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Christmas ahoy! Make ahead Christmas recipes

Sun, 5 December, 2021

Mixed messages, general confusion and in my case the prospect of quarantining guests arriving from overseas (in the garden shed?) until their test results arrive – may the joy of pandemic Christmas be with us all!

No matter – as told by our betters, we should proceed assuming this Christmas is a proper job. Ho ho ho! Ha ha. As much as it was a lot of fun, I do not want to have to prepare another takeaway Christmas turkey roll, complete with oven-ready sides, and have to eat a whole Stollen on my own. I intend to have the full works and people round, instead of going round people's to deliver the turkey roll.

So to avoid the eleventh hour rush to bake 70 mince pies on Christmas Eve and put together two additional kinds of stuffing in the oven if we don’t get locked down, I’m starting the Chrimbo prep already. In the worst case scenario I’ll give it all away.

Stuffing can be made well ahead, both the mushroom and chestnut as well as the apricot and fig kind. You can mix it, pack it into the tins and keep in the freezer until required.

You might have already ordered the main roast but in case you’re still undecided, here’s a bunch of ideas. Duck with a spice rub is gorgeous and a couple will feed up to 10 people. If it’s going to be turkey, try the brining recipe. And if it’s beef, check out the porcini filled fillet for a small crowd, elegant option or the full works: rib of beef or slow roasted sirloin. My veggie roast suggestion is less boring than the old nut roast: it’s potato babka.

Do you fancy homemade condiments like cranberry ketchup or fig confit? Now is the time to try those recipes.

Christmas sweets fall into two categories: desserts and ‘breads’, the latter being really cakes but if you call them breads you can have them for breakfast. Some of those breads, traditionally, should be made ahead of 25th December as they gain in flavour as they stand. Stollen is one, be it filled with nuts or dried fruit. Butter Stollen has butter in the dough, butter brushed on when baked and so, wrapped well in parchment and foil, it will get even tastier if kept in a cool room.

It's not too early for panettone either, or at least a trial run. If you decide to go for the traditional panettone on lievito madre, it does merit a rehearsal.

And I’m going to make my Mum’s fruitcake tonight – lighter (and better!) than English Christmas cake. It will need to be frozen, but not before Weather Man and I have a taster slice each, as you must.

And a couple of quick supper suggestions in the run-up to the festive days: try beef and shiitake fried rice and check out autumn vegetable tian – that could potentially be one of your Christmas lunch side dishes!

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About me

Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


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