Tips and tricks for a memorable feast

To help you create a memorable and stress-free Christmas dining experience this year, we’ve put together a quick guide that will have you well-prepared for the big day. In the lead up to Christmas now is the time to start doing some easy prep ahead jobs which will make the whole process a lot easier in December along with some tasty recipe inspiration along the way.

Make a plan and shopping list 

Jot down your menus for what you’re planning to cook and at the same time start your shopping list. It’s always great to have this to hand so if you spot a promotional offer you can take full advantage of it. It will also help you avoid impulse buying and over spending if you stick to the list, as much as possible. Remember you can use Plate Up to help you plan your meals and quickly turn recipes into shopping lists delivered by your chosen supermarket including, Amazon Fresh, Sainsbury's, Tesco and Ocado. It’s also a good time to check in with who you are cooking for, family and/or friends and see what dietaries or even preferences people have. Consider ordering specialty items, like a free-range turkey, well in advance.

Prep Ahead Roast Potatoes

Get ahead on one of everybody’s favourite sides - roast potatoes. Simply peel and chop your potatoes, then boil in salted water for around 5 - 7 minutes. Drain in a colander and shake them to rough up the edges - this gives you super crunchy roasties. Leave to cool on a tray then pop the tray straight into the freezer. Once they are fully frozen transfer to a freezer bag and keep frozen until needed. When you’re ready to cook them you can even cook them straight from frozen. Simply heat oil in a roasting tray, then add the potatoes and roast in a pre-heated oven at 200C until golden and crispy (for around 1 hour) - delicious!

Plan ahead and cook when ready...

We love creating easy recipes for you to make for your family and friends. Make a big batch of Alex Hollywood's Festive Pork and Cranberry Sausage Rolls- one of our favourite Christmas recipes. Make this recipe up until the step where you bake them in the oven, then pop them uncooked into the freezer. These are ideal to have on standby in the freezer for unexpected guests as you can cook them straight from frozen and they will cook quickly. You’ll have a home baked treat on the table in no time. They’re also fabulous for Christmas morning or a snack anytime over the festive season. 

Alex Hollywood’s show stopping festive Black Forest Winter Trifle is a another brilliant no cook recipe to have up your Christmas jumper sleeve. It features Kirsch-soaked cherries and chocolate custard for the ultimate decadent Christmas treat. Best of all, it won’t take up valuable space in the oven on the big day and you can prepare it in advance. It will be the centre-piece of your Christmas feast! For easy starter options look at ideas like a grazing board with smoked salmon or a make ahead prawn cocktail. 

Double Up

Between now and Christmas double up where you can on prep. If you’re cooking a Sunday roast you could make a double batch of gravy then freeze it down flat in freezer bags until needed. This would also work well for cranberry sauce, bread sauce and cheese sauce. All saving you valuable time on the day! All you need to do is defrost and heat when you are ready. 

Planning and preparing for a festive feast doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Using our tips and tricks we hope you’ll make the process enjoyable and stress free. Happy Cooking and may your Christmas be delicious and heartwarming! 

Remember, Plate Up is free to use, you can browse 100s of chef-quality recipes and seamlessly turn them into grocery shops, get started here today!

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