Annette Sym
Annette Sym Cade Mooney

Take the stress out of cooking

ARE you panicking about having to cook the Christmas meal for your family and friends?

It can be enjoyable but also can be very stressful so here are some tips to reduce the stress out of cooking your Christmas lunch/dinner:

1) The best way to get through all the tasks is to delegate as much as you can. By sharing the load you will be able to get more done, more quickly. You aren't a slave so why should you have to do it all.

2) Don't do any recipes that you haven't made before. You don't want any surprises on the day so only use your tried and tested recipes.

3) If you want to make it as easy as possible you might find doing a buffet lunch the best option. Everyone can contribute which will then make the load easier for you. Most people find a buffet much more relaxing as well.

4) Having said this if you want a sit down affair then get the kids to set the table and if possible get your guest to be responsible for one of the courses such as entrée or dessert. It will be easier if you do the main.

5) Note how much I am encouraging the idea of others helping you. Don't be afraid to ask as most people are happy to contribute.

6) Make a list of what you will be serving on the day and then do a shopping list. To help keep costs down I recommend that you start shopping in November and buy a few non perishable items each week.

7) Bake and slice the meats the day before so on the 25th all you have to do is reheat in the microwave and serve.

8) Have a running sheet for the 25th. This way you know when the roast has to go on and when to prepare the salads etc.

9) Mark on your calendar when you need to order your ham, turkey or prawns so you don't miss out.

10) If after all this you decide that eating out is the way to go then make sure you book well in advance, don't leave this to the last minute as most restaurants book out quickly.

Annette's cookbooks Symply Too Good To Be True Books 1-6 are sold in all good newsagencies.

Visit Annette's website for more tips and recipes, and join Annette's Facebook page at Symply Too Good.

Also, obtain your free copy of Annette's Christmas Survival Guide eBook at


Festive Ice-Cream Pudding: Recipe from Symply Too Good To Be True, Book 1

Makes 16 servings

  • 2 cups dried mixed fruit
  • 60ml brandy
  • ¾ cup (100g) toasted almonds chopped
  • 1½ teaspoons mixed spice
  • 2 litres low-fat ice-cream

Place fruit in large mixing bowl, pour brandy over fruit, leave for a few hours.

Add almonds and mixed spice.

Fold together with softened ice-cream.

Line a 6 to 8 cup pudding basin with plastic wrap, spoon in mixture.

Cover with plastic wrap and freeze overnight.

Variations: Replace almonds with preferred nuts e.g. pecans, walnuts, macadamias or replace brandy with rum or with any liqueur you like e.g. Cointreau, Grand Marnier, Malibu or Drambuie.


Nutritional Information



























756 (cals 180)






















Dietitian's Tip: Ideal for Christmas lunch or those very special occasions.

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