There are so many elements to creating wonderful Christmas memories – the thoughtful gift, the perfect tree, and what is arguably the main event – the Christmas meal! Whether you call it dinner or lunch, and whether you serve it up on Christmas Eve or the day itself, many of us will stress about this meal for weeks beforehand.
We wanted to help ease the burden this year, so we started asking around for handy cookery tips. From the unusual (turkey wellington, anyone?) to the highly practical (prep, prep, prep), read on for tips, tricks, and even recipes and anecdotes from our QVC elves as well as some familiar faces.
Here are some of our fabulous staff, looking cheerful – in a selection of this year’s Christmas jumpers which will be available to buy soon – and posing next to a sneak peek of this year’s Christmas set from Quacker Factory and Marble (among a host of other props and samples).
Mark – social media executive (top row right)
- From my experience of cooking the family Christmas meal (the one time my mum let me do it) the main obstacle for me was the resources I had at hand. I wanted to roast everything but obviously there’s only so much space in any given oven, and you need to bear in mind when roasting multiple items that each extra pan or tray in the oven will slow the cooking time on everything else. Given my time again, I’d try to spread the meal prep to include more hobs and grills, and rely less on the oven.
Phoebe – content developer (bottom row left)
- My dad is a chef and every year we have a turkey wellington which is just fabulous! (I’m biased, but it really is). He starts with sausage meat, wraps turkey breast around that, then wraps bacon around that, before he finally wraps it all in pastry. It’s a true sensation for the taste buds and something a little different than the normal roast turkey!
Josie – beauty copywriter (top row centre)
- I’m not sure if this is a Devonshire thing but my Grandma always said the only way to cook roast potatoes is in goose fat…! And hers were always AMAZING.
- Again not sure if other people do this but we always use Cointreau to set our Christmas pud on fire as it gives it a festive orangey taste.
Laura – fashion copywriter (top row left)
Pigs in blankets recipe (feeds four people)
- 8 sausages (Cumberland or Lincolnshire are best)
- 8 streaky bacon rashers
- 1-2 tbsp natural honey
- 1-2 tbsp English mustard (Colman’s is ideal)
- Pre-heat oven to Gas Mark 7 (Think that’s 170 degrees-ish)
- Wrap a bacon rasher around each of the sausages
- Place in a glass baking dish with a lid
- Place in middle of oven and cook for 30 mins
- Remove dish from oven and drizzle mustard and honey over the hot pigs in blankets
- Take cooking tongs and turn the pigs in blankets until they are all fully-covered in the honey and mustard
- Place back into the oven for a further 20-30 mins or until sufficiently browned.
- Take out of oven and allow to cool for the shortest time possible
- Stuff face when they’re still relatively warm and wave hands in font of mouth while enjoying the yummy yummy deliciousness
Sarah – garden and leisure copywriter (bottom row left)
- Once you’ve opened a bottle of prosecco or champagne, keep a spoon handle-down in the neck of the bottle, it helps it keep its fizz.
Sarah’s fave Christmas story:
My sister has been a veggie for decades, a few Christmases ago she was really impressed with how crispy my mum had managed to get the roast potatoes. She asked what the secret was, and my mum replied: ‘Oh just left them in the oven, covered them in goose fat, sprinkled a bit of salt.’ The rest of my family sat back stunned while my mum carried on talking, without even realising! My sister was not a happy festive bunny. Safe to say my sister always makes sure there’s a separate tray of veg for her!
Amirah – social media assistant
- My tip is when boiling carrots, add a splash of juice from an orange to the boil. Trust me, carrots come out delish!
Andi Peters – host of Andi’s Food Fest
- Cut the Brussels sprouts in half, steam them and then pan fry them in butter with pancetta!
Chef Michael James – QVC guest
- Make sure that you rest the turkey and beef joints before carving and serving, don’t be scared that the meat will go cold, it won’t.
- If in doubt that your turkey will be dry, add a cup each of beer, tomato juice and soda water to the baking tin and cover with tin foil for half the cooking time.
We’d like to say a big thank you to all of our chefs – both amateur and professional. If you plan to try out any of these tips or if you have any of your own, please comment below.
If you’re on the hunt for any time-saving kitchen gadgets and appliances, here are just a few of our top picks.
Here is a wonderful compbination of practical and pretty. The Kuhn Rikon 5-in-1 opener is a real life saver when you’ve got guests round and need to do several things at once. It will open traditional and ring-pull cans, bottles, plastic bottle caps and vacuum seals. The gorgeously festive dishes on the right will save you much time and effort with presenting your snacks, there’s no need to fuss about how the food looks when the plates are this pretty!
Chopping up endless veggies and ingredients is one of the most time-consuming tasks for any cook, but you can say goodbye to this laborious task with the Ninja Master Prep Chopper. Crush, blend, chop and more with ease, thanks to the four-blade technology system teamed with the 500W motor and pulse technology. It’s perfect for making blended drinks as well as chopping chillies, onions or whatever it is you need. The Cook’s Essentials oven gloves will really earn their keep over the Christmas season when you’ll most likely be using the oven constantly for everything from festive bakes to roast dinners.
Head over to our Kitchen department for a look at our complete selection, you’re sure to find something that will help make Christmas 2016 your most smooth-running one yet!