Life is hectic, especially at this time of year. I think most people have perfection issues at Christmas.
I suppose Insta-ready Christmas photos are to blame along with glossy magazines that show all the good stuff and none of the bad.
The way I try to see it is, my children are young and they will not be young forever. I want to enjoy Christmas with them, see the magic on their faces and play with their toys with them.
While I am still guilty of striving for perfection when it comes to the dinner, there are some shortcuts I take. As with most things at the farm, the shortcuts are secret-until now.
You see I am not all together honest with the little tweaks as I tend to pass them off as home made. All you need is a little ingenuity and I promise, you can do it too.
1. I have made red cabbage with apples and all that but it takes ages to chop the veg as it is without having to cut a whole cabbage into slivers. I find it easier to buy this ready made for Christmas and decant it into one of my own dishes with a splash of port and everyone thinks I made it.
2. I do the same with cranberry sauce. I serve this in cocktail glasses with little spoons and add a bit of port to that too. Can you see a pattern emerging here? It is a port pattern.
3. Gravy is a special one. Christmas gravy has to be an event in itself and I do use the juices from the turkey. I also add gravy granules rather than mess round with a roux on Christmas day, A clementine and, you guessed it, another generous serving of port and you get top class gravy.
4. Now I know stuffing is easy to make with bread crumbs but so is a packet of ready made stuffing. You can add dried cranberries to it and a knob of butter and it will also taste homemade without the need for grating breadcrumbs.
5. I love, love, love bread sauce at Christmas but I buy it ready made (usually from M&S) but I tweak it myself. I add a little drop of cream and sprinkle a bit of nutmeg on the top and, again, serve it in a pretty dish.
Do you use any shortcuts for Christmas Dinner? I would love to hear about them.