4 things to make Christmas cooking a little less stressful
Make Christmas Day that little bit less stressful with these kitchen gadgets...
Christmas is approaching like a runaway train and with it the sobering reality we'll be expected to knock together a show-stopping dinner.
It may look effortless once it's laid out on the table, but behind that slammed-shut kitchen door sits an altogether more hopeless scene.
Nearly half of women (42%) polled by Travelodge reckon cooking Christmas dinner is the most stressful job of the year.
From dry turkey and complaining relatives to over-boiled sprouts and forgotten mince pies, it's no wonder cold sweats and hot flushes punctuate the day.
I'd love to tell you we have four kitchen gadgets that'll make the whole thing go swimmingly but that would be a lie. However, they will make things that little bit more manageable.
1) Range cooker
With more components than we have fingers and toes, there's no wonder Christmas dinner leaves your regular cooker feeling a little inadequate. Picture the scene: your turkey and potatoes are in the oven but there's no room left your pigs in blankets, and you've no more hobs left for the carrots. The dinner you've been planning for months is descending into a farce.
But with five hobs and a couple of ovens, a range cooker would mean your midday meltdown wouldn't be about cooking space. Pop the turkey in one oven and the potatoes and pigs-in-blankets in another. And instead of switching around pans full of boiling water like some dangerous circus act, let each one have its own dedicated hob.
Cooking Christmas Dinner is all about planning - your schedule would probably give the Crunchy Nut Cornflake man a run for his money. But best laid plans always go awry with things taking far longer than first thought.
Opportunities to save time should be grabbed like a fiver in the wind. This is where a food processor comes in.
The Travelodge survey found 40% of women don't trust their husbands to carry out essential Christmas dinner tasks.
But if you're peeling and slicing carrots as well cooking the turkey you could be at the chopping board for longer than it takes to play a Pink Floyd album.
Instead of all that faffing around, do it in seconds with a food processor. Likewise, bread sauce can be bashed out in no time at all with the processor on your side.
3) Food mixer
After dragging yourself from bed on Christmas morning your mini-meltdown nearly comes four hours early when you realise you forgot to make the mince pies last night. Perhaps anyone who insists on baking hours before the busiest cooking day of the year is asking for trouble?
But homemade mince pies have become a tradition, and the great unwashed in the living room won't be happy if you elbow them. A KitchenAid stand mixer means you won't have to.
Sling your flour, icing sugar and butter in the bowl and away you go. They'll be mixed in seconds and cooked within the hour - giving you plenty of time to negotiate that turkey and the unsightly business of stuffing it.
Stuffing turkey, peeling veg, opening presents, bashing bread sauce, straining gravy, blanketing pigs, exchanging pleasantries, pouring drinks, pouring gravy, steaming puds, dusting mince pies, mashing spuds, smashing plates (hopefully not).
With all this to face you're going to need some caffeine to keep you going.
Start the day with a short, sharp espresso and you'll be ready to face all December 25 can throw at you - until you're broken by the challenge of serving it all up, of course…