It’s no secret that Christmas is a stressful time of year. The presents, the decorations and cramming in visiting all your friends and family into a two week period are all factors that cause palpitations and brain overload; however, there is one Christmas ‘event’ that does triumph them all…dinner!
Let’s face it Christmas dinner is the be all and end all of Christmas Day. If the turkey is dry, stuffing is burnt and the roast potatoes aren’t crispy then you may as well call the whole day off. Not only do you have the worry of making sure you have all the ingredients, have defrosted the meat (or made the nut roast) and spent weeks prepping the Christmas pudding, but then you have the pressure of getting your timings right, ensuring everything is ready at the same time and keeping your guests entertained.
For some, Christmas dinner is a horrendous business and unless you either want to fork out for an extravagantly priced, and quite probably sub-par, dinner at your local pub or restaurant, or you lumber someone else in the family with the painstaking task, you just need to suck it up and cook. Luckily though, there are a few ‘tricks of the trade’ and handy gadgets that will ensure you don’t end up tearing your hair out and run off screaming all the way to Lapland.
So, you know the drill – make sure you plan ahead, have checklists coming out of your ears, get everyone involved, yada yada… But, in reality, it doesn’t matter how dedicated or well planned you are, the stress is bound to happen when you get in the kitchen. Cooking gadgets, however, are a different tale and will almost certainly help you on a practical level.
1) One of the big problems is running out of space inside and on top of your oven. Hob space can be a logistical nightmare, so by employing an extra electric hob or even a mini oven that you can just plug in and use when you need to could come in very useful.
2) If you love to have roasted vegetables at Christmas (roasted always beats steamed, surely), then investing in a low fat fryer, or just a regular fryer, means you can have your roasted veg without compromising on precious space in the oven.
3) Speaking of vegetables, get your hands on a veg chopper. It will save you a lot of prep time and potentially cut fingers if you’re in a rush. The Breville hand blender and chopper means you’ll get more for your money as it can be used for both chopping your veg for Christmas dinner and then blending up all the leftovers the next day for a hearty vegetable soup.
4) For those of you who don’t already have one, a food mixer will make cooking your Christmas treats so much easier. Unlike a handheld whisk, or the old fashioned wooden spoon, most food mixers have a variety of settings for a smooth, lump-free mixtures whether you’re making bread, cakes or pastry. Say goodbye to aching arms and say hello to delicious sweet treats!
5) After-dinner coffee is an essential part of the Christmas dining experience in most households. This year, why not make coffee time extra special while minimising hassle by investing in a coffee maker? Filter coffee makers allow you to quickly make large pots of barista-quality coffee, whereas instant coffee makers mean you can make fancy coffees without getting in a flap or needing unnecessary syrups.
What do you do to make Christmas dinner a little less stressful?