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Video:Tips for Hosting a Classic British Christmas Dinner

with Elaine Lemm

Want to host a classic British stress-free Christmas dinner? Watch this About.com video to see what you can make ahead of time.See Transcript

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Transcript:Tips for Hosting a Classic British Christmas Dinner

Hi, I'm Elaine Lemm for About.com and today I'm going to tell you a little bit about hosting a Classic Christmas Dinner.

About British Christmas Dinner

This dinner is the centre of the holiday celebrations but if you are the host it can be something of anightmare; all the preparation, the planning and the cooking, it can become quite stressful. One way to avoid this is to thinking about planning well ahead, you can even do this up to a couple of months beforehand.

Ideas for a British Christmas Dinner

You can start with the Christmas cake. This can even be made up to 4 months ahead of time, and actually it's even better for it, as this gives plenty of time for the fruits and the brandy in the cake to mature. The mincemeat for the mince pies is another recipe which is better for making well ahead of time, as is a Christmas Pudding. The pudding takes about 7 hours to steam cook, so making it few months before means that on Christmas Day you simply need to reheat it. The weeks in the run up to Christmas are a really good time to start cooking any dish that can be frozen. That means on Christmas Eve all you need to do is simply defrost them.

More Ideas for a Classic British Christmas Dinner

Christmas mince pies are actually an obvious choice. As they are eaten throughout December and not just on Christmas Day, make loads. You can just pop them in the freezer and take them out as needed, they'll only need about an hour to defrost. Sauces needed for the Christmas Dinner freeze very well. Bread sauce for the meat and brandy butter for the pudding and the mince pies. You can even prepare the stock for the gravy and put that in the freezer too.

Other Ideas

Order any meats or vegetables well in advance, this is going to help to avoid any last minute panics, then you can just arrange to pick them up on Christmas Eve. Even the largest turkey can be well wrapped and stored in a cold place, it doesn't have to be in the refrigerator. Once everything is ordered, collected and prepared, my best tip is to work out a very careful time plan. Write everything down that needs doing, work out how long they all take, then pin the plan up in the kitchen.

More Tips for Preparing a Classic British Dinner

Reminders on Post-it notes stuck around the kitchen are also useful, it helps to note down cooking times and temperatures. I know all of these tips seem like they're going to take so much time to do, but believe me, it really is worth the effort. No-one wants a stressed out host on Christmas Day, and you also really want to enjoy yourself. You want to come to the table relaxed and ready to enjoy the time with your guests.

Have a great Christmas.

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