The festive season – who doesn’t love it? Happy kids, friendly people and, of course, all of the amazing food! We might not do turkeys in South Africa, but we sure know how to serve a good Christmas feast.
Whether you go for cold meats, salad, potatoes and garlic bread, if you’re more a roast lamb and all the trimmings kind of family, or whether you prefer to serve a huge family-friendly set of curries, sishebo, and other hearty dinners there’s no denying that the festivities can be stressful. Cooking for so many people on such an important and celebrated occasion doesn’t come without some nerves! Luckily, there are ways to make sure that your festive season culinary adventures go off without a hitch.
Get the starter pre-prepared
If you’re planning on going all out and serving a three course meal, having a starter that can be either prepared in advanced and hearted up or just served cold is a lifesaver. If all you need to do is put it on the table or at the very most, plate it up individually, it will save you a ton of time and a ton of stress too. Good options? Simple recipes like salad and smoked salmon, baked camembert with French bread, a simple crunchy green salad or even a creamy butternut soup.
You can never be too organised
It is not possible to be too organised for festive season cooking. Our suggestions? Gather up the recipes for everything you’ll be cooking beforehand. Read through them all thoroughly, make sure you have all the pots, pans and other utensils you’ll need, write a list of all the ingredients you’ll need and then decide in which order you’re going to start cooking things. How do you decide that? Obviously anything that will take a long time to cook (like a big joint of meat or any desserts that need to chill for a few hours) should be started first. After that, start with the dishes less familiar to you as you’ll take longer to familiarise yourself with how to cook and prepare them. Any quick and easy recipes that you’re already comfortable with should be left until last as you’ll whizz through them and after they’re done, you can relax and get ready to enjoy yourself.
If you want to go one step further, write out a list detailing what time you’ll start doing each dish and include the key points such as cooking times and temperatures. This way you don’t need to have a hundred cookbooks or recipe tabs open at a time.
Get the kids involved
This is one of those times where letting your kids help you in the kitchen really pays off. Extra hands can make a huge difference, even if it’s just to help chop, peel and prepare. Kids can work with vegetables, dress salads, plate up starters and help with stirring and measuring. Get them to pre-measure dessert ingredients, mix things together and help out with the little jobs. Not only will it take less time but your kids will have fun and they’ll feel proud that they helped prepare such a big and important meal.