- Tell habitual latecomers that we are sitting down to dinner at 2.15. Tell everyone else 3pm.
- Leave the chestnut stuffing in rectangular foil containers – you can fit more in the oven that way.
- Frozen sprouts take way longer to cook than you think. And 1kg is enough for 14 people.
- Frozen parsnips need to be in a really hot oven to get crispy.
- 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!
- 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.
- If you make it in advance, freeze the Christmas pudding and defrost on Christmas Eve.
- Everybody loves raspberry pavlova.
- Stokes horseradish sauce is awesome with rare roast beef.
- You can rest an enormous 4-bone rib of beef for up to an hour and it will still be hot.
- Perfect roast potatoes require three things – slightly overboiled potatoes, a sprinkling of polenta, and goosefat.
- Buy extra bicarb.
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.