As the “C” word is thrown around and our high streets begin to twinkle with decorative lights, it’s inevitable that we begin making plans for the big day. Whether you celebrate Christmas as a religious festival or barely acknowledge the day for it’s traditions, let’s face it, it’s a day for feasting.
For me, the day is all about giving to others and putting a smile on people’s faces and as a chef, that generally means more about the food I prepare on the day and less about the material objects that come wrapped and labelled for each person I’ve decided is lucky enough to receive a gift from me that year!
Most people have their staple Christmas Day dishes that they return to every year, but as we grow older comes the inevitability of families merging together and it becomes a tough call to blend everyone’s favourite into one menu and keep everyone happy. This time of year can be stressful for many, but I believe that some decent menu planning and good preparation can relieve a little of the added stresses around Christmas - the food side at least!
Alternatively, there’s always the option of starting really early with Bucks Fizz and letting alcohol do the talking! Jokes, but that’s definitely the way my family like to start the day - and trust me, it only makes the games sessions far more competitive and entertaining!
But seriously - menu planning should be one of the fun parts. What I tend to do is put out a request to everyone I’ll be spending the big day with and then do my best to blend everyone’s favourites into one mega menu - being careful not to overcommit or prepare too many dishes.
The way I see it - of course, dependant on numbers and everyone’s dietary requirements, preferences etc. but lay the food out roughly as follows:
- Smoked Salmon
- Bread / Pastries / Carbs
Lunch/Dinner (whatever time you choose to eat):
- Meat - Turkey, Beef Wellington, Ribeye, Pork - whatever your main event of choice is
- Potatoes - Classic Roasties, Mash, Sweet Potato Mash
- Seasonal Veg - Butternut Squash, Parsnip, Carrots, Onions, Garlic, Herbs
- Greens - Broccoli, Peas, Asparagus, Spinach, Kale
- Yorkshires - I know, I know, a very debatable subject but I’m throwing it onto the table…
- Sauces - Cranberry, Gravy, Butter
- Festive Favourites - Christmas Pudding, Christmas Cake, Mince Pies
- Chocolates - Chocolate Orange and any other faves come along
- Fruit - Berries, Orange Slices, Pears, Apples
- Cheese Platter - Cheddar, Blue, Fruity, Soft, Grapes, Chutney, Crackers
Using this as a basis - tweaking for numbers in your party, not including every single thing and adding in some requests and family favourites along the way can set you in good stead for a varied menu plan that’ll make every belly a happy belly on Christmas Day, it’ll take a bit of pressure off all the stress in the lead up to the festive season and leave your guests in good hands!