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Nadiya Hussain shares the ultimate recipe for a stress-free Christmas Day dinner

The Swarovski ambassador talks family feuds and kitchen hacks…

Leanne Bayley

The holidays can be super stressful. Whether you're cooking for a room full of relatives or you're dodging the brother who knows how to wind you up, let Nadiya Hussain help you navigate the stressful moments. While the 34-year-old - who is an ambassador for Swarovski - doesn't celebrate Christmas traditions, she does use the day (which just so happens to be her birthday!) to host loved-ones with food-a-plenty. If anyone can talk us through dinner prep, it's Nadiya!

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"I'm one of those people who likes to prepare," she told us at a Swarovski customer event to promote the gorgeous #SparkDelight campaign. "I always have my family over for Christmas so I start prepping in November. Now that sounds insane, but we don't celebrate Christmas traditionally, we don't have a tree and we don't do presents, but it is a good excuse to have people come round and eat. So we have one day, either Christmas Day, or after, where everybody gets together and we have one big meal. We get a turkey and it's loads of fun but I prep in November."

 

Nadia plays a food related HELLO / GOODBYE

 

Keep scrolling for Nadiya's top tips for nailing the turkey and how best to prepare for family squabbles (hint: cake is involved)... 

Food prep your veg ahead of a big family meal

"I'll chop up the sprouts and I'll pre-cook them and so they're all ready, and then they go in from frozen into the oven. I'll do the roast potatoes - so I've done six kilos, there are 27 people coming over for Christmas, so I do all the roast potatoes. I make the gravy, I freeze the gravy, I even cook the cabbage - all of that. I get it all, cook, and in the freezer in November, then it feels less stressful." 

RELATED: Bake off babies! The Great British Bake Off stars and their children

Make sure the turkey is nice and moist

"I think turkey is such an important part and I always do a nut roast as well just because not everybody likes turkey, and I will also do a curry because my mum will eat nothing but curry. I think the most important part is the turkey and nobody likes a dry turkey, so I will buy my turkey a week before, defrost it and then two days before it's ready to go in the oven, I defrost it and stick in a massive bucket that fits in the fridge and put it in a brine. I add sugar and salt, some bay leaves, some peppercorns, stick it in, duck it in, weigh it down with a weight and leave it in there for a whole twenty four hours and then it seasons the bird but it also keeps it really, really moist. I then bake it in the oven on the day and then when it's time to eat, one of the things that I always say, I love all the bits on the side but turkey is the most important thing, carve all the red meat first just because white meat dries out faster than the red meat so if you carve the red meat first you keep the white meat moist."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Buy frozen veg

"I buy lots of frozen veg, so one of the things that I do is when I'm making the gravy I need lots of onions. So I get lots of frozen onions. It works out to be kind of the same price but it saves time, so I think that's the thing - already chopped. I think some people want to be slightly indulgent over Christmas but it's about the time, it's about it not being stressful. When you buy things that are frozen it's a lot less stressful." 

Don't let people tell you what to do in the kitchen

"I come from a Bangladeshi household so everyone interferes. So there's no such thing as saying 'don't interfere in my kitchen' - not in my family, anyway. It doesn't bother me when they are chatty, It just bothers me when they tell me what to do."

MORE: Nadiya Hussain opens up about panic disorder

Be tolerant with family you don't like

"During the holiday season, it's the time to be tolerant and to be understanding and I think sometimes, especially with me, I come from a big family and you don't necessarily get along with everyone. I think it's a time where you should be tolerant and understanding with differences. I don't get along with everyone but they're my family and in my house, so I love them and I'll try and be nice."

Embrace the quiet

"Considering that I suffer from panic disorder and I can get stressed quite quickly, Christmas is the only time I don't get stressed. I really enjoy the fact that the week stops, everything slows down and when I'm not sending emails it means that people aren't sending them to me either. You just feel like everyone is hopefully resting and relaxing and it's really nice and it's actually the one time I don't get stressed - I do get stressed in the New Year because I know I have to go back to the real world, I like the little bubble that Christmas creates where you can just hide." 

Wear a wacky apron - and get some in for the kids

"I get sent a lot of aprons. I own a fair few, maybe about nine or ten aprons but I quite like having them because I normally have all nine or ten nieces and nephews around at the same time so there's an apron for everyone."

But don't forget the sparkle 

As seen on Nadiya wearing the Naughty or Nice Swarovski collection in the campaign photos... 

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Ignore the family squabbles - and bake a cake

"What I've learnt is it's better not to mediate when a fight is meant to happen, it's meant to happen - I don't even get involved, but it does always happen but there's nothing a bit of cake can't solve, it's just like 'come, shall we all just have some cake now?' It's the equivalent of 'let's put the kettle on!'" 

POSSIBLE DESSERT? Nadiya Hussain shares her crispy chocolate and salted peanut tart recipe

Gift giving: Play safe or be thoughtful 

"Vouchers. Vouchers are the way to go. Especially this time of year, also it's nice to buy things for people that they wouldn't usually buy for themselves. Personally, I'm not good at making time for myself, so sometimes I like to give the gift of time. It sounds really stupid but for my sisters - who have all got children - I like to write a little voucher out for them and I tell them what day it is and what time, and I give them the voucher and I promise to look after their kids for that whole day. It means they can go off and savour the day - it's priceless. It's better than giving them socks or a water bottle that they don't need."

Hinch your cupboards to ease any stresses on the day

"I'm definitely a Hincher. I love organisation - you should see my spice cupboard! I like a label machine, I like to label everything and I need to know where things are or I get really stressed. I'm not one of those people that needs to have a list of what needs doing, if I see something that needs doing, I just do it there and then or I forget or I don't have the time, but I love labelling, I'd label my cat if could. I just love organisation, I label my draws. You know that drawer that's always full of lids and pots, I bought this thing where it opens up and it's got these dividers and then you add all your lids into and then you squeeze it shut so they fit perfectly and then I did the same with my frying pans so they all have a system now. Honestly, it's better than sex. I love organisation."  

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Clean while you cook 

"I used to and then I went on Bake Off, and people clean for you and then you get lazy. They come on and they clean and they take pots and pans from you so you get used to not cleaning. I have a really good husband, and he is good. When I'm cooking and he sees a little bit of mess he's like, 'oh I'll take that'. He can't sit still, so he has to tidy all the time. His pockets are full of rubbish so if he sees a tiny bit of rubbish on the floor he will pick it up and put it in his pocket. So, like the kids, I have to empty his pockets as well, because he's always picking rubbish up and putting it in his pocket."

 

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