Christmas special prep tips



Well it's almost that time of the year, Christmas!

For me it's a holiday that has a special place in my hart. Spending time with the people I love and looking back to all the adventures we had that year. And one thing that definitely should not be missed is good food!

But then there's the struggle that almost everyone has. How to find the right balance between spending time in the kitchen to prepare that amazing food and spending time with your family and friends.


That's why I have created an amazing Christmas menu where you can still serve mind-blowing dishes and spend time with those special people. I've already uploaded all the video's so be sure to check them out first before reading the article.




So how do you organize a four course dinner with an amuse while still having an amazing dinner yourself?

Well the most important thing is organization. That's why I've made a full shop list & prep list so you can keep an eye on how far you are and I've also added some time's and temperatures to make it even more clear.


Prep list Christmas menu - Jules Cooking
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Then there's prep, because when you have everything ready to go you can sit back and enjoy the evening. You can easily start prepping days beforehand to give yourself some more time and insure one dinner doesn't take over your life. I’ve divided the prep over a couple of days. Most creams, gels, and sauces you can easily freeze. This also counts for the crisps, when stored properly you can keep them for days without a problem. Off course making everything as fresh as possible is better, but it’s a lot of work so this is just unrealistic unless you’re with more people. Let’s say you want to spread the work into 6 days. We’ll start on Monday and serve the dinner on Saturday. Be aware that you keep track of what you’ve done and still need to do. So use the prep list.



Monday:

We’re going to begin with the egg yolk. They need to cure for three days. So it’s wise to directly start with that. After that boil the Jerusalem artichoke to make the crisps and the cream. The crisps you can dry overnight and the cream you can keep in the freezer for later.

Then start on the tarragon gel and the lovage oil. You can keep both in the freezer but remember to already weigh 40 grams of lovage oil for the tuille that we’re going to make tomorrow.


Tuesday:

Today is crispy day. Start by prepping the fried onions and the fried cappers. Once everything is prepped deep-fry the Jerusalem artichoke skin. Then the cappers and finally the fried onions. Do this in this order because the onions will make the oil dirty very fast.

After the frying you can start on the rye tartelette dough. While that’s resting make the vanilla snow, the king mushrooms crispy and the lovage tuille. Then take the rye dough and bake the tartelettes. Once all the crisps have cooled down directly transfer them into a container and keep them dry and covered out of the fridge for later.


Wednesday:

My favorite day of the week. Because it’s sauce day!

First start on the duck sauce. This takes a while to make, so it’s better to start early.

While the sauce is simmering begin on the beurre blanc base, that one also needs some time to reduce. Now make the caramel sauce and the honey glaze. Once those two are done you can drain the beurre blanc base. Be sure to keep an eye on the duck sauce and finish it when ready. Now let all the sauces cool down completely and then keep them covered in your fridge for later.


Thursday:

Start the day by removing the egg yolk from the cure and dry them. Once there dry keep them in the freezer. Then make the sticky date cake, the banana cream and chocolate balls.

After that make the mushroom Brussels sprout and remember to keep some Brussels sprout leaves aside for later. Then you can make the pickled vegetables. And then the final task of the day, the steak tartare sauce. This is just the sauce you use to marinade the meat. So don’t cut the steak tartare meat and mix it because then the meat will go bad very fast.


Friday:

The last day to be sure you can start tomorrow stress free. So if you’re a little behind, this is your time to shine! Begin the day with the crab. The meat, broth and salad. While the broth is simmering start on the potato. The potato needs to cook for three hours, so directly start with that after the crab. While the potato is in the oven make the truffle rounds and the truffle cream. If the crab broth has reduced enough you can also make the crab cream, but be sure that the reduction is completely cold otherwise it will separate. After that already clean and trim the duck breast for tomorrow. Then take the potato pie out of the oven and let it cool down overnight in your fridge.


Saturday:

The big day is here, Christmas!

You have some prep today, but not too much so double check everything to be sure you don’t miss anything. Then begin with cleaning your scallops. Then clean your chanterelle, prep your king mushroom and directly fry them both. After that fill your chocolate balls and let them set in your fridge. Meanwhile make the chocolate glaze and once the balls are chilled glaze them. Then cut your potato pie and when you want to can pre fry it and just heat it up in the oven when you need it. Obviously it’s better to fry it when you need it, but it will give you some rest to pre fry them. Then you can also pre fry the duck breast. If you pre fry it let it cool down out of the fridge after frying and cook it when you need it for around 12/14 minutes. When you fry it during the dinner you need to cook it for 10/12 minutes. After that cut the steak tartare meat and season it with the steak tartare sauce just before serving.




The dinner service:


All your prep should be ready by now. Begin by organizing all your components dish by dish. This way you won't forget anything and you can focus on serving your best Christmas dinner ever!


I think the cold courses are pretty straight forward so I won't go into detail about those. You have two hot courses, so really try and focus on those. Temperature is key.


When you have a sous-vide you can set it at 70 degrees Celsius and use it to heat up your creams. That's one worry less. Just be sure to pop it in at least half an hour before plating. The other components that need to be hot I would heat up at 160 degrees Celsius. That way you have some time to plate and won't have to worry about burning anything. Secondly be sure that your sauce is bloody hot just like your plates. If your plates are hot your buying yourself a lot of time to give a little bit more attention to detail.


Enjoy your Christmas dinner and merry Christmas to you all!