Christmas dinner prep: Chefs tips for a stress-free Christmas Day

Gordon Ramsay shows off a 'sorted' Christmas dinner

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Christmas cooking can be highly stressful, as the additional dishes required to create a festive feast can push even the most competent cooks to breaking point. Express.co.uk has asked the experts to share their tips for a stress-free day.

Plan your cooking times based on the size of your oven

Many Brits will face cooking disasters on Christmas Day if they fail to factor in the size of their oven.

Mike Hardman, Marketing Manager at Alliance Online, told Express.co.uk: “Usually we can’t fit in all the festive dishes into the oven at the same time.

“If you have this problem, it’s important to make a plan in advance.

“The first tip is to ensure that the turkey goes into the oven first, and takes priority — it will take the longest to cook, and you want to know it’s going to be perfect.”

He also recommended cooking as many dishes on the hob as you can to free up valuable oven space.

Foods such as sprouts and potatoes can be fried, and other vegetables can be boiled or steamed.

Start preparing on Christmas Eve

Juggling multiple dishes on Christmas Day can be complicated, but luckily certain foods can be prepped or cooked ahead of time.

You might want to consider peeling and cutting your vegetables on Christmas Eve, according to Callum Graham, Head Chef of Bohemia at The Club Hotel and Spa.

It means you could simply pop them straight onto the hob on Christmas Day, giving you one less thing to worry about.

He told Express: “Preparation is really key for Christmas and anything you can prepare ahead of time you should do.

“My top tip would be to make your Yorkshire pudding batter 24 hours before it’s needed, as that gives it ample time to rest and helps ensure you’ll get a good rise.”

You can also parboil and half roast your potatoes on Christmas Eve, this is an essential time and space saver if you have a small oven.

Buy your turkey ahead of time

This year supply chain shortages have caused a shortage of turkeys.

To avoid stress in the run-up to Christmas Jonas Karlsson, Head Chef at Aquavit London, recommended buying your turkey in advance.

He told Express.co.uk: “Whilst fresh is always of course best, to take some of the pressure off buy your turkey now and freeze it, and simply remove from the freezer 2-3 days before Christmas to slowly defrost in the fridge.”

Avoid a crowded kitchen

As the old adage goes “too many cooks spoil the broth”. Try to keep the number of people in your kitchen to a minimum.

If possible, keep children (and relatives) entertained elsewhere.

Having lots of people underfoot will slow you down and distract you from your complex menu.

One top tip is to create a fully stocked drinks and snacks table to stop peckish guests from wandering into your kitchen.

Be sure to keep your kitchen door firmly shut to stop unwanted guests from aimlessly coming in.

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