Top chef shares time and money saving Christmas dinner tips

samsung christmas dinner cooking tips
Top chef's money saving Christmas dinner tipsSamsung

Christmas, with all its glitz, merriment, socialising and festive bangers on repeat is a season of excess - not ideal when we're caught up in the biggest cost of living crisis for decades.

But while the constant churn of consumerism can be overwhelming, there is another aspect of Christmas that has the power to fray even the sturdiest last nerve - preparing the dinner.

Research released by Samsung found that 64% of Brits find cooking Christmas dinner for their loved ones is the most stressful part of the season, with 37% saying that needing different temperatures for different dishes caused them the biggest headache. Similarly, 35% hated having to be across multiple timings.

But according to Millie Simpson, Manager of Sauce Cookery School at top London hotel The Langham, it doesn't have to be this way - if you use a few of the tricks of the trade she's picked up while working in some of the world's busiest kitchens.

Speaking at a special cookery event hosted by Samsung, she told Women's Health that the key to a stress-free Christmas dinner is prep, prep, prep, and to use it as an excuse to clear out the freezer.

Here are some of her top tips for a fuss-free festive feast... including how to make perfect roast potatoes.

Save waste

If you're making a rich sauce or gravy for your meat or veggie/vegan alternative, throw in any dregs of unfinished wine (as long as they're not corked). If you've been savvy and frozen them in ice cube trays throughout the year, this is your chance to get rid of them en masse. Don't worry about defrosting them first, just chuck them in!

Making a stock? Add in chopped up parsley stems for an extra kick.

samsung christmas dinner cooking tips
Samsung

We know it's hard to imagine any stuffing tasting better than Paxo, but it is easy to make your own. Stale bread works well, as long as it is a dense bake like sourdough, foccacia or ciabatta - it will hold up better against the other ingredients. You can also make it the day before to save time.

Don't waste good extra virgin olive oil on your roast potatoes and parsnips. Vegetable or rapeseed oil is better due to its ability to withstand higher temperatures without turning carcinogenic.

One area that you shouldn't be looking to save money on is the meat. If you buy the best joint you can afford, you'll be rewarded with better flavours, and a nice carcass to pick at and make stock from over the next few days.

samsung christmas dinner cooking tips
Samsung

It can work out cheaper to make pigs in blankets and Yorkshire puddings from scratch - and with thousands of recipes online, there's bound to be one that matches your culinary ability!

Save time

samsung christmas dinner cooking tips
Samsung

You can prepare many elements of your Christmas dinner way in advance, and Millie says that potatoes parboiled in vinegar (check her recipe below) can even be frozen and cooked on the day. You can also parboil them the day before the big dinner - just make sure you've got a floury variety and that they're going straight in to very, very hot oil.

samsung christmas dinner cooking tips
Samsung

Buy ready made, good quality fresh stock. You'll find it in the chiller aisle at the supermarket.

Brussel sprouts can be prepped - cleaned and halved - the day before. Keep them moist in the fridge by popping a damp tea towel over the bowl.

Perfect Roast Potatoes

samsung christmas dinner cooking tips
Samsung

Ingredients

  • 2kg Maris Piper, Agria or King Edward potatoes

  • 1tbsp white wine or cider vinegar

  • 200g Neutral oil – vegetable, sunflower, olive pomace

  • Maldon salt

Cooking instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 240c

  • Peel the potatoes and cut into chunks approx. 50mm x 50mm

  • Cover with cold water and add the vinegar – the vinegar will stop the potatoes from disintegrating when cooked

  • Bring to the boil, turn down to a simmer and cook until tender – approx. 10 minutes

  • Remove from the liquid and leave to drain and steam dry on greaseproof paper

  • Heat the olive oil in a deep tray on the stove or in the oven until very hot

  • Using tongs add the potatoes one by one to the oil, turning them to coat them in the oil you put them in

  • Roast in the oven approx. 40 minutes until golden brown and crispy on all sides, turning 2 or 3 times throughout

  • Remove from the oil and drain on kitchen paper, season liberally with Maldon salt and serve immediately

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