Christmas dinner

Yes, I know, it’s only September, and I apologise.

However. We are having everyone (outlaws and other assorted people) to ours for Christmas day. Being me, I want to get organised and, more importantly, start thinking about the things that I can do and buy well in advance so I don’t feel like it all hits me in one lump. (Both expenditure-wise and work-wise).

I’m planning to do roast beef rather than turkey, mainly because I don’t like turkey much, but also because I have never cooked turkey before and don’t want to do it for the first time when I’m cooking for 6 on Christmas Day. Which leaves us with the question of accompaniments. Other than (obviously) roast potatoes and yorkshire pudding, what would you put with beef? If it was just an ordinary Sunday lunch I’d probably just do a couple of different veg. So, what else do we have which makes it more than an ordinary lunch…. all suggestions welcome.

Also, on the subject of getting things done in advance, this weekend it’s our local food festival and I’m thinking maybe I could get the meat for the meal there. That would mean three months plus in the freezer – I can’t remember if that’s too long! (Usually I buy meat for specific meals and use it quickly, it doesn’t usually languish in the freezer for long and I can’t remember how long it would last…)

I’m sorry, I know I’m being awful, thinking about this now, but I am well aware that the last few weeks before christmas will be full of school and church activities. I need to think and make lists at this point so I feel a bit more on top of it.

Also, I should mention that although this post might come across as a bit stressed or panicky about it, I am really looking forward to having everyone here this year. Since having the conservatory built, we have room for everyone without it being ridiculous, and it will be lots of fun!

8 thoughts on “Christmas dinner

  1. I have started thinking about Christmas too… but then again we booked our flights to the rock in August! We always have lots and lots of veg on Christmas day. I am not sure it’s doing anything that different that makes it special… but just buying extra nice versions of the stuff you like and do regularly anyway!

  2. As a veggie I doubt I can help much with your meal. We tend to have veggie haggis instead of meat, and then do roast veg and peas and all the usual stuff alongside it, it works really well. Thanks for the reminder – we nearly had a Christmas meal disaster the other year when I left it till the week before and found veggie haggis supplies throughout Glasgow were rather depleted!

  3. Ah, but Jack, you use the phrase “all the usual stuff”. My question is – what is the usual stuff for you?
    I’m not sure it is just a case of doing nicer versions of what you usually have – there are some things that we only ever have at christmas (apart from turkey) – bread sauce, cranberry sauce, chestnuts, two or possibly three versions of potato on the table….
    The thing is, for the last however many years, I’ve been eating Christmas dinner at the outlaws, and the m-i-l cooks enough food to feed a small city till easter…. I can’t remember what’s normal! Also I am not sure which of these things are just associated with turkey or what! (I am nixing bread sauce and cranberry sauce though because they are VILE).

  4. Ah sorry. Our usual stuff: assorted roasted veg mainly (spuds, onions, garlic, carrots, parsnips) plus sprouts and peas and whatever else is to hand. When we roast we tend to add herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano) and stuff like pine nuts to give it a bit of oomph. And it goes beautifully with veggie haggis.

  5. Would you feel brave enough to make the roast beef into a beef wellington? There’s a Delia recipe (I think) on line with a mushroom surround to the beef, before it’s all in pastry. I don’t think it sounds too tricky (here’s an example: http://www.dinnerplanner.com/beef_wellington.htm of what I mean) and would make things a bit special. Then like Jack the Lass I’d go for loads of jewel bright roasted veg, and maybe some roast butternut squash. If it’s all roasted then it’s easy to just shove in the oven.

    And I love a potatoe gratin, rather than (or as well as!!!) roast vegetables.I’ve got an easy recipe that you can make in advance, freeze and then just put into the oven to warm when you want.

    I don’t mean to completely take over your Christmas dinner plans!! But if you want, do contact me for further recipes.

  6. Buying meat this week would mean it would last three months, which is fine in my book (I’ve never died yet, and my freezer contents maintenance is somewhat haphazard, but I’m sure meat is fine for three months). On the ‘what other stuff’, you could home make horseradish sauce (never done that before, but I’d guess it’s made to keep so should be OK) and on the ‘other stuff’ – that’s the thing about Christmas, it is just a roast just done on extravagant scales. As long as it isn’t turkey (which I never really understand) it’ll be lovely. You could buy bacon and freeze it now if you wanted to do sprouts-and-bacon.

    The only thing that struck me was that if you were feeling adventurous is doing a beef wellington if you wanted something a bit showy. But a risk if you’ve never cooked it it before. Other stuff to do in advance: clearly Christmas pudding/cake if you’re so inclined. The one thing that I think is definitely improved and worth doing three months in advance is Delia’s Christmas Chutney (google it, its on her site) which goes rather nicely with leftovers. Though have experimented with others, this recipe is lovely.

    My Mum used to make all her mince pies on Advent Sunday weekend, and freeze them, bringing them out of the freezer as required throughout December (we’re talking 100s of pies here as it was for every carol service going). And my friend’s grandad brought a mince pie once for Christmas pudding he’d found in the bottom of the freezer, cooked by her grandma. Who had been dead for 10 years… (they all survived to tell the tale).

  7. 3 months is fine.
    It being Christmas will make it special by itself.
    Just make sure you have plenty of perfectly cooked sprouts, roast potatoes, roast carrots and really hot horse radish.
    and don’t forget the yorkshire pudding.
    And one of mum’s christmas puds.
    And plenty of wine.
    and plenty of time to sit round the table and enjoy it.
    It’ll be great.

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