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5 Top Tips for Preparing Christmas Lunch

Harriet Worthington15 December 2016

Without fail there comes a point on Christmas Day where my family realise with a jolt that we probably should have started preparing Christmas lunch three days ago. The carrots remain unpeeled, the ingredients for the stuffing are lost under a mountain of mince pies or Quality Street and someone’s forgotten to take the turkey out of the fridge.

We assemble together in the kitchen like wonky, disheveled soldiers (thanks in part to my Dad’s penchant for Snowballs), my mother our Lieutenant, in a dressing gown that had its heyday in the 1980’s. We scramble to get lunch on the go, it’s a race against time, if we don’t make it before the Queen’s speech then the whole day will be ruined.

This year, however, it’s time to maximise the time spent on the sofa and minimise the time spent frantically speed peeling parsnips. These Christmas lunch hacks will take away the stress of cooking so you have time to enjoy Home Alone for the 15th time.

1. Write yourself a list

Not just for Santa. Making a list ahead of the day of everything that needs to be cooked is a sure fire way to make sure nothing can be forgotten (even if you’ve started with the advocaat for breakfast). A timeplan can also be useful, once you’ve worked out the cooking (and resting) time of your bird, work backwards to add in when you should be cooking everything else.

2. Prepare and pre-cook the vegetables

Most of the vegetables can be prepared the day before and kept in the fridge. Peel your parsnips and carrots and keep them submerged under water in a bowl to stop them from drying out.

Prepping lunch early today... #brusselsprouts #carrots #lunch #babyfoodie #babyfood #weaning #blwideas

A photo posted by Paxxi family (@paxxi_uk) on Dec 15, 2016 at 1:32am PST

3. freeze ahead your roast potatoes

An integral part of lunch – Christmas would not be Christmas without roast potatoes. The potatoes can be parboiled and frozen for up to three months, on the big day simply heat your oven and your fat and add the frozen potatoes to make the crispiest, most heavenly roast potatoes.

4. Buy a turkey crown

Turkey Crown #turkey #turkeycrown #xmas #helioscantina #londonfields

A photo posted by Felipe Froes (@felipefroesbr) on Dec 8, 2016 at 5:05pm PST

There is something rather daunting about turkeys – especially ones that are roughly the same size as my dog. A turkey crown is essentially the top part of a turkey which, is quicker to cook and easier to carve than a whole turkey. If you simply can't do without your Boxing Day turkey sandwich/turkey tacos and want to buy the whole bird and cook the crown and legs separately, Michel Roux Jr can show you how to separate the whole bird into the crown and leg pieces.

5. Make your own fuss-free gravy

For fuss free gravy, all you need is the cooking juices of the bird, a spoonful of flour, a splash of whatever wine you have open (it's Christmas, so you'll have plenty to choose from) and some water or stock. Combine, thicken, sieve and you'll have the world's easiest (and tastiest) gravy.