Christmas is a day for everyone to enjoy (including the chef!) So I like to make life as simple as possible for myself and plan in advance how the day will work (but be flexible to allow for the unexpected!). For me, simplicity is key and any short cuts available I will take! My brother in law recently asked me whether I could recommend a good stuffing recipe and I said “Sure, it’s sold in Marks and Spencer’s”!
My Christmas day plan looks something like this:
11 am Bacon sandwiches to keep everyone going (plus a little glass of something sparkling or Bucks Fizz)
2pm Starter of Smoked Salmon and Smoked Salmon Mousse
2.30 Turkey and all the trimmings (see my best ever Turkey recipe)
3.30 Christmas pudding
Evening: Cheese and biscuits
All the timings are approximate, you never know what might happen unexpectedly. For example we have relatives in Singapore and they always seem to ring at a crucial moment!
In terms of your Christmas Day Planner, here is an example of how it could look:
- 7.00 am Take the turkey from the fridge to bring to room temperature
- 7.30 am Preheat the oven to 425F/220C/Gas 7
- 8.30 am Start cooking the turkey as per recipe
- 9.00 am Lower temperature to 325F/160/C/Gas 3 and cook for 3 1/2 hours. Prepare vegetables, roping in as many helpers as possible! Place in pans ready to cook
- 10 am Present time! (I like to have a little glass of sherry, a family tradition which definitely helps take the stress away!)
- 11 am Bacon sandwiches and Bucks Fizz
- Noon Open any red wines to allow the wine to breathe
- 12.30 pm Turn back the foil on the turkey and turn heat back to 425F/220C/Gas 7 for 30 mins to crisp the skin.
- 1.00 pm Check the turkey is cooked and remove from the oven wrap in foil as per the recipe. Make gravy as per recipe and keep warm. Start cooking potatoes for roasting
- 1.30 pm Place potatoes and sausages and bacon rolls into the oven and cook until crisp – 45mins, then keep warm
- 1.40 pm Put parsnips into the oven with the potatoes. Heat serving dishes and plates
- 1.50 pm Cook Brussels sprouts as per recipe , warm already prepared red cabbage, and bread sauce
- 2.00 pm Plate the Smoked salmon and mousse and set on the table. Open white wines or Champagne. Let everyone have the starter
- 2.15 pm Carve the turkey
- 2.20 pm Place everything into warmed serving dishes
- 2.30 pm Time to eat.
Please share your own tips for planning Christmas day.