June 8, 2023


Food loaded for bear

here’s what to add to your festive checklist

Telegraph Food columnist Xanthe Clay argues we shouldn’t skimp. “Make lots and plan leftovers. Things like braised red cabbage, freeze in two portion bags so you can pull out what you need. Don’t forget you can freeze cooked meat too.”  

Kenny Tutt, who won MasterChef in 2018 and runs the PITCH restaurant and cookery school, says getting ahead is ideal when entertaining large groups for Christmas. Sauces – bread, cranberry, gravy – freeze well.

Tutt also thinks broadening your christmas leftovers repertoire will help prevent any waste. Last year, Tutt made sprout samosas, which he says were “amazing”.

If you wish to downsize the meat, or can’t find what you’re looking for, swap the turkey for beef, lamb, pheasant – or why not try a cockerel? Bigger than a chicken, smaller than a turkey, and tastier than both.

Christmas food shopping checklist

To ensure the big day goes without a hitch, a food shopping checklist is a must-have. To make life easier, these are the key items that you can’t do without.

1. Christmas turkey, the classic centrepiece.

2. British free-range goose as a Dickensian alternative with a fuller flavour.

3. Christmas gammon, with or without spices, to see you through boxing day.

4. Pigs in blankets, irresistibly snack-sized and usually gone before dinner.

5. Pork, sage and onion stuffing. for herby complexity.

6. Cranberry sauce, for that juicy cool accompaniment.

7. Bread sauce, for comfort-food appeal.

8. Christmas pudding as the final coup de grace.

9. Mince pies for light pre- and post-dinner skirmishing.

10. Brandy butter for both of the above.

11. Stilton for a dignified end to proceedings.

12. Port to go with the Stilton.

13. Champagne at all times.

How to lay the perfect Christmas table

Take the hassle out of hosting with our guide to festive tablescaping from the Telegraph’s Jessica Doyle and Alice Naylor-Leyland, founder of tableware and crockery brand Mrs Alice.