Preparing Christmas Dinner

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Follow our step-by-step, prep-ahead guide for a stress-free Christmas Day:

Up to 1 month before
Make and freeze the roasted garlic gravy (or make it up to 3 days before and keep chilled in the fridge).

Up to 2 or 3 weeks before
Make the chocolate truffles (dust with icing sugar only before serving). Chill. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Day before
Wash and trim the baby gem lettuce for the prawn cocktail (store in a perforated plastic bag wrapped loosely in kitchen towel to keep it crisp and dry). Make the sauce. Chill.

Prepare the bread stuffing to the end of step 2. Cover and chill.

Defrost the frozen roasted garlic gravy.

Make the sage and lemon butter for the turkey. Chill.

Make the green bean and shallot side. Cover and chill.

Make the trifle and chill until ready to serve.

Christmas morning
Enjoy your breakfast of scrambled eggs with smoked salmon.

If serving the vegetarian main dish (polenta stacks with peppers, squash, tomato and mozarella), prepare it up to the point of cooking and chill in the fridge.

Make pigs in blankets, cook for 30 minutes. Cool and chill.

Peel the potatoes, cut into quarters. Keep in a pan of water.

Trim and boil Brussels sprouts, rinse and chill.

6 hours before
Take the turkey from the fridge and bring to room temperature.

4 hours before
Take the sage and lemon butter from the fridge and bring to room temperature. Rub the butter over the turkey and put lemon halves inside the bird. Preheat the oven.

3 hours before
Put the turkey in the preheated oven, on the lowest rack.

1 hour before
Turn the oven up to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C.

Boil the potatoes and mix with the crispy coating.

30 minutes before
Take out the turkey and check it is cooked through. Leave to rest for 30 minutes.

Put the crispy potatoes in the oven.

Cover the bread stuffing with foil and put in the oven for 30 minutes; remove foil for last 10 minutes.

Put the polenta stacks in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

20 minutes before
Cover the pigs in blankets with foil and reheat for 10 minutes.

Cook the Brussels sprouts.

Reheat (or cook from scratch) the green beans and shallots.

Reheat the roasted garlic gravy.

Chop the celery and spring onions. Assemble the prawn cocktail.

Zero hour
Uncork the wine, light the candles, carve and serve.

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