Christmas dinner is at the heart of our enjoyment of the winter season, with so many classic British dishes tasting their best eaten indoors in the warm while it is cold and snowing outside. From warm stews and beautifully baked hams to mince pies and delicious roasts, there are so many opportunities to stretch your cooking to the limits and to enjoy creating a fantastic meal for your family to enjoy.
When it comes to the execution of the Christmas dinner, the key part of making the meal work is ensuring that each part of the dish is prepared and ready with all the other components of the meal. This is what makes cooking a cracking Christmas dinner so difficult; if something is ready to be eaten before the other dishes it may go cold. In order to save time and create a fantastic dinner, consider which dishes you want to serve and which of them can be precooked and served chilled, such as cranberry sauce or chilled desserts. These can be prepared weeks in advance and taken out of the freezer on Christmas Day to be enjoyed. With limited oven space at home and so many dishes – roast vegetables, the turkey, as well as sauces – all on the go at the same time, it is no wonder that many are choosing to book a restaurant for their Christmas feast.
The first consideration when planning a Christmas meal is who you have with you. Ensuring you have the right food for everyone is a key aspect of a Christmas dinner, and whether you are dining at home or heading out to a venue it is important to consider all your guests and ask if they have any requirements or preferences for the meal or changes in their dietary requirements, this can be especially true in the case of young children, whose food preferences seem to change almost overnight. Guests who have allergies, as well as vegans or vegetarians, often need completely separate meal plans, and in these cases it is often better to cook more food than you need; a nut roast or roasted squash can help ensure there is a dish available for everyone.
If you will be eating your Christmas dinner at a restaurant it is a good idea to phone ahead to let them know of any allergies or specific needs your guests may have, so the chef is made aware and the kitchen can prepare.
How do you make sure that your Christmas dinner is a complete showstopper? Whether it is at home or at a restaurant, part of what makes a Christmas dinner so exciting is the little traditions that you bring in to make the day perfect. From Christmas candle decorations placed on the table, to paper crowns and Christmas crackers, there are many things to consider before the big day.
Most venues will have decorations already in place, so there will be no need to bring table pieces of your own. However, bringing a little creative flair into your home and producing some decorations using evergreens or other foliage you can find can create a fantastic atmosphere for your guests.
When putting together a fantastic Christmas menu, consider the guests before anything else – what are the dishes that your guests will love? The trick to creating a fantastic Christmas meal is often to mix traditional recipes and components with newer flavours and tastes. Here is a brief overview of each part of a great Christmas feast:
- Starters – Most starters for a Christmas meal will be fish-based, with prawn and smoked salmon dishes being extremely popular. As the main meal will be very heavy, a lighter dish to start is often a good way to begin the meal. Soups are also popular as starters as they can be premade and then heated up just before being served.
- Main – While a Christmas turkey is the centrepiece dish that most families want to serve during Christmas, it isn’t the only option available, with goose, beef wellington, ham, lamb and even duck often considered as a way to introduce something new to the Christmas dinner table.
- Dessert – With Christmas pudding as the traditional option for dessert, other dishes such as chocolate yule logs and even tarts or pies are also popular options for your Christmas meal. When it comes to your desserts you can get truly creative, with many distinctive flavours and ingredients available to be used. Having heaping jugs of cream, custard and brandy butter on hand will act as the icing on the cake.
- Drinks – If you are having your Christmas dinner with drinks, it is important to consider what will match the dishes that you have prepared. While wine is definitely a stand out favourite for Christmas Day, sherry, brandy and even Christmas cocktails are popular choices to sample. Having a few different choices available for you and your guests, including non-alcoholic options, will keep the drinks and conversation flowing.
Often there will be a break between finishing the main course and sampling dessert. Board games or cards can occupy the table until they have digested enough to consider continuing. Having a pack of playing cards, or even Uno, can be a great way to liven up the atmosphere if it has descended into a post-Christmas dinner fog – as well as providing a great topic for conversation.
At home, more drawn-out entertainment options can be used, with Christmas films and Monopoly being very popular options for all ages. Getting the kids to bring gifts to the table and open one after each course can be a great way to enjoy your meal as well.
Here at One Warwick Park Hotel we take pride in our delicious Christmas meals, with dozens of incredible options to select from our Christmas menu. If you are interested in booking a Christmas meal with STEAK, our incredible restaurant, then please contact us here.