Let’s Make Christmas EASY!

Planning for Christmas Day:

Making  Christmas Lunch easy for me is all about getting a sense of realism.  I love celebratory meals and all the tradition of Christmas.  But, I’ve come to accept that when all my family are around I actually want to spend time with them.  So, forgive me, in my heart I’d love to have made a Christmas Cake, a Christmas Pudding, mince pies, stollen, cranberry jelly and brandy butter.  But, I realised earlier this month that I still had half a jar of mincemeat left over from last year AND the brandy butter in the fridge…So THIS year I’m doing things the easy way!

Lets Make Christmas Easy

Yes of course I am still making things.  There are some dishes that for me simply are not the same if they are shop bought.  AND I have a fabulous box of Christmas fruit and vegetables from Abel and Cole.  But I’m cutting right back and where I think it doesn’t matter, using ready made sauces and just perhaps perking them up with a few fresh herbs (for example I’ll add red wine, juniper and rosemary to the Baxters cranberry jelly)

Here’s what we’re having:-

Main meal –

Crown of Turkey with sage and lemon stuffing.  I’ve bought a crown from Abel and Cole because I know there are only four of us and I really don’t fancy eating turkey for the rest of the year.  My favourite game supplier has vanished and so the venison we’ve had for the last few years is off the menu.  And, when I’ve bought goose in the past, I’ve had to spend the next few months trying to clean the oven.  I make the stuffing because it’s quite easy to do and I begrudge the cost of the ‘fresh’ versions that you can buy in the supermarket for something that is essential stale bread and herbs!

Spiced red cabbage with apples. I’ve made this every year that I’ve ‘done’ the family Christmas – it works well with turkey but is also very nice with venison and goose.

Duck fat roasties

Parmesan Parsnips – these are just parboiled for 5 minutes then dipped in a mix of seasoned flour and parmesan before being roasted alongside the turkey

Sprouts with chestnuts (ready peeled from merchant gourmet who do a much better job of getting all the skin off than I can ever manage)

Buttered carrots and celery with caraway seeds (boil till ‘al dente’ then toss in butter and a teaspoon of caraway seeds and put in the oven to keep warm)

Pigs in blankets (ready made from Abel and Cole)

Home made bread sauce

Cranberry Jelly (Baxters with a bit of extra!)

Red wine giblet gravy

I’ve prepared all the vegetables, the stuffing and the bread sauce in advance.

Here’s the spiced red cabbage recipe, which keeps well, is delicious with cold meats and can also be frozen.

Spiced Red Cabbage with Apple

Serves 6-8
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 2 hours, 30 minutes
Total time 2 hours, 45 minutes
Allergy Milk
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Side Dish
Misc Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold, Serve Hot
Occasion Christmas
Region British


  • Pepper
  • 6 teaspoons Brown sugar
  • 1 Red Cabbage (About 1/2kg weight)
  • 1 Large Cooking Apple
  • 2 Onions
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • 100ml Red wine vinegar
  • 30g Butter
  • Nutmeg (Freshly grated)
  • Ground Cinnamon
  • Ground Cloves
  • Salt
  • 6-8 Juniper berries (Crushed)


Step 1 Cut the cabbage into quarters like orange segments and remove any hard stem. Then shred finely along the segments to make fine ribbons of cabbage
Step 2 Peel and core the apple and chop finely.
Step 3 Peel the onion and chop finely. Peel and chop the garlic
Step 4 spiced red cabbage with apple and onion
Put a layer of cabbage in the bottom of a large ovenproof dish with a lid. Now layer onion, garlic and apple, then season with a sprinkle of the spices, two teaspoons of sugar and with salt and pepper.
Step 5 spiced red cabbage with apple and onion 2
Continue layering and seasoning each layer, finishing with a layer of cabbage (I do this by keeping the cabbage in quarter portions, and dividing the apple/onion mix into thirds).
Step 6 Once all the layers are complete, pour over the vinegar and then dot the butter on top. Cover the casserole (if necessary with foil under the lid) and place in the oven at 150c for 2 hours
Step 7 Check and stir occasionally. This dish is best made a day in advance and reheated to allow all the spices to permeate the cabbage.

My Christmas pudding came from Waitrose and will get cooked in the microwave, laced with a little extra brandy.  I’m serving it this year with Brandy Clotted Cream because I don’t think another year’s supply of brandy butter is a good idea!

spiced red cabbage

The only real cooking I’m doing is to make up the stuffing, the bread sauce and the spiced red cabbage.  But it sounds like quite a feast doesn’t it?

I’ve got clementines, stollen and home made mince pies and lots of chocolates if anyone is still hungry.  And, I’m hoping that it will be a really stress-free Christmas this year!

turkey crown and stuffing

Have a joyful and peaceful day yourselves.







If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.


  1. says

    I’m with you on not trying to be super woman at Christmas. I thought it would be fun to make a Chocolate Roulade this year but as the time drew nearer and with a cold in hot pursuit I realised it was an extra job that would probably finish me off! So I bought my Chocolate Roulade and very nice it was too!
    Happy Christmas! Camilla x

    • says

      happy christmas to you too Camilla. I do think we get obsessed with ‘everything from scratch’ at a time when actually taking a short cut to allow us to spend holiday time together isn’t a bad idea at all!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *