If the thought of creating a culinary festive feast on Christmas Day sends you running for the sherry then sit back and read Nigel's top tips for the 'big day'.
When cooking the Christmas dinner, remember that this is something special that you are doing for the people in your life that you care about, so don’t try to over complicate the menu.
Know how many people are coming. You don't want to over or under prepare so always double check.
Make sure you have enough kitchenware. There is nothing worse than starting to cook your Christmas dinner and finding out that you don't have enough serving dishes, bowls or pans. You don't want to have a dish half made with nowhere to put it, just take a quick inventory before you do anything else.
Prepare some things in advance. When it comes to cooking Christmas dinner, not everything needs to be made on the day that it is served. Do whatever you can in advance. For example, if you need to cut up onion and celery for the stuffing, do it the day before so you aren't worrying about something like that in the middle of everything else.
Time the meal and work backwards when it comes to preparations. If you want to have most things done at the same time, think about how long they are going to cook and come up with a time that you need to get started. This should also help you prioritise each of the dishes so you know which ones need to go in the oven first.
Combine dishes in the oven at the same time. While things may take a little longer to cook, when you share the oven space things are more likely to get done at the same time and you are giving yourself some extra counter space.
If possible, take the easy route. When it comes to cooking Christmas dinner you have to pick and choose what is important to you, what dishes need to be “authentic” and which ones can you cut some corners on.
Get some help. People always offer to help, so take advantage of their offer. If you are cooking Christmas dinner alone, there is a good chance that an extra pair of hands could be very helpful and give you a chance to get more done.
If someone offers to bring something, let them. When you are cooking Christmas dinner, it helps to have one to two things that you know someone else is going to take care of, “work smart not hard” that’s what I say!
You don't always have to be traditional. Just because other people have turkey and Brussels sprouts on Christmas day that doesn't mean that you have to. If there is a dish that you are really good at making and one that you know you are not going to have a tough time with making, make the one that you are good at. It will make you feel comfortable and confident while cooking Christmas dinner.
Thaw the turkey. You can't imagine the number of people that still wait until Christmas Day to take the turkey out of the freezer. Depending on the size of the bird, it can take up to a couple of days to thaw it the right way, that’s at the bottom of your fridge in a deep dish or tray and out of its wrappings.
If you take these few tips for cooking your Christmas dinner you’ll be sure to have a stress free kitchen and your family and friends will be more than happy with your culinary festive feast!
There's always lots of hints and tips on our Facebook page along with some great recipes and if you'd like a more 'hands-on' approach to learning some new techniques in the kitchen then why not join us for a cookery course at The Academy, we'd love to see you.
The Nigel Brown Cookery Academy