. Keep covered in fridge until time to roast.
• Make a marinade and cover your chicken. Leave in the fridge till the morning.
• Prepare and weigh ingredients for bread sauce, if making.
• Peel and cut the potatoes and carrots; keep the potatoes covered in cold water and cover the carrots with a damp cloth, you do not want to soak the carrots as this will dilute their flavour.
• Cut your parsnips and store in a bowl using the same method as the carrots.
• Take anything you have prepared in advance out of the freezer and leave in the fridge to defrost.
• Chill the champagne, wine and water.
• Stuff your chicken.
• Start to prepare your remaining vegetables and salads.
• Preheat oven to 200°C.
• Put the chicken in the oven to roast.
• Cook the potatoes on the stove for around 8 minutes, be brave with this, the further they go the fluffier the final result. Drain and give them a shake- this will make them crispy later. Tip them into a large tray in one layer, and add the olive oil or butter and season and toss well.
• Prepare your ham for roasting by scoring the fat and pressing cloves into each criss-cross. Place in the oven with the chicken.
• Remove the chicken and ham from the oven. Cover tightly with foil and leave to rest.
• Drain off resting juices and use to make a bread sauce.
• Make your gravy.
• Put your parsnips and potatoes in the oven to roast.
• Put the Christmas pudding onto steam.
• Warm plates and serving dishes. If there is no room in the oven, place them in a sink of boiling water and dry them just before serving.
• Take the cranberry sauce from the fridge and allow to warm to room temperature, this will improve the flavour.
• Cook the carrots in as little water as possible so you retain their full flavour, fry or boil your sprouts.
• Reheat bread sauce, stirring occasionally and adding more liquid if you need to, you don’t want it too thick.
• Make sure someone pours the cook a drink…
• Carve the chicken and ham.
• Serve, sit back and enjoy!