Annabel Langbein’s top 5 tips for a simple Christmas

The festive season doesn't have to be stressful.
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As Christmas approaches, there is one person who knows how to plan the perfect Kiwi menu.

Annabel Langbein invited The Australian Women’s Weekly to her stunning Wanaka property, that she and husband Ted have developed over two decades to become a lake side garden paradise.

From the South Island haven she now calls home, the celebrated cook shared her festive plans, exciting ideas for 2017 and applied her free-range food philosophy to create a very special but simple Kiwi Christmas menu.

But first, here are Annabel’s top tips for a stress free Christmas:

1. Start early

If you can get organised and think about what you need, starting baking, put things in the tin and in the freezer now – it makes things much easier on the day.

2. Share the Love

Write your menu early, then you can work out who in your family can bring what so you are not the one doing everything, spread the load, share the love; it just makes it so much easier.

3. Budget

Christmas can be really expensive, and so be prepared so that you are not caught out on Christmas Eve spending a fortune. When you plan ahead, you can choose things that are cost-effective. For example turkey can be really expensive, but a leg of lamb is probably a lot cheaper – and you can make it go a really long way.

Making stuffing and vegetable dishes to go along side your main, are ways you can extend that key protein item. You’ll then be far more relaxed if more people come because you can just throw another salad on the table or cook some more potatoes.

4. Delegate

On the day, share the load. Have a bit of a plan so you are not the only one in the kitchen the whole day cooking or doing all the dishes. Instead of it being a chore you say ‘right you kids are on the dishes!’ That’s part of growing up.

5. Don’t fall in the gravy

My last tip is one my mother taught me – don’t fall in the gravy! Too many chardonnays can ruin the cook. Things can often get a bit lumpy at Christmas and gravy is one of them so you just need to chill out and not drink too much before you have the main course on the table.

For Annabel’s very Kiwi Christmas menu and the story behind her new life in her Wanaka paradise, see the Christmas edition of The Australian Women’s Weekly.

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