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Tips for a Successful Christmas Dinner

Planning a successful Christmas party can be a daunting task. It can be messy, hectic and all consuming. The mission: to pull off a delectable four or five-course dinner – the kind all your guests will rave about for weeks – with casual finesse (a beautifully decorated table would help too). Mission impossible? Not if you follow these practical tips on how to make it easier and more enjoyable for guests and hosts alike.

When it comes to serving the traditional Christmas dinner, the success of your party can hinge on whether or not your turkey is too dry or tough. The key to preparing a succulent turkey is the cooking and thawing time. The former is all about making sure the turkey has been cooked just right, and the latter about making sure your guests won’t suffer food poisoning. Guides listing cooking and thawing times based on turkey weight are readily available on the internet. Be sure to follow such guides to a timely T.

Christmas Spread

An easier Christmas dinner option that is still elegant is to serve delicious smoked salmon instead of the more traditional turkey. If this is the main course you end up going for, make sure the salmon is fresh – it should be glistening and moist with a smoky aroma.

Worried your cheeseboard is looking a bit bland? Make sure you are combining different cheese flavours – there is no better way to get the taste buds going. Contrast creamy Camembert with a delicately sweet Jarlsberg or the ever-popular blue-marbled English Stilton. You can’t go wrong with adding Edam cheese to the selection – children find its spherical shape and bright red coating highly appealing.

The secret to flaming Christmas pudding without setting your guests on fire is to warm a few spoonfuls of rum or brandy in a ladle before setting it alight and pouring it over the pudding. Cut and serve the dish while a few wisps of the blue flame are still dancing over the dessert.

Christmas Pudding

If you’re lucky, some of your guests will show up to the party with Christmas gift hampers, making your fussing over the meal a little less necessary. Hampers help if and when you burn the turkey, cut your hand while slicing the salmon, or singe a guest’s eyebrows while flaming the pudding. With this in mind, it’s probably a good idea to think ahead and have a Christmas hamper on hand just in case an accident does happen. After all, success favours the prepared mind… especially during Christmas. Plan well and you should have no problem pulling off a wonderful meal.

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