Eating should be a party and we would prefer that we take everything off your hands and that you join us around Christmas (there are still a few places left…). At the same time, I can imagine that you don’t go to a restaurant for 4 days, so it might be nice to do a little cooking yourself. To ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible, I have a few tips, not at recipe level, but how do you arrange a successful Christmas dinner without too much hassle and, above all, that it is a party for everyone, including you. Here they come…;
1. Make a menu with not too many different dishes and make sure it is balanced, and don’t just make fish or just meat. Cook lots of vegetables, oh and don’t throw butter and cream into every dish, keep it a bit light.
2. Take diets, allergies and vegetarians into account. It is very difficult to make a vegetarian dish from a carrot and 2 eggs on Christmas Day. Make an inventory in advance to make sure everyone eats everything.
3. Purchase the very best ingredients! Drive around for the best meat, the best fish, good bread, remember that 80% of your success lies in purchasing the best stuff, only 20% in your cooking skills.
4. Never make something for a large group for the first time. Test it out 1 or 2 weeks in advance so that you know all the do’s and don’ts. Ensure a day without pitfalls in the kitchen.
5. Make good planning regarding the preparations. Try to do at least half of your preparations the day before so that you don’t have to do a lot on the big day and you can concentrate on the most important things.
6. When choosing your menu, make sure you use all your equipment so that your oven is not too small while your stove is empty.
7. Make sure you have completed all preparations well in advance (2 hours). The wines are ready, the table is set, the candles are burning and all your food is ready to be finished. A quick shower, your party clothes and your first drink.
8. Oh, just about that first drink, maybe leave it at that, a glass with the starter is also fine, but wait with serious drinking until after the main course. Despite all your preparations, you still need to work with some concentration!
9. My friend Ferry taught me that catering is just as important. There is no greater drama than a dirty, crowded kitchen the day after the night before. Provide a clean garbage bag/bin, an empty dishwasher, enough space for the dirty mess and pretend you have a restaurant, so look at it professionally and think “how can I best get away with this…”.
10. Well, and last but not least, the menu? Don’t make it too difficult for yourself and think about what you like and enjoy. A cold starter is easy to prepare and you don’t necessarily have to make it yourself. A soup is also easy, and you can’t burn your fingers on a nice stew as a piece. Something with a nice cuisson is of course super fun, a Welligton with a core of 50ºC, I would kill for it, but think before you leap! Dessert? Christmas pudding of course, with brandy butter, how classic (and how easy to buy ready-made).
Merry Christmas and Happy Cooking!!