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I know what date it is before you ask... am planning Christmas food anyone want to help?

(35 Posts)
StrumpersPlunkett Sun 19-Jul-15 22:07:15

So I have managed to convince my Christmas avoiding IL's to join us from Christmas Eve till the 27th.
I really really want to make it special for all of us.
I want great snacks, lovely canape's and festive, delicious food all round.
They are fussy and quality is v important, not sure I will get away with freezing much stuff ahead of time.


SideOrderofChips Sun 19-Jul-15 22:27:26


Order it before Christmas and then just pick up and serve!

You can get a preview if you search christmas in july m&s

StrumpersPlunkett Sun 19-Jul-15 23:04:06

nice idea but def wont be able to go with it.
If you did M&S what would you go for (and I will see if I can fake it from home)

Crutchlow35 Mon 20-Jul-15 09:45:41

Marks and spencer. They have loads on offer. The book is out mid October usually. You will get everything there. The only thing I don't get from them is roast potatoes as I prefer making them myself.

DonkeyOaty Mon 20-Jul-15 09:49:47

Delia mincemeat is the dog's

DonkeyOaty Mon 20-Jul-15 09:52:08

Delia braised red cabbage freezes v well. Make mine in September usually

TheWoollybacksWife Mon 20-Jul-15 09:57:56

I saw this thread yesterday and had a quick google for M&S Christmas in July and saw this blog. While I have never bought my Christmas dinner from M&S I do like the look of some of the sweet stuff. Would they appeal to your guests or are they expecting everything to be homemade?

My advice would be to serve food that you cook well. I always try new recipes out a couple of times before cooking them for guests. I would rather have simple food, cooked to perfection by a relaxed host rather than fancy recipes that leave my host flustered.

I do make a few things ahead of time and freeze them - stuffing balls, sausage rolls and mince pies. Last year I also froze sprouts and pancetta - they reheated really quickly in a hot frying pan and were lovely. I buy a turkey crown and a big gammon. We like leftovers as long as they don't last too long smile I had a go at the Jamie Oliver make ahead gravy but didn't like it. Lots of the Christmas preppers rave about it though.

I think the magazines publish their Christmas specials in about October. They usually have simple canapé recipes and ideas for nibbles and festive season menus.

In what way are your IL's fussy?

The Poncetastic thread starts here on 25th September and is usually full of recipes and links to goodies. There are at least five years worth of past threads if you search for them.

I'm driving my DH bonkers thinking about Christmas before we have even had our summer holiday. Thank goodness for the company of like minded adults grin

BiddyPop Mon 20-Jul-15 11:09:48

Strumpers, start with a list of the meals you have to do, and numbers for each.

So for Christmas Eve breakfast, you might only have the "core" group of immediate family and ILs - and that might be nice to have in a coffee shop in town enjoying the Christmas spirit (without too much shopping to get last minute - just picking up nice things if you fancy them).

But Christmas Eve dinner might have a few extras (friends, other local wider family members etc) so a buffet meal might work best.

Will you be doing a full-on traditional turkey and ham feast for Christmas dinner? Or a different meat? And do you usually do roast dinners or are you better ordering in the majority of it?

Are there particular nibbles or meals that are particularly loved, by your family or ILs? So a box of Scotch Clan to keep FIL happily chomping, or a couple of bags of Monster Munch for the DCs to do alongside the naice crisps that grownups might eat.

You mightn't be able to freeze LOADs, but you can freeze a fair bit ahead. HM (or M&S or local speciality butcher) sausage rolls work well, and so do HM mince pies. Both can be pulled out and cooked from frozen with just a few minutes extra cooking time - so very handy if you are unsure about numbers, or to do a few times over the few days for different things.

For Christmas Eve, we often do a smorgasbord type meal - lots of things like parma ham, chorizo, salamis, braseola, smoked salmon, cooked prawns, cooked squid rings, sun dried tomatoes, hummus, guacamole, breadsticks and naice fresh bread, sliced up peppers, olives, potato salad (for DD), nice salad leaves. It's not exactly a Swedish version - more a "all our favourite world foods" type thing.

For breakfasts, have normal things the ILs like (toast, porridge, OJ etc?), but also nice treats. So maybe buy a bottle of freshly squeezed juice each day - or squeeze yourself (but who wants that hassle for multiple folks multiple days?!). Nice fresh bread not just the ordinary sliced pan. Real butter. Buy the ready roll croissants/pain au chocolat to bake yourself, or the part-baked packs to just reheat. We get a variety pack of cereal for DD for Christmas week as a treat too. Maybe a bowl of fresh fruit chopped up and some yoghurt, for people to serve themselves.

Christmas dinner - prep a lot the day before if you are doing it yourself. Peel potatoes and soak in water in a pot (to par boil before roasting). Peel and chop carrots, cover in water in an air tight container. Peel and slice onion and put in airtight container (no water). Wash and prep sprouts. Make your breadcrumbs (well in advance and frozen if you can) and the stuffing - can freeze stuffing in advance also. Cook the neck/giblets for stock for gravy (can add the carrot and onion peelings too, and some herbs), strain. There's probably loads more.

Have nice bread in the freezer to take out on Christmas morning for sandwiches on Christmas evening/Boxing Day. That and some sausage rolls etc, mince pies, and lots of tea/coffee/other beverages, should be plenty. If there are favourite tea and coffee brands, or particular drinks (e.g. Horlicks?), make sure you have those stocked up.

Will be back.

BiddyPop Mon 20-Jul-15 11:52:40

Are there favourite meals of your own family that ILs don't like that you'd like to have over Christmas? Perhaps think of a different favourite of theirs that you can make ahead and freeze, or buy in (or make on the day if you have time/energy) - everyone doesn't need to eat the same thing all the time - but don't make it hard for yourself either in doing that.

And freezer meals don't all have to be about Christmas itself. Perhaps things like a large lasagna for Christmas eve, or a big curry for the night ILs are gone and you are all wiped out. Nice sausages from your good local butcher - freeze individually, ahead of time, so you can grab a few for breakfasts, sausage sambos for hangovers, or to half for (devils on horseback or whatever those little yokes are for Christmas), as needed.

For canapés, I have seen recipes (didn't save links as I cannot make pastry to save my life!) which involve a sheet of pastry, putting on a layer of tapenade and some sundried tomatoes, or other fillings - rolling up like a swiss roll and chilling well, slicing off and either cooking and freezing or freezing uncooked. Very simple to do, but very effective and can do lots of different types of filling.

M&S and lots of others do great canapés, especially at Christmas. So buy a few a couple of weeks ahead and freeze (so you don't have to face the shops in the last manic days). Get a nice tub of tapenade or hummus or guacamole from your local deli (all 3 are pretty easy to make at home - but do you want that extra hassle and cleaning up that week?) or some crème fraiche/sour cream too (snip some chives in with a kitchen scissors to look uber posh! That is far more easily done at home than hummus etc). Some nice flatbreads, and nice tortilla chips, a few bags of nice "ordinary" crisps (M&S do lovely salt and pepper flavoured, and other flavoured, grown up corn snack ones, or ones like Keoghs litely salted, or some grown up sweet chilli or similar types). And some plain ones too - cheese and onion or sour cream maybe - crisps or pringles - to suit plainer tastes and children.

Do a shopping list well in advance of the various things you want. Include cleaning things, extra bin bags, toilet rolls, boxes of tissues, etc. And things to make easy meals in a hurry (so eggs for fried with breakfast, or scrambled with smoked salmon for breakfast/tea, or a Spanish omlette to use up leftovers one teatime; couple of tins of beans or spaghetti; some soup; some part baked bread rolls etc). And once the DCs go back to school in September (or even now as you see bargains), buy and put away one or 2 of those items in each weekly shopping.

MTWTFSS Mon 20-Jul-15 12:02:07

I love Christmas food planning grin

A clear biscuit jar filled with ginger bread (lebkuchen) is a must!!!

StrumpersPlunkett Mon 20-Jul-15 12:04:35

BiddyPop that is fabulous.
I had thought we would have to do a big meal on Christmas eve BUT a fabulous smorgasbord would be perfect.
I will break it down into meals..
Hadn't thought to freeze uncooked mincepies and sausage rolls and cook them from frozen, brilliant.
I am v good at pastry but never frozen it so I have loads of time to practise.
YYY to jar of lebekuchen, they are my all time fave.

BiddyPop Mon 20-Jul-15 12:12:18

Sorry, 1 more while I think of it.

I know everyone LOVES those massive boxes of Quality Street, Roses, and biscuit mixes. But would they all be eaten in your house, are they actually favourites?

What I tend to do is buy a box of Leonidas chocs (and a big bag of orangettes, our family failing), for the sweets part. And just buy maybe 4-10 (depending on numbers I'm expecting) packets of nice biscuits, mixed packs so a nice shortbread, good choc chip cookies, bourbon creams, jammie dodgers, .....etc - picking a mix of family favourites and naice biscuits. It means I have a selection to put out, but I can also open just enough at a time, and open other packs later and keep them fresh if fewer turn up than expected (I always tend to have spares in case more arrive). And a few extra packs of biscuits are a lot easier to tuck into corners to keep than one extra big tin.

StrumpersPlunkett Mon 20-Jul-15 12:21:07

OOh biddy would you come and organise me for this christmas.
Normally I get on really well, it is just that the IL's have refused to come for so many years as they have a really lovely christmas with their friends family and friends grandchildren that they haven't wanted to come to us. (quite upset which is why I have made it clear there is a no-decline-option invitation for them to come to us)
It has to be brilliant!!

BiddyPop Mon 20-Jul-15 12:54:27

Strumpers - it sounds like it is a big deal this year. That's why the THINKING about it now is very useful.

Sorry, have my own to plan here - but I love Christmas (I would love to host the big family gathering but neither my nor DH's parents travel for it, maybe in years to come at least some of the family will). We alternate between going down to a rented house between them (20 mins apart, 2.5 hours away from us), and having Christmas at home (calling on wider family, having friends and family in over the few days etc).

One other thing that might be useful to think about now is entertainment. Will ILs want to sit in front of tv (and hog the only screen for their favs?)? Will they go out on long walks with you, or allow you to head out for a family walk while they snooze by the fire? Will they go to (local favourite carol concert, family ice rink event, panto) on a family outing? Will they want to hit the sales, or will they allow you to (if that's what you want to)? Would they play boards games/cards with everyone, or enjoy reading books, need a particular paper every day? What can you have up your sleeve if someone is "bored " (be that a child or an adult)? Can you get them to help out with specific jobs (general jobs, or "MIL could you make your world famous bread sauce" type ones?) or will they be total guests to be waited on hand and foot?

Just so that you can have a set of expectations for yourself, and some things up your sleeve if you need to divert attention/occupy different people etc.

StrumpersPlunkett Mon 20-Jul-15 13:04:27

Fantastic. Yes activities to be planned. ��

cookiefiend Mon 20-Jul-15 13:11:20

Buy good quality sausages (you have bags of time so at some point you will see them reduced to clear) and puff pastry and make your own sausage rolls. You can add some chutney or sage leaves to posh them up and brush with egg and sesame seeds when you need them. You can either cook now and freeze or freeze and cook from raw. I Stil can't work out which is best. Smoked salmon is popular in our family around Christmas just get in lemon to serve. We have a bread maker and make a loaf of brown bread to serve with it, but you could buy a nice loaf. I need ideas too this year as will have a very young baby in the house. Christmas is my favourite time and I don't want DD to miss out so will try and prep some things in advance.

Just hkme making things you might otherwise buy is a lovely touch. We make shortbread and things.

cookiefiend Mon 20-Jul-15 13:11:56

Home made cranberry sauce freezes well too.

StrumpersPlunkett Mon 20-Jul-15 15:11:12

Ooh yes smoked salmon and scrambled eggs is our fave Christmas breakfast

daisydalrymple Mon 20-Jul-15 17:46:52

Delias happy Christmas is just £5 on Amazon right now. One of my fave Christmas books ��

Candycoco Mon 20-Jul-15 18:09:47

Ooh I've just ordered delia Christmas thanks daisy grin

70isaLimitNotaTarget Mon 20-Jul-15 21:25:35

Last Christmas I had DM,DF,DBro,DSil, DH,DS,DD and myself (and their cat grin ) for the 24th/25th/26th.

As well as the food, are they staying at yours?
You'll need to work out sleeping arrangements, pillows,duvets, blankets,towels etc.

I made a steak pie for Christmas Eve, Linda Mc Pies and fish fingers for DS .
Chips (Heston Triple cooked)

I've never made a steak pie (vegetarian) so I was queuing at the butchers for an hour to buy braising steak. It was very well recieved (or they were too afraid of the cook to upset me grin )

Go through all your serving dishes and plates, make sure you have enough and serving spoons, carving knife (I use catering tongs to serve too)

Soft drinks?

We need to start a thread of "What I bought and didn't eat" foods.

I made a Christmas Cake and Christmas Pudding last year because I knew we had a houseful but usually I don't make the traditional pudding.

We always have trifle.
Some nice cheeses and crackers.

Though this year , I'm gluten/dairy free as well as vegetarian so I'll be looking for ideas myself .

StrumpersPlunkett Mon 20-Jul-15 21:27:47

ooh DH loves trifle but I don't make it as he is the only one, if his parents are here I should do one he would love that.

StrumpersPlunkett Mon 20-Jul-15 21:28:20

off to buy delia book :-) thanks!!!!

ExConstance Mon 20-Jul-15 23:03:15

If you make your own puddings it is traditional to do so on "stir up Sunday" which is in October? or November? I make two small puddings from the traditional Delia recipe every other year and keep one in the freezer for the next year. If you steam them in a slow cooker you don't get a build up of steam in the kitchen and it frees up a ring on your hob. I always heat up the rum sauce early during the cooking and keep it in a vacum jug so pudding is all ready to go ( though generally we end up having to have a little lie down first to make room)

Paperblank Tue 21-Jul-15 07:29:34

Blatant place mark!

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