ASKO - Top 10 Christmas tips

Top 10 Christmas tips

With the man in the red suit on his way soon, we are all starting to think about the feast we are going to create on Christmas Day.

While there are a million recipes for you to choose from what a lot of these recipes don’t do is help you with planning. Here are some tips to help you get through your big family cook up.

1. Write a list: This does not mean one list but several. You should write a list for purchasing of ingredients separated into the following headings.

1. Fruit and Vegetables

2. Dry Goods

3. Meat and Poultry

4. Seafood

5. Dairy

1.1 Your next list is your prep list. The more preparation you can do prior to the day will ensure all goes smoothly and your timing is right. When you write your prep list, start with sweets and desserts. Get as much of the sweets and desserts done as possible so all you need to do is finish off and garnish when your ready.

1.2 Write another prep list. Once you have had a day of prep write yourself an updated list for what needs to be done on Christmas day.


2. Disposable Plastic Containers: Get some! They are generally cheap and having a pile of these on hand to keep all your bits and pieces separate will keep you organized on the day. You can prep and keep all ingredients for a salad in these containers and throw everything together last minute…easy. It’s called Mise en Place in French and it means, everything in its place.


3. Work back from serving time: Once you know what time you're going to serve your lunch or dinner work back from that time. If you know your turkey is going to take 2 hours to cook and you want to serve at 7.00pm, start pre-heating you oven at 3.00pm.

 4. Rest, Rest, Rest: Depending on your menu and the protein you are cooking resting is the key. The general rule of thumb for resting is as follows; Rest for half the time you have cooked for e.g. if your turkey has a total two hour (2) cook time rest for 1 hour. If you have access to two ovens use one to rest your proteins in. If you don’t have two ovens use a sheet of baking paper and a tea towel to cover your protein. Avoid using tinfoil as it will sweat, all that work you have done on getting that pork crackle or turkey skin crisp will be lost.


5. Set your table and select your platters: Get your table sorted on Christmas Eve and select your platters you are planning on serving on. Put a little post-it note on the platters with what you are going to put on that particular dish.


6. Stay Calm: Opening and closing the door of your oven/B.B.Q and constantly checking the progress of your dinner is not going to help. Didn’t your mother tell you “don’t play with your food?” Let it do it’s thing and have faith in what you already know, investment in a probe thermometer would be a good idea and will take away any guess work.


7. Keep the kitchen clear: Everybody wants to be involved and a part of the action in the kitchen, you don’t need the distraction, if you can block off an area with tables or other obstacles your guests will get the hint. If you need help keep the numbers low (1-2 people) and give them set jobs. Remember too many cooks spoil the broth.


8. Have a drinks station: Get the drinks out of the kitchen. Load up some coolers with ice and set-up a table with glassware out of the kitchen. This will help you keep bench space clear for your food.


9. Stay Organized: If you find yourself working in a state of chaos, stop, have a clean down and re-set, follow your list and keep calm. You are not being judged by the master-chef judges remember these are friends and family.


10. Clean down: If you have followed all the above your kitchen should be relatively clean and clear once your done serving, assign the task of loading up the dishwasher to someone else, it’s time to relax.