The twelve days of Christmas cooking tips - Blog, Facebook & Twitter event: send yours in now!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Christmas. You’ve been round to all of your friends drinks parties, you’ve held yours, and then the family descend on you for the big day itself. Turn the heating up to nursing home level (it gets cold in the UK), move the entire contents of the supermarket shelves into your pantry, let the spirits flow like water, and snooze in front of the TV. But we love it.

Most of us enjoy a cooking good Christmas – but there’s lots of things that can make it easier. After over 3 years of food blogging I thought it would be a good time for a blog event:


Yes - share your Christmas cooking tips so everyone else can save time on their Christmas cooking too, and have a stress free Christmas lunch!

What do I do if I want to join in?

Post a blog post with your Christmas cooking tip, or re-post an old one from your archive and include a link to this post by Sunday 13 December - this gives you twelve days (just). We will post all tips received on Monday 14 December and link to your blog, facebook or twitter page so everyone has 10 days to read it before they start on their Christmas meal preparations.

You don’t even have to keep a food blog to enter you can:

1 – Tweet your tip to @Cotswoldfood (yes you can get it into 140 characters)

2 – Leave us a comment on our Face book page here.

3 – Email you entry to: with:

Your name

A link to your post

Blog Name

Name and URL of Your Christmas cooking tip post

Location: Optional

Photo: If you have a photo to accompany your cooking tip attach that to your email in Jpeg format, 100 KB or less please.

I am based in Tewkesbury on the edge of the Cotswolds – so it would be great to see as many local Christmas cooking tips as possible – if you’re in Gloucestershire or Worcestershire let me know on your entry! I will collect all the names of the entries with a GL or WR postcode and draw 3 at random on the 14th December to win a box of our frangipane and almond mince pies delivered to their door.

This is my entry on The Cotswold Food Year – a tip from my archives, but as it is one of the Christmas cooking tips that could save a life this Christmas I thought it good to pass on! What's your tip?

Ever brought too many clementines at Christmas time? Those two for one offers are so tempting aren't they? @CulinaryTravels suggests making clementine cordial. Can also be made with oranges or satsumas. There's a great recipe here on her blog Culinary travels of a kitchen goddess. I'll definitely be trying this one - your own cordial being much fresher is always a different world than one you can purchase. She suggests mixing the orange cordial with sparkling water or lemonade for a soda style drink or to use it as a mixer for alcoholic drinks such as vodka or whiskey or even to add the cordial to hot water for a winter warmer. Now I wonder which one I'll be trying?

@LynnCherylEde prominent local twitterer and fellow Tewkesbury resident gives us not one but two tips via the delights of twitter.
Firstly - "Um coals to Newcastle springs to mind but yes.Spread mincemeat on large short pastry square, roll up, slice, tray & bake. :) arty pies". That's a great tip for quick & easy homemade mince pies! Would also make a good alternative to Christmas pudding served with brandy sauce or anglaise/ custard.
Secondly - why not exchange the traditional turkey for roast pork. "Take cured pork, score top, slop gorgeous honey on top, pour Guinness over & around & roast. Mmmm" Mmmm indeed. Never thought of the Guinness before - what a combination. And who can resist the crackling? And that's how you get cooking tips into 140 characters.

@HubUK whose website is a hub for recipes, food, cookery, cooking holidays and more gives us a great tip "Get someone else to do it?" Now that explains why I am so busy over Christmas and New Year. But then he continued "I do my roast potatoes in chip pan because of lack of oven space." Good tip there! Planning your oven space before the day makes everything run smoothly, and it just shows you there's always more that one way of cooking something!

DK from the food blog Chef in You gives us the best snickerdoodle cookie recipe ever! The tips are given not only during the step by step instructions but are also at the end of the post (now that's helpful!)- see their post here. I love the idea of ground cardomon in there. They would make great presents, or maybe you could hang them on the Christmas tree too.

@Chefrenee gives us some Fresh Ideas... again via twitter: "What works 4 me is make ahead & freeze what can. Also,prep any spice or dry ingredient & bag 'um w/printed recipe attached.& Keep it simple!" Couldn't agree more! Make it, freeze it and it's ready to go on the day. Just make sure you defrost everything accordingly and it is re-heated to the correct temperature. There's excellent advice on freezing and defrosting food here.

I really like the idea of prepping all the dry ingredients for recipes in advance too - that would make it so easy on the day you make your chosen recipe - a ready mix that you've made yourself!

@simbaeats who has just started an interesting looking blog with a simple mission - let everyone know how great African food can be. I think that will be a very good project. He says via twitter "xmas tip - ditch the turkey - so much more exciting meats!" You're so right. What are you cooking at Christmas?

@FoodieatFifteen (now 75) [check out dinner party photos here btw] says in the comments below: "last year I made alton brown's ham. The only work is just crusting the ham and putting it in the oven. Allows time to be spent with the fam." You mean this one? Crushed ginger cookies on it - I can see why you like it! Cutting down on cooking time on Christmas Day is always a good idea.

And Aidan Brooks - read his comment below - I knew someone would say that!

Thanks everyone and enjoy your Christmas cooking!


Make your Christmas cooking easy by blanching your vegetables - see kitchen tip #55 here.


Trig said...

My tip is to put your feet up and let someone else do the cooking. Usually it's my father and I stay away from the kitchen until the very last minute, then take over before everything turns to a crock of... and rescue the meal. It seems to work quite well like that.

James said...

Sounds good! I knew someone would say that :o)

Jan said...

'Move the entire contents of the supermarket shelves into your pantry'!!! made me laugh.
I like Trig's suggestion but it aint gonna happen in this house (if I want feeding that is). Paul can't cook AT ALL lol

Nick N said...

last year I made alton brown's ham. The only work is just crusting the ham and putting it in the oven. Allows time to be spent with the fam.

James said...

There's no way the text in the middle there wants to conform to size. Tinkering with the html in blogger used to be so easy, now it's been made impossible - I'm a chef rather than a computer scientist.....

There's one more tip I have to add if there's time in the next week.

Thanks everyone!