It's that amazing time of the year again when we prepare for a week-long cooking and eating marathon! There is no need to get stressed – our tips will help you prepare in advance and make your festive meal a total success.
Get ready beforehandThere is nothing worse that spend hours in a suffucating supermarket crowd a day or two before Christmas trying to remember what you need. Get ready in advance: find the recipes, write down a list of ingredients, and shop before others do. Precook and freeze what you can: soups, sauces, and gravy, vegetables, and even meat (of course, it may seem like a strange idea to freeze the chicken or turkey you have bought fresh, but once it is brined or marinated, you will not notice any difference). The evening before the big day, make a list of the remaining cooking tasks in the descending order of importance. You can also use a pre-made cooking plane, such as that by Jamie Oliver
Get creative with your recipesIf you are having guests over for Christmas or the New Year’s Eve, why not surprise them with a traditional festive dish from Peru or Island? Browsing the Internet will provide you with loads of inspiration. If you like pork, you can go with bacon roasted with apples and onions from Denmark; and if you are into seafood, try making a traditional New Year’s curry from Goa with prawns. For salads, you cannot do better than the famous Russian salad with ham and a green apple, and for sweets, your choice is endless, since most nations have their traditional Christmas and New Year cookies (you can find many recipes here)
Don’t forget the cheese and charcuterieBefore the dinner itself begins, your guests will certainly want to socialize while munching on cheeses and other finger foods. A Christmas cheeseboard is something to plan ahead – count around 120-140 grams of cheese per person and make sure to have 3-4 different cheeses on your board. They should be in a nice contrast to each other – preferably a hard, a soft, and a blue cheese. Get creative and shop in advance for novelty cheeses that will wow your guests. This year’s favorites include Gin & Lemon cheese (bronze medalist of the International Cheese Awards) and Chocolate and Orange cheese. And of course, do not forget about Italian specialties like gorgonzola, pecorino, and the famous dark-orange bagoss. Do not serve cheese cold and remember to add grapes and apple slices to clean the palette in between cheeses (more advice on preparing a cheeseboard here).
Go healthyWhat if you are on a diet, and Christmas recipes full of butter, cheese, and suger are making you depressed? Do not despair – there are many healthy festive options that will delight you and your guests. Include mozzarella, ricotta, and goat cheese to reduce fat contents, roast some squash and cauliflower, and prepare desserts with fruit (you can find many more recipes here). A perfect festive meal without mayonnaise is possible!
Even if all your previous Christmas meals have been the same, now is the perfect moment to make a change! Following our tips will allow you to cook creatively, save time, impress your guests, and avoid feeling guilty or heavy afterwards!