Christmas is going to be a little different this year as gatherings are much smaller than usual and families are opting for more intimate environments amid the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions across the UK.
And even one percent may have a completely different Christmas season with festive feasts filled with partridge, pork, and pigeons.
Speaking to FEMAIL, Signature Staff, a 60 year old UK company that provides exclusive housekeeping to some of the most iconic royal and celebrity families around the world, revealed the inquiries they are seeing before December 25th.
Signature Staff, a 60 year old UK company that provides exclusive housekeeping to some of the most iconic royal and celebrity families around the world, announced the inquiries they will see before December 25th. Image: Archive image of a Christmas dinner
The company works with British aristocracy and kings in European countries such as Austria, Spain, France, Greece and Scandinavia as well as other locations in the Middle East and Asia.
In preparation for the festive season, the company’s private chefs are deployed across the country and beyond. However, before heading out to some of the most prestigious homes imaginable, they have sat down together to come up with some essential Christmas dinner tips.
‘It’s interesting how much both old English gentlemen and high-end European customers based in the UK are very satisfied with a classic English Christmas roast.
“One major trend the team is seeing this year, however, is that high-quality classic ingredients are traditionally used, but the main course becomes a little more adventurous and deviates slightly from the simple turkey that many are used to,” a spokesman for FEMAIL said .
In the following, the team of experts from private chefs gives you the best tips for the upcoming Christmas season.
What dishes should you make this year?
Mix things up with smaller birds for smaller groups
‘However, we are seeing a trend among HNWIs (high net worth individuals) to go against the grain and think outside the box when it comes to Christmas dinner.
“Traditional meats like goose and duck can also be winners at Christmas and have been popping up recently.
“We can also recommend partridge or pigeon / squab this year if your group is a little smaller than usual.
“Last year one of our chefs even prepared a Cote de Boeuf. So why not try something new and special this year?
Pork cooked in milk with sage and lemon zest
‘It can be cooked in advance and just left in the oven.
Serve with red cabbage, sprouts and fried potatoes.
‘This will bring an alternative, Italian festival feel.
Osso bucco, veal knuckles or veal chops
‘Different, but still classy.
‘Osso, a crossed knuckle of veal braised with vegetables, white wine and broth, can also be prepared in advance and left to rest. It’s an expensive type of meat, but worth trying.
Roast duck breast with all the ingredients or a slowly roasted duck leg with quince and jam sauce.
“For the smaller gathering, duck offers a rich and complex flavor that you don’t get with turkey.
Stock up on finger food
“Canapés are great for Christmas and are often overlooked.
‘We recommend eating plenty of “finger food” to keep people happy until the main event.
“There is nothing worse than smelling all the delicious food that is being cooked and not being able to eat for hours.
Split the turkey
“Turkey is absolutely still popular, although Signature Staff’s private cooking team recommends smashing the bird if you stick with this classic.
Dividing it up allows you to roll the breast, fill it, and then cook the legs separately to make sure you always get the moist meat everyone wants.
” Side note: it also reduces cooking time and leaves you with more space in the oven.
Preparation is key
“Once you’ve decided what to serve, you can start planning.
“We don’t recommend leaving everything until Christmas morning.
“Try to get as much of your plate as you can before the big day comes and allow yourself to set simple and achievable goals for the day.
“For example, you can peel the potatoes and either leave them outside in the water when it’s cold and there is not much space, or in the refrigerator.
“Red cabbage can be made in advance, sprouts can be prepared, sauce can even be frozen.
“Buy as much in advance as you can so you don’t run around late when nothing is open. All puddings can and should generally be prepared and frozen or chilled.
Perfect the roast
“For our cooks, fried potatoes are the most important part of a meal.
‘They recommend Maris Piper or King Edward for the best results.
“These can also be made earlier and spread out in some bowls to make sure there is room around each potato to get extra crispy.
‘Don’t overfill the pan!
“Then when it comes to serving, heat it up over high temperatures to make it crispier.
Pictured: frying partridges with bacon on crumpled paper. The chefs suggested serving it to smaller groups this year
If in doubt, add a side dish
“Eating is not just about what you eat. Get creative with your color scheme and decorate the table with a little effort.
“This can help everyone feel festive and put less pressure on the chef himself – since everyone is halfway through the festivities!
What is Signature Staff?
Signature Staff (formerly Occasional & Permanent Staff) is an upper class company that has successfully hosted household workers with families in the UK or overseas for over 60 years.
From nannies to chefs, Signature Staff act as a matchmaker to win the candidate for the best household.
“And remember, when decorating your plates, use this simple cooking rule: When in doubt – garnish!
“Holly scattered on the plate or on the table is a treat at this time of the year. Just make sure the kids are watching their hands! ‘
Have lots of the popular foods
“We find that very few people don’t like filling – be it meat-based or vegetarian / vegan.
“It always goes down well with children. So our biggest tip is that you always have enough of it.
“Cauliflower cheese is also good because it can be made ahead of time and everyone will enjoy it.
“We always have green beans and broccoli or frozen peas in the freezer to bring out.
“They can be cooked and ready in just a few minutes a day, but they can also be put in a nice box-day salad the next day when they’re not in use.”
Don’t forget to have fun
“It’s easy to get stressed that day, but preparation helps and attracts people when you need help.
“Christmas should be fun for everyone and we always enjoy preparing these meals for our families.
“If you mess everything up this year the experience will be fresh and new, so we can’t recommend it enough.”