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James McIntosh

Prepare ahead for Christmas

Posted by James McIntosh Tuesday, 3rd December 2013

As the song goes"It's the most wonderful time of the year".  I don't know about you, but I just HATE it when one of my colleagues announces in September that all of the Christmas shopping has been completed.  I consider myself a very organised man, but Christmas, I'm never ready, but I love Christmas. If it's with my family its back to Belfast or if it's with Mother-In-Law it's off to Frankfurt.  I'm always back in London after a few days away for New Year to celebrate with friends.  In essence, it's a week of dinners.


Previous blogs have helped with this...



But what about the vegetables?  You know, the bit of the Christmas dinner that actually takes the most time to prepare? The answer is to do the root vegetables and the red cabbage in advance, and yes that includes the roast potatoes, and if you follow this method, no-one will know.


Red Cabbage

Red Cabbage Chop up a red cabbage and place into a casserole dish with one chopped red onion, add 1 tbsp red wine vinegar, some star anise, ground mixed spice ground ginger, cloves, raisins or sultanas, 4 tbsp water and a cinnamon stick.  Place the lid on the casserole and place into the Rangemaster Oven at 150C / 130C fan / Gas Mark 3 for about 20 minutes until the cabbage is soft.  Discard the cloves, star anise and cinnamon sticks.  Allow to cook and freeze.  Place into the fridge on Christmas Eve and place into a covered ovenproof casserole or serving dish for 10 minutes at the same temperature before serving.



Carrots and Parsnips

Carrots and Parsnips Peel and slice the carrots and parsnips as required.  For an extra touch you can add some whole peeled shallots or red onions cut into quarters.  Place onto a roasting tray with some oil and fresh thyme and place into a preheated Rangemaster oven at 180C / 160C fan / Gas 4 for 25-30 minutes until roasted.  Allow to cool and freeze.  On Christmas Eve, take from the freezer and place into the fridge to defrost.  To reheat heat a cast iron roasting dish in the Rangemaster oven at the same temperature. When it's very hot, add the vegetables and cook for 10-15 minutes until cooked through.  You don't need to add any extra oil.



Roast Potatoes

Roast PotatoesPre-heat the Rangemaster oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas Mark 4.  Peel and cut the potatoes as required and place onto a pre-heated roasting tray with some oil or goose fat.  If you wish to power boil the potatoes for fluffy edges, do that before roasting.  Roast the potatoes until cooked and allow to cool.  Place into the freezer.  On Christmas Eve take from the freezer and place into the fridge.  Heat a cast iron roasting tray in the Rangemaster oven at the same temperature as originally roasting.  Don't add any extra fat.  Place the defrosted potatoes on the hot tray with no extra fat (it must be cast iron for this to work) and roast for 20 minutes.



Happy Christmas!!

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