Gourmet Expert Rue Kothari dishes out her advice for Interiors this December

Set the scene for a magical festive celebration
ByRue KothariThursday , 18 December 2014
Gourmet Expert Rue Kothari dishes out her advice for Interiors this December

It’s the most wonderful time of the year...or so they say. But how do you make a big bang at Christmas without the stress that always seems to accompany it? If, like me, you love nothing more than hosting a huge table of family and friends for a traditional turkey with all the trimmings, then it’s worth noting a few simple tricks to make the day as fun for you, as it is for your invited guests. 

Breathe. Stress only contributes to making mistakes. Nobody wants to eat burnt potatoes because you were so frazzled you forgot to take them out of the oven in time. Have a glass of bubbly and follow the next four steps.

Plan. Design a menu that involves simple dishes you can confidently execute, and have cooked before. Beautifully crisp spuds, a moist bird and well-seasoned gravy will be all the magic you need.

Time it. If you have a small oven this is crucial. Work out the size of the turkey; and from that the time it will take to cook. For a turkey weighing less than 4kg it’s 20 minutes per kilogram. For anything over that size, it’s the same plus 70 minutes at 190C. Then work backwards with your accompaniments; you want everything to be ready at the same time. 

Prepare. I love prepping for Christmas lunch on Christmas Eve. Make it an event and get the family involved. Kids can help making wrapped sausages, while you can ensure that veggies are trimmed and ready. Make the gravy the night before and just add the turkey jus on the day. 

Be smart. For the starter, a delicious pumpkin soup with parmesan croutons is easy and quick and can be prepared in advance. While dessert can be a shop bought Christmas pudding (rustic of course from a vintage recipe). I would even go so far as to suggest buying in the turkey ready roasted as long as you trust the supplier. My recommendation is Jones the Grocer, they’re consistently good and supply it with cranberry sauce. But never buy accompaniments pre-cooked; five-hour old veggies are tragic.

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