The festive season is upon us and with it comes a whole lot of food. Fortunately or unfortunately some people will be on cooking duty instead of couch sitting duty and we’re here to make sure all the clanging of pots and pans that goes on in kitchens this season results in meals everyone can enjoy with a little less stress. Here are our tips to make sure your festive cooking is less stressful and more flavourful.
Declutter Your Fridge Before You Shop
You don’t want to come home with 5-6 bags of frozen meat and vegetables that won’t fit in your fridge because you still have leftovers in different boxes taking up space. In the spirit of having a less wasteful festive season, clear out anything you know you won’t eat so that you don’t end up overstuffing your fridge and spoiling all your produce.
Don’t Over Commit
A couple of days before Christmas is not the time to decide to cook a whole goat or turkey. If you hadn’t planned for it then don’t fall into the pressure of trying to impress your guests with large scale meals. Cook what you’re comfortable with or consider getting your whole goat or turkey pre-cooked so that all you have to do is season and present it.
Stay On The Grind
All the deliciously spiced dishes come out to play during the holidays which means all the spices you purchased over the course of the year can finally be used. Some dishes might require whole spices but who has the time to grind whole black peppercorns to add to each dish. Consider buying ground spices such as onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper and cloves to make your seasoning a whole lot easier.
Chopped, Peeled and Diced
This is the most tedious part of festive cooking but there is a shortcut. Most butcheries and grocery stores do the heavy work for you. Ask your butcher to cut down pieces of meat for you into manageable pieces. For vegetables, if you can buy the precut and washed ones then do so in bulk.
Ziplock Your Ice Cream
No, we don’t mean scooping it out of the box. Place your container of ice cream in a ziplock bag then freeze it until you need it. You won’t have to worry about warming a spoon or leaving it out too long and ending up with watery ice cream. It will be a perfect consistency.
Use Your Stovetop Wisely
Festive cooking can be a bit hectic. At some point, your stovetop will be full and you’ll end up with a waiting line of food. To avoid this, use your other cooking devices. If you have a slow cooker use it for anything that needs to be kept warm if you have a jiko then use it to cook anything that needs high heat or has a longer cooking time. This way you don’t have people waiting for pilau because you chose to make chapatis first.
Find more festive season tips in our latest issue.