With just days to go, we’re sharing our top five tips for a stress-free kitchen (and cook) this Christmas.
1. Plan ahead
Yes, we know every Christmas tips lists start with planning, but it really is key. Plan out what you are going to cook, when, and in what order. Making a plan also allows you to delegate much more easily. So, when people pop their head around the kitchen door and ask “Can I help?”, you can give them a task, from peeling spuds to popping the prosecco!
2. Check out your kitchen cupboards
Your kitchen cupboards probably hold a wealth of crockery, cutlery and kitchen gadgets – but are they what you need? Check your pots, pans and oven trays, to ensure you have something to put everything in. Make sure you have enough fridge space for fresh food as well as bulky leftovers such as a turkey carcass or ham. Be realistic about the size of your oven, and bear in mind the number of rings you have on the cooker too. The good news is your cupboards probably have a few appliances to help you out, from portable grills (great for quickly cooking veg such as leeks or carrots) to multi-layered steamers.
3. Get your timings right
Timing a large Christmas dinner to be cooked all together requires working out how long stuff takes to cook, and making sure there is space and time to cook it at the same time. If there isn’t enough space, make some items in advance so it’s a case of reheating, rather than cooking from scratch. For example, use that slow cooker to reheat soup or keep mulled wine on the go. Prep veggies in advance, and then cook in the microwave. (That’s what you do most of the year anyway, right?) Most of all, if your menu looks like it’ll eat into precious family around the tree time, change it. It’s just a menu!
4. Keep the kitchen clear
Christmas cookery inevitably results in a messy kitchen, as every countertop and surface gets pressed into service. Clear away any non-perishable items you really won’t need from the counter space in advance, such as that pile of glossy magazines or mounting collection of jam jars/glass ramekins/plastic pots. Also, treat the dishwasher to a pre-Christmas shine with a dishwasher cleaner so it’s ready to be loaded/unloaded/reloaded by everyone who asks ”Can I help?” (See tip 1.)
Not every part of every Christmas meal needs to be lovingly created by your own fair hands. Christmas favourites like mince pies, sausage rolls, stuffing, sauces, Christmas cake and pudding take considerable time to make, and use a whole bunch of ingredients that you may not use again until next year. So, let the supermarkets do the hard work, buy them in easy to store packets, and save your time for cooking the fresh stuff!
Really need a new kitchen?
It has to be said, a week of Christmas catering often reveals the inadequacies of your current kitchen. So if your current kitchen is more ho-hum than ho-ho-ho, call us. We’ll come and assess your current space, listen to your dreams, check your lifestyle requirements, and design a kitchen that’s be a delight to cook in any month of the year.