City Buzz: Keep your festive meal manageable

Christmas dinner
Christmas dinner

Our top tips to beat festive pressure

And with 68 per cent of us set to spend an extra £100 on food during the Christmas period, it’s also one of the most expensive.

Undated Channel 4 Handout Photo from Jamie's Ultimate Christmas. Pictured: Jamie Oliver. See PA Feature TV Oliver. Picture Credit should read: PA Photo/Channel 4. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature TV Oliver. WARNING: This picture may be used solely for Channel 4 programme publicity purposes in connection with the current broadcast of the programme(s) featured in the national and local press and listings. Not to be reproduced or redistributed for any use or in any medium not set out above (including the internet or other electronic form) without the prior written consent of Channel 4 Picture Publicity 020 7306 8685.

Undated Channel 4 Handout Photo from Jamie's Ultimate Christmas. Pictured: Jamie Oliver. See PA Feature TV Oliver. Picture Credit should read: PA Photo/Channel 4. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature TV Oliver. WARNING: This picture may be used solely for Channel 4 programme publicity purposes in connection with the current broadcast of the programme(s) featured in the national and local press and listings. Not to be reproduced or redistributed for any use or in any medium not set out above (including the internet or other electronic form) without the prior written consent of Channel 4 Picture Publicity 020 7306 8685.

But fear not, we have a few tips to help relieve some of the pressure, and ensure you enjoy that meal you’ve been planning for weeks.

Do your homework and choose your bird wisely. If you like turkey leftovers, invest in a bigger bird that you know will stretch to several other meals.

Sheffield chef Simon Ayres said: “There is so much to look at when you’re selecting your meat.

“Colour, condition and fat content all play a role in the flavour of the meat and differ greatly between beef, lamb and turkey.

Festive spends

Festive spends

“There are also so many different ways to prepare your meat. A lot of people play it safe when it comes to Christmas turkey but the basting and the stuffing can make all the difference.

“Finally, resting the meat is the most important part of serving any meat. I would never serve any meat that hadn’t been rested, which I know is difficult on Christmas Day when everyone is eager to dig in!”

Save a few pounds and make your own gravy. The bed of vegetables your turkey was cooked on, along with the roasting juices, provide tonnes of flavour, so add some flour to thicken and a splash of wine for a dreamy gravy.

Shop around. One place might have a bargain price for turkey, while another is a great place to stock up on vegetables, so shop around the high street and in the supermarket for the most competitive prices.

Make your own starters. Store-bought canapes can really add the pound signs to your shopping bill, so consider whipping up your own easy-peasy vol-au-vents, crostinis or mozzarella bites.

Add your own decorative touch. Fancy Christmas cakes can get pretty pricey, so spare your purse strings by buying a plain white cake and add your own sugar-dusting and decorative star embellishments.

Check your cupboards! We’re all guilty of standing in the supermarket aisles, trying to remember if we have any marzipan/nuts/flour/dried fruit left at home, then chucking stuff in our basket because we’re not sure. Save your pennies by checking your cupboards thoroughly before you leave the house, so you know exactly what you do and don’t need.

Make the most of any loyalty card points, or ask visiting relatives to provide the dessert. And agree everyone will bring what they’re drinking, to save your Prosecco stash taking too much of a direct hit!

Christmas Dinner with a difference

Christmas Dinner with a difference