The 12 Days of Christmas ..................Day 10 Check off your to-do list

Posted by Sarah Jones on

10 lords a leaping

Making a list and checking it twice is without doubt the only way to tackle large scale cooking. We all joke about having the sprouts boiling since October, with a hundred and one things to think of it really does help to make lists and approximate timings of how you plan to use your appliances in helping you through the festive season. I'm not just talking ovens here, using your dishwasher, fridge freezer and laundry appliances to their full effect will keep your kitchen surfaces and whole home clutter free.

When the main meal and effort is over and you've really put your oven through its paces use the heat left inside to keep the leftovers you wish to re-purpose for evening snacking, most ovens now have a "keep warm" function ( 80c) which will keep food at a safe temperature whilst not over cooking, cover food with foil or place it in a lidded pan as it may dry out slightly.

All your leftover meat can be kept warm to make it easier to slice for an evening buffet spread, as well as any sausages and stuffing etc, this function is also really good for warming cheese such as Camembert a couple of hours before everyone is ready to graze again. 

If you really can't face the same meat for evening meal as you had for lunch, take care to store it correctly in your fridge by wrapping it tightly or placing it in an air-tight container to prevent the cold air within your refrigerator drying it out. Or if your appliance is fairly new you may have one of the special drawers which can be humidity controlled, Hyper fresh or super fresh drawers have the facility to keep meats, cheeses and fish products fresher for longer.

Don't forget all you steam oven owners, that steam can also be used to re-heat foods, granted it's not as fast as a microwave but who wants curly crispy edges to their re-purposed food? when it can come out looking as fresh as when it was first cooked , re-heating on a steam programme really is much better and heats far more evenly.

Clearing away your used dishes and cutlery, as you go, into the dishwasher is best practice at all times, not just when you have more people in your home and more crockery in use. Placing the dirty plates, cups, utensils and saucepans etc inside the dishwasher instead of on the kitchen worktop means that any food or strong odours are kept within the appliance, using the short programmes to do small amounts of washing-up will use more power but will keep the flow of plates or kitchen equipment that may be needed more than once in a day. Save your large pans and dirtiest utensils for an " intensive" or "hygiene" wash later, either over night when you can't hear it or for when you're taking the traditional walk-it-off stroll after the Queens speech.

Finally before the masses descend, give your laundry appliances a quick maintenance wash and de-fluff. Washing machines will benefit from a regular "hot" wash to clear any enzyme residue left from unused detergent, 90 degrees is preferable, but if your machine doesn't go up to that temperature then as high as it will go is best. Tumble dryers can always do with a vacuum out, take out the filters and clean them off, take out the condenser water tank and empty it thoroughly, also ( if you have a condenser unit you can access) take out the condensing unit and run water through it to remove all the small dust particles. doing these two small tasks can vastly improve the performance of your machines and help with washing and drying results, these appliances are usually going to have a lot more use during this period when your family and maybe extra guests are doing laundry more frequently.

I promise we'll get back to talking about cooking tomorrow.

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