What we learned about Christmas dinner 2013

  1. Tell habitual latecomers that we are sitting down to dinner at 2.15. Tell everyone else 3pm.
  2. Leave the chestnut stuffing in rectangular foil containers – you can fit more in the oven that way.
  3. Frozen sprouts take way longer to cook than you think. And 1kg is enough for 14 people.
  4. Frozen parsnips need to be in a really hot oven to get crispy.
  5. Everybody says they love bread sauce but nobody has more than a tiny spoonful. Make a single quantity of Delia Smith’s recipe – enough for 14!
  6. Make a single quantity of Nigella’s ultimate Christmas pudding – any more and there will be leftovers. The non-conformist Christmas pudding is nice but doesn’t keep as well.
  7. If you make it in advance, freeze the Christmas pudding and defrost on Christmas Eve.
  8. Everybody loves raspberry pavlova.
  9. Stokes horseradish sauce is awesome with rare roast beef.
  10. You can rest an enormous 4-bone rib of beef for up to an hour and it will still be hot.
  11. Perfect roast potatoes require three things – slightly overboiled potatoes, a sprinkling of polenta, and goosefat.
  12. Buy extra bicarb.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

P.S. from 11 January: Christmas cake begins to pall after 3 weeks. Make a small one, and put extra walnuts in it for interesting texture.

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