If this sounds depressingly familiar, take heart, as with a little advance planning and careful shopping, Christmas food can be much less stressful.
As soon as you know who is coming to you for Christmas, arm yourself with a Christmas note pad and start to jot down ideas and notes. The satisfaction of ticking things off as you accomplish them cannot be underestimated at this time of year and having it written down in the first place means that you are less likely to forget something essential.
If you know that you wonít have much time for food shopping in the days before Christmas, think about trying one of the excellent internet shopping services. Tesco.com
offer an absolutely superb service and as one of their most loyal users, I feel qualified to recommend them. In three years of use, I have found their service to be exemplary. The food is all hand picked at your local store, ensuring that produce is fresh and the delivery will be on the date you specify, within a two-hour time slot.
Donít leave it until Christmas week to try it out though, as the first time you use an on-line service it will take a while to get the hang of it. Do your first couple of orders well before Christmas and magically, items that you have ordered before will appear on a favourites list and from then on all you have to do for the essentials is whiz through your favourites adding the required quantities. Instead of slogging through the checkouts, you can be decorating the tree or seeing to other Christmas fundamentals!
Plan ahead with hampers
For the best of Christmas luxury food, without the last minute hassle, K and Co do Christmas Food Hampers which can help to spread the cost of Christmas food across the year.
For the main Christmas meal, aim to keep the starter and dessert simple, so that you only have to concentrate on the main course. Soup is a great starter and can be made well in advance and frozen until required, just defrost it slowly in the fridge the day before. Another great idea is fresh smoked salmon, which with lovely brown bread and butter and a squeeze of lemon is wholly suitable for the Christmas table. Luxury shop bought puddings are no disgrace these days and heat up in minutes in the microwave. If you want to make your own pudding though, our Christmas strudel recipe is quick and easy to prepare in advance.
To make the main course easier, consider buying a turkey breast rather than a whole bird. It is easier to store and takes less cooking space and time. A pocket can be slit to fill with your favourite stuffing to add flavour during the cooking, but as with all poultry, just make sure that it is completed cooked through and piping hot before serving. Vegetables such as carrots and sprouts can be prepared the day before, sealed in polythene bags and stored in the bottom of the fridge and they are then ready to cook on the day Ė itís best to do the parsnips on the day though, as they tend to discolour otherwise. An electric steamer makes vegetables quick and easy to cook and reduces the number of pans you need to keep an eye on and with two and three tier steamers available, you can steam enough vegetables for a large gathering.
If you have a vegetarian amongst your guests, you may wish to take a peek at our vegetarian information for guidance.
We have sourced some great food suppliers for you try if you are looking for top quality ingredients or something a bit different.
London Fine Foods Group- Specialist luxury fine foods, from truffles to seafood.
Chocolate Trading Company - For delicious after dinner chocolates.