Hands up if you’re head chef for Christmas dinner.
Are you feeling nervous about catering for big numbers…worried about overcooking the veg, or worse still, undercooking the turkey? Is the pressure of making sure there’s enough food for everyone to enjoy starting to get to you?
You’re not on your own. Thousands of people hate the stress and expectation of cooking for the big day, with the pressure often leading to family arguments…and burnt roasties!
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
With a little advance planning, you can get ahead and save yourself time and hassle on Christmas day. Here’s how:
Whether it’s Christmas dinner itself, a Boxing day feast or just a Christmas meal with a few friends over the holidays, the key to enjoying entertaining is to be organised. Master that, and there’s less chance of you spending all your time hidden away in the kitchen and more possibility of you enjoying the company of your guests.
- Clean the fridge out – don’t underestimate how much room your additional Christmas food will take up. It’s important that everything is properly stored and chilled. So, before you shop for supplies, take time to clear space in your fridge and to give all the shelves a thorough wipe over.
- Stock up on essentials – tin foil, cling film, bin bags, salt and pepper. Make sure you’ve covered all the basics to avoid nasty surprises on the day.
- Food shop well in advance – whether you shop online or head to the store be sure to do so early. That way if anything is out of stock, you’ve time to look elsewhere.
- Sharpen knives – don’t time your turkey to perfection only to destroy it trying to carve with a blunt knife. Save yourself the frustration and sharpen knives in advance. It’s a good idea to check all your kitchen equipment is in full working order while you’re at it.
- Plan your cooking schedule – the key to real success is organisation. To help make sure you stick to the plan and don’t forget something in the heat of the moment, write yourself a list detailing what and when things need to be done.
- Clear worktops – trying to dish up with hot pans and nowhere to rest things is a disaster waiting to happen. Before the day, move unnecessary items off your worktops so you’ve plenty of room to manoeuvre.
- Prep – anything that can be prepared in advance should be done – such as peeling the veg and preparing the stuffing. That way you’ll be able to spend more time enjoying the company of your guests and less time hidden away in the kitchen.
On the day…
- Childproof – excitement is what Christmas is all about but remember that over giddy kids (young and old!) can be a hazard in the kitchen. Take precautions and make sure pan handles are turned in and sharp knives are tucked out of the way. No one wants a trip to A&E.
- Organise your space – where will the hot dishes go when they’re lifted out of the oven? Where will you put plates while you serve? Think things through and try to create designated areas. It’s a good idea to move glasses to one side of the kitchen, along with the drink selection so guests can help themselves without getting underfoot.
- Clean as you go – red wine, oils, splattered goose fat, can all play havoc with your work surfaces. Stay on top of the mess and try to clean as you go along. And if someone volunteers to help wash up? Let them. Don’t shoo help away, washing as you go not only helps you stay in control of your kitchen, but it also means you’ll be sat with your feet up much sooner.
- Ease up on the sherry – ok, so a glass of something festive is surely every cook’s privilege. But try to hold back until the cooking is done…otherwise things could get messy in more ways than one!
- Remember what’s important – you’ve planned ahead, you’ve followed your checklist, but things still aren’t going to plan. Who cares? Put things into perspective and remember that your friends and family have come to spend time with you. It’s about the company, not the food…and we’re pretty sure there’ll be plenty of other tempting goodies in your cupboards to go round. Cheese and crackers anyone?
Is your kitchen working for you?
Once the cooking is over you may find yourself re-evaluating how well your kitchen really works for you. Did decluttering make you realise how tired and dated your worktop really is? Would more work surface make all the difference to you – perhaps you could fit a small island unit in? Or maybe cooking for a crowd would just be much easier if you didn’t have to be quite so precious about your surfaces and the threat of a hot pan causing irreparable damage.
If any of these thoughts sound familiar, it could be time for new worktops. And, here at the Marble Store, we can help. We specialise in designing and manufacturing worktops and offer a stunning range of quartz, marble and granite, at fantastic prices. So, if you’d like to talk to the team about replacing your worktops, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Alternatively, you can view the range online now and get your free quote. Go on, after all your hard work, you deserve it!