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Christmas Day menu planning

Image of gingerbread cookies with the words Planning for Christmas above

Regardless of the time of year, when I have a big event to cater for, my first step is to create a list of recipes that I’d like to make and then I set to and create a “reverse timetable“. Christmas is one such occasion, so here’s an example of how I might plan the cooking and baking leading up to and on the day. The aim is to ensure a stress-free experience and allowing me to spend quality time with my loved ones.

First of all, choose your recipes and have an understanding of when they need to be cooked or baked so you can plan. Below is a list of what I may consider as the days creep up. What will you make?

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  1. Christmas Pudding: This recipe needs to be made ahead of time so it has time to mature. You can make it in November and store it in a cool, dark place until Christmas day. On the day, you can reheat it by boiling it or steaming it for 1 to 2 hours. Then serve it with brandy custard, brandy butter, or warming spice ice-cream.
  2. Boozy Christmas Fruit Cake: This cake can also be made ahead of time and brushed with alcohol once a week until 2 weeks before Christmas. This allows the surface of the cake to dry a little so you can decorate it. You can start making it in November.
  3. Christmas Mince Tarts: These can be made a few days ahead of time and stored in an airtight container until ready to serve. You can also freeze them for up to 3 months.
  4. Cherry Stollen Slice: This can be made a few days ahead of time and stored in an airtight container until ready to serve.
  5. Ice Cream – a Simple Base: This can be made ahead of time and stored in the freezer until ready to serve. Because we don’t have all the stablisers etc that are available commercially, I only keep homemade ice-cream for a max of 3 weeks.
  6. Thermomix Panettone: This can be made a day or two ahead of time and stored in an airtight container until ready to serve. I find it good for breakfast Christmas day or boxing day. Get the dry ingredients ready a week or so in advance then just add the wet ingredients on the day. Easy peasy.
  7. Easy Stove Top Roast Potatoes: These are made on the day and served hot. I often do them this way (on the stove) because all my other appliances are busy.
  8. Best Pulled Pork Recipe: This can be made ahead of time and reheated on the day, but I find it easy enough to do and put it to slow cook. I slow cook it in my oven.
  9. Cauliflower and Broccoli Gratin: This can be made on the day and served hot.

Here is an example of my reverse timetable for Christmas day:

You might mark dates on a calendar to help you, or create a spreadsheet, or write a few notes, or just print out this blog post. Whatever works best for you.

It’s important to note that some of these recipes can be made ahead of time and stored until Christmas day, while others need to be made on the day. Be sure to read through the recipes ahead of time and plan accordingly to ensure a stress free Christmas day.

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