This month, Paul Dickson gives his tips on getting ahead for the festive season and making sure that you’re well prepared with crowd-pleasing menu options and minimal food waste. When it comes to the Christmas period, preparation is key, not only to a successful menu but also to ensure that you’re not going to be left with a load of fresh stock that you can’t do anything with once the festivities are over. Planning ahead doesn’t only apply to your main menu. Having some waste-busting specials up your sleeve is a great way of alleviating added pressure at the time. Here are some recipes to help you to get ahead.
Don’t ‘pud’ it in the bin
Whilst many traditional festive menus will include the Christmas pudding in some way, it can often over face even the biggest appetites after a starter and a huge turkey dinner. This recipe for Deep Fried Christmas Pudding Balls is worth a try either as a fun alternative on your main menu or to add to your specials or snacks menu over the festive period. It’s a great waste saver if you have a load of pudding left and as a bonus, deep frying classic puds is massively on trend. Try creating some fun dips to serve alongside on a sharing platter which might just tempt the most reluctant diners to dig in.
A fresh approach to leftovers
It’s the age-old conundrum – what to do with the leftover turkey. Fear not, as once you try this recipe, you’ll wish you had leftover turkey all year round! Joking aside, this turkey ramen soup is both delicious and extremely flexible. You can easily turn it vegetarian or change the meat depending on what you have available or need to use up. It also offers diners a welcome change from all of the rich meals that often go hand in hand with the festive season.
It’s all in the details
Adding touches such as homemade condiments and sauces can make all the difference to your Christmas meal. If you prepare now, you can get things like cranberry sauce made up to 14 days in advance, or longer if you have space to freeze it in batches. It’s such an easy thing to make in bulk and will impress diners. Alternatively, you could always buy a batch of ready-made sauce and add fresh stewed cranberries and orange zest to give it a rustic appearance and an extra zing of freshness.