1st December 2020
Tips for a stress-free Christmas
There’s a surprising amount you can learn from a professional kitchen operation that still applies in the home. With all the stresses of the Christmas season upon us, we asked our head chef for his top tips on how to stay calm throughout the hustle and bustle. (And for his perfect gingerbread recipe).
- Prepare as much as you can in advance so there is less on the day. Many dishes can be mostly-cooked the night before and finished on the day.
- Don’t over complicate the dishes. Classics are classics for a reason.
- Always use fresh ingredients. Shop at your local butchers for meat and your local farmers market for produce. It’s better tasting and better for the environment.
- Get people to help you. Don't try and do it all yourself. Even simple tasks like setting the table can be outsourced to other members of your family.
- Keep the menu small but powerful. You don’t need to make nine different dishes. Focus more on complementing flavours to round out the plate.
Now for a gingerbread biscuit recipe to absolutely die for:
175g dark muscovado sugar
85g golden syrup
350g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Melt the sugar, golden syrup and butter in a saucepan, then bubble for 1-2 mins. Leave to cool for about 10 mins.
Tip the flour, bicarbonate of soda and spices into a large bowl. Add the warm syrup mixture and the egg, stir everything together, then gently knead in the bowl until smooth and streak-free.
Wrap in cling film and chill for at least 30 mins.
Remove the dough from the fridge, leave at room temperature until softened. Heat oven to 180c fan and line two baking trays with baking parchment.
Roll out the dough to the thickness of a £1 coin, then cut out gingerbread people with a cutter.
Re-roll the excess dough and keep cutting until it’s all used up.
Lift the biscuits onto the trays and bake for 10-12 mins, swapping the trays over halfway through cooking.
Leave to cool on the trays for 5 mins, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Decorate with coloured icing for the perfect gingerbread biscuits.