For any cooks having a last minute Christmas dinner panic – help is at hand from the best in the business.
Celebrity chef Jean Christophe Novelli shared his last minute cooking tips for the big day on a recent trip to the Stanley House Hotel in Mellor, near Samlesbury.
The French expert says the key is all in the preparation – and revealed he will be on washing up duties at his own home.
He said: “When preparing for the Christmas dinner, what is very important is to know how to organise yourself and plan.
“People get stressed out cooking the Christmas dinner because they have so many expectations and they don’t plan.
“Doing too much doesn’t mean you’re doing good, doing less doesn’t mean you aren’t doing enough – it’s about quality.”
Jean Christophe also has some top tips for cooking that all important turkey.
He said: “Firstly, what I strongly advise is to divide the turkey into two parts, the legs and the breast.
“Cook the legs in advance the day before, poaching slowly for an hour at 80 degrees, and the next day, finish for the last 30 minutes with the roast in the dish – that’s it!
“By cooking the turkey this way you’re guaranteed to cook the breast correctly.
“The vegetables can be done in advance, pre-cooked, and finished on the day which will save a lot of time.”
And if you are running out of room in the refrigerator, Jean-Christophe has some helpful advice.
He said: “Use outside, unless you have an enormous fridge of course. On Christmas Day, the fridge becomes like a train station with people opening and closing it to get various things out, so the sensitive foods can go off very quickly.
“So use the cold weather to your advantage, but remember to cover your food properly.”
Jean-Christophe says the festive period is the only time of year he gets to hang up his whites and step away from the stove.
He says: “It is the only time of the year I don’t cook, I just do the washing up. Michelle, my fiancée, does the cooking and she’s very good. She makes the best sandwiches.
“I am never tempted to try and suggest things to her because for me, to have someone just cook for me and do those things is like the winning goal because all my life I cook for everybody and I never sit down.
“I’m always travelling, so when somebody cooks me something I really appreciate it.”