Christmas menus: Festive food for everyone

Woman takes plate with turkey at Christmas dinner.
Woman takes plate with turkey at Christmas dinner.

Planning doesn't just help Christmas go more smoothly, it can be part of the fun of anticipating the festive season. Cooking a Christmas ham (as in the video above), or making a cake, pudding, terrine or gravy in advance can get you in the mood and make you feel more 'Christmassy'. Knowing you have some of the big jobs already done can also help reduce stress in the kitchen.

Making the big decisions in advance and planning your shopping and cooking is probably easier after a little research.

An oldie but a goodie - easy prawn cocktail
Baked figs with goat cheese
Cured salmon and cucumber spoons
Prosciutto and scallop kebabs

Main courses:
Traditional roast turkey
Roast breast of turkey
Rib roast of beef
Stuffed pork loin roast
Moroccan stuffed lamb (goes well with Persian fragrant rice)
Beef Wellington (great for small party or how about the venison version?)
Roast duck with clementines

Side dishes and accompaniments:
Perfect roast potatoes
Yorkshire pudding
Pork stuffing
Sprouts with chorizo
Caramelized carrots and parsnips
Balsamic roasted beetroot
Braised red cabbage (can be made in advance and frozen)
Roast sweet potatoes
Apple, chestnut and pistachio stuffing

Non-meat alternatives:
Honey and citrus roast salmon
Gordon Ramsay's poached salmon
Creamy stuffed roast peppers with mixed grains
Easy mixed nut roast

If you need a spectacular centrepiece but don't want a Christmas pudding, why not try making a similarly shaped bombe Noël (based on ice cream)? It can be made in advance - but not might stand up as well to flaming bandy. And if you are flaming a Christmas pudding, try using vodka instead of brandy as it tends to be easier to light.

More pudding ideas:
Poached pears in cassis
Traditional sweet sherry trifle
Last-minute Christmas pudding
Brandy butter
Mixed berry Eton mess
Strawberry and white chocolate cheesecake
Cakes and bakes:
Christmas tree decorations
Cinnamon buns (lovely with coffee)
Christmas wreath cake
Boozy Christmas cake
Chocolate Yule log
Quick Christmas fruit cake - perfect with tea or stilton and glass of port
Last-minute Christmas pudding (can be made on Christmas Eve)
Hazelnut biscuits (very quick, and make an excellent gift)
Epiphany ring - perfect for the twelfth day of Christmas (6 January)
Stollen with pistachios
Warm seedy bread rolls (great with soup)

More festive food ideas:
Christmas menus: Festive food for everyone
Christmas cooking for one or two
Festive cocktails, hot drinks and party food
How to have a Scandinavian-style Christmas
What to do with a supermarket lobster
Christmas baking and dessert recipes

Make Christmas easier on yourself:
The ultimate Christmas countdown
Quick and easy last-minute Christmas
How to decode a whisky label
Take the stress out of Christmas
How to carve a turkey like an expert