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Cheating at christmas time

Cheating at christmas time

It is, without a doubt, the most crucial meal of the year. While a Christmas meal with loved ones should be something to look forwards to, if you’re in charge of preparing it, just thinking about it might make you break out in a sweat. Of course, things will be different this year, but even if you’re only cooking for one person, the stress of preparing a Christmas feast may make it feel completely unappealing.

Cheating at christmas time

Many cooks believe they must create everything from scratch, with no shortcuts or shortcuts. That, however, is not the case. “I think it’s best to think of it as a glorified Sunday lunch, because that’s exactly what it is. Annie Bell, cuisine writer and author of Gorgeous Christmas, says, “Just with some additional trimmings.” “Don’t get too worked up over it.” After all, you have earned the right to enjoy Christmas as well. And who wants to spend the entire day in the kitchen?

Think twice about turkey.

The turkey is one of the biggest sources of stress for the cook on Christmas Day. Defrosting the turkey or presenting an undercooked bird is the subject of many a holiday sketch show for a reason: it’s difficult to get right. So why not try serving something completely different? Turkey isn’t exactly a popular choice for everyone. A roast shoulder of lamb or pork belly is recommended by Margot Henderson, chef and author of You’re All Invited: Recipes for Entertaining. “A turkey can take up all of your oven space, which can be a big problem for some people during the holidays and add to the stress,” she explains. The turkey is one of the biggest sources of stress for the cook on Christmas Day. Defrosting the turkey or presenting an undercooked bird is the subject of many a holiday sketch show for a reason: it’s difficult to get right. So why not try serving something completely different? Turkey isn’t exactly a popular choice for everyone. A roast shoulder of lamb or pork belly is recommended by Margot Henderson, chef and author of You’re All Invited: Recipes for Entertaining. “A turkey can take up all of your oven space, which can be a big problem for some people during the holidays and add to the stress,” she explains. Have you considered having lunch delivered to your door? Some providers will send you everything you need for Christmas Day, including recipes. You won’t have to run to the grocery on Christmas Eve because you forgot the spuds this way. Companies like Hello Fresh (hello fresh.co.uk) will send you everything you need to make a traditional Christmas feast, including prawn cocktail, turkey, honey-glazed pigs in blankets, all the fixings, mince pies, and a cheese board. It even has a Christmas pudding from Buckingham Palace’s supplier.

Hire a chef.

If you’re feeling particularly lazy (and flush), hire a professional chef to prepare everything for you. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are said to have enlisted Jamie Oliver’s help in the past to prepare their holiday feast, so you’ll be in good company. The Galor Private Personal Chefs service (privatepersonalchefs.co.uk) will send a chef to visit on Christmas Eve to prepare the meal, then return the next day to cook everything. Prices start at roughly £600, which includes menu planning and cleaning but excludes food costs. However, you will have plenty of time to enjoy yourself. And, of course, consume more liquids.

Get a jump start on your vegetables.

Brussels sprouts should not be purchased on stalks. Check to see if they’re ready to be thrown into water. They may appear attractive on the stalk, but preparing them can be a difficult chore. Henderson also suggests serving sprout tips rather than the much-maligned sprouts. “They’ll help you save time. Sprout tops have a cabbage-like texture and are a lush green. And they’re still in the spirit of the season.” Similarly, avoid purchasing fresh chestnuts. Henderson says, “I don’t bother with them.” “Get them vacuum-packed from Waitrose. Then all you have to do is submerge them in water and they’re good to go. You get rid of all the peeling.” Then, whether it’s boiling peas and carrots in the same saucepan or making an all-in-one roast veg tray with potatoes, carrots, and parsnips, the goal is to cook as many veggies together as possible. You won’t have to worry about them separately after that. Remember that the majority of the vegetables can be prepared ahead of time. Peel and trim your carrots and parsnips (leave them submerged in water overnight), peel your onions, and don’t just peel but also parboil your potatoes the day before to save time. Then, on Christmas Day, they’re ready to go into the oven.

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