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Help required! Christmas Dinner.

(17 Posts)
MissLTG Wed 17-Dec-14 14:25:12

I am a massively organised person and had I known this would be happening I would already have posted this and would have my list of all the timings, etc.
Basically, I found out at 5am last night I will be preparing the Christmas Dinner for my partner and ILs. Whilst I have never done it before, I have confidence in my tendency to over-prepare and grew up watching my mother in awe. Unfortunately, she isn't well and I'm unable to ask her for assistance. All I've done today is find out what both of our families traditionally have for Christmas dinners and will devise an amalgamation of the two.

It turns out both of our families have always done it "family style" with a dining table and the extra table only dragged out on Christmas full to the brim with bowls of roast potatoes, yorkshire puddings, and all the classics! This makes it a little easier as I don't have to fret about picking the perfect starter or presentation, etc. Also, I'm vegetarian (oopsie). Basically, the meal is to include the following:

- A great big chicken.
- Breaded quorn chicken with stuffing swirled inside (easy peasy oven deal)
- Cabbage
- A single roasted parsnip (For my partner, it's a long story.)
- Pigs in Blankets
- Sage&Onion Stuffing
- Brussel Sprouts (of course)
- Various vegetables
- Toad-In-The-Hole
- Roast Potatoes
- Gravy (Bisto, easy. Being veggie gives me a good excuse there).
- Vegetarian Haggis (requires a good wee while wrapped in foil in the oven in a big pan of water)
- Yorkshire Puddings

Puddings are:
-Cheesecake (type unspecified!)
-Black Forrest Gateau (Yes, I know the puddings are untraditional...)

Then, I'm really only writing this for my own sake so I don't forget to buy them, Schloer, Glitterberry J20, Mulled Wine, Christmas Crackers (the kind you pull), Christmas themed napkins etc, Cheeseboard and a cracker selection (the kind you eat).

Basically, my worry is timings! It's all so daunting! People like me need a foolproof checklist! :D Anyone willing to help? Obviously I'm expected not to go for the easy buy-and-heat type deals but I have no problem doing it as long as we all keep it a secret ;) I will provide details about the timing of the veggie specialists e.g breaded quorn chicken, veggie haggis etc.

OH. And there's another wee sticker... I'm doing it in a house I'm moving into on Friday and I don't actually know what the kitchen/oven/etc is like as I write this... but as soon as I find out I will let you all know!

Any help you can give will be GREATLY appreciated!

Yours hopefully but not expectantly,
MissLTG, the nervous wreck!

momb Wed 17-Dec-14 14:34:25

How many of you will there be? Chicken/quorn chicken, pigs in blankets, toad and inthe hole, haggis.....that's a lot of meat/meat substitute.

on logistics: my first thought is that you have loads with pivotal/last minute timings: sprouts, toad in the hole, yorkshire puddings, anything quorn all need to be cooked but not overcooked and are really difficult to keep warm.

MissLTG Wed 17-Dec-14 14:46:20

Only four, and me (I know, I know; it's nothing) but all very Christmas enthusiastic and all very capable of eating everything there :D
Yes, you're very correct... Ahhh! I don't know how my mother did it. It's a fair amount of meat/subs but they're all small! It's the smallest whole chicken, about a 15cm long quorny chicken thing (though maybe I could just get Quorn's fillets for ease?)
Ahhh. So do you not think it's possible?sad I'd do everything I could! Maybe the gravy will keep it warm... and the heated plates.

Oh God. I'm screwed, amn't I?

momb Wed 17-Dec-14 16:13:51

Nah, not screwed, just chosen stuff which involves lots of charging about at the last second.
Chicken, haggis, pigs in blankets can all be resting from 30 mins before you eat (foil and tea towels). It's just the last minutey stuff that makes for a bit of a rush. I would do toad in the hole or yorkies, but not both, as toad is yorkie with sausage in anyway.

Roast veg can be left to its own devices for simplicity: roast carrots, parsnip etc. The roast potatoes though need to be served when they are their crispy fluffy best (can't be kept warm and crispy easily). I htink it was Tom Kerridge who said that basically you time to whole dinner around getting the roast potatoes perfect.

MissLTG Wed 17-Dec-14 17:48:49

Ahaha :D Thank-you. This has all been very helpful. Yes, I think I will just do classic yorkies. Will get the foil and tea towels on the go!

I will be sure to work around the roast potatoes. Thank-you. I appreciate this a lot. smile Feeling much calmer!

agoodbook Thu 18-Dec-14 19:34:42

If everything is on the small side, you could do yorkshires and toad in hole on one shelf, and roast potatoes and roast veg on another - as long as you have two shelves! As pp said, chicken and pigs in blankets will keep warm, so take them out, then pop in yorkshires- you dont want to open the oven door on yorkshires so have your roast potatoes and veg already in. Peel brussel sprouts the day before, keep covered in water, then throw into boiling water for about 5 -8 minutes. You can cook stuffing day before and heat up in the microwave. Not sure about the haggis though - just hope you have a double oven. If not - the cheapish halogen ovens are great if you can afford one!
Only big tip - write out a time sheet and keep checking on it
Good Luck! Its the one day no one complains usually! grin

AnimatedDad Sun 21-Dec-14 09:07:44

for me, the worry would be the toad in the hole

the main dishes (chicken, quorn etc) can stand around for a while if oven space is a premium and he oven heat isn't critical . but toad needs to be watched and its temperature needs to be right.

Heston says always base timings for a roast around your potatoes because when they're ready, they're ready - everything else has more leeway.

sprouts can go on pretty much as you're carving.

StampyShortnose Sun 21-Dec-14 09:15:32

Far too many different things, you'll be spending all xmas day in the kitchen instead of with your guests.

Go for quality not quantity.

AllMimsyWereTheBorogoves Sun 21-Dec-14 09:31:19

If you're definitely not doing toad in the hole, it all becomes simpler. I agree that the best thing to pin the rest of the cooking around is the roast potatoes!

I find a good way is to decide on the time you're going to eat - say it's 2pm.
Then write out your timings on a bit of paper. Put '2pm - dinner is served' at the bottom of the page.Then start working back from that. I find (because I'm rubbish at timekeeping) that my times slip but if I put the turkey in the oven later than I planned I just go through my list adjusting all the other times and it's all fine in the end.

My list usually looks something like this (just the last part so you get the idea):

2.15pm Take the turkey out, check it's cooked, put to one side in a warm place covered loosely with foil
2.20pm Put potatoes, sausages and parsnips into the oven
2.25pm Make the gravy
2.30pm Put dinner plates and serving dishes in small oven to heat through
2.40pm Boil the kettle
2.45pm Put the sprouts on to boil
2.50pm Start carving turkey
2.55pm Drain sprouts, put in serving dish; take the roast potatoes, carrots, parsnips and chipolatas out of the oven, put into serving dishes; put dishes on table; summon family
3pm Eat

Allalonenow Sun 21-Dec-14 09:33:37

You really have got far too much for only four people, and much of it is duplication such as sausages in toad in the hole and in pigs in blankets, batter as Yorkshire pudding and as toad in the hole.
I'd leave out the toad in the hole definately, and think carefully about your vegetables, do you need sprouts and cabbage? Three different vegetables nicely done would be ample for four people.
Save the haggis for Burns Night!

CatsClaus Sun 21-Dec-14 09:37:25

microwave the's impossible to tell the difference imo, just make sure any metal clips are cut off.

Yddraigoldragon Sun 21-Dec-14 09:38:09

Lots of helpful ideas on here. I am a bit stumped this year, am cooking for a veggie for the first time.
We are carnivores here, all roasty things cooked in goose fat. What you you suggest is best for roasties for a vegetarian? I have olive oil, sunflower oil and butter. Help!

Elledouble Sun 21-Dec-14 09:43:09

Agree with microwaving the haggis- I put it in an ovenproof dish, break it all up, microwave it for ten minutes. Easy. You can still put it in the oven for a bit after that to crisp the top.

Follyfoot Sun 21-Dec-14 10:11:42

Last year I discovered something that made the Christmas dinner a doddle....the wonders of preparing ahead and freezing.

Par-boil the potatoes today (or any day before Christmas!), drain and shake them in the pan. Allow to cool a little then open freeze them on trays, parchment, whatever. When they are frozen, put them in a bag/box. Then on Christmas day, just heat the oil or fat, sling them in and that's it. They come out perfect, perhaps even crisper than non frozen ones as they are nice and dry. Just allow 5/10 minutes longer than usual in the oven.

You can do the same with the parsnip, though might not be worth it for just the one grin I also par boil the carrots and freeze, then roast them or do them wrapped in parchment paper in the oven (they dont burn if you do them in paper so are more forgiving!). You can also make and freeze the stuffing. If you do leeks as one of your veg, you can chop them the day before and cook them in a little butter and water at any time. Just warm them back up as the meat is carved.

If you do cabbage, make it red, then you can cook it in advance and leave it in the fridge, it will taste nicer that way too. The sprouts and any other veg can be prepped the day before too.

As others have said, then just write down the eating time at the bottom of a page, then work backwards so you have a list of what goes in when. Because you will have prepped everything in advance, all you will have to concentrate on is putting stuff on to cook and taking it off again, there will be no chopping, peeling or par boiling to do. It was a revelation for me last year smile

agoodbook Sun 21-Dec-14 12:32:53

yddrai olive oil makes lovely roast potatoes, and roasted root veg too. For the veg I prepare them the day before, put in a big bowl, add olive oil , salt , pepper and herbs cover with clingfilm toss around. Leave in the fridge until they need to be cooked -have some more oil in the roasting pan ( hot of course!). For the roast potatoes, I prepare and leave covered with water, then boil in fresh salted water for about 5 minutes, shake the pan, then throw into a red hot roasting pan that already has the ( hot ) oil in

Yddraigoldragon Sun 21-Dec-14 16:44:58

Thanks agoodbook, that helps!

agoodbook Sun 21-Dec-14 18:38:46

Having read my instructions, drain the potatoes before shaking! smile

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