New Year’s Eve at home has become something of a tradition for Elldrew with a close group of friends taking turns to host each year. Gone are the days of standing out with 1 million other party reveller watching the London fireworks from the Thames, no more mass raves at nightclubs around the Capital. The end of 2016 saw Elldrew’s rightful turn to host an evening to welcome in the new year.
It’s a funny night; apart from being a very long evening (with the objective to make it past midnight) you want to ensure you also enjoy yourself by spending as much time as possible with your guests, so you don’t want last minute food preparation and cooking. This of course makes meal choices slightly more challenging and one we start planning well in advance.
This year we settled on slow cooked dishes with John Whaite’s Mulled Wine Brisket being the perfect main course. A delicious and incredibly simple recipe from his cookbook ‘Perfect Plates in 5 Ingredients’; it’s effectively beef and red onions, slow cooked for 6-8 hours, in a bottle of mulled wine. It’s perfect for a night like New Year’s Eve – it’s hearty and stomach lining and was in the oven by midday allowing ample time to spot clean the house and prepare the rest of the meal. One word of advice if you buy the book and make the recipe (it’s not available online as yet so we don’t want to upset John by sharing the recipe), DON’T SKIMP ON QUALITY. Any simple recipe always works best when you use quality ingredients, so it’s well worth a trip to the butcher and a good off-licence to ensure you achieve the best flavours and result. Accompanying the beef we also served John’s roasted cauliflower, some green beans for colour, and we took inspiration from Donna Hay’s latest magazine for her thinly sliced crispy potato dish; a beautiful balance between the crispiness of roast potatoes and fluffiness of mash. Apart from a little prep work, the main vegetables went into the oven an hour or so before serving with only the beans needing a few minutes in the microwave whilst the other dishes were being plated. We promise to blog John’s recipes once they are available online.
Now we know what you’re thinking…is that all they served? Of course not! We started the evening with a selection of canapés. Not wanting to disappoint our guests with shop bought (despite how much we do love them) we decided to make our own, comprising of Mary Berry’s asparagus, goat’s cheese and Parma ham filo rolls and an adaptation of Donna Hay’s cumin and lamb parcels. Both were super easy – in fact much easier than anticipated – made earlier in the day, refrigerated until they were ready to cook just before our guests arrived.
We also made a simple starter of ravioli in a black garlic sage butter. We are fortunate to have Giacobazzi’s around the corner from us and they do the most wonderful home made ravioli – and frankly there’s no point trying to make it ourselves and match their deliciousness! Easy to cook (3 minutes in boiling water) whilst quickly making the sage butter to drizzle over them. The dish made a lovely light starter and the black garlic added a little fancy New Years’ Eve twist.
For dessert we opted for the simplicity of a cheese platter; whilst Elldrew love baking and love their desserts this just felt a more relaxed approach as everyone could graze on the cheese until the night ended. Being New Year’s Eve this was, of course, all served with ample champagne, red and white wine, beer, shots and perhaps an espresso martini or two to make sure we all stayed up to welcome in 2017. What they say about cleaning up party popper tinsel glitter is true, we are still finding stray pieces around the house nearly two weeks into the new year. We look forward to sharing more food stories with you this year, even if it’s only virtually.