Jamie Oliver's Christmas Countdown: the chef shares his top 10 tips for a stress-free Christmas
Christmas is almost upon us, and the pressure is on to get those final preparations done and dusted before it's time to cook Christmas dinner! Luckily, Jamie Oliver is on hand to ensure you have a panic-free festive season and has teamed up with HELLO! to create a trusty guide packed with recipes and tips on everything you need to know.
Having already shared some delicious recipes from his latest book Jamie Oliver's Christmas Cookbook, the TV chef has now revealed his final top ten tips that are sure to help make everything go as smoothly as possible on the big day...
PLAN: Get a decent plan in place as early as possible. Lock-down your menu, make detailed shopping lists, and get those edible gifts underway nice and early. Basically, if you can do something in advance get it planned in and ticked off as soon as possible.
DELEGATE: If you've got a house-full this year, don’t forget to delegate. Divide up the jobs fairly, and give your guests guidance on what to bring to avoid doubling up – this way, everyone will be clear on what they’re responsible for.
DECLUTTER: For the best chance of cooking up a great Christmas dinner, pack away all of your kitchen clutter – lots of space will make for a happy kitchen.
STOCK UP: Being organised with your store-cupboard staples in advance, and gradually building up a stash when things are on offer, will save you money, plus several horrendously busy supermarket trips nearer the time. Ordering online is a great way to dodge carrying heaps of heavy bags, too.
TURKEY: The best bit of advice I can give you is to buy a good meat thermometer to make sure your turkey is cooked through. Stick the thermometer into the thickest part of the breast and the deepest part of the thigh – when the temperature reaches at least 65ºC for a top-quality bird or 70ºC for a supermarket higher-welfare or standard bird, the turkey is ready to come out.
ROAST VEG: On Christmas eve, parboil and tray-up your veg ready for the oven, then cool, cover with clingfilm and leave somewhere cold (like the garage, if you’re tight on fridge space!) until you’re ready to go.
DRINKS: Serve your cocktails in frozen glasses for an extra touch of festive sparkle, or you could halve and freeze an extra handful of grapes – they taste just like sorbet – for a clever way to keep cocktails extra cold.
FREEZER AMMUNITION: Make as much as you can in advance of the big day and pop it in the freezer. Things like mince pies, sausage rolls, pastry, cakes and gravy can all be made weeks in advance. Having backup is especially useful for those occasions when unexpected guests pop by.
CHECK THE BASICS: Make sure you’re stocked up on things like tin foil, clingfilm, bin bags, condiments, and so on. And, double check that your roasting tray is big enough for your turkey, but still fits in the oven (I know it sounds obvious, but you might be surprised!).
CHRISTMAS TABLE: If you’re going to the effort of making a beautiful meal, your table should follow suit – tie your napkins up with ribbons, fresh herbs and chilli to give them a festive vibe, light some candles, arrange a couple of jars of seasonal flowers, and add some homemade name tags (a great job to delegate to kids).
Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook by Jamie Oliver is published by Penguin Random House ⓒ Jamie Oliver Enterprises Limited (2016 Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook). Photographer: David Loftus.