Count Down to Christmas: Everything you need to do, week by week.


   

Christmas Planner – Week One

At this stage you need to be making lists, gathering recipes and placing orders. Here are some points to start with.
•     Make a comprehensive list of who has been invited and for how many meals.
•     Order the turkey
•     Order a ham
•     Make Christmas pudding and steam for 8 hours
•     Make or buy your un-iced Christmas cake, pour over a few tablespoons of brandy each week.
•     Buy crackers, candles and napkins for Christmas table
•     Stock up on soft drinks, long life juice and Squash
•     Re-arrange freezer to allow room for Christmas supplies
•     Buy and freeze chiabatta loaves for use as pizza bases, crostini etc.
•     Buy chicken winglets and make some concentrated chicken stock as a base for the turkey gravy. Store in freezer
•     Check cupboard for dry goods, tins, spices, mincemeat, etc.
•     Make and freeze batches of pastry for mince pies
•     Make cranberry relish and store in fridge/freezer
•     Make cheese straws and shortbread, store in air-tight tin.
•     Order extra cream and milk for 24th December
•     Make extra ice cubes and store in plastic bags in freezer
•     Check recipes and make a list of ingredients needed
Christmas Planner Week Two

Check wine rack and order wine, sprits and after dinner drinks
Buy mixers, soft drinks, mineral water and long life juice
Buy long life milk for emergencies
Order cheese, one or two large pieces of cheese will look better than a collection of small slices. Try an alternative to Stilton such as Been Leigh or Cashal, both blue cheeses, this year and have beautiful mature farmhouse cheddar such as Montgomery or Quickes as the second cheese.
Buy cheese biscuits and nuts. Store fresh chestnuts in the refrigerator
Count china and cutlery borrowing or buying extra as needed.
Make sure you have a roasting pan and serving platter large enough for the turkey or goose.

 

During the course of this week you should aim to:
•     Cover the cake with almond paste then white icing store in an airtight tin.
•     Make brandy butter and store in fridge or freeze
•     Draw up a table plans and check for any dietary problems
•     Count cutlery and china to check quantities, wash any little used dishes, clean silver, rinse and polish glasses.
•     Buy cheese biscuits, coffee beans, tea
•     Make a list and order as necessary all fruit and vegetables remembering onions, fresh herbs, lemons and salad ingredients.
•     Make an oven-ready dish for Boxing Day, e.g.: lasagne, fish pie, root vegetable gratin etc., cover, label and store in freezer.
•     Buy tomatoes and store in a bowl in a cool room
•     Check Christmas wine, beer, sprits and mixers
•     Buy supply of bottle water
•     Buy large size foil, cling film and greaseproof paper
•     Stock freezer with croissants or home made muffins for breakfasts
•     Buy extra butter, soft margarine and cooking oil
•     Order bacon, sausage meat and sausages from butcher

Christmas planner – Week Three

Buy fruit and vegetables making sprouts your last purchase. These really do taste better if cooked as soon after picking as possible so these really should be a Christmas Eve purchase.
Ice cake and decorate
Make more mince pies and this time store out of reach of marauding family
Buy fresh dairy products cream, milk, butter and cheese
Buy fresh orange juice
Buy Panatonne for Christmas breakfast, excellent with ham!
Make trifle, ice cream or other alternative pudding

Play carols loudly on family stereo

Christmas Eve

Collect Turkey and ham from butchers
Glaze ham, leave in cold place overnight
Make stuffings and store in fridge
Make bacon rolls arrange on baking sheet, place in fridge
Make stock from Turkey giblets
Peel potatoes, carrots and parsnips and place in bowl of cold water over night.
Peel sprouts and place in polythene bag in fridge overnight
Arrange sausages on oven roasting dish, place in fridge
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About thanecooks

Thane Prince stumbled into cooking by chance. Trained as a nurse, she began by cooking for the local deli, took a class in journalism and almost before she knew it was writing for the Daily Telegraph. She wrote for the DT for 12 years , did quite a bit of TV work and then moved on to open and co-run The Aldeburgh Cookery School in Suffolk. The school was a great success and received many accolades, judged as one of the top three in the UK at one time. Tiring of life in the country Thane moved back to Central London where she now lives, writes and eats. Thane’s twelfth book Ham Pickles and Jam is published in October 2011.
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