Life Hack: Five kitchen hacks to make Christmas cooking a breeze

From dry turkeys to potatoes at risk of going cold, here are some of the best ways to avoid stress in the kitchen this Christmas 
Life Hack: Five kitchen hacks to make Christmas cooking a breeze

You'd be surprised how many culinary catastrophes can be avoided at Christmas

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The single biggest disrupter of Christmas dinner in my house is when the timings go askew, like when the potatoes are mashed and ready 20 minutes before the turkey is taken out of the oven - never mind the time spent leaving it to rest before carving. To avoid this, the simplest solution is to make a timetable in advance. On the days before Christmas once you have the food you wish to prepare, sit down and calculate how long each will take to cook: if the turkey will take two hours to cook, make sure you note what time you should start on the potatoes, vegetables and other trimmings to ensure they are all ready at the same time.

Your timings are off? No problem 

Still a bit off on your timings? If it happens and if your cooking times are miscalculated, there are ways to salvage your meal without anyone noticing. If you own a slow cooker, this is a lifesaver when your mash is ready too early. Simply pop it into the pot and keep the setting on low or warm to avoid the spuds going cold. This also works for other dishes that might be ready early or might need to be cooked first if you’re stuck for space in the oven. If someone makes the gravy too early, don’t worry: just pour it into an insulated travel mug or flask to keep it hot and fresh until it is needed.

Save a dry turkey 

Did you leave your turkey in the oven too long or did you forget to baste it? If you’re pulling a dry turkey from the oven, there’s a simple way to salvage it. Soak the bird in stock for 15 minutes to moisten the meat and your guests won’t notice anything has gone wrong. To be extra sure though, make sure you own a meat thermometer so you can monitor the turkey properly while it roasts.

Your freezer is your friend 

Save yourself some hassle on Christmas Day by making as much as you can in advance. Things like stuffing and gravy can be prepared in the days before Christmas and stored in the freezer before they are needed. Just set a reminder in your phone to defrost everything the night before and you can reheat them in minutes, avoiding a hectic time in the kitchen.

The best-laid plans

Speaking of Christmas Eve, when all is calm take the opportunity to set your table ahead of the fuss. It will save you a few minutes on Christmas Day and you’ll have some time to make everything fancier by Googling impressive napkin folds and placeholder ideas.

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