Darina Allen

My one top tip for families this Christmas is to delegate, delegate, delegate. There is always one person who takes control of the Christmas dinner. It’s not always but usually is the mammy of the house. Ladies, it’s time to let go of the reins a little. Give everybody a job. It could be asking someone to make the starter or dessert. Or it could even be filling the log basket or laying the table. Otherwise someone gets lumped with all the work and it takes away from the enjoyment of the day. Of course, prep in advance. You can make soup and breadcrumbs days in advance and have them in the freezer. Peel your potatoes the day before – wash and dry them, coat lightly in duck fat, and then pop into a freezer bag. Most importantly, don’t get overwhelmed.

Darina’s A Simply Delicious Christmas is on sale nationwide (Gill & Macmillan, €27.99).

Liz Wall, President of the ICA

Keeping plates hot and warm can be a bit of a headache. If you’re not opting for the Christmas pudding, we have a recipe for cranberry mousse in our new book that is just perfect after your Christmas meal. It looks fantastic and festive, it’s very light and, best of all, you make it and it’s in a mould in the fridge. All you have to do is tip it onto a plate after dinner. If you really do want a Christmas cake though, and you just didn’t have a chance to make it back in September – don’t worry. We also have a cut-before-Christmas cranberry cake which is fruity and moist. Honestly, people won’t know the difference. For visitors, my little secret is to slice lemons and leave them in a freezer bag in the freezer. Then when people call and ask for a gin and tonic, you’re never caught out.

The ICA’s Book of Tea and Company is on sale nationwide (Gill & Macmillan, €22.99).

Marjorie Morrow-Nolan

You want to enjoy Christmas Day, so organisation is key and it cannot be underestimated. Make your shopping list and have all your ingredients so you don’t have to face the shops on Christmas Eve. I always have my veg chopped and blanched. I even have my red cabbage done a week in advance, in the freezer ready to go. And get your stuffing prepared. I have a fantastic recipe for stuffing balls in my book for anybody that is a bit nervous to stuff the bird. No matter what you’re doing, people love the little touches. Just a small effort can really add a wow effect. If you’re serving a prawn cocktail, for example, or even just a nice drink to guests, frost the glass. All you need to do is mix granulated sugar and some colouring, and beat the white of an egg. Lightly coat the glass with the egg, and dip into the mix. It will definitely get your guests talking.

Marjorie’s book, My Recipes for You, is on sale in Easons and SuperValu in the west of Ireland for €25, or you can order online by emailing marjorieskitchen@hotmail.com.