As I have always worked time has always been at a premium and especially when the children were at home. I got into some habits then which I have continued to use and which do help free up time in the countdown to Christmas. I also take advantage where I can of reductions and offers although I always weigh up the offers as sometimes they are not as good as they appear to be.
I managed to source some reduced parsnips at the weekend and as it is fresh veg (which I prefer where possible) I have prepared, blanched and frozen them myself and they are now residing in the deep freeze ready for dragging out as part of the Christmas meal. I have done the same with carrots and Brussel sprouts in the past as well. I am afraid we do not like al dente Brussel Sprouts.
Back then I only had a half sized oven and one oven at that which was the big one so we ended up juggling i.e. getting all the stuffing prepared, the veggies prepared and then cooked including the Roasties put them to one side after cooked and then do the Turkey. When the Turkey comes out the veggies are then finished off. I also use when I have lots of company a triple tiered electric steamer which frees up the hob for the Christmas pudding, gravy, and the rum sauce for the Christmas pudding. I used to do the Bread sauce on the hob as well but I have now taken to making this ahead of time and freezing several pots in one go so that we can also enjoy it with Chicken. I then warm it up in the microwave. Bread sauce is a must have with Chicken and with Turkey and is a good filler with some stuffing and Turkey or chicken and home made cranberry sauce in a sarnie to use the meat up afterwards. It also uses up a much wasted product of the bread and I also make my own breadcrumbs as well. I have also done the same with my home made Cranberry sauce and Grand Marnier which is lush.
Later this week I shall also make a stash of sausage rolls and mince pies (with my home made mincemeat); freeze them raw in their tray and once frozen decant them into trays so that they do not get crushed. Then when I need them I just drag them out of the freezer and cook straight up as I need them back in their original pan. That way round I will not be wasting anything. Just like my Nan taught me. Even more important in this day and age.
Following my family's tradition which as far as I know goes back to my Great Great Grandmother and perhaps further back than that, my mother's family always baked on Christmas Eve. The rule used to be work hard and get everything done then you can rest and have a bit of a break over the actual Christmas period itself and that great satisfaction was gained from achieving that and it meant that the food was at its freshest. That is one of the reasons my family have always preserved so that after the main meal you could have a cold spread and it would be packed out with various pickles, chutneys, bubble n squeak, cold stuffing with a bit of bread and butter then followed by sausage rolls, Trifle, a bit of cake. We used to think (and still do) that we are rich in other things if we have good tasty food to eat. We go for taste more than for presentation although I do try on this score. A memory can be recreated from a flavour.
So the countdown begins. Doing a bit every so often in this way makes for more time for the fancy bits later on. I also have the Chestnut Chocolate Mousse/Terrine to make as well and then they can also go into the freezer.
Right had better get a wriggle on.
Catch you later on.