January 7, 2015

Do-Ahead Christmas by James Ramsden

Do-Ahead Christmas: How to Feed Friends and Family Without the Frenzy
My rating: 4 of 5 spoons

I realize it may seem funny to be reviewing a cookbook all about pre-cooking for Christmas, but I only received the book a couple of days before Christmas. Between holidays and a four day health crisis, I wasn't able to review it before.

I was really excited to get this book as I always end up rushed and frazzled when trying to cook a big meal for Christmas. It was a bit of a let down that the first thing in the book was a slew of alcoholic drinks with only a couple of non-alcoholic choices. (Just because I don't drink alcohol I can't have a nice variety of interesting drinks, too?) Things started looking up after getting into Chilli Nuts and Polenta Chips and a nice array of other finger foods. From there we moved into Christmas Eve and the book definitely showed its British roots! Not many people of my acquaintance eat pickled herring--I'm not even sure where I could buy herring! I actually have a leg of lamb in my freezer, so I'm looking forward to the Herb-Stuffed Leg of Lamb. I don't know if I can find the watercress it calls for in the sauce, but I'm going to give it a shot!

We move on to Christmas Day with a variety of interesting dishes from Gravlax on Rye Crispbread, Turkey three ways (my family brined it this year and it was wonderful!), Roast Goose (on my 'to make' list before I die!), Salmon en Croute with Hollandaise Sauce, Figgy Pudding with Brandy Butter (my girls would love this just for the name!), Christmas Trifle and more.

Now we have a whole section on sides. It starts with Roast Potatoes. I'm a newcomer to parboiling my potatoes before roasting, but it is so worth it!! Crispy, crunchy on the outside with a silky smooth inside. Sigh! I could eat a whole pan! There's four recipes for Brussels Sprouts, which is exciting for me. I've learned to love them and a couple of these are very new ideas for me. I can't wait to try them out! Stuffing, cranberry sauce and more vegetables follow.

Now we get to dessert!! Cake and Other Treats has everything from Fruit Cake to Stollen, Mince Pies, Panettone, Yule Log and more.

From sweets we move to Leftovers--interesting ways to use all those Christmas leftovers from Turkey Pho, to Panettone Bread and Butter Pudding among others.

We finish with Edible Presents. Eight recipes from Piccalilli to Chocolate Covered Orange Peel for friends and family.

This was a very enjoyable cookbook and, even though it didn't really come in time for me to use this year, I can definitely see myself turning to it during the next holiday season!

I received a copy of this book from IPG for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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