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Who wants to spend Christmas alone in the kitchen instead of celebrating with friends? To ensure that the preparation of the festive menu does not lead to Christmas frustration, even keen cooks should not overtax themselves. Household management expert Marga Hamacher, from the eismann frozen food company, has a few tips:

Why do so many people find that preparing
the Christmas menu leaves them
limp and exhausted?

Cooking for a number of guests – maybe preparing several courses – takes experience and good planning. If you try to prepare everything at the same time, from the hors-d’oeuvre to the roast to the side dishes, you’ll soon get into a muddle. So try to mix dishes that need to be cooked on the day with courses that can be prepared in advance. For the starters, for example, you could serve Black Forest ham made into savoury rolls, or a salmon terrine from the freezer. Thawed quickly on the day, they taste good and keep your guests looking forward to the main course, while they give you cook more time and peace to focus on the rest of the meal and the guests.

Peeling, preparing and cutting – how can you save
time in preparation?

In the case of vegetables and side dishes, there are some little tricks which make things easier for the cook. And the food you serve up will look homemade with all the taste and quality you’d expect. A good example is frozen herbs which eliminate time-consuming chopping. Ready-prepared, frozen vegetables are also practical and available all the year round. They are often fresher and more flavoursome than fresh ones which have been stored for long periods in the supermarket, and it only takes a minute to toss exactly the amount you need into a saucepan. Dumplings to accompany the festive roast need not be homemade. Pre-prepared dumplings taste as if they have been prepared by an expert chef and are guaranteed not to disintegrate in the saucepan.

What do you recommend for the festive roast?

For many people a goose and Christmas belong together, but there could also be other culinary highlights such as a Prague-style pork roast with crackling, roasted in the oven and served with spätzle – home-made pasta – and braised cabbage. Game is also a good idea – maybe a goulash of venison forestière, with mushrooms. Many people who prefer a lighter meal choose fish. Here, too, a frozen variety can be recommended, for example, fine Greenland halibut. This noble fish is already filleted and you can be quite sure that it is really fresh. That saves space in the refrigerator which you can use for storing other foods.

Five tips for healthy eating

  • Less is more: the large the number of courses being served, the smaller the portions of each should be.

  • Light and delicious: include vegetables and fish in your festive menu.

  • Avoid fatty dishes; remove surplus fat from your sauces.

  • Alcohol doesn’t really help digestion. It’s far better to go for a family walk. Why not plan a walk as part of the daily programme during the holiday period?

  • Instead of serving cake, festive biscuits make a lighter accompaniment to afternoon tea.

More information at www.eismann.de