The Christmas countdown

If you’re planning on cooking the ultimate Christmas dinner this year, here are a few tips to make the big day a breeze, so that you have plenty of time to enjoy yourself and not be in the kitchen all day.

  1. A month ahead

    Set aside an afternoon before the December rush to get ahead with your Christmas cooking. Rich fruit cakes only get better with time if wrapped and stored well. Try this luxurious cherry and almond Christmas cake recipe for a showstopping boozy pud that's bursting with festive flavours.

    RFO Main TescoWinterSBS XmasCake Final3

    Make friends with your freezer to take the stress out of Christmas Day. This make-ahead gravy uses chicken wings and roasted vegetables to create a rich flavour and saves you a last-minute task on the day.

    RFO Turkey Gravy Christmas 472x310px

    Having dishes stashed in the freezer that can be cooked straight from frozen, such as this smoked salmon and potato tart, is a great idea for unexpected guests, too.

    See more handy Christmas freezer tips.

  2. The week before

    Get ahead of the game when it comes to pudding with the perfect accompaniment ready to go. This luxurious brandy butter will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. For the pudding itself, this vegan Christmas pudding is just as rich and fruity as the original, plus it can be made up to a week in advance.

    RFO Vegan Christmas Pud2 Christmas 472x310px

    If your family aren’t fans of Christmas pudding, then try an ice cream cake as an alternative – kids will definitely love them and they can be stashed in the freezer until the big day. This chocolate and caramel ice cream bundt just needs a few ingredients to make, while this gingerbread ice cream cake is fun, sticky and sweet. Just decorate to serve.

    RFO MAIN 472x310 Bundt

  3. The day before

    Make Christmas Day a doddle by prepping all your veg ahead. Peel and chop your potatoes, carrots and parsnips, par-boil for 5 mins, then drain and refresh. Remember to ruffle up those potato edges in a colander to get really crispy roasties. Store overnight in airtight containers in the fridge. 

     

    Save oven space on the big day by prepping your starter on Christmas Eve. These roasted sweet potato rounds make a stylish start to a Christmas feast. Whip up the feta topping and roast the sweet potatoes – then just bring both elements to room temperature to assemble on the day.

    RFO MAIN 472x310 SweetPotXmas

    Make sure you start the day in style with a glass of Buck’s fizz. Squeeze the fresh orange juice and store in a covered jug in the fridge overnight, and freeze the orange peel twists ready to garnish.

    RFO Bucks Fizz Christmas17 472x310

    If heading out for the eve, remember to take anything that you are going to need for the next day out of the freezer, and defrost overnight in the fridge. 

  4. On the day

    To hit your timings perfectly, take the turkey out of the fridge to come to room temperature in the morning, and remember to remove the giblets. You can use these to make gravy. Preheat your oven, and while that’s happening, prep your Brussels sprouts. Leave them in a pan of water for later.

    RFO Main TescoWinterSBS Turkey Final2Get the turkey on to roast, and two hours before you want to serve, put the Christmas pudding on to steam.

    About an hour before the turkey is done, put the prepped vegetables into a roasting tray, and your stuffing and chipolatas into a separate roasting dish. Season the vegetables and toss together with olive oil. For something a little more special, why not try adding maple syrup and cumin. Roast everything until tender, and the stuffing and chipolatas are cooked through.

    RFO Main TescoWinterSBS SesameSausages Final2The perfect turkey needs plenty of time to rest. So once cooked, put on a warm dish and cover with foil. This allows the meat to relax and the juices to run back into the turkey, giving you a moister cut when you carve. 

    While the bird rests, reheat your gravy and cook the Brussels sprouts over a high heat until tender. Drain and toss in melted butter. Decant any condiments into serving dishes and reheat the bread sauce.

    Plate up the cooked roasted vegetables, stuffing and chipolatas, and get carving – Happy Christmas everybody!