- One must be a fox in order to recognize traps, and a lion to frighten off wolves. Machiavelli Niccolo
Cook Christmas Dinner
Make your pudding on Stir Up Sunday
The first step to ensuring your dinner is done ahead of time is to get your pudding sorted in November. Here, the best bet is to follow the tradition of Stir Up Sunday, the day when puddings were traditionally made ahead of Christmas. Falling on the Sunday before the beginning of advent, this is a great way of getting into the Christmas spirit and getting ahead with your preparations.
Quick Ice-cream Christmas Pudding Traditional Christmas Pudding Christmas Pudding Christmas Pudding
Make your mincemeat
If you can’t imagine Christmas without mincemeat pies and tarts, consider getting your fruit mix ready at the beginning of December, and leaving it in a well-sealed jar until needed. Not only will this cut down on the time needed to make your goodies, it will also guarantee you a much better flavour.
Mincemeat Grandma's Old Fashioned Home-made Mincemeat Nan's Fruit Mince
Roll up brandy butter
Get your brandy butter organised up to three weeks before Christmas day. Once done, roll it into a log and wrap in several pieces of plastic wrap. Secure the ends and then pop it into the freezer until needed.
How to make brandy butter Mum's Hard Brandy Butter Cointreau Butter
Freeze your cranberry sauce
Cranberry sauce is a classic pairing with roast turkey, and you can get yours done and added to the freezer before the big day. Simply cool the completed sauce and freeze it in a well-sealed container. To defrost, place it in the fridge overnight and then warm through before serving.
How to make a quick cranberry sauce
Get a head start on stuffing
If you’re stuffing your chicken or turkey, mix it together the night before and store it in a bowl in the fridge. Alternatively, you can make it up to three weeks ahead of time and store it in a sealed container in the freezer. However, don’t add the stuffing to the bird until just before it goes into the oven to avoid the risk of food poisoning.
Roast Chicken Stuffing Christmas Turkey Stuffing Basic Bread Stuffing Stuffing for Turkey or Chicken Stuffings for poultry
Mix together sauces and marinades
If you’re adding a simple green salad, creamy prawn cocktail or zingy herb salad to your table, get the sauces made up two days ahead. Simply store the finished dressings to airtight jars and pop them into the fridge until needed.
Mint and Lime Salad Dressing Caesar Salad Dressing Seafood Dressing All Round Marinade Minty Lamb Marinade Honey Soy Marinade
Clean your prawns
If you’re using prawns, get them clean and ready to use the day before. Once clean, place them in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave them in the fridge overnight.
How to peel prawns How to cook prawns and shrimp Best prawn recipes Christmas Prawns
Prep veggies the day before
If you’re planning on having a traditional roast, start prepping the veggies the day before. Carrots, parsnips and any other root veggies can be parboiled for 12 minutes, then refreshed in cold water, wrapped snugly in plastic wrap and stored in the bottom of the fridge. Onions can be peeled, chopped and stored away in a snaplock bag until the next day.
Peel your spuds
Get a head start on your potatoes by peeling them the night before and then placing them in a bowl of water covered with a tea towel and placed in the fridge. Alternatively, par boil them the day before and roast them until they’re pale golden. Drain off any excess fat and allow them to cool. On the day, pop them back in the oven for a further 30 minutes, or until crunchy and golden.
5 steps to perfect roast potatoes 12 best potato salad recipes How to make perfect mashed potatoes
Lay the table
If your table won’t be needed first thing in the morning, consider getting it all ready the night before. If this is impossible, get all the crockery, cutlery, linen and decorations organised and place them in a designated spot, ready to quickly put together the next day.
Budget table-setting ideas How to set a table How to set up a buffet table