THE NIGHT BEFORE Set the table ready with all your serving platters, bowls, serving utensils and glassware for the big day. Make sure there’s enough oven space for your planned menu. If you’re cooking both a turkey and a ham, save space by cooking one in the barbecue.
FIRST THING IN THE MORNING Preheat the oven. Most turkeys will take about 45 to 50 mins per kilo to cook, so take yours out of the fridge (not freezer) at least 30 mins before roasting to give it time to come to room temperature. If you're stuffing your turkey, do it just before it goes into the oven.
10 AM Once the turkey is in the oven, get your salads into bowls with the dressing on the side (only toss dressings through just before serving).
11 AM Dessert is a while away but that doesn’t mean you can’t get organised. Pre-slice puddings, ice-cream cakes and even pavlova slabs so that they’re portioned and ready for serving. The best desserts are ones that can be completely prepared ahead so you don’t have any last-minute tasks late in the day.
MIDDAY If there are roast veggies on the menu, get them in the oven now so they’re deliciously tender and golden for lunchtime.
1 PM Once your turkey is cooked, loosely cover with foil for 15 to 30 mins, then carve. Arrange your meat on a platter and cover with foil to keep warm. If you’re serving ham, carve and arrange on a serving platter, too.
1.30 PM It’s serving time! Reheat your gravy, dress the salads, pop up the roasted veggies on a platter and load up the table.
3 PM Lunch is done, the table is cleared and it’s time for desserts! If you’re serving frozen treats, nominate someone to pop any leftovers back into the freezer. This way, you won’t end up with melted leftovers once everyone has been served!
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MAKE A LIST AND CHECK IT TWICE
Don’t wing your Christmas meal – plan ahead to make sure that you make detailed shopping lists of exactly what you need. This helps you breeze through the market and get everything you need on one trip, without wasting time.
SPREAD THE LOVE
You don’t have to go it alone. Delegate some side dishes or desserts to your guests so that the cooking responsibilities don’t fall solely on you.
MAKE IT AHEAD
Choose recipes for your Christmas menu that can be made ahead of time. Frozen desserts can be made up to four days ahead.
CHOOSE A COLD STARTER
Free up oven, stove top and barbecue space for your main and sides by serving cold starters.
STRETCH IT OUT
Fill up your Christmas spread not with expensive proteins, but with side dishes. Stuffing and salads are classics, filling and budget-friendly.
TEXT: BAUERSYNDICATION.COM.AU / PHOTOS: RODNEY MACUJA, ROB SHAW & JOHN PAUL URIZAR / BAUERSYNDICATION.COM.AU / TPGNEWS.COM