The big day is fast approaching now, and we think it’s fair to say that everyone’s attention has turned away from present buying and tree decorating and moved more towards festive foods and Christmas tipples.
Being the host with the most on Christmas Day is a big responsibility and one that many people take very seriously. Every family has their own festive traditions and the way you put on Christmas dinner is a personal choice but if you’re hosting the biggest roast of the year for your family this year and are looking for a little assistance then keep on reading!
We’re going to be sharing with you our essential shopping list for Christmas dinner. We’ll be covering everything from the key ingredients to a few sneaky extras you definitely want to throw in your basket As well as some top tips for cooking and serving along the way!
The Shopping List
The big food shop before Christmas, love it or LOATHE ENTIRELY (wouldn’t be a Christmas blog without a Grinch quote right?), has to be done and going in prepared is the best way to make it an easy experience!
When it comes to picking up the meat you’ll need for the Christmas period, your mind probably turns straight to turkey but you mustn’t forget other festive meats such as a ham joint for boxing day and perhaps even a beef – it really does depend on your plans and family preferences.
When you’re browsing the meat aisle it’s essential not to bypass the pigs in blankets! Whether you buy pre-made or choose to do it yourself Christmas dinner just isn’t the same without them!
Don’t forget that if you’re catering for a vegetarian, you need to consider what they’re having as a substitute for the meat. A nut roast is always a popular choice and BBC Good Food have a great recipe that is super easy to follow!
TOP TIP: when choosing what size meat joint to buy, try and stay realistic and remember how many people you’re serving to reduce both unnecessary cooking time and wastage! Most roasting joints will have serving size recommendations on the label so use those a guide and size up one to two portions to be sure you’ll have enough!
Whether you’re a fan of vegetables or not, Christmas dinner is not complete without all the trimmings and that includes an array of colourful veg! This is another decision that varies between families so choose the ones you like the best, but classic choices include carrots, sprouts, parsnips and even cauliflower cheese but always be sure to do the maths before you hit the shops to ensure you pick up the perfect amount!
Whilst down the vegetable aisle, it’s time to pick up the potatoes if you’re prepping them yourself and not opting for pre-prepared ones, so remember to pick up more than enough for both roasting and mashing if you’re a family who likes to offer both options!
TOP TIP: A great way to save yourself time and stress on Christmas morning is to prepare all the potatoes and vegetables on Christmas Eve and store them in zip lock bags with salt water in, in a cool place over night. By doing all the work the day before, all you have to do on the morning is put them in boiling water to cook!
The trimmings you have on offer at your Christmas dinner can be a make or break situation, so ensuring you cover all the bases is the best way to please everyone.
Yorkshire puddings with a Christmas roast is a choice that splits the nation, but we think that when it comes to the festive time of year, too much is never enough when it comes to food and the more the merrier so pick up some frozen Yorkshire puddings and cook quickly in the oven before serving, easy!
Stuffing for many people is a key part of the Christmas Dinner so you don’t want to disappoint your guests by forgetting! There’s a variety of options when it comes to stuffing, you can buy the box mixes and make it yourself or buy pre-made stuffing and simply warm it up, whatever is easiest!
Gravy and other sauces such as cranberry and bread sauce are all the finishing touches to your dish, so you want to have things like this on demand! Every roast requires gravy but the other condiments you choose to have depend on the meats you’re serving; a general rule is that cranberry goes with turkey, horseradish with beef and mustard with gammon but it is really all down to personal taste!
TOP TIP: Make your gravy over a low heat in the tin you roasted the meat in once it has finished cooking and has been taken out to rest. Although there’s hundreds of secret family recipes for gravy out there, many of them use the juices from the meat for flavour so give it a go this Christmas and see if it beats the granules!
It seems that everyone gains the ability at Christmas to fit in dessert even when they are at their fullest, so it’s essential to choose crowd pleasers when picking puddings for the big day!
Most families tuck into a Christmas pudding for dessert and everyone has their own favourites, from supermarket own to premium options and some even go homemade but we’d recommend doing a taste test in the run up to Christmas to ensure you’ve got the best one on the day!
Good Housekeeping have crowned Aldi’s Specially Selected Golden Topped Christmas Pudding as the winner of their tried and tested for 2017 so maybe that could be the winner in your household too!
If you’re catering for a crowd who don’t like Christmas pudding, then your choices for alternatives truly are endless! From show stopping chocolate cakes to pavlovas and roulades, we’d recommend getting a general consensus from guests as to what their preference would be to help you narrow down your options!
TOP TIP: If you intend to show off and set your Christmas pudding alight, do it safely by ensuring your pudding is on a big enough plate to catch any falling spirit and that you do it far away from any of your guests! Delicious Magazine have shared their foolproof method for flaming the pud so give that a go to give your Christmas Day a touch of the wow factor.
The Cheese Board
We all know that dinner doesn’t end at dessert on Christmas day and that it’s just expected that once the pudding plates have been cleared, the cheese board will soon arrive.
The key to a good cheese board is selection, ensure you choose a range of cheese and crackers/biscuits to suit all tastes, meaning you have both classic and simple cheeses, all the way to strong and fragrant flavours!
If you’re stuck on what cheeses to choose, Good Housekeeping have done the hard work for you and put together a guide to their top cheeses for Christmas cheese boards!
It truly is essential that your drinks cabinet is well stocked over the festive period and that your fridge is filled with all your favourite tipples but how do you know when you’ve got enough drinks in?
The key to shopping for both soft and alcoholic drinks at Christmas is to look out for deals during the weeks in the run up to the big day, if you’re planning a big party then choosing to buy crates of wine, beer and bubbly is a great way to save money, especially as most major supermarkets have offers on things like this during December.
When it comes to Spirits, it’s also common to see discounts come on these products across the festive period, especially on tipples that are popular at Christmas such as Irish cream, gin and Tennessee whisky.
If you’re stocking up on soft drinks and mixers, then it’s worth doing your maths as to how its going to be cheapest to purchase everything you need as well as calling in common sense to help you decide what is going to be least wasteful. Canned fizzy drinks are a good choice for both non-alcohol drinkers and those wanting mixers and it can often help reduce waste as you won’t be dealing with opened bottles that have gone flat.
TOP TIP: If you forget to put your wine or fizz in the fridge to chill before serving and want to get it cold quick, wrap the glass bottle in a wet paper towel and put in the freezer for 30-minutes to an hour to get it perfectly chilled in no time.
The list of tasty treats to get in time for Christmas goes on, such as after dinner chocolate mints and peanuts for nibbling but we think that covers everything you need for the main event which is the festive roast.
We hope you’ve found our shopping, cooking and serving tips helpful and that you now feel fully prepared to host the best Christmas day ever!