Hints and tips
Looking back - Last Christmas
Reflect on last Christmas. Were there any foods that were often wasted, or that you bought out of habit or custom? Was the turkey far too large? Was there a bag of nuts still in their shells by the time Easter came around because no one wanted to crack them? You could jot down a “don’t bother to buy” list and take it with you when you go shopping to remind you!
Your Christmas and party food will last much longer if your fridge is at the correct temperature. This will extend the life of many popular foods by several days. Check that it is below 5 degrees. You can save a fortune by making your own delicious party nibbles. Why not click on the ‘Great for Parties’ section of our recipe finder. Many can be made from everyday ingredients – just with a new twist. Party nibbles are a good way to use up all sorts of small portions of leftover – and your guests will never guess!
Cooking in advance or last minute - we have it covered!
Lots of yummy Christmas foods can be made well in advance and often improve with keeping although there is no need to panic because our last minute Christmas cake will taste fantastic even if you end up making it when Santa is coming down the chimney! Homemade mincemeat will keep for ages and by making your Christmas pud early, there will be plenty of time for that all important regular feeding with brandy or another alcohol of your choice.
Check up on useful kitchen items
Check up on supplies of useful kitchen items that you are likely to need. Foil, cling film, freezer bags and labels so that you have them to hand to help with the safe storage of Christmas goodies and leftovers. Look through the pots and tubs that you use to store foods. Recycle any that no longer have good fitting lids. Keep any lidded takeaway containers and have a range of sizes handy so that even nibbles or small portions can be safely stored.
Store cupboard basics
Check up on storecupboard basics because we sometimes use particular foods, sauces and condiments only at Christmas and you won’t want to run out of basics like gravy or custard powder either. Don’t automatically throw things out if they are passed the ‘best before’ date. Food is usually safe to eat after that date it just might not be at its absolute best.
Make a menu plan for the next week that will help make some serious inroads into the food you already have in the fridge, freezer and cupboards. Use the on line recipe finder if you need inspiration for particular ingredients.
Eat from the freezer in the run up to Christmas
Delve into your freezer and find out what’s in there. The chances are that you already have loads of forgotten foods that will need eating up to make space for Christmas (and you get to save money not buying food you already have). It’s a good time to bite the bullet and deal with those UFOs – unidentified frozen objects – by defrosting them, working out what they are and using them up! Make a list of what’s in there and then stick it to the freezer door, so you don’t have to keep opening the door to check.
Correct over spicing
Try adding citrus juice - lemon or lime. Alternatively shredded or chopped potato can help - the sugar helps to fight the heat. Nut butter can help counter heat in certain dishes. Cheese can temper a spicy chilli. Coconut milk/yoghurt/milk can really tone down the heat in a spicy curry.
Correct over salting
If you have over salted soup, add unsalted liquid to dilute it or toss in a peeled, quartered potato for 15 minutes. Over-salted sauces can often be helped with the addition of a little cream, brown sugar or vinegar. Use your judgement depending on the sauce, using a little at a time and tasting all the way. A bit of unsalted, cooked white rice pureed with unsalted water or broth to a thin paste can also help cure over salted soups or stews.