Saturday, 24 December 2011

All the trimmings?

Photo credit - Keira
So, I shared my Christmas menu with you in my last post. I do meal plan so it's hardly surprising that I've known for a week or two what we're having, not that it is vastly different than last year. The pudding is different, and so is the starter but I don't mess much with the main event. I have certain things I have to have - Dad's chestnut stuffing, which is an act of remembrance as much as it is part of a celebratory meal (though I do love it and can eat it by itself, bread sauce - which has to be out of a packet as I just can't master a decent homemade version, roasties and cranberry sauce.

As I said before, I do love making Christmas dinner. Maybe it's because I've got it down to a fine art now. Everything that needs peeling will be peeled today - although the potatoes were peeled, parboiled and frozen last weekend and will get chucked into hot fat and put straight in the oven - and everything that can be made ahead will be done. Today, I'll make some cranberry sauce and probably the smoked salmon parcels as we've now decided to make those and before we go to bed, I'll get the turkey crown out of the freezer to defrost (it's not huge at all so I'm reliably informed it will take 9 hours to defrost. Yesterday, I made the stuffing, which is now sat in the fridge. The meringues were made on Wednesday and are packed away in tubs, ready to be filled when it's time to have dessert. (Which won't be straight after the turkey, we'll be too full).

The other thing I did yesterday was write my timeplan. It's what helps me to relax and ensure there is not something I forget to prepare along the way. If you're panicking about doing Christmas dinner, it's really worth doing. Start at the time you want to serve the turkey and work back from there. I draw it up in Word so I can rejig it and not have to rewrite it as I add in various elements. Also noted on there is the likely defrosting and cooking times of my turkey crown - you can do that for your turkey here - and links to some of the recipes I'm following.  Remember to give yourself a bit of leeway here and there for some things - I always finding bringing pans to boil take longer than I think it will so I add five minutes. And if you have got a menu written down, check against that to ensure you've included all the elements you're intending to serve. You'll probably discover you've got more time than you think - and if you get everything peeled and prepped today, you'll have way more time to spending with the family, instead of spending it in the kitchen.

So here is my timeplan for tomorrow.

Breakfast time - Check turkey crown is defrosted and prepare for the oven, take parsnips out of fridge
1115 Put oven on to 190C
1130 Put turkey crown into oven
1310 Put oil in tray for roasties into oven, turn up to 200
1330 Check turkey, take out if cooked and cover with foil to rest.
1335 Turn oven up to 220C, put stuffing in oven
1345 Turn roasties over
1350 Get parsnips ready
1355 Put parsnips and pigs in blankets in oven, turn pans on for sprouts and carrots
1400 Serve the starter
1415 Make bread sauce
1420 Make gravy
1430 Serve main course!
Some point later - whip cream and fold in mincemeat for meringue filling.

I still can't believe there is so little to do. I keep checking there isn't more to do but it's all there. 

As for table setting, the rest of the family are responsible for that. We eat in our conservatory, something we should do more often, and we have special Christmas mats, which we bought in a post-Christmas sale last year and were a bargain. No doubt they will have fun getting it ready on Christmas morning. 

I'd really love to see what you are getting up to Christmas dinner-wise, whether you are making your own, getting it made by someone else, taking it all out of packets, going out to dinner, or just having a Christmas day buffet. So, please do join in with the #allthetwimmings hashtag on Twitter. Just tweet pictures of your food, or just tweet your menus, show us your tables, your preparations over the next day or two and add the crucial hashtag. It will allow me to indulge my nosey side but we did it last year and it was good fun. 

Whatever you do, wherever you are, and whoever you are sharing it with, I hope you enjoy a fantastically celebratory Christmas feast tomorrow and that the rest of your day is joyful and spent with those who mean the most to you.

Merry Christmas. 
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