As I said in my recent post about how to host a hassle-free dinner party, the main trick to pulling off a spectacular meal is being organised. Planning ahead. Getting your prep done beforehand. But I admit that this sometimes feels a bit… dull. Even I, although I really do know better, sometimes can’t be bothered to plan things properly and just decide to wing it. And I always regret it.
At culinary school, we had to make a time plan before every single cooking session. Which meant writing one every day. Literally ‘11.30am: Second turn of puff pastry, start making caramel’, kind of thing. It was necessary to handle the hugely complex dishes we were putting together in class, but it’s not something I do in my day-to-day cooking. Even though I definitely plan, I don’t normally give myself a timetable. Except for Christmas dinner. And that’s where HelloFresh‘s cheat sheet comes in.
If you’re the kind of person that sighs and fidgets at the thought of putting together a cooking schedule for yourself on Christmas day, fear not. HelloFresh have literally done it for you. They sent me a copy of their cheat sheet to have a look at, and it’s absolute gold for an organisational nut like me. They’ve worked out what you can make ahead and do the night before. They’ve made you a scheduled timeline for your Christmas Day cooking. And they’ve even included lots of recipes for tasty side dishes, in case you’re struggling with what to do with your parsnips this year.
You can get the cheat sheet for free here.
It will be particularly useful if you’re the person in charge of Christmas dinner this year, but you’ve not done it before. Or if you’re stressed about the thought of cooking all those complicated bits and pieces and getting everything to be ready at the same time.
I cook the Christmas dinner in my family – when you have trained as a chef, you are responsible for the food at every family gathering for the rest of your life. Although some things stay the same every year, I like to mix it up too. We always have a goose, for example, but I like to try different ways of cooking and flavouring it. We always have braised red cabbage, but sometimes I try different ways of cooking other side dishes. There will be a Christmas pudding, but I always include another dessert as well, and that varies depending on my mood. The cheat sheet above has some great simple side dish recipes that you can try if you fancy mixing it up. I tested a few of them before writing this post, and I can guarantee that they are tasty.
Are you in charge of making the Christmas dinner in your family? Do you have any particular traditions? Do you like the exact same meal every year or do you mix it up? I’d love to hear! We never have bread sauce which, I am assured, means it’s we’re failing at Christmas…