With the festive holidays just under six weeks away, now is the time to get your ducks in a row when it comes to planning the festive feast.
By planning during this busy time of year, you can be organised and take the stress out of entertaining at home with family and friends and avoid food waste.
Whether you are having a small or large Christmas gathering, you should plan what food and the amount you will need for the number of people joining you for any dinner party that you will be hosting.
Here’s how you can get prepared for your festive food shopping.
Get started with the list planning
Start by creating a complete festive shopping list and stick to it, it is the best way to stop yourself from overspending and forgetting the crucial bits. Begin with meal planning around your typical festive celebrations.
Planning your meals, not only for Christmas Day but on the days surrounding it, allows you to best use leftovers and reduce any food waste. Then you can plan the drinks and nibbles.
Always look for the best deals
Before going in for shopping, you can organise some of your shopping items based on what items are discounted on that given week. This is one important thing you need to know about before making a shopping list.
This helps you to make the shopping list according to those deals and offers that are available at that time. So just prepare a shopping list for this festive season and get lots of festive season offers on every purchase that you make.
If there is a discount for an item you usually buy, you can take the chance to stock up on more of it than you normally would buy.
What size turkey do you need?
Turkey leftovers are one of the joys of the few days after Christmas, but you do not want more turkey than you can eat - or a turkey that is too small to feed everybody.
When deciding on the size of your turkey, think of how many people you are cooking for and whether you want any leftovers.
Remember children eat less than adults. Buy or collect your turkey as close to Christmas as possible and store it in your fridge or freezer as soon as you get home.
If you are ordering a fresh turkey, ask your butcher to store it for you - they can refrigerate it properly - and collect it two days before Christmas day.
On the journey home, the turkey should be packed separately from ready-to-eat foods, ideally in a separate cool bag. If you buy a frozen turkey, remember that some turkeys can take up to three days to defrost.
Be friends with cookbooks
Cookbooks are a great way to get ready for the busy weeks ahead and will refresh your cooking with plenty of new ideas. For every cookbook you try, you will find a few ‘keeper’ recipes that can become part of your weekly meal plans.
So it is worth going through your old cookbooks, buying new ones, or borrowing from friends.
And if you are wondering what new dishes you can try this year, here are some of them. To find the recipes for these dishes you can do a quick Google search and choose from the many that are there that you think will be the easiest for you to do.
Bûche de Noël
Bûche de Noël is the main star on the Christmas dining table in France. Though there are many varying recipes, the most traditional and popular is the one that is made with sponge cake and chocolate icing.
Above all, it is the decoration of this delicacy that is the most important aspect.
Ambrosia is a dish often associated with holiday potlucks. It occasionally gets a bad rap, along with the often-maligned fruitcake, but when prepared correctly it can be light and delicious.
The dividing line between love and hate seems to be one ingredient: coconut. Ambrosia, the "food of the gods," as it is called is the easiest way to sneak an easy no-bake dessert onto the breakfast table, disguised as a salad.
This fruit salad is a textural experience between the fluffy marshmallows, crunchy coconut flakes, and juicy fruit. It is a surprisingly versatile dish that can make an appearance anywhere from a picnic side dish, or a Christmas brunch.
At its core, eggnog is an emulsion of milk and or cream, sugar, spices, and, yes, eggs. Eggnog is often served cold but can be enjoyed warm. Some add alcohol and warm spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves are common.