As we get closer to Christmas, life can get very busy and the more you can do in advance, the easier life will be. With all the favourite cakes and puddings we like to have over the festive period, have you thought what you might be able to make ahead, so that you spend less time in the kitchen and more time relaxing with family and friends. There’s something quite satisfying about taking a ready-made cake out of the freezer – it’s a bit of a Blue Peter moment of “here’s one I made earlier”!!

It’s worth drawing up a menu plan for the festive period and looking at what can be made ahead. Start with what can be frozen and nearer to Christmas you can prepare recipes and store them the fridge or in air-tight containers.

Mince pies can either be frozen already cooked and then reheated when required, or you can freeze them uncooked in their tins and put straight in the oven from frozen.

Some recipes can be partly made in advance and assembled when you are ready to serve them like sponge fingers for trifle, shortcrust pastry for pies and tarts and breadcrumbs for bread sauce. Take off the pressure and get those Yorkshire Puddings made now and popped into the freezer. You’ll be pleased you did!

Styled on Christmas Eve PVC tablecloth