Speed up your Christmas cooking with these handy hacks – including batch cooking pigs in blankets in minutes

AFTER last week’s big Christmas spread, we are continuing the festive batching with some brilliant side dishes.

Pigs in blankets are a staple of any Christmas dinner, and red cabbage not only tastes delicious but gives a wonderful pop of colour on the plate this Christmas. And it’s great for vegetarians who aren’t eating turkey.

Both of these recipes can be made in advance and frozen ready for the big day. Christmas can be stressful enough, so getting these little jobs out of the way when you’ve got a spare afternoon is a brilliant way of reducing the workload and the mental load for the big day so you can relax and enjoy the festivities. Let’s get cracking!


(Serves 4)

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes


  • 12 chipolata sausages
  • 12 rashers streaky bacon

METHOD: Simply take each sausage and wrap in one rasher of streaky bacon.

If cooking now, once they are all wrapped, place on a baking tray and into a preheated oven at 200C/180C fan/gas 6 for around 20 minutes until golden and crispy.

Ready to freeze: Place the raw pigs in blankets on a lined baking tray and pop into the freezer for 2 hours so that they are hard. After 2 hours, remove the tray and place all the pigs in blankets in a freezer bag to save on space and return to the freezer.

Ready to cook: Remove the pigs in blankets from the freezer and leave to defrost fully before placing on a ­baking tray and cooking in the oven at 200C/180C fan/gas 6 for around 20 minutes until golden and crispy.


(Serves 6-8)

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes


  • 1 red cabbage
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 115g chopped frozen onion
  • 2 tsp pre-chopped frozen garlic
  • 2 apples, finely chopped, with or without the skin
  • 120ml red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp Chinese five spice
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar

METHOD: If you are using a food processor, cut the cabbage in half, remove the stalk and shred.

If you don’t have a food processor, cut the cabbage in half, cut out the stalk and chop it finely with a knife.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the fennel seeds.

Leave these for a few minutes to infuse, then add your frozen chopped onion and garlic and stir over a medium heat.

Once the onion has begun to soften, add in your chopped apple, sliced cabbage, red wine vinegar, Chinese five spice and sugar. Leave for 15 minutes on a medium heat, stirring regularly.

For Freezing: Simply put the mixture into labelled, sealable freezer bags. Flatten bags to ensure you can stack them in your easily and neatly in your freezer.

Ready To Eat: Remove from the freezer and defrost overnight in the fridge. Once defrosted, heat in a saucepan on the hob or in the microwave until piping hot (around 3 minutes in microwave).

Don’t miss next Saturday’s Fab Daily for more tasty Christmas recipes from The Batch Lady.

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