Christmas cooking

Christmas cooking tips

Ah, December 25. This annual day of collective merrymaking has the potential to bring both genuine joy and a means to destroy souls. When it comes to hosting the big day, things can get a little, shall we say, tense. Extraneous family members, summer heat and relentless requests to open presents can morph you from calm host to seasonal Scrooge, haunted by the ghosts of dry turkeys past. But, no more! Our fabulously festive menus, combined with these tips from QuiteLike staffers, will ensure you remain at the peak of your entertaining game and leave everyone wondering how you manage it all without producing a single bead of sweat. Let’s toast to your accomplished self!

Here's how to make it look infuriatingly easy…

For perfect pork crackling

Alright, nail this one and you can breathe easy knowing you’ve hit the home run on the show-stopper main. Lean in for the secret: the crispiest crackling is all about you being a tiny bit organised. For this, you need dry pork skin, which is why you salt the pork skin for a few hours (or, even better, overnight), as this draws the moisture out of the pork. Popping it in the fridge also helps the dehydration process. It’s also important to brush off the salt and pat it dry with paper towel to ensure there’s no excess moisture left behind.

Get organised

Be the host who greets guests with a genuine, at-ease smile and a drink, not the one flapping about in the kitchen mumbling something about lumpy sauce. You’ll take the heat out of cooking on Christmas Day if you can spend time getting ahead of yourself. This means all the little tasks that can be done ahead, should be prepped and ready to go. So, the day or night before, clear your schedule, pop on the Mariah Carey Christmas album and salt your pork, make your salmon dip, and make salad dressings and stuffings. You can also prepare your table settings and delegate tasks of polishing, ironing and festooning to household members. The aim is to leave you with the least amount of cooking and other tasks come Christmas Day.

Keep the fridge clear

Tidy fridge, tidy mind. If you’ve ever tried to summon an organised state of mind amid a complete dog’s breakfast of a kitchen, you’ll know it’s a hard task to stack your thoughts in order. Space in the fridge is a big issue for entertaining, so begin by chilling all your drinks over ice in tubs or eskies outside. This will free up room in your fridge, preventing that frantic rummage for the salad dressing, which, turns out, is perched precariously on top of the cling-wrapped salad bowl.

Write a list, check it twice

Take a leaf out of the Big Fella’s book and make a list. Writing everything down will help keep track of the tasks at-hand and makes it easier to delegate jobs to people hovering in the kitchen or slinking away down the hall. You’ll also achieve bonus satisfaction by ticking items off the list, with every completed task moving you closer to a well-earned eggnog.

Condiments are your friend

There’s no shame in opening a few jars to pad out your lunch offerings. Not everything has to be made from scratch. Grab yourself a few good-quality condiments and set the table with peach chutneys, tomato relishes, mustards, onion jam and horseradish cream for an extra boost of flavour. If you’re worried you’ve slightly overcooked the pork, a big spoonful of peach chutney will ensure no-one is the wiser.

Serve it feast-style

As far as we know, your kitchen isn’t a hatted restaurant, so you can pop those tweezers away and ditch the individual plating. Christmas is a time of feasting and your delicious spread deserves to be presented in the spirit of a Hogwarts banquet. We’re talking large platters, generous bowls of salad, and bread baskets all set down middle of the table for people to tuck into. Pro-tip: assign the carving to someone with the best knife (or wand) skills.

Keep it fun!

It seems like a simple idea, but somehow the notion of enjoyment can get tangled up in festive fears. By now, though, you’re prepped and ready and are well on the path to entertaining success. Have a glass of something, blast the Christmas carols, get the kids involved in easy jobs and delegate the washing up. You’ve done quite enough.

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