Christmas lunch – all about timing

Hope you had a lovely Christmas and managed to enjoy cooking what can be a very stressful meal on Christmas day.

I survived because I had lots of help and was really just doing the execution rather than the full-on planning. The turkey and stuffing was prepared by Mum, while for the vegetarian meal, my sister did all the fiddly bits. Even despite that it was a bit of a manic stress getting everything coordinated to arrive at the right time.

For our meal there was two meals (meat; veg) being prepared for seven people, so there were a lot of ‘moving parts’. As cooking is often more about timing than  creativity or skill (assuming a basic level of skill) the only real challenge is being organised. I find the best way to organise myself for doing multiple dishes/components of a meal is by writing a timeline. Here’s how mine ran for Christmas day, for the meat course at least. The sister handled the veggie stuff, since there was delicate egg white-folding and other foppery to take care of.

  • 10.30 Stuff turkey, open red wine and sit it on the side
  • 11.00 Prepare potatos, sprouts and carrots, put in cold water on hob
  • 11.20 Turkey in the oven, foil on
  • 12.00  Prepare bites (salmon and cream cheese; and marinated roasted red peppers on goats cheese on bruschetta)
  • 12.30 Serve bites with Champagne
  • 12.45 Put vegetable (or whatever) oil on baking tray, stick in oven to heat up. Turn on potatos (on hob) and bring to the boil for 4-5 mins
  • 13.00 Turkey foil off; put pigs-in-blankets in with turkey; drain potatos and put in the oven in the hot oil
  • 13.30 Turkey out, foil on; turn and check potatos – oven up to 200 degrees, if needed
  • 13.45 Carrots on; check potatos. If ready, turn off oven and put them in a serving bowl. Put back in the oven with the door adjar
  • 13.50  Sprouts on
  • 14.00 Carve turkey; check and drain veg and put on serving bowl
  • 14.05 Serve up

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