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Wildfood.info • View topic - xmas dinner prep in advance

xmas dinner prep in advance

Out of the main bustle of the Coffee shop this is where people gather to share recipes and tips/tricks.

xmas dinner prep in advance

Postby Hope » December 3rd, 2016, 1:38 pm

What can I prepare in advance for christmas dinner so I'm not having to do everything on xmas day/eve?

I'm planning on making the nut loaf either next week or the week after and freezing it.

Is there any way to prepare roast pots ahead of time? I've tried par-boiling before, but they went black. Don't potatoes taste horrible if you reheat? How about roast parsnips?

How far in advance can I prep yorkshire pudding batter? Or can I cook them, freeze and reheat (if so, how long?)

Gravy will be made before. Sprouts peeled before.

Last year I spent xmas afternoon on the sofa and it took weeks to recover. I really don't want to go through that again this year.
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Re: xmas dinner prep in advance

Postby Suelle » December 3rd, 2016, 1:46 pm

If your family really must have a traditional Christmas diner, and can't help with any of the preparation or cooking, then why not buy more ready-made stuff? A lot of frozen things - roast potatoes and yorkshire puddings for instance - are a lot better than they used to be.
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Re: xmas dinner prep in advance

Postby Catherine » December 3rd, 2016, 2:40 pm

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Re: xmas dinner prep in advance

Postby Hope » December 3rd, 2016, 2:59 pm

Can't do ready made. I'm kind of damned if I do, damned if I don't. Processed food makes me feel horrible. Cooking is tiring, but at least the food is more nutritious. There's only the two boys (it is harder work getting them involved than it is to do it myself, especially when they want to be playing with new toys). Hubby can help a bit, if needed, but he can't cook. Guests won't be arriving until just before dinner. We have to eat at 12 or everyone, me included, starts getting tired and grumpy!

Thanks Catherine. That suggests you can parpoil in adcance. I might have to do an experiment as last time I tried that, the spuds went black.
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Re: xmas dinner prep in advance

Postby Hope » December 3rd, 2016, 3:24 pm

Sorry my reply was a bit garbled (tired today, just for a change!) What I should've said was I can cook it, as long as I don't have to do all of it on xmas morning, that way I might actually get to spend some time with my boys. Hence the desire to prepare as much as possible in advance.
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Re: xmas dinner prep in advance

Postby badgerbum » December 3rd, 2016, 3:43 pm

I've started my prep , did a couple of huge ham hocks in the instant pot lastnight and have stripped them and frozen a load of ham which will become potted ham hock for one of the starters

Yorkshire puddings (if you have them) can be made in advance and just popped into hot oven to refresh - I always make a lot of extras when I do a Sunday roast and freeze but last year I just made them Xmas Eve and popped into the very cold garage overnight.

Red cabbage can be made in advance and frozen - doing that tomorrow

Jamie's make ahead gravy is also on the list for tomorrow.

Potatoes and parsnips I really don't like to cook ahead - the starch turns to sugar and I find them sickly sweet so they get made on the day but Xmas eve we often cook the carrots and Brussels etc to a couple of minutes short of time then refresh them in iced water to store overnight and finish on the day.

Prawn cocktail is usually prepped and stored overnight Xmas eve so on the day just need to plate with fresh leaves etc

Rest on the day
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Re: xmas dinner prep in advance

Postby Hope » December 3rd, 2016, 4:56 pm

How long do you reheat the yorkshires for?
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Re: xmas dinner prep in advance

Postby Suelle » December 3rd, 2016, 4:56 pm

Mary Berry suggests that roast potatoes can be half cooked in fat until pale golden the day before, then finished off the following day:
http://www.maryberry.co.uk/recipes/chri ... t-potatoes

Good Food suggests freezing par-boiled potatoes:
http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/4967 ... t-potatoes

I have frozen and reheated home-made Yorkshire puddings, but you have to be very careful not to overheat - only a couple of minutes in a hot oven, otherwise they are leathery.

I make this gratin instead of roasted parsnips - reheats very well, keeps a few days, and is also a good base for 'bubble and squeak' type use of leftovers (just ignore the photo):
http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/3061 ... eriac-bake
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Re: xmas dinner prep in advance

Postby Hope » December 3rd, 2016, 5:07 pm

Thanks Suelle. Oh just a few minutes for the yorkies - is that from frozen? I'd probably have completely overdone that!

I'll do a few spud-periments over the next few weeks.

I did that gratin last year (weird about the photo!) and TBH we prefer roast parsnips, they are easier too!

Beginning to feel slightly more in control now. Thanks.
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Re: xmas dinner prep in advance

Postby badgerbum » December 3rd, 2016, 5:12 pm

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Re: xmas dinner prep in advance

Postby badgerbum » December 3rd, 2016, 5:15 pm

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Re: xmas dinner prep in advance

Postby Hope » December 3rd, 2016, 5:20 pm

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Re: xmas dinner prep in advance

Postby badgerbum » December 3rd, 2016, 6:33 pm

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Re: xmas dinner prep in advance

Postby Hope » December 3rd, 2016, 6:37 pm

Not something we would eat. I'll get through it. It's ok toasted. Well some of it is anyway!
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Re: xmas dinner prep in advance

Postby Catherine » December 3rd, 2016, 7:08 pm

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Re: xmas dinner prep in advance

Postby MariaKK » December 4th, 2016, 8:22 am

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Re: xmas dinner prep in advance

Postby Ratatouille » December 4th, 2016, 10:15 am

Good advice Marja.

We are going to a pre Christmas lunch today. Everyone is taking one course and the appropriate wine. We will be a mixture of Brits, French swiss and danish so is usually an interesting meal!! We chance venues every year.

I can honestly say I have never ever had to cook the Christmas meal on my own. here of course it is on the 24th but back in the days when i was working and we usually had 10 or more guests absolutely everyone did something, as you say it's part of the joy of the occassion. When the children got a bit older we always had (and still do) a lovely brunch after present opening then a very late lunch , more like an early dinner! The older generation always helped with the vegetables , suaces and gravy on the 24th and the grandads always did the carving. the children set the table and cleared away and the men did the washing up

One tip is, if you are roasting anything do so in disposable foil dishes - on a baking sheeet for safety anf throw them afterwards' It's the one day in the year when being green takes a back seat.

Hope don't know if you heard the radio this morning, the head honcho of brussels sprouts growers said you must not waste time cutting crosses into the bottom of each one. Spoils them - mind you i can't say I ever have :lol: :lol:
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Re: xmas dinner prep in advance

Postby cooksalot » December 4th, 2016, 10:29 am

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Re: xmas dinner prep in advance

Postby earthmaiden » December 4th, 2016, 10:44 am

There was a time when Brussels sprouts were much larger (and nicer IMO) and the cross helped them to cook quickly. It's hard to find the larger ones nowadays.
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Re: xmas dinner prep in advance

Postby Seatallan » December 4th, 2016, 11:33 am

Food, Felines and Fells (in no particular order)
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Re: xmas dinner prep in advance

Postby Hope » December 4th, 2016, 11:47 am

THanks all. As usual you talk a lot of sense. I'm going to delegate. See if my parents can get over ealier so my mum can do the peeling. If not, Mr Hope said he'll do it. He used to be my soux (is that how you spell it? or Sous?) chef before we had kids, we've just got out of the habbit of cooking together!
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Re: xmas dinner prep in advance

Postby scullion » December 4th, 2016, 12:18 pm

one year, i prepped the sprouts, carrots etc over the weeks before christmas, sealed them in boilable freezer bags (lidl's freezer bags) and just plopped them in one big pot of water at the appropriate time (or put in a steamer). i also used to get 'them' to scrub the amount of potatoes they wanted to eat.
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Re: xmas dinner prep in advance

Postby Hope » December 4th, 2016, 12:54 pm

We're going to make the mincemeat this afternoon. I will sit and point, while looking important and they will do everything else! My boys love weighing things and mixing. I'll leave it to soak overnight and cook it in the SC all day tomorrow, which obviously won't take a lot of effort (as long as Mr Hope moves it into place for me today).

I've just realised last year was worse as I didn't have a food processor, so chopped it all by hand and made everything in a couple of days. Then I had a hospital appointment in London just after xmas, which delayed my recovery further (but was really important as it was when I finally got diagnosed!)

hopefully this year will be easier.
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Re: xmas dinner prep in advance

Postby PatsyMFagan » December 4th, 2016, 3:50 pm

I think when you have a chronic illness such as yours Hope, you need to know your limitations - and I am sure all your immediate family should, or need to know too ... so yes, get hubby, kids and parents involved. The veg can be prepped a couple of days before, in your own time and even the star of the event (be it a veg/nut loaf of some kind) can be pretty much made up at the very least, the day before. If you and hubby used to share the cooking chores, then surely it's not beyond him to peel a spud or a sprout ? Even if you direct 'operations' from the comfort of the sofa on Christmas Eve, you should be able to get most things ready for the following day ;)
No-one knows if you've done your housework, but everyone knows if you've done your gardening !
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Re: xmas dinner prep in advance

Postby Hope » December 4th, 2016, 4:33 pm

Thanks Patsy. I'm still learning my limitations! I don't want to say "I can't", in fact I hate having to say it. Sometimes I forget that I should say it. I've had this thing all my life, but I'm still not used to it!
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Re: xmas dinner prep in advance

Postby Hope » December 4th, 2016, 4:41 pm

Mincemeat is now mixed. Will SC that tomorrow. I love that we all made it together.

My plan is:
next week (probably Friday) make nut loaf to freeze. Might also make the gravy mon or tue (to freeze).

w/c 12.12
make mincepies
yorkshire for freezer
Stuffing?

w/c 19.12
make more mince pies
23rd make xmas cake
23-24 peel sprouts, carrots
morning of 25th Mr Hope peel spuds and parsnips, then cook/reheat everything else.

that all seems do-able.
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Re: xmas dinner prep in advance

Postby Ratatouille » December 4th, 2016, 4:43 pm

Good for you Hope - you are superwoman, but in a different way :hug: :hug:
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Re: xmas dinner prep in advance

Postby Hope » December 4th, 2016, 5:33 pm

:) Thanks Rats. I'm very flattered and surprised by that! I think you've made my day!
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Re: xmas dinner prep in advance

Postby miss mouse » December 5th, 2016, 4:40 pm

From the Waitrose weekend mag, frozen pots ready to roast;


Par boil and fluff in a colander.
Freeze on a baking tray then transfer to a freezer bag.
Heat oil/fat in a roasting tin as usual.
Add pots and roast until crispy on the outside.

Perhaps the family could help with the peeling earlier in the week, they might be pleased to be asked to contribute a bit of help. Well defined tasks and not too many can work in these situations. Also enjoying the task, chatting to you as the pots are peeled, that sort of thing, and lots of, 'That's a beautifully peeled potato' type comments so it is a joy not a chore.
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Re: xmas dinner prep in advance

Postby Hope » December 5th, 2016, 4:49 pm

Boys can't do peeling. I've tried before (with eldest) but he just can't handle the peeler. Co-ordination and strength problems! I think Mr Hope is down to do it now. Might do an experimental freeze, though. I want to check they turn out ok before the big day!

I'm not going to bother making gravy. I'll just use a nice stock cube. Kallo either mushroom or onion, probably.
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