We have all had that sinking feeling on Christmas Day when your dinner is missing something. To save you from any dinner disasters, here are our top five tips that may just save Christmas.
So Christmas Day is here, you’ve unwrapped your presents and now your attention turns to making an incredible dinner.
But what’s this? You’ve forgotten something or a dish you have made or planned hasn’t turned out the way you wanted.
Never fear, there are many clever wee food tricks you can have up your sleeve that can help you rescue most situations.
Here are five top tips that can help you save the day.
1. Marie Rose sauce
Prawn cocktail is a classic Christmas Day starter, but it’s no use without the Marie Rose sauce and you forgot to get some!
There is no need to worry, as long as you have ketchup, mayonnaise and Tabasco or another chilli style sauce in your fridge, you can salvage your dish easily.
Simply mix two parts mayonnaise with one part ketchup and add a few drops of Tabasco to the mix and, voila, there is your Marie Rose sauce.
Mix it with your prawns and serve it up with some cherry tomatoes and iceberg or little gem lettuce. Maybe add in some avocado slices, too, if you are feeling like an extra special cocktail. Sprinkle with a little paprika and enjoy.
And if you’ve forgotten the prawns, boil some eggs and enjoy egg Marie Rose instead – delicious!
Now, we’ve all forgotten the gravy. I’ve been to Christmas dinner on more than one occasion when I have sat down to some amazing turkey only to discover there is no gravy.
Again, there is no need to panic. A quick look in your fridge and store cupboard and you can most likely cobble together a quick gravy yourself.
Melt two tablespoons of butter in a non-stick saucepan and add the same amount of plain flour and some salt and pepper. Cook this for five minutes to form a roux, then add around 600 mls of chicken stock made from a stock cube and simmer until lovely and thick.
If you have some shallots to hand, fry some of them off too and add them to make a really basic gravy mix a little more luxurious. A little bit of cranberry sauce or redcurrant jelly also works well as something to really bring your gravy alive.
3. The sprouts
Many of us hate sprouts and the main reason for this is because they are boiled for way too long, completely forgotten about on the back of the cooker while more attention is paid to the main event.
They so often come out as mush, but there are top tips to avoid this scenario.
First thing to do if you are boiling them is do not score them. The practice of putting a cross in the bottom of them serves absolutely no purpose and just encourages them to take on water.
Bring to the boil and then simmer for no longer than 6-8 minutes. Alternatively, shred the sprouts and cook in some melted butter with a little smoked bacon for a completely different take on the vegetable.
4. An amazing moist turkey
The star of the show, it needs to be moist and not something that you are chewing on for ages in order to digest.
We have all had turkey that has tasted like that, but there are a couple of easy things you can do to avoid that, one of which is start by cooking it upside down.
Bizarre, I know but I have tried this with chicken and it really does work. Basically, you begin by cooking the bird breast side down for the first hour or so of cooking time and it bastes itself.
Thereafter, if you try and turn it a couple of times during the cooking process you will get some amazingly tender and moist meat.
Also remember your turkey continues cooking for at least 15 minutes after you take it out of the oven, so allow time in your meal plan for resting for around 20 minutes. Wrap it in foil and maybe put a couple of tea towels over the top while you finish everything else. The juices will settle back into the meat, ensuring it is super tasty.
5. Take it easy
This is the most important of all the top tips. You have all the time in the world to serve dinner on Christmas Day.
If it is looks like you might be 10 or 15 minutes late will anyone notice? Will anyone even care?
Get some of the children or even dad or grandad to peel the veggies rather than vegging out with a glass of mulled wine or Champers. That leaves you free to concentrate on other things.
And when serving up, carve the turkey and give everyone that with their pigs in blankets and stuffing. Then place the rest of the meal contents in the middle of the table and let everyone help themselves.
Hopefully, some of these little tips will help you out in your hour of need.